What To Pack In Your Beach Tote When Visiting The OBX

Do you have a family vacation planned to The Outer Banks of NC this year? If the answer is yes, then we here at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates understand that spending a week or more sitting on the beach soaking up the rays is just what you need.  Staying in one of our oceanfront vacation rentals will keep the beach at your backdoor, but having the right things in your beach tote will allow you to enjoy your vacation even more. Let’s look at what we recommend you pack in your beach bag so you can have a fun family vacation when visiting the Outer Banks . 

Beach Tote Items:

Beach Towels

OBX beach accessories

When you are on vacation making sure you have packed everything before you leave home is essential. So be sure to pack a towel for everyone in your family whether you are going to sit in the sun or swim in the ocean. Bringing an extra towel with you is always a good idea especially if you have little ones. Having a beach towel with a different design for each family member can help keep track of whose towel is who’s. This can help keep you organized not only on the beach but in the laundry room to avoid any misunderstandings between siblings or cousins. For a more detailed search on rental properties offering in-home washer and dryers you use our amenities detail search feature.

Sunscreen

The sun in North Carolina is hot along the coast, so making sure sunscreen is in your beach bag is a must. Use a sunscreen that is designed for your beach activities such as waterproof, sport, high SPF, etc.). Dermatologists suggest that you use a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF while you are enjoying the sunshine. Be sure to reapply throughout your day as we don’t want you to ruin your vacation the very first day you’re here with a sunburn. If you happen to get a little more sun than you expected be sure to pack a bottle of Aloe Vera. To help cool the sunburn a little more, place the bottle of Aloe in the fridge and it will help soothe the burn a little better.


Mesh Bag For The Sand Toys

Summer in OBX

Anytime you go on vacation with kids, you have to bring a ton of sand toys with you. We understand bringing sand back with you into your vacation rental is not necessary and can be quite a hassle. Packing a mesh bag such as a laundry bag or a bag specifically for beach toys can help eliminate the mess. Just throw the sandy toys into the bag, give it a good shake or two and leave the sand behind at the beach.

Water Resistant Phone Pouch or Plastic Bag

Between the water, sun and sand, the beach is filled with many things that can damage your phone. Bringing a water-resistant pouch to the beach can be a lifesaver for many. If you come on vacation and realize you don’t have one, a sandwich bag or resealable bag will do the same as the phone pouch. They will keep your phone protected from the elements at the beach and you can even use it while it’s in the bag or pouch.  This way you can keep in touch with family members, coordinate meeting times, and order pick-up or delivery meals while sitting in your beach chair without having to worry about your phone being damaged.

Books & E-Books

Enjoying a Book on OBX

Be sure to pack a book or two when preparing to visit the Outer Banks this summer.  If digital books are more your thing then take a moment and download a few new book releases to your favorite e-reader before you arrive and be certain to bring your power cord. You don’t want to be stuck without being able to power-up your e-reader halfway through.


Beach Spike for Drinks

One thing that is often missed when packing items to go inside their beach bag is something to keep your drink sand-free. You can purchase a beach spike from any local beachwear store on the Outer Banks. With a beach spike, you can rest assured that your drink will be safe from the sand. You may often find them that include a place for your cell phone or sunglasses and your drink.

A Little First Aid Kit

When you are on vacation, having kids means that someone will get hurt or injured even on the beach. Having a little first aid kit with shells that can be broken along the shoreline or kids just being kids is a must. You can use a waterproof reusable cosmetic bag and add band-aids, Neosporin, aloe, burn cream, ace bandage, Benadryl, Motrin, or Tylenol. Just be sure to have enough for a quick dosage before heading back to your vacation rental for the day.


Sand-Free Hack

This is one item that you may not have thought about, but it is a must whenever you visit the Outer Banks. Whether you are staying in a vacation rental or you decided to drive your car to the beach access, sand will be all over you when you leave the beach. So, bringing baby powder in your beach bag will magically get the sand off of your body without irritation and leave a nice scent too. This is perfect for everyone in the family and not just the kids. 

Vacationing With Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates

There are many other things that you can pack into your beach tote, but these are the must have items for your next vacation. For a full list of all the items we suggest to bring on your next visit please check out the vacation packing section of our website. Out of an abundance of caution we also direct you to stay informed about health and safety updates due to COVID-19 before you visit. Please take a moment to review the latest area travel status for the Outer Banks.

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates, a trusted name in Outer Banks rentals for over 50 years with the largest selection of quality vacation homes to choose from. If you haven’t made your reservations for your vacation, then check out all of our outer banks vacation rentals today. We can’t wait for your family to come and vacation with us! 

 

2022 Summer Beach Renourishment on the OBX

The Beach Nourishment with the equipment, the crab and a walkover on the OBX.
The Beach Nourishment with the equipment, the crab and a walkover on the OBX.

