Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

August 4, 2012 6:00 AM

When it’s time to escape the city, head to Roanoke Sound, a little piece of paradise between Roanoke and Bodie Islands near the Outer Banks. Historic homes, beautiful foliage and quaint shops, galleries and eateries bring a little small-town charm to this sun-soaked beach destination.

Getting There

Make your way out of the city and toward I-395 south. Stay on I-395 south until you merge onto I-95 south. Travel I-95 south for about 85 miles, then take exit 84A toward I-295 south. Stay on I-295 for about 15 miles then take exit 28A toward I-64 east. Stay on I-64 east for about 65 miles, then take exit 264 to I-664 south. Drive down I-664 south for about 20 miles until you reach exit 15B, or I-64 west toward Chesapeake/Virginia Beach. Travel for about 8 miles then take exit 291B to VA-168 south where you will enter North Carolina. Follow NC-168 south for about 16 miles where it will turn to US-158 east. Follow US-158 east for about 60 miles until you reach the center Roanoke Sound. The entire trip is just less than 300 miles and should take a little more than five hours, depending on the flow of traffic. Have some fun at Kings Dominion, hit the links at the Crossings Golf Club in Glen Allen or paddle boat across a reservoir at Waller Mill Park in Williamsburg for fun stops along the way.

roanoke Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island is unlike your typical beach destination. The town of Manteo features a historic downtown area, beautifully restored homes and dozens of locations for excellent sightseeing, including the Elizabethan Gardens, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. Watch the boats bob at sea at the Shallowbag Bay or explore the oceanfront boardwalk shops. Soak up some sun on the beach or sign up for a fun adventure such as parasailing, off-shore fishing or a dolphin-sighting cruise. Other activities available at Roanoke Island include skydiving, aerial tours, kayaking, diving charters, shrimping and crabbing tours, a skate park, historical tours and sailing.

tanger outlets Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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Tanger Outlets
7100 S. Croatan Hwy
Nags Head, NC 27959
(252) 441-5634

Satisfy your inner shopaholic with a visit to the Tanger Outlets. The shopping center features a wide variety of shops including home furnishings, footwear, apparel for the whole family as well as getaway essentials such as sunglasses and beach bags. Tanger Outlets also provides free WiFi throughout the shopping center, special discounts for members of the military and AARP and special events. Prior to your visit, check online for other special, store-specific discounts.

 Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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Bodie Island Resort
8123 Old Oregon Inlet Road
Nags Head, NC 27959
(252) 715-1588

Price: from $100

When you book a room at the Bodie Island resort, it’s all of the comforts of home with none of the stress. Each condo features amenities such as a full-size kitchen with utensils and appliances, two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a dining area, living room, fireplace and wet bar. Enjoy the view from your private balcony, or soak the stress away with the help of a Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom. Each condo sleeps six people comfortably. The Bodie Island Resort also features two swimming pools, plenty of space to play basketball, volleyball and horseshoes, playground, a fish-cleaning area and private beach access.

Related: Fun for the Road – Car Games For Your Next Road Trip

aquarium Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island
374 Airport Road
Manteo, NC 27954
(252) 473-3494

Price: $7 per senior age 62 and older/$8 per adults age 13 to 61/$6 per child age 3 to 12

Nowhere else nearby can you catch live dive shows, nautical feedings and the largest collection of sharks in the entire state of North Carolina. The Roanoke Island Aquarium features picnic areas, touch tanks, ponds and nearly a dozen interactive exhibits. The aquarium also features indoor and outdoor programs including Breakfast with the Rays, Aqua Tales for Tots, Surf Fishing for Beginners and Night Hikes Through Nags Head Woods. Bring your sleeping bag and sleep with the sharks — while they float in a 650,000 gallon tank, that is — or sign up for a fun day camp. The aquarium also features an art gallery, theater, gift shop and an eatery on its premises. It is located within walking distance of the United States Coast Guard Lifesavers Memorial, so be sure to stop by and snap a shot or two.


 Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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Nags Head Inn 
4701 S. Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959
(800) 327-8881

Price: from $125

Located about nine miles from Roanoke Sound, the Nags Head Inn features comfortably furnished oceanfront rooms, luxurious amenities, private balconies and daily housekeeping service. Enjoy in-room features including a 32-inch flat screen television with satellite service, coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave. Hotel amenities include an indoor heated pool, a large Jacuzzi and sun deck, free on-site parking and wireless Internet plus a newly equipped hospitality room. Don’t forget to tour the lush barrier island gardens that surround the property.


sam omies Getaway Guide to Roanoke Sound, Nags Head, NC

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Sam and Omie’s Restaurant
7228 S. Virginia Dare Trail
Nags Head, NC 27959
(252) 441-7366

Whether you prefer spending the day fishing or catching a tan, fuel up with a delicious meal from Sam and Omie’s. The laid-back restaurant features sandwiches, burgers, seafood and breakfast items. Try a bowl of award-winning chowder, soft shell crabs or North Carolina-style barbecue. The restaurant is located close to the beach, and features a full-service bar as well as a gift shop.

Related: Checklist for a Fun Day at the Beach or Pool

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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