North Carolina

Hatteras Island On a Budget
North Carolina, Outer Banks

A Week in Rodanthe: Hatteras Island on a Budget

I’m one of the lucky ones who live within a day’s drive of the ocean. Our country’s east coast provides some fabulous beaches, but my favorite are the ones on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, especially Hatteras Island. We vacation there often and always try to stay conscious of how we can vacation in Hatteras Island on a budget. This is how we made this year’s trip a budget-friendly success!

Hatteras Island on a Budget


Our family is huge, and the cost of accommodation is easily the most extravagant spending item for our vacation. Since our target location is Hatteras Island, especially the towns of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo, we usually choose a beach house from the extensive catalog of homes offered at Surf or Sound Realty, which specializes in the area. They have homes that range from small, sound-side delights to massive ocean-front mansions.

There are several factors that increase the cost of accommodations in the Outer banks. First, the size of the space you need. Next, you’ll need to consider how far you want to be from the beach. Third, the time of year for your vacation.

Our preferences ended up costing us about $2000.00 to $3000.00 for the week. For us, this amount is split with extended family. The max our immediate family pays is $2000. We usually vacation in August and September. The weather is still nice and we don’t mind taking the chance that a hurricane will force us to change plans last minute. The housing costs are significantly lower this time of year.


For our latest excursion to the beach, we piled into our 15 passenger van and headed down the road. This van has little cargo space, so we rented a U-haul trailer to tow behind with all of our beach gear and food. We had to spend about $320.00 for gas for the round trip. The trailer was around $200.00, and we eat one fast food meal each way, which is close to $100.00 total.


One of our favorite things about vacation is the food. We prefer to eat most of our meals in the beach house. This saves our food budget. We still splurge for a couple of visits to local restaurants. For example, we like to take trips to the ice cream shop after the beach. We also enjoy novelty local foods like local fudge and donuts. For this reason, the bulk of our food makes the trip with us. Last time, I spent about $300.00 for the groceries we’d need in the house for the week. We eat two dinners out, and the combined cost of these two meals is a max of $250.00.


Hatteras Island allows a low activity cost for our family. We love the beach, so most sunny days are spent there and in the pool at the house. In Rodanthe, the farthest houses from the beach are a ten-minute walk, so we don’t have to worry about parking. We usually plan one day to drive south and see the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, and catch the ferry to Ocracoke. In Ocracoke, we generally have our family dinner at Howard’s Pub, catch sight of the Ocracoke Light Stationand do a little shopping in the sensational boutiques before heading back north. Since the drive from Rodanthe to the ferry is about an hour, we plan the whole day for this excursion. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is under $35.00 for everyone interested in climbing, and everything else is free. The grounds of the lighthouse are beautiful and packed with information, so even the non-climbers have a great time.

We typically spend a little on novelty treats like fudge at Scotch Bonnet, or maybe a small souvenir or donation for entry to the museum. For under $100.00, with gas and food already considered, everyone arrives back at the beach house ready for a soak in the hot tub or a splash in the pool and a much-needed night’s sleep. We have found that with the beach items available at our local warehouse store, and our own bikes, we save a significant amount over renting those things when we arrive, and we can use them for many years. The roads around the beach houses are perfect for a nice bike ride to watch the kiteboarders on the sound, so there is something fun to do even when you’re not hanging out on the beach or enjoying the pool.

Can’t Miss Tourist Stops

On the last day of vacation, we almost always take a small detour to Roanoke Island on our way back north and visit the aquarium. Over the years, this has become one of our favorite detours. For $89.00, our entire family enjoyed the touch pool, an electrifying jellyfish area, and a sea turtle interactive exhibit. These are just a few of the really cool things this place offers. Other favorite stops include Kitty Hawk Kites, Brew Thru for a t-shirt, and a few of the local beach shops. Every few years we add the Wright Brother’s Memorial or Jockey’s Ridge State Park to the list too, especially if it turns out to be a rainy week.

For under $3500.00, we fill a week full of memories and leave every year wishing we lived there.

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Dog Friendly Beaches NC
Beach Tips, North Carolina

Dog Friendly Beaches NC

Seeking some fun for fido at the Top Dog Friendly Beaches NC? 

