So, you're thinking of relocating to the Outer Banks. First: excellent decision! Second: welcome! Finally: while we totally understand the habit to slip into a constant state of daydreaming about your new home at the beach, there are some pieces of information that you'll need to consider as you plan your move. And because the Outer Banks is chock full of friendly faces and neighbors helping neighbors, see below for Part 1 of our OBX Relocation Resource Guide, including some pieces of helpful advice to make your move and transition as easy as possible.
Whether you're in the very early stages of your relocation to the Outer Banks or you're about to close on your new OBX home, we encourage you to take advantage of the locals' knowledge, either via social media or in-person if you've already moved. Here are some groups that will help with questions re: neighborhood, schools, activities, recommendations, etc.:
Know Where You're Going
Perhaps you've been coming to the Outer Banks for years for your summer vacation, and it already feels like home. You may know the towns, beaches, and main roads, but in case you don't (or you need a refresher):
- Northern beaches: Corolla, Duck, and Southern Shores
- Southern beaches: Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head
- Hatteras Island beaches: Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras
- "The Bypass": technically (i.e. on Google Maps), this is Route 158. This is the 5-lane (two driving lanes and one constant turn lane) bypass that runs from Kitty Hawk to Nags Head. It is the main thoroughfare throughout the Outer Banks (and it often has the traffic to prove it). The speed limit ranges from 45-50mph depending on what section, but people often go faster. (Don't let a speeding ticket taint your first few weeks here!) Our best piece of advice: be mindful when you drive on the bypass—particularly in the summer months, when many out-of-towners are making last-minute turns, stops, etc.
- "Beach Road": this is North Carolina Highway 12, the 2-lane road that parallels the beach in most places (but it runs all the way from Corolla to the North to Ocracoke to the South). On the northern beaches, the speed limit fluctuates between 25-45mph (with the fluctuation depending on the town and/or tourist season). On the southern beaches (Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head), the speed limit stays 35mph—and for good reason. Many people walk, run, and bike ride along the Beach Road. You'll also need to slow down or stop for families (and their accompanying wagons, beach umbrellas, etc.) crossing the road to access the beach (by law at designated crosswalks). Finally, seeing its close proximity to the ocean, Beach Road can be overrun with ocean wash during a bad storm, particularly in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and down on Hatteras Island.
Below you'll find a sampling of neighborhoods throughout the Northern and Southern Outer Banks beaches. One thing you may want to consider: many of these neighborhoods have a high vacation rental properties vs. year-round homes ratio. If you are seeking a neighborhood with many full-time, year-round homeowners, we suggest you check out properties in Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head. You can also speak with one of our experienced OBX real estate agents to determine the best Outer Banks neighborhood for you and your family.
- Corolla: The Villages at Ocean Hill, Corolla Light, Whalehead, Monteray Shores, Buck Island, Crown Point, Ocean Hill, Ocean Lake, Ocean Sands, The Currituck Club, Pine Island
- Duck: Schooner Ridge, Bias Shores
- Southern Shores: The Dunes; Chicahauk; Seacrest Village
- Kitty Hawk: Martin's Point, Seascape, Sandpiper Cay (condos), First Flight Ridge
- Kill Devil Hills: First Flight Village, Avalon Beach, Colington Harbor
- Nags Head: Old Nags Head Cove, Old Nags Head Place, The Village at Nags Head, South Ridge, Lone Cedar Village, Pirates Cove
As you plan your move, you'll want to coordinate and set up your essential services to make the first few days in your new Outer Banks home as seamless as possible.
If you have some house or landscaping projects you want to tackle as you settle in, your best bet is chatting with your Realtor®, as he or she will be able to provide a wealth of knowledge and resources re: contractors, landscapers, etc. You could also search posts on the OBX Locals Facebook group or post in your neighborhood's NextDoor message board.
Whether you turn to a screen for your news or still crave a newspaper on your doorstep, you can turn to these news sources to keep up-to-date with Outer Banks news and happenings:
While you're ensuring that your beautiful new home is, actually, livable, you'll also want to begin the research regarding your healthcare (and your children's and/or pets', if you have them).
- Hospitals: there is one main hospital on the Outer Banks (very creatively named, The Outer Banks Hospital). It's located in Nags Head, and, while on the smaller side (it has 21 general beds), it offers a breadth of services (see here for an overview). The urgent care options are located in Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Avon on Hatteras Island.
- Physicians: to find a new primary physician, your best bet is to use the "search provider tool" on your health insurance's website and then cross-referencing what you find with Google reviews (or even asking for feedback on one of the local Outer Banks Facebook pages). We'd recommend the same search option to find your new dentist, pediatrician (if needed), and any other specialist.
- Veterinarians: if you have pets, you have a few options for veterinary services. From north to south: Martin's Point Veterinary Hospital in Kitty Hawk located just over the Wright Memorial Bridge as you enter the Outer Banks; Outer Banks Veterinary Hospital and Coastal Animal Hospital in Kitty Hawk; Gallery Row Animal Hospital and Sound Veterinary Hospital in Nags Head; and Roanoke Island Animal Clinic in Manteo. As you can see, if you live in Corolla, Duck, or Southern Shores, you will need to drive to the southern beaches to access a vet.
And don't forget your dog license! All Dare County dog owners must obtain a county dog license for the current calendar year, and keep it securely attached with the current rabies tag to the dog collar or harness.
The Dare County Public School System serves approximately 5000 students in 11 schools. It is led by a 7-member Board of Education.
Other Helpful Resources
While we hope that this information will help as you plan your move and settle in, don't forget: you can always knock on your neighbor's door once you get here. The Outer Banks is brimming with friendly faces and will support and assist anyone who wants to call this beautiful place home.
Ready to make the move to the beautiful Outer Banks and call our lovely barrier island home? With OBX homes for sale from Corolla, North Carolina to Manteo, NC to Hatteras Island and beyond, let the experienced real estate team at Coastal NC Realty help you find the perfect Outer Banks home.