Do you have a vacation planned on the Outer Banks of North Carolina this summer? If you do, then allow us to share with you a little information about a much needed project taking place on our beach. Staying with us in one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals will keep you close to the beach. We at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates wanted to share a little more information with you on what is happening on the OBX this summer with the beach nourishment project.

What is Beach Nourishment?

This is a question that is often asked many times for those who may not live at the beach, “what is beach nourishment?” Beach nourishment is something that is done periodically to most beaches whether it’s on the east coast, the gulf, or the west coast. Beaches are prone to natural erosion due to hurricanes and weather patterns; these types of natural erosion can alter the way the shoreline looks.

A peek from the first beach nourishment project at Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, NC.
A peek from the first beach nourishment project at Jeanette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC.

You will notice that not all the beaches will be affected at the same time of the nourishment project. The crews will typically work on a section of the beach for about 2-3 days. During this time, they will be dredging sand from the bottom of the ocean floor and pumping it back to the shoreline that needs additional sand. They will use large machinery and large pipes to help pump the sand onto the shoreline. While this is taking place that section of the beach is closed but after the work is completed, they will move onto a new section of the beach.

What Are The Causes of Beach Erosion?

This is "The Crab" a 3-wheeled apparatus to measure what has to be done.
This is “The Crab” a 3-wheeled apparatus to measure what has to be done.

Beach erosion happens often on the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico coast. The reason is due to a high influx of wind & storms including hurricanes that impact the barrier islands. The constant wind wiping and strong waves lapping along the shores of the barrier island change their shape, shoreline, and beaches. Often, we will generally see a change in the way one of the islands looks after a major hurricane comes through the area. But it’s not always just storms that can cause erosion. The wind, waves and tide changes also play a big role in the erosion as it will often take sand back into the ocean causing a change to the beach.

Benefits of Nourishment

A view into what the completed area looks like after it's renourished including a walkover the pipe.
A view into what the completed area looks like after it’s renourished including a walkover the pipe.

The Outer Banks beaches are a big portion of why people continue to vacation here. We continue to keep our beaches clean, and we will continue to invite those back for years and years to come. The Outer Banks is part of the barrier islands of North Carolina and play a big part in keeping the mainland from the brunt of major storms and tides. Just like the upkeep on your home, nourishments on the OBX are required for our beaches. 

Looking out onto the first beach nourishment at Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, NC.
Looking out onto the first beach nourishment at Jeanette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC.

We are excited to see the results of the beach renourishment when it’s complete in September 2022 as there will be more beaches to love afterwards. Having strong and wide beaches provide storm protection for coastal structures, create new habitats, and enhance the beach for recreation. Staying in one of our OBX vacation rentals will allow your family to reconnect with each other this summer. We at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates are looking forward to seeing you and your family this summer as you make new memories.

To learn more about the beach nourishment program and specific information on project updates please click here. 

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Where To Vacation In The Outer Banks

outer-banks-nc-view

The Outer Banks, frequently abbreviated OBX, is an ideal place to unwind and relax. The beaches are family-friendly, making them a perfect destination for a family vacation. With miles of sandy beaches fun off-shore activities, the Outer Banks offers a wide variety of activities that are well suited for everyone. There are so many fun things to do in the Outer Banks!

Where To Vacation In The Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is filled with quaint towns and fishing villages. An Outer Banks Vacation Rental gives you and your family a private home or condo to call yours for the duration of your vacation.

Three story blue vacation home on the Outer Banks of NC with a private pool.

To the north, Duck and Southern Shores are the newest communities on the Outer Banks.

Centrally located, the towns of Kitty HawkKill Devil HillsNags Head are more populated, especially in the summer, with plenty of locally owned bars, restaurants, and shops. The town of Manteo wraps around Shallowbag Bay on the eastern side of Roanoke Island.

To the south, on Hatteras Island, isolated towns sit nestled right along the ocean. Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras: one road leads to them all.

Explore the Outer Banks and learn more about the OBX Towns. On your way, you’ll pass through Corolla, where you can spot wild horses roaming the beaches.

Brown horse walking along shoreline in Corolla, NC.

What To Bring To The Outer Banks On Your Vacation

What to pack for in the Outer Banks depends on when you’re traveling. The weather on the Outer Banks of North Carolina varies drastically. We have perfect sunny days, windy days, rainy days, and yes even sometimes snowy days. All in all, the Outer Banks has a lot to offer any time of the year. 

Sunscreen, sunglasses, a bathing suit, and layered clothing are all a must. Although if you forget something, you can pick them up at many of the local stores. If you plan on exploring different areas of the island, be sure to bring comfy shoes or flip-flops.

