OUTER BANKS: DUCK, NORTH CAROLINA
Excuse me for my excitement and love for this little beach town in North Carolina but after visiting the same town year-after-year for 14+ years, I really can’t think of a better family-friendly beach week getaway!
I am always dreaming up my next adventurous trip or unique destination, however there is something wonderful about going to a familiar place, unwinding, and having zero planning/research/coordination to do. This is what the Outer Banks is for me.
Duck has continued to grow over the years, adding more and more restaurants, waterfront bars, boutiques, and activities; it is so much fun to watch the town grow ( while keeping it’s small town charm).
If you ever get the chance to visit the OBX ( including Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Corolla … etc. ), PLEASE do yourself a favor and go!
My true familiarity falls in Duck so almost all of my suggestions are located here, however I will touch on a few of my favorite restaurants in the other beach towns located 20-45 minutes in either direction!
Duck is everything I want in a laidback week away:
– Family Friendly (Check)
– Dog Friendly (Check)
– Quiet and Relaxing (Check)
**This blog post has been updated with all my favorite go-to spots as of Summer 2022!**
- ROADSIDE BAR & GRILL: just as it’s name describes, this roadside, laid-back restaurant is the perfect mid-day sun break when you are looking for a unique atmosphere and a delicious lunch. My personal favorites … the roadside salad, chicken salad, shrimp po-boy, and the cuban ! (Don’t forget to check out the Back Bar at night for live music, craft beer and entertainment)
- TREEHOUSE COFFEE AND ROPE LADDER: Biscuits, lattes and more. This has been my go-to spot if I need to work remote.. I grab myself a warm latte and one of their many great breakfast options and get a few hours of work done. (Located in Scarborough Faire)
- AQUA SPA & RESTAURANT: right across the street from Scarborough Fare. This restaurant is one of the more upscale spots in town. The sunset views on a summer night are hard to beat. There is a fire pit, adirondack chairs on the lawn overlooking the sound, and plenty of refreshing beer, wine, and cocktail choices for a night cap.
- COASTAL CANTINA: Located right on the sound at the Waterfront Shops, this spot is my go-to for laid-back Mexican food and the occasional live music. Queso, guac, and my favorite, their Crab Pizzadilla are SO good. About 2 years ago, they started serving breakfast here as well. [ Breakfast tacos, acai bowls ] * Don’t miss their Super Sangria – basically an Acai sangria smoothie .. perfect any time of the day.
- THE BLUE POINT: Located at the very end of the Waterfront Shops along the boardwalk. Lunch is reasonably priced, fresh and delicious. Every Saturday at 6PM, there is live music at the backbar which sits right on the sound overlooking perfect sunsets. Honestly, you can’t beat it. Have a Moscow Mule while you’re at it 😉
- The Cottage: My favorite coffee shop and book store combined. Located close to the water tower along the sound-side, this is my early AM wake-up reward. Try their in-house coconut crunch coffee, you won’t be disappointed!
- DUCK DONUTS: this now chain, started here and there is a reason it has now spread countrywide. DIY donuts, made fresh (you can watch them firsthand). My favorite go-to combo time and time again is a donut with (1) peanut butter icing (2) salted carmel drizzle and (3) oreo crumbles on top
- Island Smoothie Cafe: New-ish to the Town of Duck scene; this is one of the healthiest spots in town. Full of delicious and refreshing smoothie options, acai bowls, avocado toast and more. I love treating myself to a healthful lunch. (Located at Scarborough Lane Shoppes)
- BIG BUCKS HOMEMADE ICE CREAM: Don’t miss out on a gorgeous sunset overlooking the sound with an ice cream cone in hand from Big Bucks. This ice cream shop opened a few years ago and is a HIT in our family!
- SWEET T’S OBX: My 2nd favorite coffee spot especially when the line gets a little out of control at the Cottage. The coffee drinks are just as good at this other coffee shop gem. You can also buy all sorts of fun and local beer and wine here.
- Deep-Sea Fishing
- Off-roading on beach road in Corolla: Rent (or bring your own) 4-wheel drive to beach road right out of Corolla. If you are lucky, you might spot wild horses. If not, you will still be able to take in the ocean views on one side and beachside mansions on the other. Sand dunes and crashing waves make for a perfect mid-day picnic or lunch break out of your trunk. Just turn on some beach tunes and enjoy the unique off-roading experience!
- Watersports: Jet-Ski, Parasailing, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, or a sunset pontoon boat ride? If any of the above is up your alley, you can find it in Duck. My rec would be North Duck Watersports (where I worked for a summer) or Nor’Banks. Both sound-side, they have all the water sport options you might want to try out. (rent a SUP or kayak for the week on the ocean-side and you might be lucky enough to paddle next to dolphins riding the waves on a calm day!)
- Miscellaneous: (non-Duck activites)
Don’t forget to check out the nearby towns. Nags Head, Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Manteo .. they all have their own unique things to do and see.