Nothing beats the dog days of summer like spending it at one of the beautiful beaches of North Carolina. People aren’t the only ones who enjoy the beach though. Your faithful, four-legged friend might enjoy splashing in the waves and running along the shore too. Different places have different rules regarding leash laws and whether dogs are allowed at all. Dear dog lovers, Sandy has put together a list of the most dog-friendly beaches in North Carolina just for you.

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Sea Kayaking
North Carolina, Outer Banks

5 Tips for Sea Kayaking in the Outer Banks – Corolla, NC

Sea kayaking is exhilarating! There is nothing quite like approaching the waves on a small watercraft. In a sea kayak you sit only a few inches above the vast ocean. While it is a blast, it is not always easy. Here are a few tips to make sea kayaking in the Outer Banks a success!

  1. Observe all Safety Precautions and Protocols

We do not encourage inexperienced people to go sea kayaking. It can be a dangerous sport to partake in. Follow this link to read more and make sure you fully understand the dangers of ocean kayaking. Before you set out on the ocean or sea take lessons and go with a trained professional. Always follow local rules and regulations. Pay attention to safety protocols, guidelines and weather recommendations. Follow this link to learn more about the basic safety guidelines for ocean kayaking.

2. Wear a Life Jacket, Always

No matter whether you are going far  out to see or only kayaking close to shore. A life jacket is a must have. Make sure that your life jacket is the appropriate size. Be sure to wear it correctly. Your life jacket should come with instructions to wear it properly. We also recommend you consider wearing a helmet and other safety equipment. It is better to take absolute precaution when venturing into the ocean.

3. Have Someone Take A Video & Pictures

After I finished kayaking on the ocean I was thrilled to learn that my mom took a video and some pictures! It was great to look back at the videos and pictures. I will always remember the feeling of freedom I felt on the ocean. Now I can reminisce every time I watch the video of my adventure!

4. Secure Valuables

It is possible that you may fall off your kayak. If you do, you don’t want to lose your valuable possessions. It is best to leave electronics behind and avoid wearing any jewelry that can easily be lost in the water. Many people choose to wear sunglasses to avoid the glare on the ocean. If you do, make sure that it is a pair of sunglasses you are prepared to possibly lose!

5. Use the Right Gear

Sea kayaks are built to be different. Before you begin your voyage make sure you are using the proper equipment.  Search for equipment that is specific for those who are going on the ocean. This means you’ll need the right type of life jacket, sea kayak, paddles and more!

Click here to check out some great Sea Kayaks!

Have fun Sea Kayaking!

*This blog post does not offer enough information to begin sea kayaking on your own. Consult trained guides and professionals before you go kayaking on the ocean. This post is meant for entertainment purposes only. Sea kayaking is inherently dangerous and not recommended by this blog nor anyone associated with this blog. If you choose to kayak on the ocean you do so at your own risk.

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places to go on hatteras island
North Carolina, Sandy's Shores

Places to go on Hatteras Island

Nothing can put a damper on your beach day like the headaches and hassles of locating a good spot for the day. Whether you have gear to carry or 3 kids and the family dog in tow, you don’t want to have to walk a mile and a half just to stake out your spot in the sand. Never fear dear readers; on my most recent trip to the Outer Banks, I found some great spots for free! Here’s my guide to the places to go on Hatteras Island.

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Water parks near outer banks
North Carolina, Outer Banks

Make a Splash! Water Parks near Outer Banks, NC

Sand, surf, and sun; the key elements of your ideal North Carolina Beach vacation, but don’t forget to add a splash of fun. A day at the waterpark can be a thrilling way to beat the heat, fun for adults as well as delighting the kids. Sandy Saltwater is here to let you in on the best water parks for your next beach vacation, along with some helpful tips.

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Wrightsville Beach Parking
North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach Parking

.If you’re planning a vacation to Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina, you’ve chosen a wonderful location for your getaway. As you are figuring out the details for your trip, you might be wondering about where to park once you get to the beach. We wanted to breakdown the Wrightsville Beach Parking options for you. Our team compiled all you need to know about parking at Wrightsville Beach. This should help you breathe easy when you get there.

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