The Outer Banks – or just the OBX for short – are a stretched sliver of jaw-dropping barrier islands and coastline that dress the side of North Carolina. They spill into the Atlantic and down to calm sounds alike, and include some of the oldest settlements in the country. There's a history of vacationing here, too, which means Outer Banks rentals are well-trained in offering oceanside R&R and enjoyments.

The wide range of features and styles in OBX rentals

From grand two-winged coast homes with tracts of land and boardwalks poking down to private beaches to small condos and cottages where you can enjoy al fresco evenings set to the sound of the rhythmic waves, there's a wide array of places to pick from in this part of the Tar Heel State. Let's take a look…

Taking the pooch along to pet-friendly OBX rentals

There's no reason you should leave the four-legged family friend back at home when you jet off to the salt-washed Outer Banks. The barking buddy might not be able to appreciate the colonial tales of Roanoke, but there's certain to be scents and stick throwing aplenty on the dog-friendly beaches around Duck – where the pup can even be let off the leash. What's more, there are loads of pet-friendly homes in the region, some with yards for Fido, others with extra interior space for the canine to curl up and relax.

Outer Banks house rentals with their own pool

There's nothing like having a splash in your own private swimming pool, even if the frothing ocean is just over the dunes next door. That's why there's a great selection of classy places in the OBX that have a pool of their own. The priciest are luxury rentals with a private swimming facility, while others will be in shared complexes with communal pools.

Outer Banks luxury vacation rentals – be pampered

There's a long history of A-lister getaways in the chic Outer Banks. Tycoons and magnates once came here to escape the buzz of the Rat Race, and these days there are still plenty of five-star retreats where, if money's no object, you can sample the good life all frills included. Features like hot tubs, oversized designer kitchens, and huge yards with decks and fire pits are the norm in these. And that's only a taster.

The largest OBX rentals available

20-bedroom vacation rentals in the Outer Banks? You bet. And while most will be a little smaller than that, the point is that big groups and wider family can be catered for in the larger pads of the region. They don't only add bedrooms, either. There are also big living spaces, private bars, patio areas, and multiple bathrooms and kitchens thrown in for good measure.

An area guide to the Outer Banks for vacationers

It's always important to know what you're getting yourself into when it comes to booking Outer Banks rentals. This is no compact, homogenous resort town, after all, but rather a drawn-out stretch of beachfronts, beach towns, old hunting villages, slick villa complexes, and remote seashore preserves. That's where the pointers below should come in handy.

Outer Banks vacation rentals in chic Corolla

If you're on the quest for some seriously high-class stays, this might be the sector of the isles for you. Hosting the crème-de-la-crème of Outer Banks luxury vacation rentals, Corolla is about clinking champagnes on breezy balconies and sampling haute seafood from exclusive East Coast surf-and-turf restaurants. Push past Corolla and you'll soon be totally alone, up with the dunes and oats and wild horses of the Currituck Banks Estuarine Reserve – beautiful stuff.

Outer Banks rentals in loveable Duck

Another of the Outer Banks's more refined spots, Duck is all about wallowing to a backdrop of maritime forests, murky wetlands, and powdered beachfronts. Duck Village itself has some boutique shopping options and plenty of water sports on its sound side, not to mention gingerbread cottages for couples facing the dunes, and larger homes that can host the whole family.

Nags Head for charming OBX vacation rentals

Spilling into the Currituck Sound with its marinas and links golf courses, Nags Head is a fine place to be. Not only is it a tad cheaper than other sections of the region when it comes to OBX rentals, but there's an abundance of beachside mansions flanking the Atlantic to the east – think boardwalk paths spreading through the grounds on their way straight to the shore.

Manteo's historic Outer Banks vacations

In the Outer Banks but totally on the Roanoke Sound side of the archipelago is where you'll find the history-steeped settlement of Manteo. The place is perhaps best known as the site of the first ever English colony in the New World. Today, it fuses that intriguing past – which is still palpable at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site – with wild aquarium exhibits and fishing tours. In Downtown Manteo, there are quaint cottages and boat stays within walking distance of all the attractions.