Read more about what to pack in your beach tote when visiting the Outer Banks. You can also view our Outer Banks Weather Guide to see the current or upcoming weather on the OBX.

Waves crashing under the pier with a young boy playing in the surf along the coastline in the Outer Banks, NC

Pet-Friendly Areas Of The Outer Banks

We understand that no one likes having to leave their dog behind when the family goes off for a fun-filled vacation. It’s for that reason that we make sure to have plenty of Outer Banks pet-friendly vacation rentals for our guests. Each Outer Banks town has different beach regulations regarding dogs. Please review information about having your dogs on the beach or feel free to contact us.

Plan Your Outer Banks Vacation Today

No matter where you choose to stay during your vacation to the OBX, we’re sure you’ll have fun! View all of our Outer Banks Vacation Rentals here and start packing your bags for your next family vacation.

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Bike Trails In The OBX

Summer is almost here on the OBX

bike propped up at the beach

Since the Outer Banks are so varied, bike trails in the OBX are a great way to experience them all in one trip. From the beaches to the historical sites, there are trails and paths for everyone in this region.

Because of its largely flat terrain, beautiful scenery, and near-constant supply of sea breezes, the Outer Banks are ideal for leisurely cycling. When you visit the Outer Banks, you’ll find miles of scenic bike trails just waiting to be discovered! There’s something for everyone, including recreational riders, serious cyclists, and the whole family, thanks to the numerous bike paths and big paved shoulders.

Listed below are a few of the best bike trails in various Outer Banks areas. Dream, explore, and discover culture & tourism on a bike this summer and start planning your trip and lodging right away!

Where are the best trails in the Outer Banks?

Couple Bike Riding In The OBX

The Outer Banks community has done an outstanding job of developing multi-use bike trails that are suitable for cycling, walking, and running in collaboration with the NCDOT, local governments, and the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. CLICK HERE for a bike trails map.

While you’ll almost certainly have to travel on the shoulder of a major highway at some point during your travels, these distances are usually short and manageable for most riders.

Here are our top four recommendations for an unforgettable bike ride:

Scenic

Lighthouse to Lighthouse – Corolla to Nags Head, NC

This ride is intended for those who are reasonably active and willing to take on a challenge. The most direct route, according to Google Maps, is 42.6 miles long and includes cycling along US 158 and the Bypass through the towns of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.

To find the best route for you, go to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau website and look at the Corolla to Nags Head charts. For more information about Lighthouses on the Outer Banks visit our page here.

Monuments

The Monument Ride – Kill Devil Hills, NC

The Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills is a perfect spot for a bike ride and one of the Outer Banks’ most recognizable symbols. The First Flight High School parking lot is the safest place to park during the summer months, but don’t park there while school is in session from mid-August to mid-June.

From FFHS, it’s hard to overlook the Monument. Turn left at the light onto Colington Road to head north toward the Monument. There is an access road to First Flight Airport, which is the park’s back entrance, in around a quarter-mile. The trail loops around the Monument and returns you to the entrance stage. There are no hills on this trip, so it’s reasonably simple.

Make sure to bring lots of water!

Family

The Woods Trail – Kitty Hawk, NC

Our very own Memory Makers trail, planning for memories to last a lifetime? Then you have to try The Woods Trail that starts on The Woods Road, which is a perfectly shaded road in the heart of Kitty Hawk Woods. There are a couple of small hills on this multi-use road that any dedicated youth should be able to overcome.

The small parking lot adjacent to Paul Pruitt Park at the beginning of The Wood Road, next to the Dominion Power building, is likely the best place to park. The trail does come to a fork at some point, and either direction will be a fun trip.

Paths & Trails

Dirt Road – Nags Head, NC

There are many entrances to Nags Head Woods, so it is important to know which one is which. The best way to get to the Visitor Center is to park at the Ocean Acres Drive parking lot.

This ride is a great way to get around town and the beautiful view from the top of Roanoke Sound. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking for a challenging ride.

Bicycles – Share the Road

bike lane sign on a bike path

For drivers, sharing the road means accepting that bicyclists have the same rights as you. Bike riders and pedestrians, like drivers, have rights on the streets. When approaching a crosswalk, always slow down and be ready to yield to pedestrians and bike riders.

You will see yellow signs that tell you how to share the road. There are also official bicycle routes in and around the county. Many towns and areas have multi-use paths that can be used for leisure riding. These pathways are often used for different purposes such as walking or running.

For more experienced riders, there are wide paved shoulders that provide separation between motor vehicle traffic and fast cyclists. However, for those who are new to riding, it is important to use multi-purpose paths since these can be very dangerous for fast riders.

Some of our vacation rentals are within a short bike ride of town, and some are located close to biking paths. Riding bikes and seeing lighthouses are not the only fun activities while you are here, check out this post for more things to do in the OBX.

