Top Outer Banks Beach Vacations

Some of the finest vacation beaches are in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and Ocracoke and Buxton were ranked as two of the top ten beaches in the USA! Dr. Beaches, aka Dr. Stephen Leatherman, is a coastal research specialist. He’s been compiling this list every year since 1991. He compares more than 650 beaches, and his choices are based on water and sand quality plus 50 other criteria. Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach and Buxton’s Old Lighthouse Beach are consistently in his top ten. We understand why.

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach is a haven that can only be reached by sea. Part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, you will find lifeguards present during the season. Whatever time of year you choose to go, you will find beaches that are pristine, wild, uncrowded, and clean.

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach

The nights are clear and made for stargazing. Obtain a permit from the National Park Service, and you can build a bonfire on the beach. While there, visit Ocracoke’s lighthouse. With five-foot thick walls at its base, it is a sold beauty and the second oldest lighthouse in the nation.

Buxton’s Old Lighthouse Beach on Hatteras Island is another experience. This stretch of beach attracts surfers and other ocean sports aficionados. The same energy that creates superb surf carries seashells to the shore; it is a joy for beachcombers. Rent a boogie board or a surfboard. Go to nearby Kite Point, Canadian Hole, or Cape Point for windsurfing, kiteboarding, or surf fishing. Or, simply spread your towel on the beach, get into your chaise, pull out a good book, and marvel at the power of the ocean.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse towers over beach dunes near Buxton, North Carolina, US

This is the perfect time to plan your beach getaway. The Outer Banks is made for honeymoons, romantic escapes, or a friends and family vacation. The top-rated beaches of Buxton and Ocracoke have unparalleled appeal. Make plans for your dream beach vacation today! 


Hitting the Hatteras Island Bike Trails

In the summer, it seems like every other vehicle on NC Highway 12 has a bike rack strapped to the back, and there’s a good reason for this phenomenon. With a collection of smaller neighborhoods, paths, flat beaches, and miles of scenic highway, Hatteras Island can be a biker’s dream.
New to the local cycle scene? Exploring is an easy way to find the best routes, but there are a few scenic spots up and down the island that are ideal for long, easy bike rides.

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Hatteras Island Beaches Win More Accolades – Dr. Beach names Buxton #6 Beach in the Country!

Miles of pristine uncrowded seashore regularly land Hatteras Island beaches on top 10 lists and this year is no exception. Dr. Beach just published the 2018 results for the country’s top beaches and Buxton Lighthouse Beach came in at #6!

Dr. Beach is Dr. Stephen Leatherman – Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He has a Ph.D. in Environmental (Coastal) Sciences from the University of Virginia. He developed 50 criteria to rate each beach and since 1991 his top beaches list, released each Memorial Day weekend, has become very popular.

Buxton’s Lighthouse Beach adorned with the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, was lauded for having “the best surfing on the U.S. East Coast” and it’s good swimming beach with lifeguards. Also noted were the excellent surf fishing and dynamic coast.

U.S. News and World Report Ranked Cape Hatteras #1 Best Beach in North Carolina. Some of the spectacular features that landed Cape Hatteras at the top of the list include:

• 70 miles of unspoiled beaches
• Black and white striped lighthouse – climb at night during a full moon
• Catch a glimpse of sea turtles during nexting season
• Off-road vehicles are allowed on the sparsely crowded sands

It’s no secret that Cape Hatteras Beaches are the best – if you haven’t already, book your premier vacation home today.


Our Beaches are Wide Open – Come Enjoy Memorial Day Week on Hatteras Island!

Hatteras Island Beaches are Wide Open

Besides all of the fun amenities offered in your premier vacation home, there is a lot to do to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, this upcoming Memorial Day Week! For a full list of events check out our event calendar.

H2OBX waterpark opens for the season Saturday, May 26th – if you haven’t purchased tickets be sure to get them through Surf or Sound to get the best rate available!

Rock the Cape’s Island Art Show will be held from 10:00 – 4:00 on Monday, May 28 in Rodanthe at the Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo community building. Admission is FREE and ALL are welcome to this indoor / outdoor community event. Over 25 local artists will be on site vending their goods~ this is your chance to meet & support them!

On Monday, May 28 culinary arts arrive to Rock The Cape, for the first time since its inception, with A Taste of Hatteras. From 5pm-10pm, guests that attend A Taste of Hatteras can enjoy delicious island-inspired cuisine from a variety of local restaurants. The event will also feature a concert on the sound, headlined by The Joey Harkum Band from Maryland. Virginia Beach based reggae band SoPoz and local Hatteras band Blurky’s Quirky Friends and Hatteras musician Steve Vang will also be playing at A Taste of Hatteras. 

