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September
19

Pirates of the Outer Banks | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

From Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, the lore of swashbuckling pirates has captured the imaginations of many. Romanticized in literature and film as rugged outlaws, pirates have been around since ancient times. However, when we think of pirates, most of us commonly picture the Golden Age of Piracy, as first described in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. During this time in the 17th and early 18th centuries, more than 5000 pirates were said to be at sea.

And many of them found their way to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Our majestic coast is known for many things, but none of the local legends are as far-reaching or as popular as the pirates that made our island their personal pirate playground. An ideal stop for pirates, the OBX was a midpoint between the Caribbean and larger colonial ports in the North. In addition, our waters were often treacherous and created the perfect situation for shipwrecks, thus forming the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

In honor of international Talk Like A Pirate Day, we're sharing a bit of swashbuckling history of pirates off the North Carolina coast. Channel your inner Jack Sparrow and grab some grog (but only if you're of drinking age) and gather up your maties as we take you on an OBX adventure on the high seas.

Origins of Outer Banks Piracy

Piracy on the Outer Banks of North Carolina dates back to late 1500s, when Queen Elizabeth I ordered English explorers to come to the area and set up a military colony to rob Spanish ships. Known as privateers, these men were essentially "legal pirates," engaging in activities that could only be described as piracy but which had the express support and authority of a sovereign nation. 

While Outer Banks pirate history started with these "sanctioned pirates," the Caribbean originated as one of the most common destinations for pirates. However, as large groups of colonists arrived and trade increased along the New World coastline, they migrated. The unending shipments of good and supplies to and from the New World mainland were irresistible, and in the late 1600s, Ocracoke Inlet and the beaches off the North Carolina coast began to attract the attention of freelance pirates.

Despite being off the beaten path, the Outer Banks coastline offered a distinct advantage for both sailors and pirates. With its close proximity to the Gulf Stream, it grew into a well-used trade route; sailors used our offshore waters to gain time on their voyages. It was also the perfect getaway for outlaws thanks to the Diamond Shoals—a cluster of shifting, underwater sandbars located just off the coast of Cape Hatteras. These treacherous shoals caused many ships to run aground, creating easy prey for pirates to plunder and pillage.

Because of this, the Outer Banks became a haven for many pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. Using boats that could sail through shallow waters, pirates could navigate through inland waterways to the sea, rob ships, and then sail back to their hideout.

Outer Banks Pirates

The Outer Banks, particularly Ocracoke Island, are well known to be the stomping grounds for some of history's most infamous pirates. Notable swashbucklers like Blackbeard and Calico Jack, among others, made the OBX one of their favorite plundering destinations—robbing privateers and making merry with their loot.

Stede Bonnet

Stede Bonnet was an early 18th-century Barbadian pirate known as "The Gentleman Pirate" —a name give to him because he was a wealthy plantation owner before abandoning his wife, children, land, and fortune in 1717 to become a pirate. Bonnet would lose his crew, and his loot, to Blackbeard, and would later resurface as the infamous Captain Thomas, with a mission to get revenge. Eventually convicted of piracy, Bonnet was hanged on December 10, 1718, after less than two years of adventure on the high seas.

Charles Vane

Charles Vane was an English pirate who operated in the Bahamas during the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. Certainly one of the most skillful pirate captions (and also one of the cruelest), he successfully plundered a numerous vessels, often selling his goods in the Carolinas. A good friend of Blackbeard, Vane joined up with his friend on Ocracoke Island in the fall of 1718 for a week-long celebration laden with food, rum, and women—the largest pirate festival ever held on the mainland of North America. After a hurricane wrecked his ships, Vane was rescued by Buccaneer Captain Holford, who extradited him to authorities, where he was put on trial, found guilty, and hanged in November 1720.


Jack Rackham
Nicknamed "Calico Jack" for his colorful wardrobe, Rackham was famous for his two female crew members—Anne Bonney and Mary Read. He often traveled throughout Ocracoke Inlet and was known for his Jolly Roger flag with crossed swords. Under the command of Charles Vane, Rackham was ordered to flee from a French warship after leaving Blackbeard at Ocracoke. After traveling to New Providence, Rackham joined forces with Anne Bonny and the life of piracy for these two began. In 1720, Rackham's crew was overtaken in Jamaica. He was convicted of piracy and hanged in Port Royal, Jamaica on November 20. 

Edward Teach

Known as Blackbeard, he was the most infamous pirate of the Outer Banks. Although he called Bath, North Carolina, home, he used Ocracoke Island as a hide-out while he ransacked and pillaged unsuspecting ships off the banks of North Carolina. He met his end on the morning of November 22, 1718, when Virginia's Governor Spotswood sent Lieutenant Robert Maynard to attack Blackbeard's ship in Ocracoke Inlet. Upon Maynard's command, his naval fleet attacked Blackbeard, who was wounded five times. All of Blackbeard's surviving crew was either killed or taken prisoner. As a warning to other pirates, Blackbeard's head was cut off and suspended from the bow of Maynard's ship.

Outer Banks Pirate Attractions 

Shiver me timbers! Who knew the Outer Banks was such a popular location for piracy? Ready for more Outer Banks pirate legends and lore? There are many historic OBX sites and attractions to learn more about North Carolina's legendary pirates.

Teach's Hole
The waters where Blackbeard met his demise can be found just off the coast of Ocracoke Village. Known as Teach's Hole, this locale, though hard to distinguish, is viewable from a number of vantage points along the Ocracoke waterfront.