We have rentals varying in size from comfortable condos to luxurious family homes all over the Outer Banks. We have a wide range of choices for you to choose from, whether you want to stay on the beach or in a rental with a private pool. Before you book your Outer Banks trip, be sure to check out all of our beautiful properties!


Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Outer Banks Spring Picnic Places

A fully equipped Outer Banks Vacation rental kitchen with a view of the ocean.

Each Vacation Rental Home comes equipped with a kitchen capable of whipping up some amazing picnic meals!

The arrival of Spring weather on the Outer Banks seems to send everyone racing to the nearest beach, park, or patch of grass, with a gingham blanket and basket in hand. A picnic menu requires skill: the food must be prepared ahead of time and packed correctly so as to not make things soggy, it needs to also be robust enough to survive the journey, and delicious at room temperature. 

All of the Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates Vacation Rental Homes on the Outer Banks have kitchens where you can create your own fabulous picnic so much easier than trying to navigate a tiny hotel room with just a dorm fridge and microwave. 

From the quick and easy to the more involved glamorous feast here are some great ideas for meals and some scenic suggestions for that perfect OBX picnic location!

Quick wraps and rollups perfect for an Outer Banks beach picnic.

Enjoy quick picnic foods perfect for grabbing on the go and heading to the beach.

When it comes to the most basic of beach picnics the theme is often quick, easy, and cold. Check out these suggestions for simple beach picnic foods to pack.

Fruit: When sandy fingertips are involved, whole fruits are preferable to cut up fruits. Apples, peaches, and bananas (which can become soggy in the sun, so keep them in the cooler) are all good options. A tub of watermelon or cantaloupe slices, cut from the rind, is also perfect for the beach. Almost all of these foods are also hydrating, which is a plus!

Nuts: It’s a perfect way to get some protein in a rush. If you think you can eat this without crunching on sand (struggle!), make a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts.

Chips or Crackers: If you need to bring some snacks, crackers and chips are a nice choice. If you prefer whole-grain crackers, they would be less salty and healthier for you.

Wraps: The star of the show down on the beach. A sandwich filling like tuna or chicken salad is more enjoyable to eat when it’s wrapped in anything other than two pieces of bread, whether it’s a tortilla or your favorite gluten-free plant. Kids may also eat a wrap with one hand, leaving their other hand free to keep their sippy cup upright. Wraps are a lot easier to make.  Protect the bottom half with a cloth napkin or even a paper towel to keep the sand out.

Drinks: These can be whatever you want as long as they are cold and refreshing and fit in the cooler. But please do not bring glass to the beach, that is a huge NO-NO!

*** Please remember to use recyclable silverware, paper straws, and other items that are beach and marine life friendly while on your beach picnic. Also, it is important to note that all OBX beaches are carry-in carry-out so remember to pack a trash receptacle in your picnic basket to carry any trash off the beach. Leaving your best beach picnic place as clean as you found it.***

Choose one or all of these suggested beach spots to have your best beach picnic:

  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The park is known for its towering sand dunes, which stand between 80 and 100 feet tall and appear to belong in a desert region rather than a coastal beach town.
  • Nags Head Town Park. A scenic 1-mile hike through sand dunes and maritime forests leads to a remote, quiet sound side beach at the nearby Nags Head Woods Preserve nature trail.
  • The beach right outside your door. If you are lucky enough to secure one of our oceanfront vacation rentals in the Outer Banks then just throw open your door and head down to the beach where you are staying!
A group of young adults gathered around a picnic basket in an Outer Banks park eating sandwiches.

Sturdier dishes and sides are perfect for the in-between or impromptu picnic spots all over The Outer Banks.

Unlike a quick beach picnic the inland outdoor dining experience can be a little more creative and fun. Dishes that can be prepared together for a bit more grown up and sophisticated feel are perfect for these types of Outer Banks picnics. 

Sandwiches with a little flair can start to come into play with these picnic levels. Think panini’s and cubanos wrapped tight to stay warm. Triple decker club sandwiches stacked high with all the toppings come to mind as main attractions for these basket dinners.

You can also think of pairings such as chicken on the bone whether it is fried, grilled, or baked all three taste great with some rice and beans and salad. Maybe even some fish tacos with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob would be a delicious treat. These foods can still be eaten with your hands if you wanted or since you will have put a little more thought into this meal and you had plenty of room in your vacation rental homes kitchen they can be placed on some reusable plates and eaten with utensils. 

Foods on a skewer can be added to these types of picnics. They are still in the wheelhouse of convenience but also lend themselves to the diversity of multiple flavor profiles all in one meal. Kabobs of steak and peppers or chicken and tomatoes come to mind.

Finding one of these fun sites or Outer Banks parks to dine outside along the coast this Spring will make your vacation feel exciting and eventful!

