“We’re wide open,” announces Lee Nettles, Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, citing several recent accolades supporting the OBX’s front position for travel this summer. Forbes.com recently ranked the Outer Banks as number one among The 20 Top Places Americans Are Dreaming About Right Now, and Cape Hatteras in Buxton, NC was just ranked a Top Ten Beach In The US by Dr. Beach.
The Outer Banks checks off a lot of boxes for people contemplating a summer beach vacation. “We’ve been doing social spacing before it was a thing,” says Nettles. “One feature is the number of professionally managed vacation rental homes. When you consider that we’re just a hop in the car away, you’re managing your exposure to the public from the moment you leave your house and arrive in one of ours.” The OBX is also known for a mix of top-rated hotels, campgrounds and inns. “People are even finding that with the values this summer, they’re renting properties for multiple weeks and just working online like they would from home.”
At the heart of the Outer Banks allure lies Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the largest stretch of undeveloped beaches on the East Coast you can easily enjoy by car, and the drive along NC12 coastal highway rewards family explorers. In fact, Southern Living recently placed the Outer Banks as one of its Top Ten Scenic Drives in a recent reader poll. Nearby, you can air out the kids at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, a 426-acre sound dune mountain that, along with its sister State Natural Area, Run Hill, epitomize open space and fun at a distance.
“While Americans are looking for a much-needed vacation, COVID-19 doesn’t take a day off,” says Nettles. “This reopening of the Outer Banks and the nation as a whole is going to take everyone looking out for the safety of themselves and each other. We encourage a ‘Be Safe. Be Smart. Have Fun.’ approach to hospitality and responsible travel. Our local business community was the first to adopt the Tourism Pledge, a recognition of the need to take premium measures in safety for both guests and employees, which are detailed specific to each participating partner and found on outerbanks.org.