The Best Hotels in the Outer Banks, North Carolina

The 12 Best Hotels in the Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks are home to one of the best places to vacation if you’re looking for a secluded beach getaway. Starting at the Virginia border, these barrier islands extend down the coast of North Carolina for 120 miles, with unique towns and villages dotted throughout.

There’s much to explore on your island getaway. There are two sides to an Outer Banks vacation. As tourism is the main industry in the Outer Banks, it comes as no surprise that you’ll find human-made attractions of all kinds on the islands. From family-friendly activities to more adults-only nightlife, you’ll stay busy the whole time you vacation here.

But there’s also an untamed side to the Outer Banks – quite literally. Wild horses run free on these islands, and they’re a sight to behold. You’ll also find stunning maritime forests, dune-covered beaches, and lots of untouched land to explore.

Planning an Outer Banks vacation and wondering where to stay? We’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of the 12 best hotels in the Outer Banks – from quaint and cozy B&Bs to luxurious suites-only resorts featuring breathtaking views – to help you plan a getaway you’ll never forget! Pick your favorite Outer Banks hotel from this list, and you’re bound to have a wonderful time at this beachy retreat.

Where to Stay in the Outer Banks

Where to Stay in the Outer Banks, North Carolina: Best Hotels

The Outer Banks is a long stretch of islands, and each island and each town on the island has its own personality. So, how do you know which one is right for your Outer Banks vacation?

The busiest areas tend to be Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Nags Head, but there’s a reason why they’re often crowded. These towns have a great central location, making it easy to explore the Outer Banks when you stay here. You’ll also find plenty of beach access and locally-owned restaurants, shops, and bars. 

Though these are fantastic beachy spots for a vacation, they tend to be more low-key than some other areas on the islands. Though there are many hotels to choose from, these hotels are often designed to help you explore the surrounding area rather than as resorts where you could never step foot off the property and have a luxury, secluded vacation.

For some seclusion and beautiful sights, Manteo is a great place to stay in the Outer Banks. It’s a historically-rich area with plenty to explore, but you can easily end your day taking in the sunset from your hotel’s stunning ocean view. For some seclusion with more resort-style amenities, Corolla is another one of the best places to stay in the Outer Banks.

12 Cool Hotels in the Outer Banks

1. Saltaire Cottages

Unique Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: Saltaire Cottages
Photos: Saltaire Cottages

With a classic, vintage design, the Saltaire Cottages in Kitty Hawk is a great place to stay in the Outer Banks. It’s been a family-friendly destination for over 60 years. It was built as a vacation home for the Stokes family back in the 1950s, but it grew to be a place for all families. 

Today, the Saltaire Cottages include 12 cottages ranging from one to four bedrooms. In each cottage, you’ll find a full kitchen and a family room. Watch the sunrise over the ocean as you greet the day on either your porch or screened-in balcony. 

Amenities in your cottage include heating and air conditioning, a stove and oven, TVs, a Keurig coffee maker, a toaster, pots and pans, dishes, and silverware. You’ll have everything you need to make a family dinner as you watch the sunset each day.

The cottages are directly across the street from the hotel’s private beach. Don’t want to go in the ocean? Take a dip in the private pool instead, with elevated sun decks to help you enjoy the sunny days. If you’re looking for the best Outer Banks boutique hotels, this may be the perfect pick!

2. The Ocracoke Harbor Inn

Best Outer Banks Hotels: The Ocracoke Harbor Inn
Photos: Ocracoke Harbor Inn

Overlooking the Silver Lake Harbor in the heart of the Ocracoke Village on Ocracoke Island, the Ocracoke Harbor Inn is one of the best hotels in the Outer Banks. This tranquil, picturesque island is home to nearly 16 miles of undeveloped beaches, dunes, and marshlands. 

It’s a perfect place to be at one with nature, spending each morning breathing the fresh, salty sea air from either your private deck or the hotel’s private dock. This hotel strives to help you enjoy every minute of your stress-free vacation. 

Complimentary boat docking is available with an advance reservation, and outdoor showers are available to help you decompress and de-sand after a day at the beach. You can also rent golf carts and bicycles on-site to help you get around the island. Start your day with a complimentary continental breakfast and then get out and explore!

