First off, Iím kind of nostalgic for this area b/c I grew up in VA Beach and spent big chunks of summer on the Outer Banks. Weíd do family camping trips to NC and I learned to surf at the Hatteras light house. This was my first time back in over 10 years though.
Getting there: You have to fly into Norfolk, VA and then drive about 1.5 hours. There are other routes, but this is the fastest and most reliable (be careful of other routes w/ferries in summer). We stayed in Nags Head.
I pulled up near dusk and saw 3 kites in the waves. I went over and talked to them and met Dimitri M. Really nice guy who started Eclipse Kites. He gave me his number and pointed me to where he was riding each day.
Riding conditions: The wind can range from 10-30 and comes from all different directions. It wasnít the ìturn on everyday at 3:37î wind but so what. It blows nearly everyday anyway and sometimes all day. The wind direction often dictates whether youíre riding waves or flat water. I missed the first wave day by arriving too late but got 3 flat water days out of 5. That meant I was riding in the sound. I loved it! In the sound, you just stand up and right the kite and walk to your board. Try any move you want. Crash your kite often. It didnít come naturally for me and I wish I had that when I was a newbie. Unbelievable how much faster you can progress. No wetsuit in summer.
This is the land of down winders. I did a 3 miler to the REAL slick and had a blast.
Familyís conditions: They loved it. The SW wind was much warmer than weíre used to in SF. And the shallow sound meant the kids could run around and play semi autonomously for hours. I could kite right in front of them too. Very nice and wife wants to go back. All in all Iíd rank this place up w/Hawaii as a good spot for family vacation that has wind.
Other family stuff: If you land in Norfolk, you can get to some deep American heritage quickly. Thereís Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown fort & Yorktown (end of American Revolution, remember?). Civil war stuff everywhere too. On light wind days in NC, go to the Wright Brothers Memorial.
Sidebar: The first big difference I noticed between the Bay Area and VA/NC were the police. They were everywhere. My uncles told me the local police will pull you over for anything they can find. The state police are the ones w/the mirrored sunglasses (on both sides). Felt weird. Oh well, just drive the speed limit b/c VA has a new law that if you drive more that 20 mph the speed limit, you get a $2,500 fine. I think itís $3,000 for a DUI (payable in 5 annual installments).