Picture this: sun on your skin, warm sand in between your toes, a salty shoreline scattered with shells, and a cold drink in your hand. This doesn't have to be a just vision in your head, this can be your reality.
Beach vacations are not only great ways to relax and unwind, they're also arguably the best way to make memories, seek adventure, devour delicious cuisine, and get active!
With all of that being said, any vacationer will want to be able to soak it all up stress-free. Spontaneity is amazing, but it's always great to at least have an idea of what one is getting into before they embark on their well-deserved getaway.
Don't get us wrong, we're not recommending having an itinerary for every single minute of vacation, because it's the free-spirited nature of the beach that makes it so refreshing.
So, just what should one consider in their travel plans?
Where you're staying.
First and foremost! This is the most important. There are many places one can go on vacation and just play things by ear, and while that can be fun, this is not recommended for a summer stay on the OBX. Our little strip of sand reaches full capacity in the summertime. Rental homes, hotels, and campgrounds teem with sunseekers and seafarers.
Before you set your Countdown to Vacation clock, be sure you've locked-in a place to call your own.
Southern Shores Realty is equipped with hundreds of vacation rentals to ensure you have a place to rest your head. Check it out!
How you're getting here
Now that you know where you'll be staying, it's time to figure out how to get here! Due to the drivability to the Outer Banks, many like to make the most of the drive, and take the scenic route. There are so many gorgeous stops along the way, no matter which direction one comes from.
The key for planning the drive is to time it for weekend traffic. Because the weekends are prime travel time, the time surrounding the turn-over times on these days, plan for heavier traffic and longer travel times.
Consider essentials during your stay
Questions to ask yourself before your vacation include: What will the weather be like? Do I have all my toiletries and prescriptions?
Pack early, that way you have more time to come across (and pack) what may have been forgotten items.
If you're going grocery shopping while on the beach, write your list beforehand. We can tell you from experience, having that list squared away before the hustle & bustle of being on the beach will save you precious time and you'll be less likely to forget something.
TIP: Try to be self-sufficient during the first day. The grocery stores are busier than normal, so if there's anything urgent, you'll need the first day, be sure to come prepared. It'll save your valuable time that first day, where, if you're anything like me, you'd rather spend on the beach or calling "dibs" on bedrooms.
Ensure you have confirmed with your rental company whether linens are provided. Not all homes provide towels, linens, and bedding. Planning will afford you a cozier night's sleep.
If you're bringing a dog to one of our pet friendly rentals, it is essential they come prepared as well. The sand gets very hot and for dogs who haven't been conditioned to walk in hot sand all day, they are going to need protective booties. Keep your pet happy and healthy on vacation by checking out pet-friendly packing list and our ultimate Dog's Guide to the Outer Banks.
Book the big excursions beforehand
While the spontaneity is blissful on the beach, there are times when being well-prepared pay off. Are there any big excursions you'd like to take? Maybe a deep-sea fishing trip, Lost Colony outdoor drama, reservations at a favorite locale, etc.? These most sought-after experiences can book quickly, sometimes months in advanced, secure your spot as soon as you book your vacation rental.
Prepare for the time of your life!
Seriously! Bring a camera. Leave the stresses behind. Get everything settled at home so you put the world away for a minute... or a week. Finally, let the countdown begin! Is it ever too early to begin the countdown to vacation? We don't think so ;)