The Cape Hatteras Seashore offers a variety of recreational activities, including beach recreation, off-road vehicle (ORV) use*; surf fishing, boating, and piers; lighthouse climbing; interpretive programs with a park ranger; hiking; kayaking; watersports (surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, etc.); and wildlife viewing.

Programs with a Park Ranger
Over Memorial Day weekend, there are many opportunities to participate in ranger-led programs. The following is a listing of programming being offered this weekend:

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Climbing, daily from 9:00 am to 4:15 pm
  • Barrier Island Dynamics, 10:30 am to 11:00 am. How do people, plants, and wildlife adapt to barrier island geologic change? Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion.
  • Cape Hatteras Light Station Talk, daily from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Discuss the details and history of this beautiful sentinel. Meet at the Hatteras Island Visitor Center Pavilion. 
  • Fish with a Ranger, Monday (Memorial Day) from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. We have poles, you bring the bait. Pre-register in person at the Hatteras Island Museum (or call 252-475-9622) this Saturday.

*Currently, there are over 25 miles (more than 90%) of Off Road Vehicle beach routes available to enjoy. Over the last several years, the park service has worked to improve access and constructed multiple new ORV ramps. While one area at the southernmost tip of Cape Point is currently closed to protect shorebirds, ORV users can still access a large area towards Cape Point and north of Ramp 43. And the miles of beaches in front of the villages are wide open for non-motorized activities, along with 20 more miles spread across the Seashore. For daily beach access updates check the Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.



Spring and Summer Photography Classes with Daniel Pullen

Family vacation memories – finally catching the big one, the sky on fire that time you stayed on the sound, the kids having the time of their lives playing in the waves – no matter how well you can recall these times in your mind, a moment perfectly captured on camera can take you back and help you share some of the most cherished moments of your life.

Are you ready to kick your photography up a notch? Daniel Pullen, Hatteras Island’s very own professional and award-winning documentary photographer is offering a number of classes, workshops and walkabouts this spring and summer. In their fourth year, these classes are professional, fun, non-intimidating and suitable for beginner and intermediate photographers.

Learn how to use camera technique and composition to create timeless photographs that resonate with viewers. In these small group workshops and walkabouts students receive 1:1 instruction and critique, as well as group field work and group discussion. Classes combine in class instruction with field work on Hatteras and Ocracoke Island and range from 2 hour weekly classes, 3 hour photo walkabouts, to 1-3 day weekend workshops.

Head on over to Daniel Pullen’s website to view his incredible work and to see a full schedule of courses and workshops: http://www.danielpullenphotography.com/photography-workshops/

Then, if you haven’t already, book your premier accommodations with Surf or Sound Realty!








It’s Our 40th Anniversary!

Family gathered by the Cape Hatteras lighthouse

This month we kicked off our 40th Anniversary with the launch of an advertising campaign about family vacation traditions. In the span of the last 40 years, families have gathered annually along Hatteras Island’s shores for their vacations and this year we are excited to be sharing those stories. Watch our first video story below:

The laid-back beach lifestyle of Hatteras Island hasn’t changed in all the years. It’s still an environment that is tranquil, slow-paced, family-oriented and steeped in tradition and history.

“We hear it all the time. From the un-crowded beaches to the family-owned shops and restaurants, the authentic experience our guests have vacationing on Hatteras Island is one that’s hard to find these days. The fact that we can offer a premier vacation home experience in our remote location on the beaches of America’s first National Seashore is pretty special” said Ann Wood, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Surf or Sound.

That doesn’t mean that progress has passed the island by. Rental homes have seen change with the addition of modern amenities and luxurious conveniences. Visitors who have gathered on the island for years have rented increasingly larger vacation homes to accommodate their growing families. New generations now carry on vacation traditions but with amenities their grandparents couldn’t have imagined, like home theater rooms with stadium seating, private swimming pools with kiddie pools and swim-up bars, and outdoor entertainment areas with tiki bars.

Advances to technology have made an impact on the business as well. Booking a home once meant calling a reservation agent who “booked” guest reservations by logging them in an actual book. Now vacation homes can be reserved on SurforSound.com with just a few clicks at any time of day or night.

Whether you have only just begun your Hatteras Island vacation tradition, or you have been vacationing with us for many years. Thank you for your business – we appreciate each and every one of you. Helping you to make treasured vacation memories has been our pleasure!