  • Lighthouses. Although you will not be allowed to actually eat at the top of the lighthouse you could voyage up to the top and come back down to work up your appetite and then have your picnic nearby with the stunning view of the lighthouse as your backdrop.
  • David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multiuse Path and Park. It’s a family-friendly community playground with play equipment for both young and older children inside a fenced-in area and picnic tables near the parking area on the outside. Perfect for that mid-range meal with friends or a special someone.
  • Dowdy Park. There is a fitness trail for adults to work up a healthy desire to eat. For everyone else, there are picnic pavilions, covered tables, and grills.
A woman pouring a sparkling water while feasting on a charcuterie board of nuts and fruits all on top of a hip southwestern design blanket.

Fancy portable meals that are easy to unpack but still feel glamorous like crab legs and charcuterie boards are a great fit for places that set the mood just right.

If you really want to create a posh picnic that will make memories to last a lifetime it starts in the prep work.

The key to really going all out during this process is planning. It’s also crucial to resist the sack-lunch mindset and instead opt for dishes that need more participation and collaboration. Choose recipes that you don’t make very often or that use higher-end ingredients for the most enjoyable picnic. This can be difficult to envision, so here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Meal ideas like crab legs, lobster, oysters, and filet mignon come to mind as the culinary experience unfolds. These are decadent but also easy to eat in the picnic setting. 

Something else to include is a charcuterie board. Not only are these beautiful to look at but you can get as fancy and visually creative as you want. You can add nuts, cheeses, fruits, meats, jams, honey, crackers or bread, and more. All of those ingredients travel well and make customizing your picnic flavorful and fun.

This is also where you can break out the higher-end drinks, a good bottle of wine or champagne. Maybe a pre-mixed themed beverage that can be made ahead of time and brought in a large thermos or tumbler.

(FUN IDEA: you both take turns trying to name the drink based on some of the memories already made on this vacation, like the “Lighthouse Lemonade” etc…)

While you are back in the kitchen putting this basket of goodies together put some thought into the presentation as well. Use real silverware, bring the good china, use the coziest blanket. This is not the picnic to skimp on the details. This is one for the record books!

(Do Not Forget The Flowers!)

When you have the meal portion of the picnic planned it’s time to think of a location here is where Spring on the Outer Banks really shines because you can go to one phenomenal spot and have an outstandingly romantic experience.

Say hello to Historic Corolla Park! Here you can cozy up to each other on the lush green lawn of the Whalehead Club, a stunningly restored Art Nouveau-style mansion on the National Register of Historic Places from the 1920s. You can marvel at the beauty all around you while dining on your carefully curated Outer Banks Spring Picnic!

A concrete sidewalk leading to a beautiful view of the lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

Any way you slice your sandwich, Spring is a wonderful time to start taking advantage of the incredible outdoor areas the Outer Banks has to offer.

The Outer Banks is known for its regularly breezy days, blooming trees, and daily temperatures perfect for outdoor opportunities in the Spring. 

We have plenty of wonderful vacation rental homes with well-equipped kitchens that are excellent for prepping any type of picnic you choose to go on around the barrier islands. Spring brings plenty of chances to start taking advantage of all the incredible outside activities and areas available to you in the Outer Banks.

So reach up to the top of your cabinets and dust off that old basket and throw the super plush extra-large blanket in the washing machine because it is Spring Picnic Season on the OBX!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades. 

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Recycled Christmas Trees Help Fight Beach Erosion on the Outer Banks

Recycled Christmas trees strategically placed on the beach to help fight erosion and ensure the dunes stay healthy in the Outer Banks NC.

The holiday season is over so give your Christmas tree a much needed beach vacation!

Every year on the Outer Banks recycled trees are taken away and put on the beaches by the *Boy Scouts and a few other organizations.

This event will stimulate sand dune grass growth. Through scooping and shoveling sand on the lower limbs, or sometimes by being staked down, the trees are placed to their sides and are anchored to the beach. Over time, the needles of the tree become much denser than they are originally and can be useful in capturing and preventing sand movement effectively. The hedge of trees serves like a fence of natural sand. Who knew Christmas trees could also be so functional?

It is best practice to remove from the tree all ornaments, candles, ribbons, tinsel and other decorations. Subsequently, any unnatural things left on trees may become a threat to animals and marine life.

The stabilization of sand dunes requires a few different acts. For a healthy sand dune environment, wooden sand fences may help preserve sand and other resources that are required. But it can become very expensive and difficult to buy materials to build wooden fences, especially for all areas on the Outer Banks that need dune stabilization.

Beautiful sand dunes located on the Outer Banks.

