Moving to the Outer Banks

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Many people who start off vacationing on the Outer Banks, eventually entertain the thought of relocating or retiring to the Outer Banks.  This is definitely for good reason.  The Outer Banks is a beautiful place to live. 

There are many drawbacks and positives to life on the  Outer Banks.  As you can imagine some will love it, some will move away, though I can't see how anyone could hate it though.  The Outer Banks is fortunate to draw people from throughout the country to live here. 

Usually, a love of the beach or ocean is all that it takes.  I thought it would help to answer some of the most asked questions, all in one area.


What type of work is available in the Outer Banks? 

Due to its popularity as a tourist destination, the Outer Banks has a large amount of seasonal industry.  For those looking to work year round general employment is most often found in banking, local retail businesses, real estate, construction and vacation home management. 

For those in specialized fields the Outer Banks has growing needs of skilled professionals.  Seasonal employment is generally abundant and covers all types of service based jobs.


What is the cost of living in the Outer Banks?

Cost of living in the Outer Banks is going to be high when compared to mainland areas of Northeastern North Carolina.  With that in mind, cost of living in the Outer Banks is not high when compared to major cities. 

If you are retiring or able to work remotely, life in the Outer Banks can be comparable if not considerably cheaper than life in cities like Richmond, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Raleigh, Philadelphia, New York, or Boston.  The biggest cost of living in the Outer Banks as anywhere is going to be a home.  Monthly costs for a home or condo are going to vary drastically. 

Homes in the Outer Banks can also be cheap when compared to homes in major cities.  Many people dream of living on the oceanfront and for good reason, nothing, in my opinion, can beat eating breakfast watching the surf break, but the reality is the overwhelming majority of Outer Banks full-time residents live on the west side of the island. 

Two main reasons contribute to why the majority of full-time residents live on the west side of the island.  The first is obviously price.  The further you get from the ocean the cheaper land tends to be and home prices on the islands tend to adjust accordingly.  (Not that there are not some amazing luxury homes on the westside) 

The second far less obvious reason is the westside is much less affected by the increase in population during the summer months.  Since it is further from the beach, westside homes are not traditionally strong vacation rentals.  Often when driving through a neighborhood on the west side of the island, it is impossible to tell what time of year it is.


What makes life in the Outer Banks Different?

Once you cross over the causeway into the Outer Banks, life takes a different pace.  It is this change of pace, that separates the Outer Banks from other places. Many people describe the change and switching to island time, living on an island definitely has its advantages and disadvantages. One difference, those moving from major metropolitian areas may notice is the change in the quality of healthcare available

The biggest disadvantage to life on an island is, sometimes your choices are limited.  Though your choices may be limited the Outer Banks is home to a bevy of beautiful independently owned boutique shops. 

For those that prefer something more nationally recognized you will find KMart, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and a number of national food service franchises. 

A simple solution many Outer Banks locals will use is to drive an hour to Virginia Beach where shopping and specialized services are abundant. 

Definitely one of the biggest advantages to living in the Outer Banks is the quality of locally owned restaurants. The attraction as a great tourist destination has made it possible for many outstanding restauranteurs to call the Outer Banks home. 

You will find a diverse selection of restaurants: places that offer the local catch of the day prepared by skilled local chefs, all you can eat seafood buffets, numerous small cafes, and fast food.  One of the special joys of living in the Outer Banks is the ability to take advantage of a great restaurant in the offseason.  


What is the weather like in the Outer Banks year round?

The weather in the Outer Banks tends to be very temperate.  The large sounds and ocean tend to make it an enjoyable year-round climate.  As the Wright Brothers can attest to, the Outer Banks is home to winds that seemingly come from all directions, though most often you will find a northeast or southwest wind. 

These two prevailing winds bring opposite effects. Generally, the northeast wind brings cool air and the southwest brings warm.  The breeze makes the Outer Banks very bearable in the middle of summer when compared to many locations north, south, and west. 

Winter in the Outer Banks is often characterized by strong northeast winds.  It is the opinion of many who live here that September, October, and November are the finest months on the Outer Banks. 

The ocean and sounds are at still quite warm and the days are usually warm and cool slightly at night.  It is an excellent time to enjoy the natural beauty of the island.


What is there to do in the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks is home to many things to do.  Some of the most popular activities include surfing, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, hang-gliding, canoeing, running, cycling, walking, jogging, shelling, kiteboarding, driving on the beach, suntanning, relaxing, skimboarding, grilling, crabbing, and flying a kite. 

The area is home to some nationally recognized landmarks including the Wright Brothers Monument, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, The Lost Colony, Jockeys Ridge and the Whalehead Club. Also, there are some great lesser known attractions like the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station, NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island, and Roanoke Island Festival Park.