Nags Head boasts more than a dozen hotels, motels and inns, which range from small one-story lodges to high-rise oceanfront national chains.

Because of this large number of hotels, and varying locales and sizes, Nags Head is one of the most popular destinations for long weekend vacationers or small families and couples who want a little room by the beach to call their own.

Nags Head Hotel Locations

The hotels in Nags Head are typically clustered together in a few distinctive locations, with each region appealing to varying Outer Banks lovers.

  • Beach Road - Most of Nags Head's hotels are located along the "Beach Road" or NC Highway 12. This location means that these establishments are within an easy walk to the beach, and are essentially a block or less away from the oceanfront. In addition, hotels and motels on the Beach Road are close to a world of restaurants, shops, and nightlife, and often have their own restaurant or bar on-site. Accommodations in this region also vary greatly, from small motels that have been standing strong for 50 years or more to larger, multi-story national hotel chains.
  • South Nags Head - While South Nags Head is primarily home to vacation rental homes, there are a very small handful of hotels which are close to this region's intersection with the Beach Road and the Beach Bypass. This includes one of the larger hotels in Nags Head, a large oceanfront high rise that's convenient to US 158 and US 64 / 264.
  • Washington Baum Bridge - A pair of hotels are located on the skinny causeway which stretches across the Roanoke Sound, connecting the town of Nags Head with the town of Manteo. These hotels are small but incredibly close to the water, and as a result, are good fits for anglers and mariners looking for a quiet place to stay for a night. These two hotels are also close to several noteworthy restaurants, as well as the big Roanoke Island attractions like the aquarium, the Elizabethan Gardens and Roanoke Island Festival Park.

Staying at a Nags Head Hotel

Nags Head hotels are best for couples and small families who are staying for a night, a long weekend, or even a week's vacation. The majority of Nags Head hotels offer community pools, game rooms, on-site restaurants or snack bars, easy beach access, or all of the above.

Rates at Nags head hotels vary by season, with many hotels offering noticeably cheaper nightly rates on weekdays, and on off-season weekends when the beach is colder and fairly deserted.

A handful of smaller hotels close up shop for the winter - generally from Thanksgiving or Christmas until early spring - but the national chains and larger hotels stay open all year long.

Booking a Nags Head Hotel

The majority of hotels, motels, inns and even B&Bs in Nags Head have individual websites which outline amenities, seasonal rates, and offer online booking. This makes it easy for potential guests to view at a glance if a room is available for their desired weekend.

Smaller motels, or classic historic motels, may have limited websites without online booking, and must be called directly for inquires or to secure a reservation.

Summer and holiday weekend visitors will want to reserve a room well in advance - at least 2-3 months before an intended arrival. Despite the large selection of hotel and motels in Nags Head, these accommodations are very popular and fill up quickly, especially over 4th of July, Memorial Day Weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and other popular beach vacation times.

Shoulder season and off-season visitors have much more flexibility and can often find a number of open hotel rooms just days before their stay.

Many hotels and motels in Nags Head offer discounts for AAA members, military personnel and veterans, seniors, or all of the above. Call ahead or check the respective website to see if any discounts apply.

The Cotton Gin

For those traveling to the Outer Banks, The Cotton Gin is a beloved landmark with its large windmill and picturesque gardens. The Cotton Gin has stood in the same location since 1929, starting as a working cotton gin and growing to a gift store with 4 locations. Visitors are treated to a unique shopping experience in our main store in Jarvisburg, as well as our beach stores in Corolla, Duck, and Nags Head. Explore room after room filled with décor for your home and coastal fashions for both men and women. Discover the brands you really want, like, Vera Bradley, Vineyard Vines, La Mer Luex, Simply Southern, Lindsay Phillips, Scout, Pandora, Kameleon, Brighton, Spartina, Tommy Bahama, Southern Tide and Salt Life and Old Guys Rule - all under one roof!


Don’t forget the gourmet market, or shop our beautiful linens for your bedroom and bath. We also feature coastal books and fine art, or just a whimsical fun gift to bring home to family and friends. Stop by soon and don’t forget to try our estate grown wines in our stores or visit our vineyard and winery, Sanctuary Vineyards, located adjacent to the original Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.


Most know The Cotton Gin as a must-stop shop for fine gifts, beachwear, souvenirs and so much more, but this retailer has a long-standing history within the Outer Banks. A local landmark that holds almost a century of memories, The Cotton Gin started from humble beginnings and continues to adapt to the times and tourists. Tommy Wright’s family has been in the Outer Banks for nearly 200 years. His great-great grandfather, Jacob Francis Wright, shipwrecked in Duck back in the early 1800s. Calling these barrier islands his new home, Wright and his family acclimated to their new environment.


Adaptation is a common theme for the Wright family. Tommy and his wife Candace, who continue to steer The Cotton Gin, have seen not only their business change with the times, but the Outer Banks as a vacation destination as well. A farm market in Jarvisburg eventually transformed and flourished into several retail locations dotting the Outer Banks.


“As the area changed and tourism took off in the 1960s, the family saw people coming for vacations, so they began to grow vegetables and things developed from there,” says Tommy Wright. The Wright family expanded upon the farm market and began to remodel a working cotton gin, later transforming the gin into The Cotton Gin general store in the late 1960s. While the additions to the farm store drew visitors, it was their encounters with the Wright family that kept people coming back year after year, which is something that remains true today.

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