What makes Hatteras Island oceanfront vacation homes so special

A family enjoys a beautiful sunny day watching dolphins from the deck of their Hatteras Island vacation home, Summer Solstice an oceanfront rental home in Hatteras Village on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

The magic of a Surf or Sound Oceanfront Vacation Rental Home

Imagine starting every morning of your vacation watching the early-rising surfers paddle out past the breakers as the sun makes it’s colorful entrance over the horizon, or spending your evenings watching the local dolphins make an impromptu appearance along the blue horizon. At an oceanfront vacation rental, these dreamy scenarios are an everyday reality. And when it comes to the “best of the best” of oceanfront homes, you simply can’t beat Hatteras Island, or Surf or Sound Realty.

Ocean serenity, sea oats in bloom and clouds marching across the horizon in Rodanthe on Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Famously Peaceful Beaches

Hatteras Island is renowned for its beaches, which extend for roughly 50 miles from the Bonner Bridge to the tip of Hatteras Inlet. Tucked just behind the dune line, an oceanfront vacation rental provides a front-row view to this stunning shoreline, which is world-famous for its natural condition and lack of crowds. You won’t find any busy boardwalks, throngs of people, or beachfront businesses on Hatteras Island, but you will find miles of peace and quiet in veritably every direction.

Beautiful ocean views from the dining and great room in Hatteras Grander, a Hatteras Village oceanfront vacation rental home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Incredible Oceanfront Homes

In each of Hatteras Island’s villages, there are a select number of vacation rental homes that have front row access to the beach and the ocean views. Surf or Sound Realty is proud to represent the island’s largest and best collection of these oceanfront homes. From charming three bedroom retreats that are perfect for small families to exquisite 9 bedroom sandcastles that boast all the amenities of a world-class private resort, our portfolio of homes is beautifully varied, and can cater to vacationers of all tastes, sizes, and preferences.

Veranda and patio by the private pool and tiki bar at Bramasole, at Bramasole, an oceanfront vacation home in Avon in Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Top Quality Amenities

In addition to the stunning ocean vistas that come complimentary with every oceanfront vacation rental, many of our homes also feature the most coveted guest amenities, including private swimming pools, tiki bars, indulgent hot tubs, game rooms with pool tables, wet bars &  tv stereo systems, theater rooms with real stadium seating, cozy gas fireplaces, and more. Best of all, with ample decks overlooking the shoreline and plenty of gathering spots where the ocean views serve as a backdrop, guests will soon discover that at an oceanfront home, the endless Atlantic views are always a part of the vacationing scenery.

Reserve Your Oceanfront Rental Today

From the ability to stroll out to the beach at any time of day or night, to enjoying the best sea breezes the island has to offer, there’s a lot to love about an oceanfront vacation rental. Secure the best spot on the island, and peruse our vast collection of oceanfront properties that are scattered throughout our world-famous island, from Rodanthe to Hatteras Village.


Free Winter Lighthouse Climb in December

Welcome the Holidays on Hatteras Island by enjoying a winter climb of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on the way to or from your premier vacation home. The Lighthouse will be open to the public for a free Winter Climb on Saturday December 9, 2017 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Volunteers from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society and Cape Hatteras National Seashore park rangers will greet local residents and visitors at the lighthouse.

“This opportunity to climb Cape Hatteras Lighthouse free of charge is one of many ways to welcome in the holidays along the Outer Banks,” said Dave Hallac, Superintendent of the National Parks of Eastern North Carolina.

Remember while planning your visit:

Children who wish to climb the lighthouse must be at least 42” tall, and children under 12 years of age must be escorted by a person at least 16 years old. Climbing the lighthouse is strenuous and is equivalent to climbing a 12-story building.  For more information on what to expect, check the park website www.nps.gov/caha.


Coffee Shops on Hatteras Island

Love coffee? You’re not alone – over half of Americans drink it every day!

It’s no wonder there are so many wonderful options when it comes to enjoying your daily cup on Hatteras Island. Whether you’re looking for freshly brewed NC roasted coffee for your sunrise walk on the beach or you want to find a place to get your afternoon latté while out shopping, these spots have you covered:


Beads and Beans
24267 NC-12, Rodanthe, North Carolina

Coffee shop on the second floor of the Pamlico Station shops, overlooking the Pamlico Sound in Rodanthe.
Open Year-round • 7 days a week
Summer Hours 6am – 8pm
Off-season Hours vary by month but are typically 7am-noon

Try: the Nutty Monkey: a blended espresso frappe with nutella and banana or the Dawn Patrol: 7 day steeped cold brew with a double shot of espresso and ice cubes made of coffee.

