Cape Hatteras, NC beach ranks among most affordable in US


The beachfront at Cape Hatteras National Seashore was named one of the most affordable in the country.


If you’re searching for an affordable spring break trip, the North Carolina coast may be your best bet, new rankings show.

That’s because an Outer Banks destination ranks No. 2 on a nationwide list of beaches with reasonable prices, according to findings from the online vacation rental marketplace HomeToGo.

The beachfront at Cape Hatteras National Seashore earned a top spot on the list after HomeToGo studied rates for booking accommodations from March 1 to June 20, 2022. The website said it also examined the database Numbeo and other price data to determine the costs of parking and buying soda and sunscreen near the shore.

When factoring in those spring break basics and nearby rental rates that can run under $69, a trip to Cape Hatteras totals $77.60 per night, according to data shared in a Feb. 28 news release.

Cape Hatteras is on the Outer Banks, barrier islands off of North Carolina. The National Park Service site “protects parts of three barrier islands: Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island,” according to its website.

While some may know the area for its iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, there are activities for beachgoers, too.

“You can enjoy walking along the nearly 70 miles of beach, sitting around the crackle and warmth of a beach fire in the evening, flying kites in the warm summer breezes, picnicking with your favorite food, searching for shells washed ashore, sculpting sand into works of art, or just relaxing on the warm, golden sand,” the park service said.

The Ocracoke area of Cape Hatteras National Seashore in NC is among the nation’s best beaches. Cape Hatteras National Seashore photo

It’s not the first time a place on the Outer Banks has been recognized on a national scale.

In March 2021, the rental website Airbnb said Kitty Hawk was one of the most-searched destinations for potential travelers.

Two months later, Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach and Lighthouse Beach in Buxton made a list of the nation’s best beaches after a Florida professor studied the sand, surf and other factors.

But the North Carolina coast missed out on another recent ranking.

Last month, none of the state’s vacation spots were named among Tripadvisor’s top 10 U.S. beaches. The list considered travel website ratings and reviews from 2021, McClatchy News reported.

On the HomeToGo list, the cheapest beach destination was Ocean City, Maryland. Rounding out the top five locations were Surfside Beach in South Carolina; Jacksonville Beach in Florida; and Galveston Island’s East Beach in Texas.

“Beachfront homes with full kitchens and plenty of outdoor space reign as the accommodation of choice for travelers who are looking to dive into a new destination without having to travel far,” Caroline Burns, head of public relations for HomeToGo, said in the release.

This story was originally published March 2, 2022 7:17 AM.

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Simone Jasper is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

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