Springer's Point
Once home to wild pirate parties, Springer's Point is now a peaceful nature preserve where visitors can wander along wooded trails to the soundfront, which overlooks the infamous Teach's Hole.


Ocracoke Preservation Museum
This small museum located in a historic 1900 residence features a wealth of personal stories and collections, which includes tales of Ocracoke's local brushings with offshore pirates.


North Carolina Maritime Museum
Take a day trip to neighboring Beaufort, NC to visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum. A newly opened exhibit features artifacts taken from Blackbeard's favorite pirate ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, which was re-discovered off the coast of North Carolina in the past decade.

Side note: although real pirates probably didn't use much of the vocabulary we now think of as "pirate lingo," Talk Like a Pirate Day is a great way to learn some OBX history and celebrate a bygone era.

September
6

Why You Need A Home Inspection | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

Buying a house is probably the single largest investment you'll ever make, so you want to ensure you know exactly what you're getting with your hard-earned dollar. That is why it is crucial that home buyers schedule a professional home inspection.

The purpose of a home inspection is to reduce the risk of having to deal with unexpected defects in a house and to be aware of any issues that may currently need to be addressed.  You will gain knowledge and familiarity with the home and determine whether or not it meets your expectations for a purchase.

In a "best case" scenario, the home inspection won't reveal any major deficiencies with the home, and you can move forward with your home purchase with the peace of mind that no visible major issues exist. However, the real value of a home inspection lies in your ability to discover any possible deficiencies before signing on the dotted line. It also allows you to factor that information into your home purchase decision.

What is a home inspection?

A home inspection is a comprehensive visual examination of the physical structure of the property and working systems. It should cover the exterior of the building, all accessible structural components from the foundation to the rooftop and include a basic testing of the bathrooms, plumbing, heating, electrical, and ventilation systems. Based on the visual inspection of accessible features, it determines the present condition of the house, as well as its major systems. The procedure is usually done by a professional home inspector – someone who has undergone extensive trainings and certifications. After examining the home, the home inspector will prepare a detailed written report for the prospective buyer.

What should a home inspection cover?

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), here's the full list of what a certified home inspector will review:

  • Heating system
  • Central air conditioning system (temperature permitting)
  • Interior plumbing and electrical systems
  • Roof and rain gutters
  • Attic, including visible insulation
  • Walls
  • Ceilings
  • Floors
  • Windows and doors
  • Foundation
  • Basement
  • Structural components

Who pays for the home inspection and what is the cost?

Since a home inspection primarily benefits the home buyer, it's usually the buyer who pays for this service. Not only does it help them identify problems that are present in the house, it also gives them the assurance that the house they are interested in is worth investing in.

Costs will vary depending on the location and the property, but typically home buyers can expect to spend roughly $300-$600 for a home inspection of a single family home. All things considered, it's a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides, and the negotiating power it can give you—especially if it indicates that there are major repairs required.

What happens after a home inspection?

If the home inspection report showed only minor problems, the home buying process should continue as planned. You can choose to give the seller (or the seller's Realtor) a list of minor issues to fix. After these repairs have been completed you may want to do your own walk-through inspection to make sure all the items on your list got fixed.

If your home inspector uncovers major concerns or safety/structural issues, you'll have a more important decision to make: Should you still buy the home?

If you decide to move forward, you'll need the following:

  • Additional inspections: Home inspectors are not specialists when it comes to home construction, pests, mold, etc. Specialists should assess the condition of the home to determine what work and cost will be needed to fix the problem.
  • Follow-up: If the home needed significant repairs, get the expert who diagnosed the problem to come back out and check the quality of the repairs.
  • Negotiating: As a condition of buying the home, you can request repairs. The seller may agree to fix the problems before closing or agree to lower the price if you purchase the home in its current condition. If the seller doesn't agree to fix the major repairs or lower the price of the home, you can back out of the transaction.

When do I schedule a home inspection?
When deciding to make an offer on a home, your Coastal NC Realty sales agent will assist you with scheduling a home inspection (subject to the homeowner's permission). Usually, this is done after submitting your offer to purchase: your agent will prepare a conditional offer that's contingent on a home inspection report that's acceptable to you as the buyer. This approach gives the buyer some distinct advantages: if the conditional offer is accepted, the property is temporarily held against other offers, yet you still have a legal escape route if the report reveals any major negative surprises. On the other hand, if the conditional offer isn't accepted, then the need to pay for a home inspection may never arise. Your real estate agent can advise you on the best approach to suit your individual situation.

Considering the amount of money you'll be spending, you should be very cautious before purchasing a property. This is why a home inspection is a vital part of a real estate transaction (and failing to get one can be disastrous). You want to make sure that the house you are buying is in good condition and won't need lots of time, money, and effort to repair. 

Want to know whether a home is in need of significant repairs? A home inspection is your best bet to determine whether any of the major systems and components in the home will either cause you heartache or provide you years of enjoyment.

Regardless if you're a first-time home buyer or a seasoned homeowner, a professional home inspection is the only way to confidently understand the overall condition of the home you are considering. Before purchasing a home on the Outer Banks, speak with one of our local Outer Banks real estate agents—their expertise will guide you during the home buying process and connect you with trusted and experienced Outer Banks home inspection companies. Contact Coastal NC Realty today!

August
23

5 Ways to Increase Your Home's Value | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

Thinking about listing your home for sale? If so, you've probably already started a to-do list of everything that needs to get done before your home hits the market. 

Packing? Check. Cleaning? Check. Staging? Check.