For sand dune restoration, the use of Christmas trees is very beneficial. The trees rapidly decompose and supply grass seed with nutrients. When the seeds start germinating and the dune grass takes off. When using trees to promote grass growth, this will help reduce the negative effects of wind and water. 

For Christmas tree repurposing, the Town of Nags Head provides two choices. You should position it in front of your property by the side of the road and crews can make multiple passes to collect the trees in January. Or, to ensure they know your tree is available for processing, you should contact Nags Head Public Works Department at 252-441-1122.

*The Boy Scouts will be receiving all the trees collected by the Public Works Department.

This year, as the holiday season comes to a close, pause before you throw your Christmas tree to the trash, please remember that these big bits of greenery have a much greater reason for being than just a month long decoration. They are a vital part of saving the sand dunes of the ever-loved Outer Banks. Christmas trees help you enjoy your next beach vacation by making sure the dunes and the beach’s ecosystem stays healthy!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates encourages you to compost your Christmas trees, repurposing these trees will create long lasting differences on the OBX for future vacation beach enjoyment. So send these Christmas trees on an Outer Banks beach vacation now!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area Puts Clean Energy in Outer Banks Future

Avangrid map showing Kitty Hawk WEA. Duck and Corolla are closest Outer Banks sites. Power would go to Virginia then back to North Carolina.
Avangrid map showing Kitty Hawk WEA. Duck and Corolla are closest Outer Banks sites. Power would go to Virginia then back to North Carolina.

There is energy production in the Outer Banks future. Clean energy, actually. Not oil, but a known resource just waiting to be exploited.

It’s wind energy. Twenty-seven miles off the coast of the northern Outer Banks there is an area called the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA). 

Looking at it on a map, it doesn’t look all that large. Look at the statistics and its massive—122,405 acre (191 sq. miles). It is not its size that is drawing attention, however. It is the potential that it holds. The numbers are still theoretical, but there should be enough wind energy in the WEA to power between  500,000 and 700,000 homes.

No other WEA on the East Coast can match that. In fact, if fully developed it would be one of the largest in the world.

The journey from being identified as a WEA to energy production is a long and complicated journey though, and the first steps in what will be a multi-year process have just happened.

Because the Kitty Hawk WEA is outside the waters North Carolina controls, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) controls how it will be developed and who will develop it.

To their credit, BOEM worked closely with North Carolina in determining where the WEA was placed. As an example, one reason the eastern boundary of the site is 27 miles from shore is because of concerns about how people would react seeing turbines spinning in the wind during their stay on the Outer Banks.

After establishing the WEA, BOEM puts the site out for a lease bid. That was in 2016 and there was a lot of interest from some of the biggest names in wind energy.

The winning bid went to Avangrid Renewables for a little bit more than $9 million in March of 2019. 

Avangrid has not yet begun developing the area, although they are doing extensive survey work to determine the best placement for turbines and the specific areas of strongest and most consistent winds.

A subsidiary of a large Spanish energy firm, Avangrid already has a footprint in northeastern North Carolina. In partnership with Amazon, they developed a 208 MW wind farm in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties outside of Elizabeth City.

Will there be energy generated from the Kitty Hawk WEA? At some point probably; the potential is simply too great to not develop. 

But under the best of circumstances, if everything comest together perfectly, it will be five, and more likely six years before the first kilowatt of power flows from the Atlantic Ocean to the shore.

When the first Environmental Assessment of the Kitty Hawk WEA was announced in 2012, there were no offshore wind farms in US waters. In 2016 the first, and still only, offshore wind farm off  Block Island, Rhode Island began generating energy. A little less than five miles offshore, the site consists of five turbines generating 6MW of energy, enough to power Block Island which had been dependent on diesel generators.

Avangrid does not yet have a buyer for the energy Kitty Hawk would produce, but a number of factors make the project very attractive.

The price of wind energy had dropped significantly since Block Island came on line. Block Island is producing energy at  $.25/kwh. The national average is a little over $.13/kwh making that project very expensive. But the cost of producing offshore wind energy has plummeted, and is now under $.10/kwh, significantly less than the national average.

Bringing the Cost Down

The latest in blade design for offshore wind energy. A 350' blade under construction in France.
The latest in blade design for offshore wind energy. A 350′ blade under construction in France.

There are a number of reasons for that. The cost of construction has fallen as more is learned about how to build the platforms for the turbines. There has been remarkable improvements in the durability of the turbines, lowering maintenance and replacement costs.

The biggest improvement, though, has been in blade design. Four or five years ago, turbine blades were 250’ and capable of generating 7MW. The latest generation are 350’ and are capable of generating 12MW of energy. They will also operate in lower winds.

For the Kitty Hawk WEA to come on line there are still a number of significant hurdles to leap. There are going to be environmental hearings on the siting of the platforms. Bringing the energy to shore may be the biggest engineering problem to address. The nearest location that could handle the amount of expected energy is in Virginia Beach,70 miles from the WEA.

