I live in Southern Shores (ocean side) and my street is about half permanent residents and half vacation rentals. it's a nice quiet neighborhood, great for walks, bicycling, and kids. Most folks don't even know Southern Shores is tthere as they drive north from kitty hawk to duck, since it's so residential houses and trees, not many businesses. Depending on where you are in Southern Shores, you can walk or ride bikes to Duck, where you have lots of great restaurants and shopping options. We like Aqua, at the south end of duck, the blue point grill on the boardwalk (which is definitely worth checking out), and Duck Donuts. For really fine dining drive North to the Sanderling Inn. We do most of our grocery shopping at the WalMart and the Harris Teeter that you'll pass on 158 as you arrive at Southern Shores. The places in Kitty Hawk and KDH are not as pedestrian or bicycle friendly as the places in Duck, but we really like Trio, a wine bar/restaurant usually frequented by locals located on the bypass (158) and Ocean Boulevard another great restaurant located on the beach road. The shopping center behind Spouthern Shores Realty also seems to be catching on now, although it has always been there. Coastal Provisions is a bit like Trio, a restaurant/wine bar/high end food place. I've stopped there a couple times for coffee and the people are really nice. Be sure to explore the sound side of southern shores by bicycle. it's really nice. the best thing about southern shores in summertime is once you've crossed the causeway, you're there. no traffic jams heading north to duck or corolla or south to hatteras.