When preparing to sell your home, the goal is to present the property in a way that gives a great first impression when viewed by potential buyers. Knowing the best ways to add value to your home has always been important – but never more so than in 2022, as house prices and mortgage rates continue to rise.

Before listing your home, you want to ensure that you have done all you can to increase the value before it goes on the market. From cleaning and decluttering to investing in a few home improvements, we're listing five ways you can increase your home's value.

  1. Upgrade your curb appeal

    You know what they say about first impressions. Before putting your home on the market, you want to make sure your home conveys a nice, fresh first impression.

    Enhancing the exterior of your home should definitely be on your to-do list of home updates. House hunters often make a decision about a home before they even get out of the car, so plan to spend some of your home improvement budget on boosting your home's curb appeal. 

    The condition of your yard, the exterior of your home, and the front porch can potentially determine someone's interest in viewing the inside of the house, so make your home stand out as soon as buyers pull into the driveway. From power washing the driveway windows to upgrading the landscaping to simple, inexpensive fixes like new hardware and a fresh welcome mat, improving curb appeal can make a big difference in your home's value.


  2. Clean and declutter

    One of the first things you should do (and one of the easiest) to help boost the value of your home is reduce the amount of stuff inside your home. Cleaning out and decluttering are relatively inexpensive tasks.

    Showcase your home by decluttering every room, including closets and cabinets. Start by packing away anything you don't need on a day-to-day basis (knickknacks, games, files, holiday decorations, clothes, etc.). Then, go through each room and clean out drawers and other storage areas, making donation piles and/or getting rid of items you don't need.


  3. Spruce things up with fresh paint

    Every room should look its best prior to that first prospective buyer walking through the front door. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the appearance of your home and increase its value is painting. Your home is more likely to sell with a fresh coat of paint, which is the very first thing buyers see. (Bonus: it's not that expensive, either.)

    A fresh coat of paint can make your home's interior spaces look fresh and new, and experts suggest sticking with neutral colors, such as off-whites, beiges, grays, and "greige"—a blend of gray and beige. Neutral colors make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves living there because the paint goes with just about anything. (Tip: Try and avoid white, which can appear too stark.) 


  4. Make your home more energy-efficient

    Any kind of home update that lowers your utility bills is a smart and easy way to increase the value of your home.

    Investments like this in home tech—particularly when related to the HVAC, which is the largest mechanical system in the home—provides a strong selling point and highlights the home's overall comfort, functionality, energy efficiency and convenience. Start by installing a smart thermostat. Not only will it allow you to control your home's climate and manage energy costs from anywhere (whether sitting on the couch or while away on vacation), but it also helps improve efficiency and save money. A win-win-win!

    Other ways you can improve your home's efficiency and value include replacing old, leaky windows, installing energy-efficient home appliances, and adding insulation to your home. Keep in mind, though, that new windows and new appliances will be a much more expensive project.


  5. Add more square footage

    Adding more living space to your home can make a lot of financial sense. Homes are valued and priced by the livable square feet they contain, so the more livable square feet, the better. According to a study for the National Association of Realtors, every 1,000 of square feet added to a home increases its sale price by at least 30%!

    If you can add square footage to your home's footprint, you should start with a bedroom or bathroom—as they generate the greatest return on investment.


Before you begin any home improvement project, you should speak with one of our local Outer Banks real estate agents. They can help assess your property and make recommendations about which home improvements will make the most difference based on the market and preferences of local buyers. Contact Coastal NC Realty today!

August
6

For more than two centuries, lighthouses on the Outer Banks have guided sailors as they navigated the perilous waters known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

From Corolla to Ocracoke Island, there are five lighthouses standing tall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (with four out of the five allowing visitors to climb to the top in season)—each one distinctly different from the others.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Located in the heart of Corolla next to the historic Whalehead Club, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was first lit on December 1, 1875. The beacon filled the remaining "dark spot" on the North Carolina coast between Cape Henry and Bodie Island lighthouses.

Serving as a navigational aid, it is one of the only lighthouses in America that still houses its original first-order Fresnel lens. Seen for 18 nautical miles, the light still functions as a guide for passing mariners—flashing at 20-second intervals from dusk to dawn.

Made of roughly 1 million red bricks, this OBX lighthouse's exterior differs from the more common black-and-white color scheme to the south. It stands 162 feet tall with 220 steps and offers an unforgettable panoramic view of Corolla, North Carolina from the top.

Roanoke Island Marshes Lighthouse

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

Small in stature but a big part of local OBX maritime history, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse can be found in historic downtown Manteo, North Carolina. Tucked into Shallowbag Bay, a stroll along the picturesque boardwalk will bring you never-ending views of the beautiful Roanoke Sound as you make your way to this unique Outer Banks lighthouse. Unlike traditional lighthouses that stand tall and majestic, this OBX lighthouse more closely resembles a quaint coastal cottage with its white exterior, black shutters, and red roof. At the top of the lighthouse is a Fresnel lens reaching out 2' wide and up 4' tall.

Before the current Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, there were two other lighthouses built in the 1800s that carried the Roanoke Marshes Light name; however, they were lost or abandoned due to extensive and neglected repairs and a compromised foundation from the challenges of the environment. 

