Outer Banks beach rentals and where to find them

It's easy to see why you might want to score Outer Banks beach rentals right by the coast. Known as front-row properties, they are the getaways that make it just you and the roaring swells, the salt-filled winds, the call of the gulls, and the endless blue horizon of the ocean. This guide takes a look at some of the hottest spots in the archipelago for seaside vacation rentals in the OBX.

Deluxe OBX oceanfront rentals in Corolla

Get ready to discover some of the most opulent Outer Banks oceanfront rentals of all. This is Corolla, an old hunting estate for 19th-century magnates and tycoons, now a well-to-do resort town that's packed with grand beach homes and mansions with sparkling swimming pools. There are haute seafood kitchens to busy those evenings. There are elegant fashion boutiques in the Timbuck II Shopping Village for days of retail therapy. And there's access to seashore preserves where wild horses roam.

Duck is a doozy for OBX beach rentals

There's something of an upscale vibe to Duck, only here it's nuanced with the addition of an East Coast boardwalk laden with chowder stands and surf-and-turf grills, along with the extra adrenaline that comes with sound-side water sports outfitters. What's more, Duck has OBX beach rentals on its eastern side, and countless other waterside homes butting up to the Currituck Sound on its western side. The upshot? There's always somewhere to stay close to the shoreline.

There's beach to go around in Nags Head

One of the busiest vacation destinations on the whole Outer Banks, Nags Head is accessible – the causeway heading across to Roanoke Island joins the OBX here – and laced with tempted draws. There's also enough pristine beachfront for everyone, as the town is strung along 12 miles of coast, fronted by an uninterrupted stretch of sand that's backed by houses. Some of those have views of the ochre-tinted Jockey's Ridge State Park dunes. Others are near the lively fishing pier – a dining hot spot.

Summertime pursuits in Kitty Hawk

Outer Banks oceanfront rentals by owner take a turn for the more family-friendly – and affordable – as soon as you cross onto the south side of Bodie Island and enter the town of Kitty Hawk. It's easy to see why. The area is home to wiggling nature trails and wooded wetland preserves. There's a play museum specifically aimed at the little ones. And you get the wholesome eateries that crowd the end of lovable Jennette's Pier.

The unique stays of Kill Devil Hills

Outer Banks oceanfront rentals start to edge even closer to the white-capping waves and the beaches themselves, until, down in Kill Devil Hills, you'll find homes standing on stilts right on the honey-hued shoreline itself. They'll have you sleeping literally steps from the water, and will often provide big yards, decks, porches, and patios so that you can make the most of the setting. And on days when you tire of the beach? Hit the Wright Brothers National Memorial to unravel heroic stories of American aviation.

Venture to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

The great dog-leg of the Outer Banks is covered by the wonderful landscapes of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Protected, the closest you're likely to be able to get seaside vacation rentals in the OBX are in the towns of Frisco or Buxton. But even those usually have beautiful visions of empty sand runs and sea-oat meadows, rare nesting sea turtles, and migrating birds on the Atlantic Flyway. The rentals are typically multi-story coast lodges clad in shingle and wood, with living spaces that spill onto sun-splashed decks.