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Our Week in the Outer Banks

2018 September 2
by Becky

Outer Banks - Wave jumping

After years of saying we would, we finally made it to the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

Summers in Old Town are busy with tourists but void of residents as they all flock to places like Ocean City, NJ; Virginia Beach and Rehoboth Beach in Virginia; and then all the little towns in the Outer Banks like Duck, Corolla, Kitty Hawk…it’s a ghost town. Getting together with friends was almost impossible as we all had different schedules and traveling at different times.

When we found ourselves here alone last August, we decided we’d plan an Outer Banks trip for THIS August and it’s a good thing we planned it early because the rental houses go fast. After hours of researching and looking at every available place in our budget that had a) a small swimming pool, b) a hot tub, and c) was right on the water, we picked one and kind of forgot about it.

Nine months later here we are! We did it! We made the 4-5 hour drive here to Duck, NC, this unbelievably quaint little area and loved every minute. The weather was fantastic, ocean had the perfect size waves for us to jump through, and the beach was pristine. Our pool came in very handy too, as Finn learned how to swim that week! A couple days before he said, “I don’t want to use my floaties any more” and boom, he never put them on again. Just shy of four years old.

The house was huge and weather-worn from sea salt air, but nice and cozy and just right for relaxing, lazy days spent in our swimming suits. We had a our bikes to ride the short distance to the little shopping area of Duck where we got ice cream, walked the boardwalk, and inspected all the trinkets in the shops. There was even a kids night with a DJ who held a dance contest that both our boys participated in—it was awesome. Watching the sky each night was a show in itself, so we did it from the boardwalk or from the beach or from the little balcony off the kitchen while eating dinner.

We took a 20 minute drive down to Kitty Hawk to check out the First Flight memorial and wow am I glad we did. It was fantastic! We learned so much about the Write Brothers and their incredible commitment to learning the science behind human flight. Extra special was the kite checkout booth where we grabbed a kite and flew it above the field that saw over 1000 test flights of the Wright Brother’s glider creations. It was downright magical.

Another morning, while Stu had to do some work, I took the boys 20 minutes North to Corolla to see the historic lighthouse and check out the very tiny town. The boys made the climb up to the top and one of them joined me in the walk around the balcony…the other stayed just inside the door. It was pretty high! We had fun driving through all the different types of rental house neighborhoods, some where enormous! But in the end we liked Duck the best. I did want to check out the 4×4 beaches north of Corolla but was scared of getting stuck…even with our SUV I wasn’t so sure about airing down my tires and giving sand-driving a try. So we skipped it.

The favorite evening activity had to be Ghost Crab hunting, which is a pretty huge thing in the OBX. You head out at dusk or dark, armed with flashlights and buckets and nets, to find tons of sandy-colored crabs coming out of their hidey-holes and running along the beach. The boys thought it was amazing and spent lots of sunny beach time finding baby crabs who didn’t know about staying hidden.

The boys were in water 80% of our days, be it hot tub, pool, or ocean. My favorite activity was floating on a raft in the pool reading my ziplocked Kindle, I flew through A Little Stranger and right into Crazy Rich Asians…both awesome reads. In the evenings we usually made dinner on the grill, a couple times heading into town to check out the restaurant offerings. Coastal Cravings wasn’t bad and, though we really aren’t a donut family, the kids loved their early morning trip to Duck Donuts. After seeing the insanely long lines there the day before we figured it must be something worth checking out. (The ordering process is cool but really, they are just donuts) The best meals were the ones on our deck.


We loved this trip so much we almost booked it again right then and there, but decided to wait a bit. The best part of the trip was how rested we felt coming home, which isn’t the norm—usually we feel like we need another vacation after our vacations! And it was so nice to just pack everything up in the car like groceries, beach gear, puzzles, toys, the works.

This trip will be repeated for sure! Have you been to this area? What did we miss? Where do you stay? We’re already planning for next year.

3 Responses
  1. September 6, 2018

    I always love it when i get to a vacation spot and find that their are not so many tourists. It feels like having the whole place to yourself and its an awesome feeling for me at least.

  2. September 8, 2018

    The Outer Banks is without a doubt my families favorite place to visit. We look forward to our trip every year and it never fails to disappoint. There’s just something special about the place and it’s a great way to build family memories. It’s nice to see that your family also got to enjoy the wonders of the OBX!
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  3. September 21, 2018

    Hi Becky,
    Looks like your boys had a lot of fun! Great photos! :) We love the beach and my boys would also love The Outer Banks. Something to check on.

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