The current Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a replica of the third lighthouse and was completed and dedicated on September 25, 2004.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse
Tucked away between tall pines and freshwater marshland a few miles before Oregon Inlet on the northern end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Bodie Island Lighthouse is an important part of local maritime history and a favorite Outer Banks attraction. First lit on October 1, 1872, its powerful light still shines out across the dark waves every evening—keeping watch over the treacherous waters known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

Built in 1872 and standing 156 feet tall, the current Bodie Island Light Station is the third lighthouse to stand on this site. One of only a dozen remaining tall, brick tower lighthouses in the United States (The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is considered its architectural twin.), it's also one of the few with an original first-order Fresnel lens—flashing its 160,000 candlepower beacon 19 miles over the ocean.

Renovated between August 2009 and March 2013 and made climbable by the public, visitors can take the 214 spiraling steps to the top for stunning 360-degree views of Bodie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound.

Fun fact: While some people pronounce the name with a long "o" sound, it is traditionally pronounced as "body." Folklore leads people to believe that it's because of the number of dead sailors that washed ashore from shipwrecks along this portion of the East Coast (long known as the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic"), but that is not true. The name is actually derived from the original name of the area, which was "Bodie's Island," after the Body family who once owned the land that was a separate barrier island prior to 1811 when Roanoke inlet that separated it from the Currituck Banks to the north closed.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Completed in 1870, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse located in Buxton, North Carolina on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was built to protect one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. This current forces southbound ships into a dangerous twelve-mile long sandbar called Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

Commonly referred to as "America's Lighthouse," the Cape Hatteras Light is the nation's tallest lighthouse, measuring 198.49 feet from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the pinnacle of the tower. This height was needed to extend the range of the light-beam from the tower's low-lying beach site.

It's also one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the nation: its conical brick structure features a signature black-and-white candy cane pattern rising from an octagon-shaped brick and granite base and topped with an iron and glass lantern. There are 269 steps from the ground to the lens room of the lighthouse.

The current Cape Hatteras Light is the second to stand guard over these waters. After years of study and debate, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was moved to its present location. The lighthouse was moved 2,900 feet in 23 days and now lies 1,500 feet from the seashore, its original distance from the sea. The Double Keepers' Quarters, the Principal Keeper's Quarters, the dwelling cisterns, and the oil house were all relocated with the lighthouse.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

We've told you about the tallest lighthouse in the US on Hatteras Island, now we'll tell you about the oldest operating light station in North Carolina...and the second oldest operating lighthouse in the nation! Hop on the ferry to lovely Ocracoke Island, and you'll find the iconic Ocracoke Island Lighthouse.

Built in 1823 to help guide ships from inland ports such as Elizabeth City, New Bern, and Edenton through Ocracoke Inlet and into Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Lighthouse is located in Ocracoke Village—a place steeped in history that was once a safe haven for the infamous pirate Blackbeard.

With a solid whitewashed exterior that serves as its identifying mark to mariners by day, this Outer Banks lighthouse stands 75 feet tall, has walls of solid brick (5 feet thick at the bottom tapering to 2 feet at the top), and a diameter that narrows from 25 feet at the base to just 12 feet at its peak. An octagonal lantern crowns the tower and houses the light beacon. (Access to the top of the lighthouse is not allowed as the steel spiral staircase is only safe for maintenance activity.) 

The Ocracoke Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 as Ocracoke Light Station. The United States Coast Guard now oversees the operation of the light that is equal to 8,000 candlepower and casts a stationary beam that can be seen 14 miles at sea. And, although the lighthouse is not open for climbing, the site can be visited daily, and during the summer months when there is a U.S. National Park Ranger on duty, visitors may access the base of the lighthouse.

There are plenty of things to do on the Outer Banks, including plenty places to satisfy your thirst for nautical lore and local history. However, some of our favorite OBX attractions are the string of majestic Outer Banks lighthouses that dot our shoreline from Corolla to Ocracoke Island.

Beautiful beacons of light that once protected mariners from our treacherous shores long ago, today they draw visitors from near and far—for some of the most incredible views you'll ever see.

July
25

OBX Relocation Resource List: Part Two | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

Earlier this year we shared our OBX Relocation Resource Guide: Part 1 with you—chock full of vital information and helpful advice to make your move to the Outer Banks as seamless as possible. From road and neighborhood information to doctors and schools, it contains all the information you'll need to consider as you plan your move to the Outer Banks.

And then, once you've taken care of all of the essentials—and you're feeling more settled in your new Outer Banks home—it's time for Part 2 of our Relocation Resource Guide. From where to find the perfect cup of coffee and stocking your home with groceries and local seafood, to joining a local gym or jamming to the best live music, we've got you covered. 

Entertainment & Nightlife

A night out on the Outer Banks can be anything from a low-key beach walk looking for ghost crabs to hitting up one of our popular bars or nightspots featuring live music, karaoke, DJs, happy hour specials, late night menus, and more. Outer Banks This Week keeps you informed with a complete list of OBX nightlife and events.

If the local bar scene isn't your thing, the Outer Banks has two options for movie goers: Kill Devil Hills Movies 10 (RC Theatres) features ten screens with traditional stadium theater seating; Pioneer Theatre in historic downtown Manteo is the oldest movie theater in the state and shows one movie nightly at 7:00pm. (Concessions are just $2 each!)

Dining
When it comes to dining on the Outer Banks, the options for amazing and creative dishes served by top-notch chefs in incomparable settings are endless. With a focus on local flavor that represents the character of our barrier islands, you'll find the perfect blend of uptown culinary tastes mixed with more laidback bistros, beach dives, and seafood shacks—all in comfortable atmospheres representative of the Outer Banks.

