Originally Posted by tstark
We will be staying at the KOA in Rodanthe ...
I haven't been to the OBX for 10 years, but the KOA is a good choice. The beach is just over the sand dune. You can't get any closer. The "bargain" campground in the area is the Ocean Waves Campground. It's located a few hundred yards south of the KOA.
However, I always camped at the more expensive Camp Hatteras as all it's roads/sites are paved and level. Traveling south on NC-12, the KOA entrance is on the left about two hundred yards after you pass Camp Hatteras.
My wife and I would often walk down the beach and then go through the KOA Kampground to shop at their camp store as it was much larger and more complete than the store at Camp Hatteras.
While there are many attractions to see, one that's easy to get to (less than a mile north of the KOA on NC-12) is the Chickamacomico Life-Saving Station
On Thursday afternoons (the website recommends that you be there by 1:30 PM, but I suggest being there even earlier as parking can get rather tight) they perform the Beach Apparatus Drill where they reenact an actual rescue using a breeches-bouy. You can read more about this by clicking on Summer Program
which is located in the block on the right that contains the Tours & Museum Gift Shop Hours
This sounds like it could be your first visit to the OBX so I'm going to provide a little FYI here.
- Bring your own shade. There are few, if any trees at the KOA (or many of the campgrounds on the OBX for that matter). Most sites are in the open. The summer heat and humidity can make life most uncomfortable outside.
- Be alert for wind. The OBX in a naturally windy place and summer storms can suddenly crop up. There was one time when we couldn't open our awning for the entire duration of our stay.
- The mosquitos can eat you alive. Sometimes campgrounds have been known to fog in order to keep them at bay. Take plenty of repellant (and sunscreen too! It's extremely easy to get sunburned there.). A lot of the mosquito issue depends on which way the wind is blowing. If the winds coming from the ocean, it's usually not too bad. But, if it's coming from the sound, it tends to draw mosquitos from the swampy areas.
- For everyday things like milk, bread etc the camp or a convenience store in the area will suffice, but be prepared to P-A-Y. For other less frequently used items or if you need a real grocery store, you're going to have to drive about 25 miles north (to Nags Head) or south (to Avon) to reach one.
- Traffic is horrendous on weekends, especially on the upper peninsula (Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk). The grocery (and the other stores too) will be mobbed with the arriving weekenders and weekly rentals buying their food and other supplies. There are only a few routes and access points to reach the OBX and they all become congested. Driving lunacy prevails as people become frustrated with all the traffic and delays. Be careful! Once you get through the the intersection at what is known as Whalebone Junction (where US-158 ends, US-64 begins off to the right and NC-12 continues on to Hatteras Island), you'll enter the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and driving should become a lot less challenging. As you travel across the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, be especially alert for crosswinds.
- There's so much to do and see at the OBX, you won't have enough time to see it all... You'll be back!