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Please share your favorites on the OBX


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Our entire immediate family, 17 in total from 16mos to 53, are vacationing in the Outer Banks next week. This is a first for us and we are so excited. I know there are tons of things to do, restaurants, etc. I was hoping those of you who have been there before would share your favorite restaurants ( date night and family oriented), coffee shops, ice cream shops, shop shops:) places to take the kids and the like. We are in Corolla but are happy to drive anywhere within 30-40 minutes. Thanks!!

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Date Night: The Paper Canoe close to Duck. Delicious with amazing sound side views and sunset.


Family fun: there's a wildlife center in Corolla (http://www.ncwildlife.org/Learning/EducationCenters/OuterBanks.aspx) that offers classes - you can sign up a month in advance, although off season you might not have to? The museum in the center is worth a visit as is the lighthouse.


We like The Corolla Chapel for church if that is your kind of thing.


The lighthouse deli has great bagels. I'm told Duck donuts is worth a stop.


There is a nice boardwalk along the estuarine (almost as far north as you can drive w/o 4WD) and we've seen wild horses and water mammals (otters?) playing at the end.


There's a tour of the Whalehead Club, we've never done it 'cause it is a little expensive. I don't know if they have the Wednesday night wine tasting while you'll be there, but we haevt done that either lol


ETA: Duck is about as far as you can get in 30-40 mins from Corolla. When you come in a stop at Kitty Hawk to see the Wright Brothers Museum and Memorial is worth your time. If you come from the south, the Aquarium may be worth a stop. Others like it better than we did.


We love Corolla! So much to do, or you can play on the beach.

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We enjoyed the Wright Brothers museum. It's a quickie, but I thought it was interesting, esp if they know the story behind it.


The older kids and younger adults might enjoy going to the sand dunes and running down. They are in Kitty Hawk, too.


We saw the play on Roanoke Island (The Lost Colony)--I think, if they know the story, it's interesting for kids maybe 8 and up. It's a bit slow, but well done.


Many years ago, we'd go to the Island Gallery and The Christmas Shop on Roanoke, but I don't even know if it's there anymore.

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Oh, we just love Corolla! This past summer was our fifth visit there :D You'll have so much fun!


When we go, we spend the week completely vegging out and hanging out together (with extended family who live far away), so I don't have too many suggestions. But I'll second the suggestions for the Wildlife Center and Duck Donuts. 


I'm not much for souvenirs and I hate shopping on vacation, but I love going to the Tar Heel Trading Company in the Tim Buck II shopping center because they have such beautiful things. And in the same shopping center is a tiny bakery called Crumbles that we only just discovered this past visit. The owners are just the sweetest people, and the desserts were incredible (YMMV, of course!). 


DH and my uncle enjoyed going to the Whalehead wine festival, and we always buy some wine from Vineyard on the Scuppernong while we're there.


If you're staying far out in Corolla (almost to where the highway ends at the entrance to the wild horse area), you may pass a sharp bend in the road where you see a little tiny parking lot. That's the Estuarine Nature Walk, which is a lovely little nature walk and boardwalk. I did the nature walk with my youngest, and while we were wandering in the woods, we kept hearing wild horses whinnying nearby, but we never saw them, no matter how much we walked! It was almost spooky :lol:


And every year we say we're going to do a wild horse tour, but we still haven't gotten to it. If one of your family members has a four-wheel-drive vehicle, you can just drive yourself out there. You may or may not see them, but if it's free, it's just good fun anyway. One morning my uncle and aunt were up at dawn, and they hiked down the beach to where there's a large fence to keep the wild horses in the preservation section. There were horses just hanging out all along the fence line, and my aunt and uncle got to spend some time just watching them. 


One year we got to watch a huge tortoise lay her eggs in one of the dunes and then head back down to the ocean and swim off (the wildlife people were there monitoring and keeping the crowd back). Another year we were there in early September and the ocean was filled with tiny turtles!!! (The shoreline was also full of birds catching and eating them, though, so if you see them, be prepared to see that too.) And we see an amazing number of dolphins every year. 


It's a wonderful place, truly. I hope your family has a great vacation!


ETA: I should have read lady dusk's post more carefully. I mentioned most of the same things she did :lol:

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My maternal grandfather was born in Corolla. He drove the first automobile on the Outer Banks. His father was a Methodist minister, who went up and down the OBX preaching and whatnot. At one point, they lived in the house that the Wright Brothers had lived in when they were working on their flying machine. My grandfather said there were all sorts of notes and receipts and stuff lying around when his family moved in; his mother threw everything away because who knew those guys would be famous and their notes might have had historical value? My other g-grandfather was the last civilian lighthouse keeper at Ocracoke. :-)


Y'all might enjoy going to the Lost Colony presentation in Manteo. If that's too pricey, y'all might enjoy just sightseeing on the grounds.


You can't get far in only 30-40 minutes. Once you're south of Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, the speed limit is sloooooow. And you really want to go to Ocracoke, which requires a (free) ferry ride. To have been to the OBX but not to Ocracoke would be tragic! On the way down, you could stop at the Orange Blossom Cafe in Buxton (the Cape Hatteras light is in Buxton), and if you're there early enough in the morning, you could have an apple ugly. Yum.


I'll be there for one whole day next month. :-)

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The Weeping Radish restaurant and brewery.  I think they moved locations, but their food is delicious!


Ocracoke has many great restaurants (and shops), but it's been eight years (ack!) since we were there.  Our favorite is The Back Porch, though; we've spent several of our 16 anniversaries there, and the one pie I make (for DH's birthday and Father's Day) is the coconut cream pie from TBP's cookbook.

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On the way into Corolla, we often stop at this place in Southern Shores to pick up crabcakes . They make a great dinner that doesn't take long.  http://coastalprovisionsmarket.com/


We do Duck Donuts one morning usually. 


We stayed in Corolla Light last year, and there's a little shopping center that adjoins it on the ocean side of the road.  There's a cute little coffee shop and bakery in there.


We usually do a night of seafood at home where we pick stuff up at a local fish market, but I can't recall where Dh picked up the last 1-2x in Corolla.  We also like to do Ina's clambake one night sometimes and source it at the same spot.  We find it easier to eat in than go out every night with a large crowd, since we usually have little kids and a 90+ yo grandparent with us.  There are 2-3 in that area if I recall correctly, so just read reviews and see what works for you.  We don't pay for the pre made "clambakes."  You can have them precook the seafood at some places if you want even easier. 


The food was not earth shattering, but we did dinner last yr at and it was decent.  DH and I went back for a date night for oysters and drinks.  Sunsets are lovely, and the reason to go IMO.  We took the whole family one night, and it is kid friendly.  We usually go in Sept and there is still sometimes a wait, so keep that in mind.  I'm sure in high season it gets super busy for anything close to sunset. http://coastalprovisionsmarket.com/


In high school, I took a kayak tour with friends and it was fabulous.  It inspired me years later to buy a kayak.  So much fun.



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One year we went in early October, stayed in Carolina Comfort Zone, a rental house, which is either in Rodanthe or Avon, I forget. The water in the Sound was still warm! We had inflatable boat, kayak, and that was a lot of fun.

We took the ferry to Ocracoke. Toured the Pirate Museum, might be called Graveyard of the Atlantic, I just know there was a pirate museum. Went to the National Park, maybe for the lighthouse(?) there and enjoyed presentation from the Park Ranger dude (Native American Nice Guy).

There is an aquarium somewhere in the area of Outer Banks, might be on mainland, we enjoyed that.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Wright Brothers Museum.



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