From classic burger joints and tried and true Southern barbecue to fine-dining restaurants featuring world-class menus plus the best seafood in North Carolina and beyond (We produce more wild-caught seafood on the Outer Banks than anywhere else in the state!), each OBX town has a plethora of choices—that's why we recommend checking out Outer Banks Guide for the full breakdown of Outer Banks restaurants.

Coffee Spots

Have you "bean" around the block looking for the perfect latte, cold brew, pastry….or even a place to study/hang out? The Outer Banks has no shortage of coffee shops and cafes to help you get your day started.

  • Waveriders Coffee Deli Pub: in addition to coffee, you'll find sandwiches/salads, smoothies, beer, wine, and snacks & bottled drinks
  • Ashley's Espresso Parlour: Kill Devil Hills roastery and family friendly gathering place with a tropical feel
  • Treehouse Coffee: nestled amongst the tree lined boardwalks in the Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, they offer pour overs, cold brew, espresso, as well as a full breakfast menu in their adjoining Rope Ladder Kitchen
  • Morning View Coffee & Roastery: locally owned and operated coffee house run by women with an in-house roasting room, fresh, small batch roasts on tap, espresso drinks, wide selection of loose leaf teas, and bagels/pastries
  • Front Porch Cafe: a favorite place for locals and visitors, this was the first small batch roasted coffee shop on the Outer Banks
  • Isla Coffee Shop: Avon coffee shop with coffee and espresso drinks, cold brew, teas, wellness lattes, baked goods and plant-based foods
  • Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe: a Hatteras Island institution in Buxton, NC serving fair-trade organic coffees and tea, breakfast sandwiches, assorted muffins, breads, and turnovers, cinnamon rolls/twists, sticky buns, a variety of donut holes and donuts…and their famous Apple Uglies™!
  • Ocracoke Coffee: enjoy a perfect cup of coffee, delicious smoothie, and scrumptious breakfast in an idyllic setting on Ocracoke Island

Shopping

While the Outer Banks may not be a metropolitan hotspot with large shopping centers and malls, we do have a plethora of locally owned shops, boutiques, and specialty outlets that offer everything you need when living and working (and playing!) on the Outer Banks. From clothing and accessories, to bookstores and art galleries, to home decor and furniture stores, plus several local boutiques offering unique finds, we've broken down your shopping options by town to make it easy to indulge in a little bit of retail therapy. 

When it's time to refuel, Outer Banks grocery stores, convenience stores, and local markets have just what you need to stock the pantry and fridge with all the necessities. Open air markets, traditional/chain grocery stores, produce and seafood stands, and wine stores. Need a quick drink and/or snack and pressed on time? Check out Brew Thru! With coolers of ice cold beer, wine and beverages, plus racks filled with your favorite beach munchies, this iconic Outer Banks drive-thru store convenience store has car tenders that grab your beverages and snacks—all while you relax in the comfort of your car.


Golf

We may be known for our pristine beaches, but the wide-open spaces of the Outer Banks of North Carolina aren't limited to our sandy shores. Our unspoiled barrier islands have quickly become one of the premier golf destinations on the East coast. Offering six professional OBX golf courses in a unique coastal environment, the Outer Banks challenges golfers to play their best game.

  • There are three golf courses located on the mainland in Currituck County before you cross the Wright Memorial Bridge to the Outer Banks. The Carolina Club is a 7,000-yard, par 72 championship golf course with generous fairways and superb bent grass greens that have been rated as some of the finest putting surfaces in the southeastern US; Kllmarlic Golf Club in Powell's Point, North Carolina designed by architect Tom Steele's  is an award-winning course with an outstanding layout and stimulating challenges that sits among 605 acres of maritime forest and sprawling wetlands; the The Pointe Golf Club is the sister course to The Carolina Club and a par-71 championship course designed with bent greens that are second to none and plush fairways that ensure perfect lies.

  • Once you've officially made it "to the beach," you'll find four golf courses from Corolla to Nags Head. The Currituck Club in Corolla, NC was designed by the legendary Rees Jones. Featuring a breathtaking layout of flawless bent-grass greens that stretch across 6,885 yards of rolling dunes, wetlands, maritime forests, along with views of the Currituck Sound, golfers will find an environment that is challenging and aesthetically pleasing. Duck Woods Country Club is actually located in the heart of Southern Shores, NC at milepost 1 (behind Kitty Hawk Elementary School). This 18-hole championship course designed by renowned architect Ellis Maples sits on over 300 acres of maritime forest and embodies the picturesque, natural surroundings of the area. Designed by former PGA tour player and Masters champion Art Wall, Sea Scape Golf Links in Kitty Hawk, NC is an 18-hole championship course that borders the Kitty Hawk Maritime Forest and showcases the natural beauty of the Outer Banks, with play along windswept dunes, maritime forest, and dramatic elevation changes that offer beautiful views of the Atlantic on several holes. And finally, Nags Head Golf Links — a true Scottish links-style course — is an 18-hole championship course where sand dunes, coastal winds, and rugged coastline create a distinct golfing experience.

Read more in our blog post, Golfing on the Outer Banks.

Fishing
The Outer Banks has so much to offer, not the least of which is world-class fishing. With a chain of barrier islands sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and multiple sounds, any fisherman—from novice to world-class angler—will find what they need to ensure a memorable fishing experience on the Outer Banks.

From when and where to fish to what is biting to the wide variety of ways you can fish the OBX, learn all there is to know about Outer Banks fishing in our Guide to Outer Banks Fishing.

