Discover Oyster’s favorite family-friendly hotels in Nags Head, Corolla, Duck, Ocracoke, Atlantic Beach, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and Wilmington.
The family- and budget-friendly Surf Side Hotel is in a convenient location on the beach, not far from restaurants and souvenir shops. There’s no full restaurant on-site, but a free continental breakfast is served daily. Room perks such as ocean-view balconies with rocking chairs and self-catering facilities are available. Some rooms and furniture look dated. There's an indoor pool and hot tub as well as an outdoor pool, but no gym.
One of the Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks biggest selling points is that it has direct access to a beautiful, sandy beach area. The chain hotel has 123 rooms, all with furnished balconies or patios; some also have ocean views. There’s an outdoor pool with a separate children’s pool, as well as a small lazy river and an indoor pool and hot tub. Breakfast is included, but the small room where it is served can get crowded. There aren't any lounge chairs or umbrellas on the beach, so guests may want to bring their own.
The 100-room Sanderling is a sprawling beach resort that stretches from the Currituck Sound to the Atlantic Ocean. A separate family-friendly pool area has a small fountain and a large hot tub. Its carpeted rooms have a homey feel, with ceiling fans, floor lamps, and window blinds, as well as mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and private wooden balconies with rope hammock chairs. Some rooms have stand-up showers and some have baths, and suites with kitchenettes are available. The hotel is located on a beautiful sandy beach, where kayaks, surfing lessons, and water-sport rentals are available, plus there are two pools (one for families) and two restaurants.
The 16-room Oasis Suites Hotel is a picturesque weatherboard hotel on Roanoke Sound in the Outer Banks. The suites here are a real highlight and a huge draw for families and couples: all have flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and private master bedrooms with king or queen beds and bathrooms with spa tubs and separate showers. Kitchenettes consist of granite countertops, coffeemakers, convection ovens, and full stainless steel refrigerators. There’s no beach access, but there is a wooden walkway with a big gazebo on the waterfront as well as an outdoor pool and hot tub with a separate children’s pool.
Ocracoke Harbor Inn is a favorite of budget-minded families. The venue makes an effort to create a peaceful environment throughout the grounds, going so far as posting signs to respect the “quietude,” meaning no loud noises after 10 p.m. There are several different types of guest units available among the 16 rooms and seven suites, some with balconies, kitchens, and multiple bedrooms; decor is dated. Cottage rentals are available as well. Views of Silver Lake Harbor, on which the inn is located, are phenomenal. The inn is within walking distance of dining and shopping options in Ocracoke Village, while golf cart and bike rentals are available as well.
Caribbe Inn is a colorful hotel two blocks from the beach with a “fun over fancy” motto. Kids will likely love the playful decor including a bright pink porch, blue patio, and beach-themed lobby. The value hotel has 13 rooms covered in multicolor sea-themed murals, with mini-fridges and microwaves. Family-owned and situated beside a channel of Money Island Bay, the property has a friendly vibe and waterfront picnic area with barbecue grills. Wi-Fi and loaner beach equipment are free.
The Sea Ranch Resort is a value hotel located directly on the beach, near several restaurants and souvenir shops. There’s a casual restaurant on-site with outdoor seating, as well as an indoor pool. The 50 rooms are dated, but they have convenient amenities including microwaves, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi. Rooms with balconies facing the ocean are available.
Though many families opt for Outer Banks rental homes, the mid-range Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk is a suitable option for those who prefer a hotel stay. The hotel is very similar to most other Hilton Garden Inns -- with free Wi-Fi and free cooked-to-order breakfast and clean, comfortable rooms -- but with an oceanfront location and a private balcony attached to each guest unit. Rooms also come equipped with flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and microwaves.
The 93-suite Staybridge Suites Wilmington East is an upper-middle-range chain property that attracts a mix of extended-stay business travelers and vacationing families. Apartment-like units (studios, one-, and two-bedrooms) are clean and spacious with sleeper sofas and fully equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Value-added amenities, such as a free hot breakfast, free laundry facilities, and free weekday reception with dinner and drinks make it a good choice for guests on long stays. Its location is central, about a 10- to 15-minute drive from downtown Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and the airport.