Forbes Coffee, Candy and Tea
24502 NC-12, Rodanthe, North Carolina

In the Waves Village shops in southern Rodanthe.
Open Year-round • 7 days a week.
7am – 10pm in the summer, 7am – 8pm in the off-season
Free WiFi

Try: the Night in Rodanthe – Dark mint mocha, it’s like coffee and dessert!


Watermen’s Bar & Grill
25706 NC-12, Waves, NC

On the Pamlico Sound behind REAL Watersports in Waves.
Open March 1st thru November 26th • 7 days a week
9am – 9pm
Free WiFi
Watermen’s has an entire coffee and espresso menu. The management team has many years of combined experience at Starbucks,  they can make any coffee drink you can think of!

Try: Their most popular drink: a Vanilla Latté

Atlantic Coast Cafe
25150 NC Highway 12, Waves, NC

Open April – October • 7 days a week
8am – 8:30pm in the off season • 7am – 9pm in the summer

Try: An Atlantic Coast Cafe signature freeze.


Samantha’s Coffee & Smoothie
41008 NC Hwy 12, Avon, NC 27915

Right next to the Surf or Sound Avon Office!
Open 7am-6pm • 7 days a week in the summer
9am-4pm • Tuesday – Saturday in the off-season
Closed December – the week before Easter
Free WiFi

Try: the Kona Mocha Frappé

Muffins & Scones
40126 NC HWY 12, Avon, NC

Purple building next to their sister business, Cups & Cones
Open year-round • 7 days a week
6am-4pm in the summer and 7am-3pm in the off season
Free WiFi

Try: A Caramel Macchiato – with two shots of espresso, served hot or cold

Java Junction
39774 NC Hwy. 12, Avon, NC

Coffee and bead shop in the Dairy Queen shopping center in Avon.
Open Easter – Thanksgiving 9:30am – 7pm

Try: The Wired Monkey

Uglie Mugs Coffee
40534 Nc 12 Hwy, Avon, NC

Open year-round, 6:30 – 8pm
Free Wi-fi and printer/fax machine available

Try: a Caramel Almond Latté


Orange Blossom Café
47206 NC-12, Buxton, NC

Across from the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse entrance
Open 6:30 – 11:00am • 7 days a week (Closed December – March)

Try: An apple ugly to go with your coffee!

Coffee Bar at Dillon’s Corner
46792 N.C. Highway 12, Buxton, NC

Open 7am – 10pm • 7 days a week
Free Wifi
Full-service coffee bar serving coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, fresh-fruit smoothies and more.

Try: Lighthouse Latté

Old Gray House Gifts
47074 Light Plant Rd, Buxton, NC

Open Monday – Friday 10-5 • Saturday 10-2
Gift shop offering simple North Carolina roast drip coffee that is available by the pound.


Red Drum Pottery and Coffee

53561 NC Highway 12Frisco, NC
Open 10-5 • 7 Days a Week

Browse beautiful hand-made ceramics and enjoy the full-service coffee bar.


The Dancing Turtle Coffee Shop
58079 NC-12, Hatteras, NC

Full service traditional coffee shop across from the fishing harbor in Hatteras Village.
Free Wifi
Open Tuesday- Saturday 6:30 am- 3 pm • Sunday 6:30 am- Noon

Try: a Mexican Spiced Cocoa


Unrestricted Access to Hatteras Island Begins at 1:00 p.m. Today

Post Date: 09/28/2017, 9:15 a.m.
Contact: Dare County Emergency Management
Phone: 252.475.5655

Unrestricted Access to Hatteras Island Begins at 1:00 p.m. Today

Beginning at 1:00 p.m. today (Thursday, September 28), there will be unrestricted access to Hatteras Island. At that time, visitors may return to all Hatteras Island villages including Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras Village. Be sure to call your accommodations provider in advance to confirm reservations and check-in details.

There are still pockets of sand and water remaining along Highway 12 and on some side roads. It will be necessary for NCDOT to maintain traffic control points along portions of Highway 12 to enable crews to continue working to clear roads. This will limit traffic to one lane in some areas. Expect delays and proceed with extreme caution.

All travelers must realize that the water on roadways contains salt and may cause damage to vehicles. A state of emergency remains in effect and includes motor vehicle speed restrictions on flooded roads.

Dangerous surf and rip currents will remain in the area through the weekend. Stay out of the ocean – conditions are unsafe for even the most experienced swimmers. For updated forecasts from the National Weather Service, visit www.weather.gov/mhx.