I (Mo) grew up a few miles up the road from the Outer Banks (Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head). Therefore, returning for a long weekend with the family was just like returning to a second home. Growing up my family had an oceanfront cottage in Kill Devil Hills. Many of my memories as a child were located on the sands of the Outer Banks. Building sandcastles, collecting seashells, boogyboarding, Quagmires, the list goes on and on. This aspect of familiarity made returning for this visit even more special!
Where to Go
During our long weekend on the Outer Banks we frequented the areas of Corolla, Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Manteo, Rodanthe, Hatteras
If you are unfamiliar with the Outer Banks in North Carolina you should know that it is a broad term that indicates most of the coastal region within North Carolina. So, when writing a post such as this it is relevant to include that when we speak of particular places we are indicating a location within the realm of the Outer Banks.
When to Visit
The timing of your visit to the Outer Banks will determine many things about your experience there.
Spring - a beautiful time to visit the area with mild to warm temperatures and thinner crowds. If you're lucky you will catch some sunny days where you can walk along the sand and enjoy the ocean view. But, this time of year is typically still too chilly to go for a swim.
Summer - the busy season with warm to hot temperatures and lots traffic congestion.
Fall - (our favorite) - mild to cold temperatures with fewer crowds, clear skies at night, and generally good fishing.
Winter - mild to cold temperatures (depending on the particuar week of NC weather that is blowing through) with thin crowds and seasonally closed businesses.
For our latest visit we were fortunate to be there at Thanksgiving. It was still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors, yet the tourist season was closing down so there wasn't as much activity as there can be at other times of the year. Personally, being down at the Outer Banks during the fall and winter months is our favorite! You may miss out on some warm sunshine but there are many other perks that go along with it.
How to Get There
1) By Car:
Part of what makes this area so special is that its more remote than other areas. Travelling by car is pretty much the only transportation option for the area (unless of course you have a boat). The main lifeline of the island is NC Hwy 12 which runs all the way to Corolla in the north and Corolla to Ocracoke in the south (keep in mind Ocrakoke is only accessible via ferry). Traffic can be thick in the summer months but once the off season hits you can make it the length of the highway in about 3 hours.
Where to Stay
We stayed in a cottage in Kitty Hawk but ventured around the island (literally every part of the island) which is very easy to do, especially in the off season. We also camped at Oregon Inlet (closer to Nags Head and Rodanthe) one of the nights.
1) Private Rentals:
The private rental industry in the area has really become the option for families and large groups. There is a broad range of large, newer cottages to smaller, older cottages. Really, there is something for everyone!
2) Hotels & Inns:
The Outer Banks has most of the national chain hotels available but we are going to encourage you to search out a locally run establishment, many with decades of history in the area. There are a ton to choose from, many which are ocean front.
For those that are willing to pitch a tint, there are a few choice campgrounds within the area. Many are located South of Kill Devil Hills. This is a great option for a one night stay or for those adventure seekers.
Top Things to Do
1) Enjoy the Beach:
2) Play Putt-Putt
There are a number of putt-putting parks around the Outer Banks. Check out Blackbears Miniature Golf and hang out with some of the most beloved Pirates. Step into a land of Dinosaurs at Jurassic Park or enjoy a family day at Mutiny Bay.
The Outer Banks has become a known spot to find local and chain alike shopping treasures. Everything from Tanger Outlet, Belk, to Birthday Suits, and Wings. The Outer Banks is a beloved spot for finding your perfect outfit or event gift.
Duck & Corolla
The Farmers Daughter
Scarborough Lane Shoppes
The Cotton Gin
The Mystic Jewel
The Christmas Mouse
What the Shell
4) Lighthouse Tour
The Outer Banks is home to a number of North Carolina's well known lighthouses, including Cape Hatteras, one of the largest lighthouses on the eastern coast of North America.
Just off the coast of the Outer Banks you can stop in and take a tour of Five different lighthouses:
- Currituck Lighthouse
- Roanoke Marsh Lighthouse
- Bodie Island Lighthouse
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
- Ocracoke Lighthouse
Eat! Eat! Eat!
The Outer Banks is filled with fantastic local restaurants. These are only just a few of our favorites.
The ones highlighted are the ones we stopped at during this particular trip.
Stack em' high
Front Porch Cafe'
The Black Pelican
Roanoke Island Festive Park
The Elizabethan Gardens
The Whalehead Club
Currituck Banks Maritime Forest Trail Head
Our long weekend on the Outer Banks was one for the books. Filled with family, laughter, beautiful scenary and that warm feeling of being close to home.
Our post is in no way affiliated with the attatched locations
We are the Best's! Jo and Mo. We have been immensely blessed with many opportunities to see various parts of the world. We live an average, working life in Raleigh, NC but through our many opportunities have developed a passion to see the world. Our goal is to share with other desiring travelers different tips and experiences from around the world as we begin to check them off our bucket list. If anything, we hope to provide a little sense of motivation and adventure to those wishing to embark on their own journey!
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