Parks/Museums
With more than 400 years of history originating with the arrival and mysterious disappearance of The Lost Colony, there's no shortage of parks, museums, memorials, and other historical attractions on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Here are a few of our favorite historical OBX landmarks to help learn first-hand about your new home on the Outer Banks:

  • Corolla Wild Horse Fund & Museum: the official and only non-profit protectors of the wild horses, the CWHF headquarters and educational museum/store are located in the Ocean Club Centre (near the Visitors Center) in Corolla. Visitors are welcome year-round and with special activities during the summer. All proceeds from the store and activities benefit the beautiful wild horses.
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial: This memorial in Kill Devil Hills commemorates Orville and Wilbur Wright's achievement of the first successful, sustained, powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine.
  • Jockey's Ridge State Park: with a panoramic view stretching from the ocean to Roanoke Sound, the tallest living sand dune on the East coast is a premier location for kites, sightseeing, sunsets, and hang gliding. A visitor center with museum and 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dune's ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field.
  • The Lost Colony: America's oldest mystery comes to life outdoors under the stars on the soundfront on Roanoke Island, NC. Featuring musical and theatrical direction and stunning choreography, become immersed in the story of the discovery of a new world; witness the pageantry of Queen Elizabeth I and her court; and celebrate the birth of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in America in this refreshed production of Paul Green's original symphonic drama.
  • Roanoke Island Festival Park: history comes alive at this 25-acre historic site where guests of all ages experience first-hand what life was like for the first English settlers in 1585. From the historic costumed interpreters at the settlement site to the Elizabeth II ship to the American Indian Town and the Adventure Museum, visitors can immerse themselves in 16th century history through fun and interactive exhibits.
  • The Elizabethan Gardens: Created as a living memorial to Sir Walter Raleigh's lost colonists that disappeared over 400 years ago, The Elizabethan Gardens are modeled after the fanciful and elaborate gardens designed to entertain Queen Elizabeth I during her reign. With beautiful blooms year-round, this Roanoke Island favorite offers many seasonal events and programs throughout the year.
  • Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum: with more than 2,000 ships sunk off the coast of North Carolina, it's fitting that our waters are called the Graveyard of the Atlantic, and now there is a museum dedicated to preserving the rich maritime history of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. From war, piracy, ghost ships, and more, this year-round museum in Hatteras Village features artifacts plus a variety of exhibits that interpret our storied maritime culture.
  • Fort Raleigh National Historic Site: 
  • Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station: Located in Rodanthe, NC on Hatteras Island, this Outer Banks attraction is a former station of the United States Life-Saving Service and United States Coast Guard, with the surviving buildings forming a museum.
  • Frisco Native American Museum & Natural History Center
  • Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum

Health & Wellness

Looking for some renewal and relaxation after moving into your new home on the Outer Banks? Pamper yourself with full-body massages, facials, hydrotherapy, and exfoliation treatments at one of our Outer Banks spas or relax and focus on your mind, body, and spirit at any of our Outer Banks yoga studios.

After you've had a chance to rest and recharge, get back into your exercise routine at a local Outer Banks gym and fitness center. From Corolla to Manteo, Outer Banks health and wellness options are located all over the island. Some are more traditional gyms offering free weights, machines, benches, bars, and other cardio-type equipment, while others are more focused on specific routines like Crossfit, martial arts, kickboxing, and boot camps. The Outer Banks Family YMCA in Nags Head is also a great option offering group classes, and indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, splash park, traditional gym, child care and camps, and more.

While this is not a full comprehensive list of all there is to do on the Outer Banks, we hope it gives you a good idea of where you can go for a great cup of coffee, weekly groceries, and perhaps a nightcap along with some local live entertainment.

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.

July
12

First Time Homebuyers: What You Need to Budget for When Buying A Home | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

Buying a home is a significant step for a first-time buyer, but it can also be overwhelming. Beyond finding the perfect home, there are so many other steps, tasks, and requirements, and you don't want to make an expensive mistake. 

The first step in the home buying process should be choosing a lender and figuring out what you can afford. (Hint: it's not just the sale price of the home.)

How Much Can You Afford?
When it comes to buying a home, it's important to note that a bank or lender may approve you for a loan for more house than you really want to pay for. This can cause first time homebuyers to get excited and look at homes based on the amount a lender is willing to loan them—not considering whether or not they afford it. This can set them up for financial hardship down the road.

What constitutes "affordable" will differ from one buyer to the next, but budgeting for a home can be done. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, a home will probably be one of the most significant single purchases you'll ever make—and figuring out the sweet spot of affordability requires more than getting a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender.

For example, just because a bank says it will lend you $400,000 doesn't mean that you should borrow that much. Many first-time homebuyers make this mistake and end up "house poor" with little money leftover after they make their monthly mortgage payment to cover other costs, such as utilities, food, gas, entertainment, and other debt.

One of the easiest ways to calculate your home buying budget is the 28% rule—a common "rule of thumb" for how much money homebuyers can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment.  While this rule isn't always right for every home buyer (everyone's debt amounts are different), the recommendation is that your mortgage should NOT be more than 28% of your gross income each month. This should leave enough money each month for other expenses in addition to the mortgage payment.

Securing A Lender
After looking at your current expenses, calculating your entire debt-to-income ratio, and deciding what you can truly afford, getting pre-approved for a home loan is the next essential step in the home buying process. Banks and mortgage lenders look at a prospective borrower's debt-to-income ratio when determining the amount of a loan, so it's important to already have that knowledge before starting the process.