It does seem as though the stars are aligning, although it may be another five, six or maybe even seven years. But wind energy from the Outer Banks seems likely. 

Dreaming of ocean breezes and soft sand? Turn that dream into reality with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates.

The Beach-Is There One that is the Best on the Outer Banks?

Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.
Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.

People are always asking us, “What is your favorite Outer Banks beach?” 

It’s a tough question to answer, because the truth is, we don’t have one.

When it comes to the beach, or at least an Outer Banks beaches, all of them have a some characteristics in common. From Carova to Ocracoke all of our beaches have a nice soft sand and especially now that so many have been nourished, they tend to be fairly wide. Although there are some exceptions, for the most part, Outer Banks beaches are pretty easy to get to.

All North Carolina ocean beaches are in the public domain, meaning anyone can use the beach when they are on it. Access to the beach, however, is not a public right, and crossing private property to get to the beach is trespassing. Please use public access to get on the beach.

Rather than call out specific beaches, we thought it would be better to give a more general description of each area and what the beaches in each area have to offer.

Corolla

From the southern border of Currituck County at the Sanderling in Duck or where the NC 12 pavement ends north of the Village of Corolla, there’s about 12 miles of wonderful, soft sand.

Currituck County provides four parking areas for beach access. By far the largest is the southern access off Yaupon Road, a little bit south of the Harris Teeter shopping center.

The bathhouse at this access is wonderful. Large and well-maintained, there are a good number of outdoor showers and a fairly large parking area.

One thing to be aware of though, it is a fairly long trek to the beach; about a quarter of a mile, although there is a boardwalk that makes things easier. However, this is one of the best beaches anywhere with a lot of room between the sea and the dunes. 

Farther north in the more built up areas of Corolla, parking for beach access is either immediately adjacent to the dunes or across the street.

Something for parents with younger children to consider, the Albacore Beach Access is very close to the Food Lion in Monterey Plaza, and is the closest to retail stores and businesses.

The beach tends to be a bit wider farther south than on the north end toward Carova.

Carova is the 4WD area of the Currituck Banks, north of Corolla. It’s’ a very nice beach but be aware, the beach is the road in this area. If you do decide to drive to Carova to enjoy the beach, Currituck County does require a permit to park on the beach.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head

These three towns, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are actually the core of the traditional Outer Banks vacation spots. They are the most built up and because of that, they will have more businesses, stores and services within easy walking distance than other areas.

Kitty Hawk has the name recognition. Kill Devil Hills is actually the largest town on the Outer Banks. And Nags Head is where it all began–the first tourists started coming to Nags Head in the 1820s.

There are too many parking areas and beach access points to note them all. Look for the CAMA Beach Access sign. Generally that denotes a parking lot for the beach, although sometimes it’s simply an access point with parking elsewhere.

Beach access sign.
Beach access sign.

All of the beaches in this area have been nourished and they are in very good condition, and we don’t have a clear favorite at all. 

The widest beach is probably south of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. It is a great location for families. The bathhouse is large and well-maintained and there are a couple of places very close by for food and beach necessities. That area is also a popular surfing site.

Coquina Beach, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, South Nags Head

We had to include Coquina Beach. The entrance is directly across from the entrance to Bodie Island Lighthouse about a mile and a half south of the intersection of Old Oregon Inlet Road and NC 12, which is considered South Nags Head.

This is very much the original look to the Outer Banks. Not a home in sight; rolling sand dunes covered in sea grass; and a beautiful beach.

The parking lot is huge and there is a wind powered bathhouse with showers.

We highly recommend this beach—it is absolutely beautiful. But, be sure to take everything you’re going to need. The nearest businesses, stores or restaurants are at least four or five miles away.

About Duck and Southern Shores

We haven’t included the towns of Duck or Southern Shores for a reason. Their beaches are wonderful, but access to their beaches is permit only for property owners. People renting in a home in those towns do have permission to use the beach.

A recent lawsuit in the town of Duck may allow public access, although that ruling may be appealed.

Are you ready for summer? Here at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates we’re gearing up and can’t wait to hear from you.

Home Sweet Sandy Home–Life on a Barrier Island

Section of an 1822 map of coastal North Carolina showing three inlets that no longer exist, and no inlets where two are now located.
Section of an 1822 map of coastal North Carolina showing three inlets that no longer exist, and no inlets where two are now located.

Welcome to the Outer Banks where, as the saying goes, we live on island time…except we don’t really live on islands. More like sandbars that have managed to rise from the sea. 

That really is what a barrier island is and the Outer Banks are barrier islands and like all barrier islands they are not a permanent land mass. Left to their own devices, barrier islands migrate, generally to the shore.

