In search of the perfect beach house

Wild horses in Corolla

Yes, I know, it’s January.  We just endured the polar vortex and snow apparently is in the forecast (boo!). However, time is running out for summer 2014 bookings at the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina.

The Outer Banks is the go-to beach destination for thousands and thousands of tourists from the east to the south, north and mid-west.  What is the appeal?  There is a combination of quaint fishing villages (Wanchese, Buxton), sophistication (Manteo, Duck, Corolla),  beach bum (Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head) and low key family (Avon, Southern Shores, Rodanthe).

Living in Virginia, the OBX is only a 5 hour drive from the Shenandoah Valley. I first went at age 1 and in the 30 some years that have passed since, there are very few times I can remember a summer without the OBX.

The challenge every year is finding the perfect beach house.  As our family has grown, so too have our needs.  And each year we are in the mood for something different.  While we love the convince of staying in Southern Shores, and the Sunset Grille in Duck is on my must-do list, sometimes we find that we want the slower pace of Hatteras Island.  Going to Hatteras, one feels the stress melt away as the Hatteras vibe takes over.

So what makes the perfect beach house?  Some want pools, some want proximity to beach or sound, others look for pet friendly options.  This year we focused on roominess.  We are now a group of 13-15, 5 of those being children under the age of 4.  But with 4 families under the same roof, space is key.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

We also wanted to be close to the beach.  The past few years we’ve opted to save money and stay further away.  No bueno.  I found that I spent little time at the destination for which I came because getting there was a total pain.  Think of all that you have to haul: towels, chairs, umbrellas, tent for kids,   boogie boards, books, coolers, sand toys, sun block and the kids.  I get tired thinking about it.

Now, my husband and I were angling to stay sound side.  We love kayaking and the sound is a bit more manageable with a 2 and 4 year old.  However, we were outvoted!  So we found a compromise.  And oh boy, what a house!!!  It is 20 yards from beach, but right near the sound.  It is HUGE, with a couple of living spaces and lots of decks. And best of all, it didn’t break the bank.

We chose to go to Rodanthe this year.  I tell you, you can get a lot of bang for your buck on Hatteras Island.  And I am really looking forward to the slower pace, visiting some lighthouses and maybe even taking the ferry to Ocracoke Island for a day.

What do you look for in the perfect beach house?

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