The Outer Banks in North Carolina is one of America’s premier vacation destinations. In particular, Nags Head is known as one of the area’s highlights. Nags Head is loved for its charming homes, picturesque open beaches, historic architecture, and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re picnicking in one of the many well-kept state parks, sunbathing or surfing the waves at the beach, or exploring the area’s iconic lighthouses, the whole family is going to have a blast in Nags Head. There are a lot of wonderful neighborhoods and towns in the Nags Head area, so choosing the perfect place to stay isn’t always easy. Here are 10 of the best areas where you should seek out Nags Head vacation rentals.

1. Kitty Hawk

A nature lover’s paradise, Kitty Hawk offers the best of scenic beaches and enchanting forests. Kitty Hawk Woods consists of more than 1,800 acres of gorgeous flora and fauna, and it’s the perfect place to take a hike or ride a bike. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars for some fantastic bird-watching! Kitty Hawk’s public beaches are classic Outer Banks. Enjoy relaxing on the clean, white sand, or cool off in the crystalline water. Kitty Hawk’s central location makes it an ideal place to find vacation rentals, giving you quick and easy access to northern and southern Outer Banks.

2. Duck

Duck is the Outer Banks’ newest town, but it still has that classic feel that visitors and residents love about the area. Duck Town Park is a wonderful place to bring the family for an easy hike through the trails or a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk. If you’re looking for an upscale vacation rental with modern amenities, Duck is an excellent choice, as many of the homes are brand new. Duck regularly hosts some exciting outdoor festivals, so be sure to check the calendar before you book your trip.

3. Rodanthe

Like much of the Outer Banks area, Rodanthe is also known for its exceptional beaches. One of the area’s main attractions is Rodanthe Pier. It’s a great place to sit and just enjoy the sites — you may even see dolphin, stingrays, and other exotic marine life! The pier is also an angler’s dream, as the waters are loaded with sea mullet, spot, bluefish, trout, mackerel, and small flounder. Nearby Pier House is a family-friendly indoor area where you can grab a bite to eat, watch some TV, play some video games, or just escape the heat.

4. Kill Devil Hills

Legend has it that this area got its name when some rowdy pirates drank a bit too much moonshine, which they claimed was powerful enough to kill the devil himself. These days, the area has plenty to offer the whole family. Head to Run Hill State Natural Area for a scenic jog that leads to some breathtaking views. Kids are sure to appreciate local mini-golf, arcades, and laser tag. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is a fascinating place to spend some time. Centrally located, Kill Devil Hills is a smart choice for vacation rental hunting, and the area boasts plenty of unique shops, restaurants, and other hangouts.

5. Wanchese

If you prefer a vacation rental in an area that’s a little more laid-back and less touristy, Wanchese is a great choice. It’s a quaint fishing village located on the southern tip of Roanoke Island. Whether you’re an angler, a seafood fan, boating enthusiast, or just someone who appreciates the charming marine culture, Wanchese is a great place to hang your hat. Wanchese is just a quick drive away from all the Outer Banks’ hot spots, so you can enjoy the slow pace without having to sacrifice accessibility.

6. Avon

If you love fun on the water, Avon is sure to please. It’s a great place to enjoy wakeboarding, surfing, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and virtually any other aquatic activity you can dream up. This southern area is especially known for its exceptional windsurfing terrain and climate. There’s a great local kite shop where you can buy a wide range of kites, so look for a vacation rental with a big yard! As part of Hatteras Island, it’s a world-class location for fresh-caught local seafood.

7. Manteo

Manteo is a wonderful destination for fun-lovers of all ages. It’s a waterfront community, so there’s a strong chance your vacation rental will be within walking distance of a beach. The delightful downtown area is a blast to explore, and it includes a waterfront gazebo, a marina, and even a playground. History buffs will enjoy touring the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse and Roanoke Island Maritime Museum. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are kayaking, scuba diving, spearfishing, and paddleboarding rental options available.

8. Southern Shores

Conveniently located right between Kitty Hawk and Duck, Southern Shores is a town right at the epicenter of the Outer Banks. In addition to providing quick access to countless hot spots, the area is loaded with attractions of its own, including golf courses, restaurants, shopping centers, and beaches. The area is known for its inviting oceanfront cottages, making Southern Shores a fantastic place to look for a vacation rental.

9. Waves

As the name implies, Waves is one of the best spots for water sports. Whether you’re cruising and tubing in a chartered pontoon boat, or windsurfing the choppy seas, there are plenty of adventures waiting to be had for aquatic thrill-seekers. For a more relaxing experience, take a relaxing stroll through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge where you may be lucky enough to spot some local creatures.

10. Carova Beach

If you really want to get away from it all, Carova Beach is the place. It’s the northernmost area of the Outer Banks, and it’s only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicle. That’s right — there are no paved roads. The only signs of life you’ll see are around vacation and residential properties. However, there are no stores, so be sure to come prepared. If you want to experience the purest version of the Outer Banks’ natural beauty, Carova Beach will not disappoint. Just make sure you do your research and plan your transportation! If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wild horses running along the beaches.