On the Outer Banks, the Atlantic Ocean facing beaches are generally considered the star attraction, however visitors who love watersports, fishing, incredible views, and a little bit of romance may want to consider a soundfront vacation rental for their next OBX stay.

Soundfront vacation rentals border the open expanses of the local sounds, and with miles of unobstructed open water vistas, can be some of the prettiest retreats on the beach. Popular with kayakers, kiteboarders, windsurfers, and anyone who loves a great sunset to go with their evening cocktails, a soundfront vacation rental can allow newcomers to experience the best of the beach, while letting frequent vacationers enjoy the barrier islands in an entirely new perspective.

With an endless variety of properties available, and a quiet and peaceful location that allows everyone to sink into a vacation state of mind, a soundfront vacation rental might be your ideal destination for a vacation that's relaxing, a little exotic, and revolves around fun on the water.

The Basics of Soundfront Vacation Rentals

A soundfront vacation rental is, naturally, defined as any home or condo which borders the local saltwater sound, with no buildable lots or obstructions between the home's locale and the water's edge.

There are basically five sounds that border the western edge of the line of barrier islands that comprise the Outer Banks. Specifically, these sounds are the Currituck Sound which borders the northern Currituck beaches, the Albemarle and Roanoke Sounds which connect to the central Outer Banks, the Croatan Sound along the western edge of Roanoke Island, and the sprawling Pamlico Sound which borders both Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

At their most narrow, these sounds can be approximately five miles wide, and generally run in the 20-30 mile wide range, especially along Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. This means that soundfront vacation rentals have views that rival oceanfront homes, with sprawling vistas of open water that extend for miles into the horizon, and often, depending on area, without any other patch of land in sight.

Soundfront vacation rentals are popular retreats with watersports lovers, as the sound is the playground of choice for some of the Outer Banks most beloved sports, including windsurfing and kiteboarding. Newcomers to the open watersports scene will also appreciate the region, as the sound waters are generally shallow, calm, and have small lapping waves as opposed to the larger ocean breakers, and as such, serves as an ideal locale to practice easy-going sports such as kayaking or even stand up paddle boarding.

Fishermen also enjoy the area, as the sound is home to a wide range of saltwater species, in addition to clams, crabs, and even oyster beds just offshore. With many vacation rental homes featuring step-out-the-back-door access to the water, a fishing or sporting adventures requires little more than a short stroll and a quick launch.

The actual terrain leading from the property to the soundfront can vary greatly, however, all depending on the region of the vacation rental's location. The soundfront "backyard" can consist of a sandy soundside beach, a marshy area that's best accessed via a boardwalk, or even a bulk headed border that separates the property from sound waters that are 3' - 6' feet deep. The conditions can vary by village, and even by neighborhood, so visitors who are looking for a specific type of soundfront accommodation, (like a nice beach for small children or a deep bulk headed area for easy boat launching), are advised to review both the property's online pictures, and talk with the guest service agents at their local property management company for specifics.

Regardless of what the actual soundfront borders look like, all soundfront vacation rentals have one feature in common, and that is incredible views and simply amazing sunsets. On the Outer Banks, the sun sets nightly over the local sounds, illuminating the horizon in shades of purple, pink and orange, and presenting an incredible view for soundfront vacation renters. This is generally considered one of the best and easiest-to-enjoy features of a soundfront vacation rental for vacationers of all genres and interests, and a great sound sunset is typically the catalyst that keeps Outer Banks vacationers returning to the waterfront properties year after year.

Types of Soundfront Vacation Rentals

When it comes to soundfront vacation rentals, prospective guests will find that the sky is the limit when it comes to location, size and amenities available.

Virtually every town along the Outer Banks has soundfront accommodations available for rent, from Corolla to Ocracoke Island, and these properties vary greatly in size and splendor. A handful of small condo complexes are located both along the Outer Banks and the Inner Banks communities where small soundfront condos or hotels are popular near the local marinas. These condo developments are generally small, with private balconies and secluded community boardwalks or gazebos to enjoy the views, and feature all the peace and serenity of a soundfront location.

Soundfront vacationers will also find a number of moderately sized cottages and vacation homes in the 2-5 bedroom range, which are perfect for vacationing families, couples, and small groups of windsurfers and kiteboarders who want to enjoy the open water access. These homes can feature a range of amenities, most notably ample living spaces, decks, screened porches, and waterfront hot tubs, all designed and intended to take advantage of those incredible sound views.

Of course, visitors looking for luxury estates will find a selection of these as well along the sound, including 6-12 bedroom estates that come complete with private pools, game rooms, theater rooms, multiple living areas and all the bells and whistles of a quality resort. These properties are often attractive event homes, as a soundfront wedding can be easily capped off with an easy going poolside reception, and a gourmet sit-down dinner in a soundfront great room. Be sure and check with your vacation rental company for planning an extensive event to ensure your property of choice can accommodate your party size and specifications.

While soundfront vacation rentals can certainly have the same amenities as any Outer Banks vacation home, from wireless internet access to game rooms and pool tables, these homes generally have an extensive assortment of additional amenities that are unique to soundfront, and sometimes canalfront, properties.

For example, a soundfront vacation rental may offer guests a private boat dock, or a small crabbing dock for easy fishing, a watersports rigging area and launching point, a soundside boardwalk, and even a small sitting area or gazebo hovering over the water for some of the best views on the beach. These amenities only make the soundfront experience that much more enthralling, and visitors are advised to look for these amenities, particularly visitors with a particular sport or activity in mind, to ensure their soundfront rental meets all their expectations.