Homeownership Expenses Beyond the Mortgage
A mortgage isn't the only recurring expense of owning a home; homeownership involves a variety of ongoing costs, which buyers need to anticipate. When deciding how much money you want to borrow, make sure you look at the house's total cost—not just the monthly mortgage payment—to determine how much you can genuinely afford. 

In addition to the down payment, you'll need to consider the following:

    • Mortgage insurance*
    • Property taxes
    • Homeowner's insurance 
    • HOA fees
    • Closing costs
    • Other—utility bills, home repairs, maintenance, service costs, etc.

*If you can make a 20% down payment, you may not need private mortgage insurance.

These expenses can add up quickly and significantly increase your monthly costs, making a home that once seemed affordable pricey in reality—so you should include all of these costs and other regular expenses when determining how much home you can afford. (Ex: a $1,500 mortgage payment may be doable, but add $1,500 in monthly expenses, and suddenly your payment has doubled.)

Homeownership is an exciting prospect, but it can quickly become a nightmare if you don't budget beforehand and make sure the house you are purchasing is affordable. House shopping with a smaller budget than you are approved for, along with some upfront calculations, will set you up for financial stability and success as first-time homeowner. 

Ready to start the home buying process and look at Outer Banks homes for sale? The team of OBX real estate agents at Coastal NC Realty can help you find OBX homes that meet your needs and are in your price range, then meet with you to view those homes. Once you've selected a home, your agent will assist you during the entire purchase process, including getting a loan, making an offer, negotiating, and completing paperwork.

June
20

4th of July on the Outer Banks | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

While America's official birthday might be July 4, 1776, we like to think that the Outer Banks had a pretty big role in helping form our great country—as it was the site of the first attempted colonization in the New World!

And, if Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, then the 4th of July might possibly be the biggest beach holiday. A great time to visit the Outer Banks with family and friends, temperatures range between 85 and 90 degrees (perfect beach weather!) and the water temperatures average around 72 degrees in the ocean and warmer in the sounds.

Celebrate the summer's biggest holiday this year on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Aside from our beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather, an Outer Banks Fourth of July getaway has plenty of spectacular activities that the entire family will enjoy.

From community races to family-friendly parades to dazzling fireworks, check out our list below of where you can find us on the OBX this 4th of July!

RACES

Independence Beer Mile
600 S. Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills
July 3, 2022 | 10:00 AM

Wear your finest freedom wear and join the Outer Banks Brewing Station for an all American run during the Independence 1-Mile Beer Run on Sunday, July  3, 2022. A backyard party, costume contest, chip timing, and t-shirt are included with prizes awarded to the fastest male and female overall. This is an adults only (21+) social run.

Outer Banks Freedom 5K
102 Town Hall Dr, Kill Devil Hills, NC
July 4, 2022 | 10:00 AM

The 8th annual Outer Banks Freedom 5k in Kill Devil Hills consists of a 5K, 1-Mile,  and Little Sparkler 1/4-Mile Fun Run. An all-American family and community event, custom designed trophies are awarded to the top male and female winners (1st - 3rd place) and event t-shirt and unique finisher medals are awarded to all participants. Race start and finish at the Kill Devil Hills Town Hall. After the race, enjoy light refreshments during a post-race celebration.

FIREWORKS
This year, the Outer Banks will host four separate fireworks displays: Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head Fishing Pier in Nags Head, Manteo (over the sound), Avon Fishing Pier in the village of Avon on Hatteras Island, and in Corolla at Historic Corolla Park. You can catch both the Nags Head and Manteo firework displays from atop Jockey's Ridge. 

Note: please read the NPS rules and regulations regarding beach fireworks in Dare County.

The Town of Kill Devil Hills Fireworks Show
2111 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills
July 4, 2022 | 8:00 PM

Celebrate Independence Day celebration with this fireworks display held at the Avalon Pier. Located at milepost 7, the surrounding beaches are the ideal spot for pulling up a chair, blanket, or beach towel and enjoying the show.

Town parking is free to the public, with multiple beach access points throughout the town. However, you should note that parking may be limited, so an early arrival may be key.

Town of Nags Head Fireworks Spectacular
3335 S. Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head
July 4, 2022 | 9:25 PM

Located in the heart of Nags Head, this spectacular 4th of July fireworks display over the Atlantic will leave beach-goers breathless. The fireworks will be launched off of the pier at milepost 11.5 on S. Virginia Dare Trail, and visitors all along the beach will have views of the stunning display over the ocean. Parking at or near the fireworks display site will be directed by the local Nags Head Police Department. (Those that want to drive are encouraged to park west of US158 in order to avoid crossing the major highway.)

Visitors are encouraged to bring chairs and towels but are advised to stay off the dunes and to respect private property (like rental homes and privately owned gazebos) that may be adjacent to the beach.


The Town of Manteo Fireworks Show
2111 N. Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills
July 4, 2022 | 8:00 PM

The Town of Manteo's Fourth of July celebration is filled with dazzling excitement each and every year! The streets are full of children and their families while neighbors and visitors alike join in the festivities including kids' games, decorated bikes, music, contests, and summer treats like apple pies. Afterward, head to the waterfront or over to Roanoke Island Festival Park to watch the fireworks.

Avon Fishing Pier 4th of July Fireworks Show
41001 Hwy. 12, Avon
July 4, 2022 | 9:00 PM

Celebrate your Independence Day with a bang at the Avon Pier and Avon Beach Klub on Hatteras Island. The 4th of July celebration will feature a collection of events—including an incredible front row view of the fireworks display from the pristine Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches.

