Is Southern Shores, NC a good place to live? Southern Shores has the best of both worlds…great year round living and fabulous vacation living. There’s beach zone living with its smattering of classic flattop cottages and numerous classic vacation homes. A few folks reside here year round but it is mostly vacation homes. The beach zone can be roughly described as that area that is just a short walk to the ocean. And then there is many square miles of great primary residential living. Very few vacation rental homes are in this area. This western side of the town features beautiful homes set amidst a dense maritime forest with interconnecting deep water canals and trails. There’s also beautiful sunsets over Currituck Sound. This post discusses some of the finer points of Southern Shores living.
It was by design that the town has the feel that it does. There was not much of anything on the land back in 1947. That’s when David Stick and his father, artist Frank Stick, purchased 2700 acres of land from ocean to sound north of Kitty Hawk. Barren dunes extended 200 yards from the sea and on the other side of the dunes was a dense maritime forest interspersed with impenetrable swales and swamp.
With servicemen returning from WWII and reentering the workforce, the original idea was to sell vacation lots complete with a two or three bedroom cottage—the flat tops. But David saw the Southern Shores project as much more than a vacation community. To him, the soundside with its dense forest and swamp represented an opportunity to create a real town.
To finance his new venture, he sold the dogwood trees in the forest for lumber. At that time, dogwood was the best wood to use for bobbins in the thriving weaving mills of North Carolina. The money they realized from the wood, financed draining the swamps and creating canals, surveying lots and building the first roads.
The dogwood street names that seem to be everywhere in Southern Shores is a tribute to how important the tree was to its founding.
Southern Shores is a developer’s masterpiece. Over the years, town leadership has taken a number of steps to keep that residential quality of life. Lot size here is larger than other Outer Banks towns, keeping density lower. Along the higher dunes that face Currituck Sound, there are height restrictions on homes affording everyone on the west side of the dunes a sunset view.
There are other unique characteristics of the town. Driving around the town, noticeable by their absence are power and telephone lines. Back when he was laying out the plats for his town, David Stick insisted the power company bury their lines. Perhaps as an unanticipated benefit, during intense storm events, when other towns have lost power, Southern Shores homeowners quite often still have power.
The town also has one of the most extensive multi use paths on the Outer Banks. The three mile path that parallels South Dogwood Trail is a beautiful walk, run or bike ride through the heart of Southern Shores. Turning onto East Dogwood, it climbs a hill and intersects NC12 (Duck Road). The path along Duck Road is wide and offers an adventurous bike rider the option of heading north to Duck or south to Kitty Hawk. There are also some maintained trails interspersed through the residential areas and the Chicahauk subdivision common area giving easy access to the beach.
Town government is somewhat different than other municipalities in the area. The basic services—fire, police, planning and inspections—are part of town hall, but homeowner associations take on some of the other responsibilities.
As an example, the Southern Shores Civic Association maintains three parks for its members. Soundview Park is a beautiful park on Currituck Sound with picnic tables, a playground and a beach area. Other SSCA parks include tennis courts, a basketball court and more. The SSCA also has a boat club with three marinas on Jean Guite Creek.
So is Southern Shores a good place to live?” We certainly think so. Here’s a link to all homes for sale and under contract in Southern Shores today. When looking at places to own on the Outer Banks, it’s worth looking into Southern Shores living.
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