If you’re planning a cheap vacation, a beach vacation is a good way to go. It doesn't cost a penny to watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean, or body surf on a big wave. However, not all beach destinations are created cheap. And considering the number of luxurious mansions that dot the North Carolina coastline, you’d think Outer Banks vacation deals would be hard to find. But fortunately you’d be wrong. OBX is filled with cheap, and sometimes free, attractions and restaurants. As well, you can find loads of Outer Banks vacation deals on accommodations, whether you’re looking for a small, high-rise beach condo or a huge vacation home right on the ocean.
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Check out the best and cheapest Outer Banks attractions, broken down by city.
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – Climb up this historic beacon of light for $7.
- The Whalehead Club – Explore this beautiful and historic 1920s estate, owned by a family with interesting ties to the Coast Guard and World War II, for $10.
Kill Devil Hills
- Wright Brothers National Memorial – The Wright Brothers flew the first manned aircraft in 1903 and here you can reminisce for just $4.
- North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island – for under $10, you can check out sea turtles and other colorful ocean creatures up close.
- Jockey’s Ridge State Park – A sand dune system that often sees hang gliders and kite flyers. Soak up the scenery on a walk along the Soundside Nature Trail for free.
- Jennette’s Pier – the oldest fishing pier in the Outer Banks is also home to an aquarium and trophy fish display. Adults can go fishing for a day for just $12.
A lot of your vacation budget gets eaten up by expensive restaurants. With Outer Banks beach houses, you can skip out on all this dining out and enjoy a more affordable and intimate night in. Outer Banks vacation homes often have full kitchens and dining areas. Pick up some fresh fish from the local seafood market and cook it yourself! However, you can still eat cheap when dining out. Here are some favorite budget-friendly restaurants, organized by city.
- Beach Road Pizza – If you feel like pizza, this is your best bet in the Outer Banks as far as value goes.
- Lighthouse Bagels and Deli – Enjoy New York-style bagels at this hot Outer Banks breakfast spot, which also serves lunch.
Kill Devil Hills
- Bad Bean Baja Grill – For those craving Mexican food, the Outer Banks will not leave you hanging. From quesadillas to burritos to enchiladas, this restaurant has it all.
Kill Devil Grill – Friendly staff and a juke box make this diner memorable. Lunch fare is light and basic (but good), while the dinner menu offers up Ribeye, crab cakes, and more.
- Chilli Peppers Coastal Grill – Great Happy Hour spot and great food; try the Crab Cake Dinner or the Sirloin Medallions.
- The Good Life Eatery – Looking for something a little more upscale than pizza, but still cheap? This gourmet deli has your number.
- Spanky’s Grille – Great lunch spot; think sandwiches and burgers.
- Pony Island Restaurant – Known for breakfast, highlights from the menu include the crab omelets and the home fries.
Forget seeing, doing, and eating. Sleeping is the most expensive thing you’ll do on an Outer Banks vacation. But it doesn’t have to be all that painful. Instead of booking a small, but expensive hotel or resort, consider a vacation rental. Private beach houses and condos in the Outer Banks are way more affordable than hotels, and as a bonus, they usually offer up a lot more square footage and amenities (like a pool, hot tub, or satellite TV).
Browse OBX vacation deals in:
- Hatteras Village
- Kill Devil Hills
- Kitty Hawk
- Nags Head
- Southern Shores
Many more Outer Banks vacation deals are available for the savvy traveler. Here are a few tips for saving money in OBX:
- The Outer Banks is most bustling during the summer, and that means everything – from the food you eat to the place you sleep – is going to cost more. Consider visiting in the early fall or late spring, when weather is still warm enough for a swim, but crowd levels and thus prices are low.
- Also, consider visiting a location like Duck that is very walkable. That way you can skip out on cab fare or gas and get around on bike or foot instead.