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Vacation Reading: Books to Enjoy by the Sea in the Outer Banks, NC

A string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, the Outer Banks emerges as a top choice for a beach holiday. Renowned for its pristine shores, abundant outdoor activities, and delightful year-round weather, it’s the perfect place to relax, forget about the world, and feel time melt away. But you know what can make this holiday paradise even better? A good book to keep you company.

Why Take a Book on Your Vacation?

A book is the perfect companion to fill those gaps between swimming, sunbathing, or exploring the surrounding area. It also allows you to unwind and disconnect from daily life.

Whether you crave a light and breezy beach read, a thrilling mystery, or a thought-provoking novel, there’s a book out there to perfectly complement your beach vibe. Plus, reading local literature can deepen your appreciation for North Carolina’s culture and history.

Wondering what to read? Look no further! In this blog, we’ll bring you a list of titles perfect for your Outer Banks getaway.

Are you ready to embark on a literary journey?

Reading on Ocracoke Beach


Outer Banks by Anne Rivers Siddons

This novel by Anne Rivers Siddons is a story about four women who forge a deep friendship during their college years in the 1960s South. The story follows their lives as they navigate love, loss, secrets, and the ever-changing times.

Because of its setting, this makes for a delightful companion for a trip to the Outer Banks. The novel captures the essence of the Outer Banks like no other, including the rich history and unique culture of the region, all while evoking a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era.

Praised for her ability to create characters that are both complex and relatable, Anne Rivers Siddons is a New York Times bestselling author known for her Southern fiction novels.


People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

This contemporary romance novel is filled with comedic elements and is often described as a friends-to-lovers story. 

You get the picture, right? The plot revolves around two best friends, Poppy and Alex, who take annual vacations together, but one big truth has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could that be?

This is a classic rom-com full of mutual pining, inside jokes, and amazing chemistry, and with that escape-worthy character that’s great for a vacation. The slow-burn romantic tension between Alex and Poppy is very well done, in perfect Emily Henry style. 

Emily Henry is a rising star in the world of contemporary romance novels, and her books are known for blending romance between well-developed characters with witty dialogue and comedic elements.

Beach Reading by Emily Henry

Another title by Emily Henry that makes for a fabulous vacation reading experience is “Beach Read” from 2020. The book follows two writers – January Andrews, a successful romance novelist, and Augustus Everett, an acclaimed literary fiction author.

As fate would have it, they are former college rivals who end up living in neighboring beach houses, both struggling with writer’s block. They strike a deal to challenge each other – January will try to write literary fiction, while Augustus will attempt to write a happy romance novel.

The book is a heartfelt exploration of themes like grief, betrayal, and learning to love again. Like the title above, it captivates for its engaging characters, clever premise, and poignant emotional depth. And with a title like that, we just couldn’t resist adding it to this list!


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

In this captivating story set in the wild North Carolina marsh, Delia Owens tells the tale of Kya, a brave girl who lives alone after her family leaves. The story shows both how Kya survives in the marsh and becomes friends with nature until a mysterious crime makes the townspeople suspect Kya.

Readers love the beautiful descriptions of the marsh, and the exciting mystery keeps you guessing until the end. Her vivid prose paints a picture so immersive, you can practically smell the salty air and feel the mud squelch beneath your feet. Delia Owens is like a mix of scientist, protector of nature, and writer, and she surprised everyone with this amazing debut in 2018.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

This romantic narrative unfolds in two timelines. In the present, an elderly man named Noah reads a story from a notebook to a woman in a nursing home. The story within the notebook details a passionate summer romance between Noah, a young man, and Allie, a woman from a wealthy family, in the 1940s on the North Carolina coast. Their love faces social barriers and the challenges of war. The story in the present explores whether their love could be rekindled after all these years.

The themes of love, loss, and second chances can truly resonate with beachgoers seeking a heartwarming and emotional literary escape. Besides, the story takes place on the North Carolina coast, offering a glimpse into the beauty of the area.

Nicholas Sparks is an American novelist best known for his romance novels, many set in the Southern United States. “The Notebook” is his debut novel and remains one of his most popular works. It was also turned into a successful film at the box office, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway, an icon of 20th-century literature, weaves a tale of resilience in The Old Man and the Sea. The novella revolves around Santiago, an aging Cuban angler confronting adversity. After enduring eighty-four days without a catch, he embarks on a journey deep into the Gulf Stream and encounters a colossal marlin. 

What follows is a grueling battle as the old man wrestles the giant fish alone at sea, revealing his unwavering determination and reverence for nature. This profound masterpiece, celebrated for Hemingway’s signature minimalist style, clinched the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and contributed to his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.


The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands by several authors

Written by several authors, The North Carolina Shore and Its Barrier Islands: Restless Ribbons of Sand (Living with the Shore) is a comprehensive guide to the North Carolina coast, focusing on its barrier islands. It covers the geology, ecology, history, and human impact on these dynamic landforms. The authors discuss the formation of barrier islands, the plants and animals that live there, the history of human settlement on the coast, and the challenges of living in a constantly changing environment.

Intended for a general audience and written in a non-technical style, the book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the North Carolina coast. After reading it, you’ll certainly see the coast in a different way!

Co-authored by Orrin H. Pilkey Jr., William J. Neal, Stanley R. Riggs, Craig A. Webb, David M. Bush, Deborah F. Pilkey, Jane Bullock, and Brian A. Cowan, the book is part of the Living with the Shore series.


Great Book Ideas to Enjoy on a Trip to OBX, NC

Selecting a title or two from the list provided above will undoubtedly enhance your beach getaway in the Outer Banks. Imagine yourself indulging in a few pages while exploring the shoreline or soaking in the cozy atmosphere of a local cafe — it sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

Here are some extra tips for reading while traveling on vacation:

  • Explore Local Bookstores: Seek independent bookstores or local shops at your destination. Not only will you find unique reads that offer insight into the culture and history of the area, but you’ll also be supporting local writers and businesses.

  • Research Local Authors: Before your trip, research authors from the region you’re visiting. Look for novels, short stories, or poetry collections that capture the essence of the destination. Reading works by local writers can provide a deeper understanding of the culture and landscape.

  • Find Inspiring Spots: Seek scenic spots where you can immerse yourself in a good book. Whether it’s a cozy cafe or a peaceful park, finding the perfect reading spot can enhance your vacation experience.

  • Try Audiobooks for Convenience: If you prefer an alternative medium or want to multitask while traveling, audiobooks are a great option. Download audiobooks onto your smartphone or portable device to enjoy while sightseeing, during long journeys, or maybe as you take a long hike up the mountains.

      • Embrace Digital Books: You can also opt for digital books while traveling to save space and weight in your luggage. Plus, you’ll have a wide selection of titles at your fingertips wherever you go!

      For more relevant local tips, head to our blog. We cover many topics from the best restaurants to the best spots to watch sunsets, and there’s much more coming.


      Wondering where to stay in the Outer Banks, NC?

      Booking your stay with Village Realty means staying in one of our exceptional, handpicked homes. From the oceanfront to the sound front, we offer outstanding OBX vacation rentals from South Nags Head to Corolla.

      Our number one priority? Your ultimate comfort and happiness. Our local staff will always go the extra mile to make sure you and your family have a special vacation in OBX.

      Staying with us, all you have to care about is letting the coastal beauty whisk you away – and you can rest assured it will!

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