The process is well documented. A large storm overwashes the sandbar. Sand is picked up from the ocean side and deposited on the landward or estuary side. 

The evidence of that process can be clearly seen if you know what to look for.

Where the Inlets Lived

On barrier islands, inlets open and close all the time and as they do so they leave a very clear footprint of where they have been.

At the north end of Duck, looking out across Currituck Sound, the water is dotted with small muddy islands. That is the remnants of Caffey’s Inlet that was open from about 1770-1811. The small islands are sand deposits from when the inlet was open.

More evidence? Check out the whole north end of Currituck Sound.

Currituck Inlet was so well known and so well defined that at one time the fledgling US Government established a customs house at what is now the town of Currituck. The customs house closed in 1828, as did Currituck Inlet.

The process continues to this day.

On Pea Island, in 2011 Hurricane Irene opened a passage to the sea that has historically been an inlet. The area is called New Inlet and since it was first noted by European explores in 1656 it has spent far more time open than closed.

Nonetheless, the processes that allow for the ocean to overwash the sandbars and move the Outer Banks to the west have been dramatically slowed by human intervention. 

Although the Outer Banks are barrier islands, there are a couple of true islands that are a part of what is typically included in a description of the area. It should be noted, though, that they are not directly on the shoreline.

Two Real Islands

Roanoke Island, where the Lost Colony tried their luck in the 1580s is now the home of Manteo and the fishing village of Wanchese. It’s unlike any other island in the Outer Banks area.

It was probably an island before the Outer Banks formed some 10,000 or 12,000 years ago. Geologists how have looked at its history feel there were rivers that flowed northward toward what was at one time the Roanoke River Delta. At that time the eastern shore of the Untied States was at least 40-50 miles to the east.

Roanoke Island’s nearest island neighbor is Colington Island about four miles north across Roanoke Sound.

Colington Island, at the end of the road that goes by the Wright Brothers Monument in Kill Devil Hills, is mostly a residential area. It actually is much more similar to the Outer Banks than Roanoke in a lot of ways.

It is actually a series of relict dunes, so it was probably either part of the coastline at one point or very close to it. The soil of the island is very sandy in keeping with its geological history.

Because it was once part of the shoreline and is made up of once upon a time dunes, the terrain is far more varied than Roanoke Island, which is pretty flat.

Interesting little fact—Roanoke Island was the first attempt by the English to colonize North Carolina. Colington Island was the first permanent settlement—1663.

Roanoke island and Colington are fairly close to one another, and for the most part, especially in the northern Outer Banks, things are clustered fairly close together. There is an exception to that though.

Hatteras Island Farthest From Mainland

Very few, if any, barrier islands are as far from the mainland as is Hatteras Island. It’s so far across Pamlico Sound—18-20 miles—that one European explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano first entered it in 1529, he thought he had discovered a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

He probably didn’t sail too far into the sound. If he had, no doubt he would have noticed that the waters were just too shallow to be an ocean. The maximum depth of Pamlico Sound is only 26’.

There is so much to explore and learn about the Outer Banks that it could be the study of a lifetime. Spend a week or so with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates and begin your journey of discovery.

Dare County Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary–History and Culture Will Be Featured

Dare County Courthouse as it appeared in 1904 when it was built.
Dare County Courthouse as it appeared in 1904 when it was built.

The 150th anniversary of the founding of Dare County happened just a few days ago. There will be a full year’s worth celebrations to mark the event.

When it was created there wasn’t much here, which has a lot to do with why Currituck, Hyde, and Tyrrell counties were willing to give up small pieces of their land to form the new county.

Named for Virginia Dare, when it was created the new county was a far flung sliver of swamp, maritime forest and barrier islands. The closest town to a central place was Manteo, so it became the county seat.

It was smaller than it is today. When it was created the northern border was just about where Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills meet.

According to author and historian David Stick, the land that is now Kitty Hawk, Duck and Southern Shores was added in 1920 because the state legislature realized that area logically should have been a part of Dare County all along.

A more colorful tale was told by Pops Scarborough of Duck in a 1997 interview. Approaching 100 years of age at the time of the interview, according to Pops, Currituck County was going to start taxing fishermen on their catch. Local residents approached Dare County commissioners and asked if they planned to tax fishermen on their catch. The answer was no, so they petitioned the state to become part of Dare County.

A colorful tale but difficult to prove.

From the first English child born in the New World to the Wright Brothers first flight, Dare County is filled with remarkable firsts and fascinating pieces of history.

The county is planning a number of event in conjunction with its sesquicentennial celebration. One of the biggest will be Saturday May 2 at Island Farms with interpreters dressed in clothing of the era.

Take the time to explore the history and culture of the Outer Banks. Book your vacation today and stay in a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.