Vacation questions...Outer Banks, Hilton Head, Virginia Beach??? Thoughts????

Updated on September 29, 2011
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
12 answers

Already thinking of our next summer's vacation. We've narrowed it down to the three listed......
This will be a family vacation with our three kids... and hopefully our dog. We'd like somewhere with beach access. And walking distance to resturaunts, shops, etc and some family entertainment.Whats our best bet?? Really thinking about Outer Banks Nc. but there are a few towns...Duck, Kitty Hawk, Nags Heads.....Need tips!

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answers from Norfolk on

I live very close to Outer Banks and VA Beach. VA Beach has a lot more fun places to visit! However if you want to have more lazy days on the beach Outer Banks, and maybe drive up to VA for a day. In terms of where to go in OBX I would say to stay away for Nags Head June-September, it is far to crowded, Kitty Hawk is best in those months!

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answers from Roanoke on

I've been to all 3 of those places. Outer Banks is my favorite; Nags Head is good, and large enough to find shopping, restaurants, and movies, golf, ferry rides, etc. Awesome for families, but it's not huge and touristy. The smaller cities in the Outer Banks are wonderful too. Hilton Head is very pretty, but very rich and upscale. Good for golfing, shopping, and spending money. The beaches there are definitely gorgeous, and there's some great restaurants, but it felt a little like too ritzy for me. Virginia Beach is fun, but you'll likely see a lot of people, lots of teens. It's fun if you've never been, but given the choice, I'd choose Outer Banks, hands down.

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answers from Washington DC on

I use to live in Virginia Beach. They have a huge boardwalk along the beach, with lots of resturants within walking distance of the beach, plus all of your hotels are right there as well.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

We've vacationed at beaches all up & down the East coast: Rehoboth, DE, Dewey DE, Bethany Beach, DE, Virginia Beach, VA, Duck, NC, Kitty Hawk, NC, Nags Head, NC, Avon, NC, North Myrtle Beach, SC, Cherry Grove, SC, Myrtle Beach, SC......

Probably my favorites are Avon NC (Kitty Hawk & Nags head are too congested, Duck is too boring, you need to head further south to get some tranquility.), and Bethany Beach, DE. Sea Colony in Bethany is a nice family resort ( and in North Myrtle Beach, Ocean Creek Resort ( is within walking to LOTS of stuff, yet still not honky tonk or super busy.



answers from Lafayette on

I have vacationed at all three. If your children are in elementary school or younger--the Outer Banks is best.



answers from Washington DC on

I don't know if you're totally set on these particular places, but may I recommend the Delaware shore? My in-laws have lived there all their lives, and since I've been married to their son for almost 15 years I have spent a considerable amount of time there!! It's a wonderful place for family. We go to Bethany, but Rehoboth is great and so is Fenwick Island. If you want to get a little crazier there is Ocean City, MD about 20 minutes from Bethany. Sooooo much to do in Bethany, but still peaceful and totally family oriented. Feel free to private message me if you want more info. I don't want to go on and on, but I could!! We love it so much, we're going to head over there for Columbus Day weekend. Still beautiful in the Fall! Oh, and my in-laws have a beach house they rent out. I'm not telling you this to get renters for them - their house is always fully booked from 4th of July to the end of September, usually by January. My in-laws live it themselves from Memorial Day until the 4th. It's a huge house - sleeps 12. Anyway, I'd be happy to be a wealth of info for you if you want. My only hesitation with the Outer Banks is it seems so remote. My kids love the boardwalk and all that stuff, not just sand. But, I have tons of friends/neighbors who go there every year and love it! Have fun wherever you go :)



answers from Washington DC on

If you want to be able to walk places, then Virginia Beach. They have a nice boardwalk. They also have a good bus system that is reasonable.

Ocean City MD has a good Boardwalk also.

Never been to Hilton Head.

Outer Banks is nice all of the towns pour into each other. Not really that walkable. During the day yeah, okay, but at night not so good.



answers from Houston on

We have been to HIlton Head and Myrtle Beach. We LOVED Hilton Head. We found it very family oriented. Much more than Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach was more adult for our kids at the time. Hilton Head was such a wonderful, relaxing vacation. We stayed at the Spiniker Properties. We rented bikes for the week. We would either ride the bikes or walk to the beach. That would take maybe 5 minutes from our condo to our chairs on the beach. We rented for a week a "spot" on the beach. They would set it our chairs and umbrella and then tear it down every day. Wonderful!!! Can't say enough great things about that vacation!!!!


answers from Richmond on

VA beach is fun for family stuff but the people generally suck...



answers from Charleston on

Being from SC, I say Hilton Head because it's beautiful, clean, and as a bonus, you're a 2 hour drive from Charleston! We were voted #2 in Conde Nast's 2010 Readers' Choice Travel Awards. (can you tell I worked at the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau?) If you get bored with the beach, take a day trip to Charleston for a wonderful day at our Market, historic homes, and excellent restaurants. Here is the link to Conde Nast's page:
Have fun wherever you decide!



answers from Detroit on

Been to Myrtle Beach twice and that's a lot of fun, especially with families. I have a cousin who vacations every May with his wife's family in Duck and they love it. Another cousin did their family vacation at Folly Beach, SC last April and loved it.

I know you were thinking NC/SC, but when we lived in MA we went to Cape Cod all the time - friends of ours have a summer cottage in Dennisport and we have many fond memories of weekends on the Cape. We also have a time share on Block Island, RI the first full week of August - Block Island is awesome and we all love it! Takes some planning though because you need a ferry reservation for your vehicle to get there! Just a thought for another summer!



answers from Columbus on

Go to Hilton Head for sure. I've never been to Virginia Beach, but went to Outer Banks many years ago (before kids) and loved it. Then we went to Hilton Head this summer with kids, and I would not go back to Outer Banks. The tide at Hilton Head is alot calmer - very big waves at Outer Banks. Plus the beach at Hilton head is crazy big, hard packed - you can ride bikes on it and also there are bike paths everywhere! We were in the Forest Beach area - there are lots of houses on or near the beach and a great shopping area that the kids loved in the afternoons/evenings to walk to or ride bikes to. There are also lots of evening entertainment places - guitar singers with really fun family friendly shows - that kind of thing.

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