The Outer Banks is a place I’ve always wanted to visit due to the striking similarities in the landscape to the island I call home (Nantucket).
My friend Kirsten Alana and I flew down from our East Coast homes (she lives in New York City) into Norfolk. It’s a breezy flight for East Coaster’s looking for a long weekend escape. From Norfolk, we rented a car and drove the two hour drive down to Dare Country in the Outer Banks.
I created a short film of our Outer Banks experiences throughout our four night stay – you can watch below!
This trip was sponsored by The Outer Banks. Opinions are always my own.
We didn’t have perfect weather during our trip which made for creative modifications to our itinerary while planning out our experiences. We ended up with a nice mix, and something for all types of weather.
Here are a few things we did that topped my travel list. You’ll find details on each activity as you continue to read to help you plan your own OBX adventure.
Beach Combing in Hatteras
Climb Bodie Island Lighthouse
Horseback Riding in Hatteras
Visit to the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center
Sailing in the Roanoke Sound
Visit a local Farmers Market
Fine Dining Dinner at the Sanderling Resort
If you’re looking for that tiny town feel, then Manteo on Roanoke Island is the place you want to be.
We stayed overnight at the Tranquil House Inn which was located on the water, steps away from our Outer Banks private sailing charter with Sail The Outer Banks on the Manteo waterfront. Run by the kindest local local couple, they spend their days showing travelers the lay of Roanoke sound. You can bring your own snacks and drinks aboard for the adventure.
Just about 15 minutes north of town, we spent one morning in the old fishing village of Wanchese. Making the sea-to-table connection, we visited Oneal’s Seafood at the Southern end of Roanoke Island one rainy morning and watched the fisherman offload their catch. They even have a store in Wanchese where you can pick up some for yourself.
If you’re an animal lover, another way to spent your time exploring the Outer Banks on a rainy day is through visiting the STAR Center at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island where they help to rehabilitate Sea Turtles.
We stayed the second two nights of our trip at the Sanderling Resort, a luxury hotel on the water in Duck. My room was cozy with a bathtub and balcony overlooking the pool and coffee on the first floor in the morning.
There are several restaurants on property, two of which we dined at. The Lifesaving Station, more casual serves breakfast (I loved their Eggs Benedict with local blue crab), lunch, dinner, and cocktails at their uniquely designed bar.
Just across the street you’ll find Kimball’s Kitchen for fine dining. Kirsten and I feasted on one of our favorite meals of the trip here. My roasted bone marrow appetizer was perfectly cooked.
To work all the food off there are plenty of activities such as kayaking, SUP, and beach cruisers to ride around the property an down the road. If you’re in the mood to laze around, you’ll want to hop in the hot tub like we did.
Not far down the road, you’ll find plenty to keep yourself exploring, and eating more delicious local treats.
In spring/summer/fall on a sunny day, visit Green Acre Farmers Market with fresh summer fruit, grab an ice-cream, a book, and a coffee along the Duck Town Park Boardwalk.
And a nice place to relax on an overcast afternoon and get an organic body or facial treatment is the Aqua Restaurant + Spa. I loved my Soundside Signature Facial with Eminence Organics products, a skincare line made in Hungary with beautiful plant based products. My facial began with a chamomile cleanser followed by exfoliation with strawberry rhubarb dermafoliant, a sugar plum facial oil and acai mask, foot massage while it set in, and a tropic vanilla day cream with zinc to finish off.
*TIP: if you’re getting body work done, request one of the rooms with a view like Kirsten had for her Maritime Massage.
A visit to the Outer Banks would not be complete without a local brew – We sampled four at wind powered brewery Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills. I loved their modern interior with aeronautical reminders of the Wright Brothers – their first flight took place back in 1903 in Kitty Hawk.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore makes up more than 70 miles of what constitutes the 130 miles of the Outer Banks. I’m a sucker for exploring and climbing lighthouses so Bodie Island Lighthouse was no different. Climb the 219 stairs to the top of and be rewarded with stunning views atop. The interior of the climb up is just as photogenic as the views are when you reach the top.
If you’re a water baby, Hatteras Island is probably for you. There are many things to choose from in or on the water. I loved watching the kite surfers, beach combining for old oyster shells that have been buried in the sand for decades, and watching Kirsten ride her horse Willem down the beach with Hatteras Island Horseback Riding.
I hope enjoy planning your trip with our Outer Banks Travel Guide!
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