Several vacation rental companies even have a special designation for "Watersports Friendly" homes, meaning that it is relatively easy to launch from the property for kiteboarders, windsurfers and kayakers. Visitors of these varieties should look for this special amenity, or should contact their property management company to find out what properties can accommodate their sporting needs.

The Cost of Soundfront Vacation Rentals

Though it varies greatly, a soundfront vacation rental is generally a slightly cheaper alternative to an oceanfront home, and yet still features simply fantastic open water views. This discrepancy in price, however, is not as noticeable in the shoulder and off seasons, as while an oceanfront vacation rental's rates tend to drop significantly during the fall and spring months, a soundfront vacation rental's rates tend to dip more gradually. The reason for this is simply because the fall and spring are the most popular seasons for soundfront accommodations due to the exceptional windsurfing and kiteboarding conditions during these seasons, in addition to the warmer sound waters which are still warm enough for swimming, fishing crabbing and clamming.

Regardless, overall the rates on the Outer Banks for waterfront rentals of any kind or by no means expensive, and visitors are advised to tally up the costs of both a weekly rental and a week's stay at a hotel or motel in any vacation destination. Often, the Outer Banks wins hands down when it comes to amenities, location, and overall cost of a fun and exceptional vacation.

The Benefits of Soundfront Vacation Rentals

For windsurfers and kiteboarders, the benefits of a soundfront vacation rental are crystal clear, as these homes provide the best access to the wide open waters of the sound, and allow sports lovers easy locales to rig, launch, and come back to relax with an evening sunset. The same is true for visitors who are bringing along skiffs or small boats, kayakers, stand up paddle boarders, crabbers and fishermen, and virtually anyone whose idea of a perfect vacation revolves around the water.

That being said, there are a few benefits that the typical Outer Banks family should consider as well, besides the exceptional watersports and fishing access.

A soundfront vacation rental with a small sandy beach can be an ideal retreat for families with small children, as the waves are small and almost non-existent, the sound floor is shallow for miles, and the beach is generally located right outside the house, making it easy to keep an eye on the young ones. In addition, a soundfront home with a deeper water border which is protected with a bulk head can be a great training ground for novice fishermen, crabbers, and kayakers, as the areas is still calm, and yet deep enough to easily enjoy all of these adventures.

The big benefit is, of course, the sunsets, and these evening shows happen every night on the Outer Banks without interruption, with soundfront rental homes enjoying the best and most scenic views. Many homes take advantage of their proximity to the water by featuring extensive soundfront decks and screened porches, hot tubs, and living and dining areas that face walls of windows overlooking the sound waters. With the incredible sunset virtually visible from every room, a soundfront vacation rental is a fabulous way to enjoy a wide open waterfront vacation, and enjoy the quieter, relaxing scenery of the Outer Banks at dusk.

Clearly, vacationers have a multitude of reasons to enjoy a soundfront vacation rental, whether it's the awe inspiring sunsets from the vantage point of a warm hot tub, or the easy launching out to miles of open salty soundfront to explore. Regardless of the reason, vacationers will find that the soundfront vacation rental scene can be relaxing or action packed, depending on their tastes, with all the comforts and amenities one expects out of an ideal vacation accommodation.

Tips and Tricks for Renting a Soundfront Vacation Rental

  • Some communities are close enough to both major bodies of water that their properties offer both ocean and sound views, allowing guests to catch an ocean sunrise in the morning, and a sound sunset at night. Look for rentals in narrower strips of the Outer Banks, like the northern edge of Rodanthe Village or the southern edge of Frisco, both located on Hatteras Island, for vacation rental homes with panoramic waterfront views.
  • There's no need to invest in a major watersports equipment purchase to take full advantage of a soundfront location. Many local vacation rental supply businesses offer rental gear for all of the popular watersports, such as kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and even kiteboarding and windsurfing rigs. Best of all, these companies can often deliver right to your vacation rental home, making the process of picking up a new Outer Banks sport a breeze.
  • Several developments have community sound amenities in addition to any provided for an individual property, including community sound boat launches, boardwalks, and even gazebos for fantastic views. Upon arriving, take a stroll around your neighborhood to see what fantastic locales, amenities and outdoor resting areas are available in your neck of the woods.
  • If you do bring your own windsurfing, kiteboarding or fishing gear along, be on the lookout for vacation rental homes with lockable storage areas, often conveniently located underneath the house itself. This way, you can rest assured your gear is protected while still having easy access to it when it's time to hit the water.
  • Certain times of year have their own flair, and vacationers are encouraged to experience the soundfront in all seasons for the full affect. For example, in the early summer months of May or June, the sound comes to life in the evening with the presence of dozens if not hundreds of "jumping mullet," or baiting mullet - small fish which literally "jump" out of the sound waters as the sun goes down. In the late spring and early fall, hundreds of migrating birds may make a brief appearance en route north or south to the nearest wildlife refuge. Keep your eyes peeled for these spectacular additions to the nightly sunset shows, and enjoy a full cabaret of Outer Banks scenery and wildlife.

Soundfront vacation rentals are gaining popularity as one of the Outer Banks' best locations for waterfront bliss and relaxation adjacent to the wide open saltwater. With miles of locales to choose from, and some of the most scenic vistas on the beach, it's no wonder that these properties are becoming beloved annual destinations for newcomers and longtime visitors alike.

On your next vacation, try something different and search through the seemingly endless array of properties that are located on the western edge of the islands. With phenomenal launches for a variety of watersports, and easily the best sunset vantage points on the beach, it's clear that the allure of the soundfront vacation rentals on the Outer Banks isn't drifting away anytime soon.

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