Historic Corolla Park Independence Day Celebration
1100 Hunt Club Drive, Corolla
July 4th, 2022 | 5-9 PM (or at the conclusion of the fireworks show)

What better way to celebrate America's independence than with live music, fun family activities, and a spectacular firework show on the northern Outer Banks? The Currituck County Department of Travel & Tourism invites you to Historic Corolla Park for their annual Independence Day celebration! Activities begin at 5PM and conclude with one of the largest fireworks show on the Outer Banks at dusk. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase by local vendors including Mr. Joes Fun Food, Fork'et Me Not, On the Spot Creamery, and OBX Popcorn Shoppe.

Please note: no coolers, alcohol or on-street parking are permitted in the park. The Historic Corolla Park boat ramp is closed this day with no docking allowed. Dogs are permitted on leashes.

PARADES

Town of Duck 4th of July Parade
1100 Hunt Club Drive, Corolla
July 4th, 2022 | 9 AM

The Town of Duck is excited to welcome the return of the annual 4th of July parade and community celebration! This one-mile parade begins at the crest of the hill on Scarborough Lane, travels east towards the ocean, turns left onto Ocean Way, and then continues onto Christopher Drive to end at Pamela Court. A community celebration featuring live music, cold refreshments, and the awarding of the parade trophies will be held immediately following the parade in the Duck Town Park. A family favorite for generations, be sure to bring your lawn chairs and grab a spot along the route of the one-and-only 4th of July parade on the Outer Banks!

Please note: no part of the parade will take place on Duck Road.

June
6

Guide to Outer Banks Fishing | Outer Banks, NC | Coastal NC Realty

The Outer Banks has so much to offer, not the least of which is world-class fishing. With a chain of barrier islands sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and multiple sounds, any fisherman—from novice to world-class angler—will find what they need to ensure a memorable fishing experience on the Outer Banks.

If you're an avid fisherman with your own gear (or even if you need to rent a rod or two), you can't beat surf fishing on the Outer Banks, which offers over 100 miles of beach to cast your lines. You'll want to make sure you have the right permit if you're over 16 (children under 16 do not need a permit to surf fish), while also ensuring you understand catch limits. Any OBX tackle/bait shop will be able to help you with these permits and rules, but you can also visit the North Carolina Marine Fisheries website for more information. And while you're at the tackle shop, make sure to pick the brain of their local and knowledgeable staff, as they will be able to guide you regarding the best times of day to fish, along with information about what's biting, tides, winds, etc. From May to September, you're most likely to catch bluefish, drum, spot, flounder, croaker, sea mullet, and Spanish Mackerel, but fishing in the fall and early spring will also yield results. 

If you're in the market to make incredible lifelong memories, we suggest booking an offshore charter fishing trip. From the predawn departure to the ride out to the gulf stream (with amazing sunrises!) to catching a big one, this day-long experience will not disappoint. During the summer months, you might catch marlin (blue and white), sailfish, dolphin (mahi-mahi), wahoo, and yellowfin tuna (their peak season is spring and fall, but you can catch them year-round). (Hot tip: even if you don't book a charter, it is 100 percent worth it to head to Oregon Inlet Fishing Center or Pirate's Cove Marina in the late afternoon to see the boats returning to the dock and throwing their day's catch up on the deck; it's always a fun time!). For more information or to book an offshore fishing trip, check out either Oregon Inlet Fishing Center or Pirate's Cove Marina. Both full-service marinas are brimming with impressive boats, the expert captains and mates who man them, and a store with anything you may need for a day on the water. Pirate's Cove even offers two restaurants on-site: Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar offers fresh, local seafood prepared in exciting and delicious ways with panoramic waterfront views of the marina and Bodie Island Lighthouse. Mimi's Tiki Hut, located on the deck overlooking the marina, is a bit more laid-back and features daily drink specials and live entertainment.  

If you're not ready to dedicate a full day to fishing, how about an hour or two? You could try pier fishing at one of the seven OBX piers that run from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras, where they offer daily, weekly, and monthly passes. Some of these piers also rent poles, gear, etc., so you don't necessarily need to bring your own. Have children or grandchildren who love to fish? The Avon Fishing Pier on Hatteras Island hosts a weekly "Kids Frenzy Fishing Tournament" during the summer, and Jennette's Pier teaches "Fishing 101" classes each week. Beyond the gear rental, classes, and tournaments, a few Outer Banks piers also have restaurants, bars, and even live music—a perfect place for your family to enjoy themselves as you wait for your big catch (or to celebrate afterward!). 

While the above information focuses on ocean fishing, don't sleep on the fishing opportunities in the Albermarle Sound. The water will be brackish, with salty ocean water flowing in from the Atlantic mixing with fresh water from nearby rivers, but will still offer plenty of fish to be caught. Outer Banks Sound Fishing offers a wealth of information on sound fishing, including what types of fish you're most likely to catch by month (for summer months, your best bets are Spanish Mackerel or Tarpon). For OBX sound fishing, you can bring your own boat, or there's also the option of booking a charter (half-day or even full-day). Finally, without the rolling waves of the ocean, there's a good chance you will avoid any potential seasickness when fishing in the sound, so it's a perfect chance to expose any newcomer to the wonders of Outer Banks fishing. 

Whether you're visiting the Outer Banks for a week in the summer, you're a year-round resident, or you're looking to make the Outer Banks your second home, make sure to take advantage of the fishing opportunities on the Outer Banks. From the amazing waters and varieties of fish to the local experts here to help, you will definitely be hooked. 

More helpful resources:

Guide to Outer Banks Fishing

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