I moved to North Carolina just over 9 and a half years ago. When my wife and I decided to move "down south" from Niagara Falls, NY we didn't know anything about this area, other than the fact that it seemed considerably warmer, less prone to snow and a lot slower paced. I was offered a job in Northeastern North Carolina and was able to travel down to the sawmill to check out where I would be considering working and get a feel for the surrounding area. Like I said, it was warmer for sure. We traveled down to the mill in mid-December and left negative number weather, snow, salty roads, and ice for t-shirt weather mid 50s to low 60s and unbelievable green grass (we hadn't seen green grass since probably september.) By the time we had returned home from our trip, which amounted to a 12 hour drive straight through, we had made our decision. We were moving!
Now for the important part, the reason you clicked on this article. After "discovering" this area, we found out about the Outer Banks or OBX. It is a strand of barrier islands located just off the coast of North Carolina. As opposed to Virgina Beach, which is beach along the coast of the mainland in Virginia, the Outer Banks offers people more than one option when it comes to beaches. You can choose to visit the water Oceanside, where you will get the bigger waves, the deeper, cooler water and in all likelihood, more fish or you can choose the water soundside and get water temperatures that are a little warmer, water that is much calmer and shallower and the footing is much sandier with much fewer shells to walk over. And even better than having both choices is the fact that you can choose one side one day and choose the other the next. The islands are very narrow and in most places, even without a road that would take you from one side to the other you could be surfing in the ocean one minute and wading peacefully in the sound ten minutes later.
My wife and I are now cleaning vacation rentals at the beach on the weekends and we get a chance to see some of the beautiful homes offered for vacations. I've been to Virginia Beach and it is a nice place, but the Outer Banks, to me, just seems a lot less crowded. If you're into nightclubs, big crowds, and spending lots of money, Virginia Beach is the place for you. If you want a more relaxed family vacation, with some interesting historical sites such as the wright memorial museum, and in my opinion, much more untouched natural beauty, then you need to look into the Outer Banks in North Carolina. The more populated areas near the bridges onto the islands are Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head, or you can head 60-70 miles south down the islands to Hatteras to see the lighthouse there or hop on the ferry to Ocracoke where I've heard (I still haven't made it onto the island) that there are wild horses.