Which of the Outer Banks Islands & Towns is the Best for You?

There’s no doubt that the Outer Banks features some of the best East Coast beaches and coastal locations. With so many fabulous Outer Banks islands and towns, it can be difficult deciding where to buy a house or spend your time! Whether you’re looking for a spot to vacation, the perfect investment property, or a place to call home, we’ve got you covered with all the details you need. Learn about the Outer Banks town differences below to discover your ideal OBX location. 

If you’re looking for the ultimate resource for all things Outer Banks, download our free Travel Guide. This tool is perfect for finding the top restaurants, activities, shopping, and sightseeing on all the best Outer Banks islands and towns

Outer Banks Islands & Towns


Mustangs Running among Sand Dunes

Located on the northern end of the Outer Banks, Corolla is home to miles of beautiful beaches where the wild horses run free. The town is also full of fabulous restaurants, shopping, outdoor activities, and golfing. Corolla is home to the Carova and Swan Beach areas which are only accessible by 4-wheel drive. With no commercial properties, this is the ultimate place to relax.

You’ll find a selection of homes nestled in the woods or sitting high on a dune facing the ocean. Whether you’re searching for a small getaway, a large 18-bedroom vacation home, or something in between, we have several Corolla homes for sale to suit your needs!


Duck is well known for its pet-friendly beach, waterfront shopping and dining, the Duck Jazz Festival, and the Soundside Boardwalk. The town is quaint and full of friendly people and laid-back vibes. If you’re interested in finding a home that offers the best access to Duck activities and attractions, take a look at our blog on the inside scoop on Duck Real Estate

Southern Shores

Nestled between Kitty Hawk and Duck, Southern Shores offers a unique, quiet retreat that differs from its neighboring coastal towns. With large sound front and canal front lots, Southern Shores is perfect for those looking for a peaceful escape away from the busyness of the Outer Banks. Pass the time by collecting shells on the beach, enjoying a round of golf, or exploring the extensive network of walking and cycling paths throughout Southern Shores. Many homes for sale in Southern Shores, NC, also have private beach access!

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk, one of the most popular Outer Banks towns, is known for its first flight namesake, surfing, boating, kayaking, and golfing. It’s an adventurous town with plenty to offer! Browse our list of things to do in Kitty Hawk to get a better idea of what to do in the area. At Shoreline OBX, we have a fantastic assortment of homes for sale in Kitty Hawk ranging from small oceanside cottages to spacious mansions. 

Kill Devil Hills

Wright Brothers National Memorial

If you want to be at the center of all the action, Kill Devil Hills is the perfect place for you. With endless opportunities for outdoor activities, fabulous dining options, local events, and fishing, you won’t be short on things to do in Kill Devil Hills. Spend your time fishing off the Avalon fishing pier, savoring delicious seafood at one of the many local restaurants, or simply relaxing in your beautiful Kill Devil Hills home.

Nags Head

Since its beginning in the 1800s, Nags Head has been the home to many charming, single-family cottages. This town is best known for its abundance of fabulous activities and attractions including the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Jockeys Ridge State Park, several fishing piers, historic and art districts, wonderful golf, walking and bike paths, and the Bodie Island Lighthouse.

At Shoreline OBX, we have some of the most sought-after Nags Head cottages in the area. Browse our homes for sale in Nags Head and find the perfect place to call home.

Roanoke Island & Manteo 

The famous Roanoke Island has a legacy as old as America itself! The island was the site of the first English colony which later mysteriously disappeared without explanation. The area is home to Roanoke Festival Park where you can learn all about the fascinating story of the Lost Colony.  

Roanoke Island’s waterfront town of Manteo offers a quaint downtown, delicious restaurants, and a fabulous community of homes. Wrapping around Shallowbag Bay, Manteo is best known for its charming waterfront, the Elizabethan Gardens, and the North Carolina Aquarium. Take a look at our guide on homes for sale in Manteo to learn all about the town’s real estate and community.

“Tri-Villages” – Salvo, Rodanthe, & Waves

The small communities of Salvo, Rodanthe, and Waves are collectively known by locals as the “Tri-Villages.” What we consider to be hidden gems in the Outer Banks, the Tri-Villages are located north of Hatteras and south of Nags Head and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

people windsurfing in the ocean

Salvo features a small collection of tackle stores, uninterrupted beaches, stacked crab posts, and fishing piers. Salvo is known for its access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches and its close proximity to Pea Island Wildlife Refuge. Homes in Salvo offer a dreamy escape free from any distractions.

Rodanthe is home to the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, one of the most complete sites of all remaining life-saving stations in the United States. The small town’s most recent claim to fame is its role in the famous Nicholas Sparks’ novel and movie, “Nights in Rodanthe.” Real Estate in Rodanthe mostly consists of secluded cottages with access to the beach. Visitors and locals of the town enjoy quiet beaches, the Rodanthe Fishing Pier, and fabulous kiteboarding and windsurfing conditions on the Pamlico Sound.

Waves is nestled between Salvo and Rodanthe and is best known for featuring two of the Outer Banks’ biggest watersports companies. If you love watersports, Waves is for you! Homes in Waves provide access to miles of water, peaceful beaches, and charming shops and restaurants.

Hatteras Island & Avon

Hatteras Island is rich with undeveloped, beach wilderness and seven beach village communities. You’ll love the endless natural beaches, tropical grasses, and sand dunes. Take advantage of the space and spend time with family and friends while fishing, boating, kiteboarding, paddleboarding, and enjoying great local seafood. You’ll fall in love with the ease of pace, soulful cooking, and sweet serenity of this beachy island.

Browse our Hatteras properties for sale now to see all the fabulous homes on the island! We have everything from small, single-family homes to large homes with ten bedrooms. You’ll enjoy convenient access to Hatteras Island attractions and a wonderful living space that’ll make it hard to leave!

Avon is a tiny village that homes the largest Hatteras Island population. It is well known for paddleboarding, Canadian Hole Watersports, commercial seafood, fishing piers, and access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches. Browse the best homes for sale in Avon here.

Ocracoke Island

From the famous Ocracoke Island Lighthouse to the stunning ocean views, Ocracoke is a dream destination. Beyond the natural beauty and wildlife, you’ll find quaint shops, safe peaceful streets, and a friendly community. Enjoy miles of uncrowded beaches and scenic views around every corner of the peaceful island.  

At Shoreline OBX, we have several wonderful Ocracoke homes for sale. You’ll enjoy spacious rooms, fabulous views, and convenient access to Ocracoke’s best activities and attractions.

Choose the Best Beach House No Matter What Location

Now that you know what each town has to offer, you can effectively narrow your search. However, there truly isn’t a bad option when it comes to Outer Banks islands and towns! Wherever you choose to call home, you’ll find the best beach house properties through Shoreline OBX. We have several fabulous homes for sale ready for you across the Outer Banks. If you’d like to see a full list of properties, you can browse them here.

Shoreline OBX has one of the Top Real Estate Teams on the Outer Banks, and we’re ready to help you through every step of the home buying process. With over 30 years of experience, we have the resources to guide you, know where to go and what to do, and can help educate you on owning a second home or investment property. If you’re ready to fulfill your dream of one day owning a vacation home on the Outer Bank, contact us today!