Boutique Hotel on Outer Banks Overlooking Roanoke Sound
Ninety-foot-tall sand dunes tower over a maritime thicket of tangled live oaks, cedars, and sweet-gum trees on the edge of the Albemarle Sound, just north of Nags Head. These dunes can be seen across miles of ocean, which once made them a beacon for mariners. Today, the dunes are a top attraction at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, where they’re constantly changing shape due to shifting winds. Five miles south on the Nags Head Causeway, Oasis Suites commands panoramic views of the windswept coastline—a romantic hideaway set amid unspoiled wilderness.
The region’s wild beauty comes into focus in the hotel’s roomy suites, all of which feature picture windows that overlook Roanoke Sound. Each floor plan is unique, with furniture chosen such as polished wood tables and dimpled leather couches.
A boardwalk extends into the sound from the hotel; couples can stroll the walkway and snuggle up under the canopy of the charming gazebo or go fishing for seafood to create their own romantic dinner. Just minutes down the causeway, Bodie Island features pristine beaches stretching for miles.
Northern Beaches of the Outer Banks, North Carolina: Idyllic Beach Towns, Sand Dunes, and Wright Brothers Flight History
Dubbed the “East Coast’s recreational playground” by Frommer’s, the Outer Banks is a string of narrow barrier islands that hugs the northern coast of North Carolina. Vacationers have flocked to the islands’ postcard-worthy beaches and idyllic villages since the 18th century. The most northerly island in the Outer Banks, Bodie Island, is home to five such towns, known collectively as the Northern Beaches: Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.
Head to Kill Devil Hills to see the Wright Brothers National Memorial Park, where a large granite boulder commemorates the spot where the world’s first powered flight took off, in 1903. The memorial also includes replicas of the brothers’ early gliders. Just outside the town of Nags Head lie some of the East Coast’s tallest natural sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Strong winds off the ocean constantly reshape the dunes and make the area a popular spot for hang-gliding and flying kites.
It’s worth it to make the drive south to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” for the many ships that have crashed into its dangerous sandbars during storms. Here, you can climb the 248 steps to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, whose iconic exterior is a swirl of black and white stripes. There’s also abundant wildlife along the seashore, including five species of sea turtles; female loggerhead sea turtles often nest on these beaches.