The inn features 16 Standard Rooms and eight Deluxe Suites, offering a diverse array of accommodations for all travelers’ needs. All rooms come with heating and air-conditioning, refrigerators, DIRECTV, coffee makers, and free Wi-Fi. 

Suites come with private balconies, a kitchenette, and either a Jacuzzi or whirlpool tub. If you’d like an even more intimate retreat, you can rent one of five fully-furnished cottages, each with its own unique design.

3. White Doe Inn Bed & Breakfast

Cool Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: White Doe Inn Bed and Breakfast
Photos: White Doe Inn Bed & Breakfast

Located inside a grand Victorian home on the National Register of Historic Places in Manteo on Roanoke Island, the White Doe Inn Bed & Breakfast is one of the coolest hotels in the Outer Banks. You’ll be staying in a relaxing spot that’s an easy walking distance from Shallowbag Bay and the Roanoke Island Festival Park. Also nearby are a number of breweries, restaurants, and boutiques, as well as picturesque beaches.

All rooms in this B&B have fireplaces and private baths, some with double whirlpools, soaking tubs, massage showers, or oversized spa showers. Also inside, you’ll find free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping, flat-screen TVs with cable, plant-based bath products, and robes. 

Some rooms also have private balconies, which is always a plus. This inn is primarily meant for adults, but children 12 and over, provided they’re accompanied by adults, are allowed.

Spend the morning relaxing in the private gardens, on the veranda, or on the porch after you’re treated to a complimentary four-course breakfast. This inn offers all sorts of homey and luxurious touches, like bicycles and beach equipment, s’mores kits, homemade ice cream sandwiches, afternoon snack service, and cappuccino and espresso service. You can also book a spa treatment, like an in-room massage!

4. Roanoke Island Inn

Where to Stay in Outer Banks, North Carolina: Roanoke Island Inn
Photos: Roanoke Island Inn

Set in a historic 1860s home steps away from Manteo’s boardwalk, the Roanoke Island Inn is one of the best Outer Banks boutique hotels. Set on an acre of serene gardens, the Roanoke Island Inn features a large porch where you can take in breathtaking views of Shallowbag Bay. Bike trails are just steps away, which you can ride on with complimentary bicycles, while beaches are just a five-minute drive away. 

Children are welcome in the family suites, and there are also multiple pet-friendly rooms. Each room is unique, with its own homey touches and accents. All rooms feature their own private entrance, making your stay more intimate and feel like home. Some rooms also feature waterfront views.

The inn comes with touches that make your stay stress-free. Head to the beach with complimentary towels, chairs, and umbrellas, or relax with a full library of books. Take a book over to curl up in a rocking chair outside or sit in the private garden centered around a koi pond.

Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. You’ll also wake up to a complimentary continental breakfast, but a fully-stocked free pantry is always at your disposal. For even more convenience, the “In Case You Forgot” drawer is stocked with toothbrushes and sunscreen.

5. The Burrus House Inn Waterfront Suites

Best Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: The Burrus House Inn Waterfront Suites
Photos: The Burrus House Inn Waterfront Suites

The Burrus House Inn Waterfront Suites, located in Manteo, is one of the best Outer Banks hotels. This elegant and upscale hotel is serving up true luxury in a tranquil, scenic location. Plus, all rooms are suites and feature breathtaking views of Shallowbag Bay.

The suites also include outside seating areas so you can truly take in the panorama. Inside, you’ll find a sitting room where you can curl up with a good book or tap into the free Wi-Fi if you’re doing a working vacation. 

The kitchenettes come with a sink, mini-fridge, microwave, and a Keurig coffee maker with premium coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. In the bedrooms, you’ll relax on plush mattresses with bedding you’d find in the most high-quality hotels in the world. In the bathroom, you’ll sink into a jetted spa tub or feel at peace inside the spacious two-person shower.

Start the day by diving into a complimentary continental breakfast, and enjoy happy hour and charcuterie in the evening. This hotel also offers the use of bicycles, kayaks, and paddleboards, allowing you to get the most out of your Outer Banks adventure. 

