How to Visit the Top 20 OBX Towns in a Day

The Outer Banks is home to hundreds of attractions, places to see, and things to do. From quintessential east coast lighthouses to fresh local seafood, to the pristine beaches, you’ll be hard-pressed to see everything you want to on your Outer Banks vacation getaway.

Not to mention the 20 quaint Outer Banks towns dotted around the arm of the cape, each with their own set of unique attributes. They’re all worth seeing, and while it might seem impossible, you can see them all in a one-day road trip around the Outer Banks.

Below are some tried-and-true tips and tricks to successfully visiting the top 20 towns and making the absolute most of your holiday at Outer Banks vacation homes.

How to Visit the Top 20 OBX Towns in a Day || Outer Banks Vacation Rentals || Cola Vaughan Realty

Know your Geography

Before you get too far, you have to understand how the Outer Banks area is organized.

The region is a series of barrier islands, surrounded on the east by the Atlantic and on the west by a number of inlets, most notably the Currituck Sound.

The Outer Banks encompass about 120 miles of drivable road. This roughly spans from the far southern town of Ocracoke and all the way up to the northern edge in the town of Corolla, with many spots in between.

This is your playground for exploring as many as 20 towns in a single day.

Choose a Side: Are You Going to Head North or South?

While you can manage to drive through all 20 Outer Banks towns in a day, you won’t have a lot of time to get out of the car and explore them.

To remedy this, you can choose a side. Are you going to head north or south? Depending on where you start, you could both cut your travel time in half and have the opportunity to pursue some amazing coastal communities.

Stay at a Mid-Point Rental

For the most flexibility, stay at a rental towards the middle of the Outer Banks. That way you can easily go north or south.

Thankfully, we have a range of stunning waterside Outer Banks vacation homes for you to choose from. They provide a great home base for all your Outer Banks activities, giving you great access to all the great places to see along the coast.

Pick Your Top Spots

While you might embark on the ambitious 20-town road trip, you’ll have to pick and choose which towns you actually spend time in. Below is a list of some of the most impressive coastal towns for you to check out.

Make sure you spend some time reviewing the local attractions and the unique characteristics that make the town special. If you narrow it down to two or three top spots to get out and explore, you’ll give yourself enough time to stop for a bite to eat, browse local shops, and perhaps make a couple of pits stops on the beach.

In many of the towns, you may just slow down and drive right through. In some, you may get out for just 15 minutes. Be diligent about time and make sure you dedicate some extra attention to the top places to see, such as the lighthouse on Roanoke Island or the Wright Brothers Museum in Kitty Hawk, which is dedicated to air and space.

At some point in the day – perhaps earlier than expected – you may have reached the end of the road at the edge of the Outer Banks. You can simply turn around and hit any of the spots you missed while heading past where you started.

This is part of the fun and adventure. Choose a direction and go for it, only looking back when you have no other choice. Hit your top main local sites while spending enough time to get a feel for the atmosphere, attractions, and more.

To book Outer Banks vacation homes in convenient locations, such as Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, or Southern Shores, choose your favorite and simply book online! We can help find the perfect vacation rental for your family, and make your East Coast road trip dreams come true.


Cola Vaughan Realty
PO Box 1375 • Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: 252.573.2811
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