This was a time share swap for us. We were there over spring break, so there wasn't quite the action that there is in the summertime (hence, not the chaos), which was TERRIFIC! Most of the water based activities--parasailing, etc., were still closed for the season. (The teenagers were a little bored--'What?! Natural beauty? Yawn.) Kitty Hawk is the perfect jumping off point to explore the Banks--everything is a short ride away.
The Resort: All in all, very nice. Because it was still off season, there wasn't loads of activities, which was fine. Very clean, and the units are set far enough away from each other, tucked into the woods, that you don't feel crowded. Units are well stocked, and very clean. DVD player, TV's in all the bedrooms, nice back patio in which to sit and enjoy the morning cuppa joe. Decor is utilitarian resort-ish, and several of the appliances were new. Check in and out was a breeze, and the limited interaction that we had with the staff was pleasant and helpful. Good workout facility, pools and sauna--the teenage girls really got into the tanning beds, which were a great deal, to boot. No wi-fi (which I like-it's a vacation, after all) a public computer pay-for-use in the lobby, which is fine. Some great hiking trails, all on property.
The Wal-Mart as you come into the property is a godsend. (Yes, I thought the same thing--are we going to be staying in Strip Mall Heaven? Not at all--you go past the Walmart down a well manicured, tree lined road, round the bend and into the resort--once you're in you never even know it's there.) It's a nice one, and really handy for stocking the larder and buying things like kites and Frisbees--way cheaper than the specialty kite shops you see all over the Banks.
The area: The Banks itself is beautiful; if you want crazy beach nightlife, it's there. If you prefer to commune with nature, lonely windswept beaches abound. You can fish--some of the best anywhere--explore shipwrecks, go bowling, whatever you're into, you can find something to tickle your fancy. We found the location to be ideal. From Kitty Hawk, you can either head south: Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Roanoke Island, or way south, all the way to Cape Hatteras; or north to Duck and Corolla. There s something to see everywhere, and you're never far from the ocean. If you're a maritime or nature junkie, the place abounds with lots of things to explore. The jeep tour on Corolla to see the wild horses was great--half the fun of it was just getting there. You can either go on a tour, or there are places you can rent a 4X4 and drive yourself. A word to the wise, however: there is no paved road out to the part of Corolla where the horses are--the beach IS the road. I thought about it for about thirty seconds, then came to my senses, as my vacation plans did not include getting stranded on the Edge of Nowhere. Good thing, too--as we were driving out we saw a pickup truck stuck in the sand, with four guys standing around scratching their heads; on the way back, we saw the same truck, still stuck, the guys were gone, and the tide was coming in--yikes. Our guide told us that people get stuck out there all the time, and plenty of them lose their vehicles.
Restaurants: no shortage in The Banks. What's great is that even the very upscale ones are casual; bottom line, this is a beachy kind of a place, and they realize that your ability to enjoy good food is not dependent on what you're wearing, as long as you put something decent on after you leave the sun and sand. Best restaurant we found: The Lone Cedar, on the causeway between Nag's Head and Roanoke Island. Man, this was GOOD! The fish could not have been any fresher; literally the boats pull up with their fresh catch. The tab for four of us came in at around $160--we're not drinkers, but that included desserts and gratuity. If you're looking for a splurge or a place to bid a sweet farewell to the Banks, this is it.
Parental kind of a note: it's always windy in The Banks, which can lull you into thinking the sun isn't that strong-it is. Sunblock and a windbreaker are handy items to keep at hand.
The Banks is definitely on my 'return to' list, though going without bored, seen it all teenagers is a priority. If you're taking kids, summer might be a better bet, as there's way more to do, but a lot crazier.
Property: thumbs up. Outer Banks itself: Two thumbs WAY up!!
- Also Known As:
- Barrier Island Station At Kitty Hawk Hotel Kitty Hawk
- Barrier Island Station At Kitty Hawk NC - Outer Banks