You can also grab a complimentary yoga mat and use either the indoor or outdoor yoga area to rejuvenate yourself and get ready for a day in Outer Banks. To help you plan your excursions, the concierge is always on hand. End your night by enjoying the cool breezes from the water on the hotel’s expansive decks or by warming up by an outdoor fire pit. 

6. John Yancey Oceanfront Inn

Best Outer Banks Hotels: John Yancey Oceanfront Inn
Photos: John Yancey Oceanfront Inn

Located in the center of the Outer Banks, you can find the John Yancey Oceanfront Inn, one of the best Outer Banks hotels for families in Kill Devil Hills. This oceanfront hotel features rooms spread across five buildings and plenty to do. And if you want to head to the beach, you’ll love that this hotel includes direct beach access and stunning ocean views.

Rooms include free Wi-Fi, in-room coffee, a refrigerator, a microwave, a smart TV, and either a patio with beach access or a private balcony with ocean views. Some rooms are dog-friendly, too. 

Staying in the Penthouse Suite adds a full kitchen and dining area, an extra balcony, an extra bathroom, and a living room with a queen-sized sofa bed. You can also stay in the Yancey Cottage, which includes three bedrooms, two full baths, two balconies with ocean views, and a private hot tub.

This highly family-friendly hotel includes several on-site amenities. Spend the morning with a complimentary continental breakfast. Take the little ones to the expansive playground while you grill up a meal in the barbecue picnic area. Or take your pup over to the dog area for them to get off the leash and run around. Plus, you’ll definitely want to take a dip in the seasonal outdoor pool, which is open from May to October.

There is no fitness center on-site. However, staying here gets you free passes to the OuterBanks YMCA. You’ll get free babysitting, fitness center access, indoor basketball, racquetball, exercise classes, skate park access, and outdoor water park access.

7. Beachwoods Resort

Cool Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: Beachwoods Resort
Photos: Beachwoods Resort

Just nearby Kill Devil Hills is the town of Kitty Hawk, where you’ll find the Beachwoods Resort, one of the coolest Outer Banks boutique hotels. Set against a peaceful lake, this family-friendly resort is perfect for outdoor lovers or people who are just looking for a tranquil retreat. 

All rooms are spacious one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom suites. Inside, you’ll find kitchens with all the comforts of home, including dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves, and microwaves. 

Lounge about in the cozy living rooms, which come with DVD players and sleeper sofas, or enjoy the Outer Banks air on your private patio. For added convenience, rooms come with washers and dryers. Some rooms also come with loft areas for added space.

Kids will love the on-site water park, game console rentals, and playground. Meanwhile, adults will adore going fishing on-site, taking a morning stroll on the walking paths, or going for a swim in the indoor and outdoor pools. 

8. Sea Scape Beach & Golf Villas

Best Outer Banks Hotels: Sea Scape Beach and Golf Villas
Photos: Sea Scape Beach & Golf Villas

Also in Kitty Hawk is the Sea Scape Beach & Golf Villas, located just blocks from the beach and adjacent to the 18-hole Sea Scape Golf Course. Choose between studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom condos when you stay at this scenic, activity-filled site. 

You’ll find that you feel right at home at this cozy hotel. In each condo, you’ll discover a fully equipped kitchen, a flat-screen TV with cable, and free Wi-Fi. Some units are air-conditioned.

There are tons of things to do at these villas. Swim in one of two outdoor pools or the indoor pool. Cook up a meal on the outdoor grills. Play on the basketball courts, tennis courts, or mini golf course, or get in a game of shuffleboard, corn hole, or pickleball. Take the little ones to play on the playground or work out in the fitness center. 

Want to stay inside? You’ll have access to a game room, theater room, pool table, and arcade.

9. Shutters on the Banks

Cool Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: Shutters on the Banks
Photos: Shutters on the Banks

Over in Kill Devil Hills, Shutters on the Banks is one of the best hotels in the Outer Banks if you’re looking for an unfussy hotel with easy access to the beach. This family-friendly hotel is beachfront and puts you in a perfect place to enjoy the many activities you can do in Outer Banks, from swimming to fishing to hang-gliding.

