Camping the Outer Banks of North Carolina
I don't normally operate like this, but I am gonna be a little coy about the exactitude of our ultimate destination on this adventure. But, you'll figure out a great option for you and your family with just a bit of research...and this is a great option for the family.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina start out way up by Norfolk, Virginia, and meander along these long skinny islands, in some places connected by roads (usually Highway 12) or, if not by road usually by ferry...often free. Just the travel to your destination will be an adventure in and of itself.
The highlight, so far as we are concerned, is the Hatteras National Seashore. This beautiful area is spread over different islands and has many recreation opportunities for families. There are campgrounds, beautiful beaches, as well as services provided by the National Park Service like educational ranger talks.
There are certainly lodging options available, such as hotels, condos, and other rentals. We opted for one of the campgrounds. Where we went, there was a common sentiment that visitors not over-hype the area with Instagram and Facebook posts. All of these areas would be susceptible to ruin if overcrowded. That is why we will not be providing specifics about exactly where we were.
The campground we were in was quite clean and well kept. There were restrooms with running water that were clean. Additionally, cold water showers were absolutely fine after a hot afternoon on the beach. Potable drinking water was available in the campground. The only area we'd give a thumbs down in was the extremely close proximity of the sites. The sites are generally small and crowded together. I chose a site, for reasons I cannot defend, that was on a corner and we were really challenged to find a spot for our tent.
That would have been a much bigger bummer if we'd not been spending the majority of out time on the beach, coupled with the beach being absolutely awesome! Out walk to the beach was at most a quarter mile, probably less.
Even in the remoter areas, within a short drive you can pick up a few groceries. Other services like gas, ice, restaurants, etc., are available, and we found the costs to be very reasonable. Gas is a little pricey, but that's not a surprise given the transportation costs. The locals are super friendly as long as you are respectful of their beautiful communities.
If fishing is your thing, you are gonna love life here. Surf fishing and deep sea fishing are both huge. A big recreational pursuit here, is driving your vehicle on the beaches (permit required) to the fishing spots. If you're just chilling on the beach, you might presume this will be obnoxious, but because everybody is so spread out, it doesn't seem at all noticeable.
I assume most people, like us, come to hit the beaches. They are stunning. Do some research up front about the rip tides and adhere to the safety guidelines promoted. There are lifeguard staffed beaches - a great option, especially for families with kids.
This is a trip we will repeat - perhaps annually. It's gotta be a family Top Ten!