A few Perseids can be seen each night between July 17 and August 24, cloud cover permitting. They will peak on the nights of August 11 and 12. Best viewing time is 3am till dawn. You can either stay up or hit the rack early and get up at 2am. You will need around 45 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the car for best night vision.
No need to look in any particular direction. Just lay on your back as best you can. Easy to do on the beach! Then just lay back and watch. The next time it will be this big is 2027 so take advantage, weather permitting. The moon is going to cooperate as it should be setting around 1am.
Of course if you are in Kill Devil Hills or any well lit area you may want to seek a darker spot. South Nags Head or further south towards Hatteras is much darker.