All rooms are designed with your comfort and needs in mind. In addition to free Wi-Fi, rooms come with refrigerators, coffee makers, flat-screen TV with cable and HBO, and bathroom amenities. Some rooms also come with a full kitchen, complete with an oven, microwave, sink, and four-seat table.

Start your day with a free continental breakfast, then head out to take a dip in the heated indoor saltwater pool, outdoor saltwater pool, or hot tub. End the day by taking in the sunset over the ocean from the gazebo. Don’t forget to grab an ice cream from Dairy Queen at the Kill Devil Hills location. Showing your room key gets you 10 percent off!

10. First Colony Inn

Best Outer Banks Hotels: First Colony Inn
Photos: First Colony Inn

Located in Nags Head, First Colony Inn is a historic hotel and one of the best places to stay in the Outer Banks. This 1930 hotel features beautiful wraparound verandas where you can take in the scenic views from a rocking chair. The inn is set right across the road from a private beach, providing you with a tranquil, uncrowded place to vacation.

Each room at the First Colony Inn is unique, but you will find luxury amenities in them all. Every room has a private bath with a heated towel bar and English toiletries. Other amenities include individually-controlled heating and air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, a microwave, a fridge, a Keurig coffee maker, and a seating area. Some rooms also include a wet bar or kitchenette, whirlpool tubs, and private screened-in porches.

Start your day with a free hot breakfast, and then finish it with a free wine and dessert social. Follow the boardwalk to the beach, or just take a dip in the pool. You’ll find books and games in the library for more added relaxing fun.

11. Wild Horse Inn

Unique Hotels Outer Banks, North Carolina: Wild Horse Inn
Photos: Wild Horse Inn

In Corolla, you’ll find the Wild Horse Inn, a family-owned inn that’s one of the best hotels in the Outer Banks. This family-friendly hotel offers nine suites and a soothing lounge. With country-chic decor, it’s a relaxing place to stay in the Outer Banks, featuring a backyard filled with activities, including a BBQ, picnic areas, corn hole, and a pergola.

All rooms are suites and include a private bathroom and a kitchenette area with a sink, mini-fridge, microwave, and Keurig coffee maker. Other amenities include a smart TV with cable in each bedroom and living room, complimentary Wi-Fi, and either a deck, porch, or balcony.

Also on-site is a cafe offering sandwiches, salads, and snacks, plus oh-so-decadent desserts. You’ll also find a full-service bar for any cocktail or mocktail you could imagine.

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12. Sanderling Resort Outer Banks

Outer Banks Boutique Hotels: Sanderling Resort Outer Banks
Photos: Sanderling Resort

Set on Currituck Sound in Duck, the Sanderling Resort is an upscale, beachfront place to stay in the Outer Banks. Wake up to the Atlantic Ocean waves, and get ready to enjoy a relaxing vacation with beautiful sights all around.

All rooms and suites feature scenic views, plush mattresses, bathrobes, organic bath products, private balconies with Nags Head hammock chairs, mini-fridges, and a flat-screen TV. A nightly resort fee also gets you private beach access, beach chairs and umbrellas, EV charging stations, Wi-Fi, two Sanderland reusable water bottles, and in-room coffee and tea. 

You’ll also get access to two outdoor pools, a hot tub, and an indoor pool, as well as lawn games like corn hole and bocce ball, board games, and books. Book a treatment in one of 10 treatment rooms at the Spa at Sanderling, featuring massage, body, and facial treatments. Or work out at the fitness center. For help planning your Outer Banks vacation, the hotel’s Adventure Planners are ready to assist.

Dine at four unique places to eat and drink. Grab any meal at the Lifesaving Station, featuring Southern coastal cuisine and local ingredients inspiring seasonal dishes. For more upscale dining, head to Kimball’s Kitchen, where ocean views abound. And at the Sandbar, you’ll find cocktails to sip while you enjoy the ocean breeze. Inside, the Beach House Bar offers the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail.

There you have it! The 12 best hotels in the Outer Banks. Did we miss any cool Outer Banks boutique hotels? Let us know in the comments!

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  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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