July 12, 2019

Things To Do On Vacation In The Outer Banks

It's been a month since our family vacation to the Outer Banks, and I wanted to recap a little and give some ideas to those who may be traveling to that area in the future.
This was our second visit to the Outer Banks, two years ago we stayed in Corolla on the 4x4 beach, and this year we stayed in Duck. My in-laws, Chuck's Mom and Stepdad graciously host and find the home for all of us to enjoy- there were 12 of us in the house this year. There was a pool and hot-tub and plenty of outdoor seating, decks and places to relax. A game room, fire pit, hammocks and honestly we could have spent the whole week at the house, but it is vacation and all...
here are some things we did and checked out on our past few visits that are worth the recommendation if you're ever in the Outer Banks. 

I wrote about our experience parasailing and I 1000% recommend trying it if you're on the fence. I can't say enough good things about Corolla Parasail and the fun we had!
There are so many places to mini golf and it was a fun family activity and great thing to do and still be outside. Corolla Adventure Golf is the course we played and so much fun.
The horses in Corolla on the 4x4 beach are so cool to see- I love watching them roam the area. When we visited the Outer Banks two years ago we stayed in a house right on the beach and sometimes would wake up to them right outside the house in the yard. Corolla now charges to park on the beach if you're not staying in a house there, so make sure to check out the rules if you want to do more than just drive on the beach. There are also horse tours to check out!
Chuck found a sunset dolphin tour and the whole family went and we had a great time. We saw a good amount of dolphins and a beautiful sunset. Bella had a fantastic time at the beginning of the trip, and then broke down fighting sleep since she had a short nap that day. I won't lie- it was embarrassing and kind of miserable for about 20 minutes until she finally fell asleep. But, overall it was a great activity and a good amount of fun for your money.
Our second day, Chuck took Bella North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island while I hit the beach with some of the rest of the family. He got a bit too much sun the first day and wanted to stay off the beach, so they went for a drive. The pictures show how much Bella enjoyed it- I'm bummed I missed it!
A cool part of history and something interesting to visit is the Wright Brothers National Memorial. You can see the spot where the Wright brothers took their first flight, and many other attractions here. 
The lighthouses in Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island are so beautiful and make for a great outing. Sometimes the weather can affect your visit, so make sure to check the radar before planning your trip.

Island Bookstore- we randomly found this place while out and about one day and I picked up a few cute gifts and postcards. They have storytime throughout the week and the employees were very friendly.
Historic Corolla Village- where the Island Bookstore is located- it's the cutest, quaint little area and referred to as "a step back in time". There was a wine festival going on in the park area and little shops and a spa in another- definitely a laid back place to check out. 
The shops in Manteo- I adored this area, it's where the sunset dolphin tour boat took off from and the area looked so cute we went back a few days later during the day to shop and walk around. We got a bunch of local items like boiled peanuts, moonshine BBQ sauce and sweet potato butter and souvenirs to take home to family and friends. There was everything from antiques and local things to high end clothing and jewelry- a very nice area to browse. 
Scarborough Faire Shopping Village- the little area of shopping in Duck that we discovered when we visited the Treehouse Coffee Shop. The shops are back under trees and the whole vibe is really cool and relaxing. There's events weekly such as bands, and lots of fun things to see.

Places to Eat:
Duck Donuts- we've all heard of this place, and this is the OG (original). The whole process is very cool- you order donuts in one building and walk across to another to pick them up and can watch them being made. We went on a weekday morning around 8 and it was already pretty steady- don't go starving because you may wait a while, but overall the process is pretty efficient. Not to mention, the donuts are DELICIOUS. 
Lucky's Pizza - no joke, when we visited the Outer Banks while I was pregnant with Bella we ate a piece of pizza here EVERY DAY after we stumbled upon this place. You can grab a slice for $3.25 before 5 pm and they're huge- the best pizza I've EVER had. Beats Chicago pizzeria's- I'm serious. Bella was just as obsessed and we hit it up 4 times this latest trip, it's that good.
Hungry Pirate Waterfront Cafe- located in Manteo, I have to give this place a big shoutout. They were so friendly and wonderful when I popped in here looking to grab some food for Bella. We had eaten on the drive from Duck to Manteo, and Bella fell asleep so she was hungry while we were shopping. They have the cutest atmosphere and a beautiful view of the water, and her kids grilled cheese was gourmet and so tasty. They were so accommodating while we waited, and I really appreciated how they were so sweet- people that go above and beyond really make me happy. I wish we were hungry again while we were there, the menu looked so good and it reminded me of an Italian deli. 
Treehouse Coffee Shop- the owners of the home we stayed in had a book they made for guests with some local recommendations, and this was one of them. Chuck and I took Bella one morning, and while she was not participating in the whole sitting down for a leisurely breakfast thing- luckily we were able to get some boxes and take our meal to go.
Sunset Grille- a beautiful place with a big enough menu to please the whole family. There's lots of seafood options, and even more if you're not a fan, which is a nice touch. We had a big family dinner here on our last visit and took some pictures outside on the water, it's a great place!

Drinks and Goodies:
Island Perk - I got an iced coconut latte when we were out shopping in Manteo and it was SO good. The employee working (who seemed like the Owner) was so sweet. They had some local artwork on display for sale and Ethan chose the cutest piece that he wanted for his room. They had a little sitting area with free wi-fi and newspapers, I loved the atmosphere. 
The Juice Jar- One of my favorite places in Erie is ironically named the same. This spot was pretty similar-juices, smoothies, acai bowls and more. It's in a SUPER cute area and I loved the vibe.
Sandbars Raw Bar & Grill- I mean, Orange Mule and Mermaid Water- enough said. Delicious drinks  and a mojito of the day- a great spot for an afternoon out.

Fun on the Beach:
Don't forget about all the fun you can have just relaxing or playing on the beach.
Grab some boogie boards (usually most homes that you rent have a variety of boards, chairs, and umbrellas which is helpful). We always have fun playing volleyball or kicking around a soccer ball. Ghost crab hunting at night with flashlights is a cool experience and getting up to see the sunrise is definitely a must (at least one day). 

Have you ever been to the Outer Banks? If so, any recommendations to add?! I highly recommend visiting- it's a beautiful retreat and so much to do!

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