Happy Tuesday my loves!
Let me first start off by saying, Cape Hatteras, NC, or OBX to some, may possibly be one of my favorite places in the U.S. I know I still have a lot of places yet to visit. But here, on the Outer Banks, there’s just something more, something I feel…an energy and vibe I get that I haven’t gotten anywhere else. As you know, I love to travel. But this place, this place is serenity, it’s adventure, it’s new every time. Having been there 4 times now, mingling with the locals, diving in the deep end, jiving with the first mates, I feel I have enough background to do a solid post for #BackyardtravelswithJT and I’m so excited to share one of my favorite places with you. But to start off, I first want to show you where the outer banks are!
As you can see from the map, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are just off the Northern Coast of the state. These hidden gems are absolutely worth making a trip to see and experience. The Pamlico Sound side of the Outer Banks offers a ton of amazing water sports such as kiteboarding, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing, swimming, and the occasional stingray sighting. There is also some amazing sightseeing to do such as the Avon Pier, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Island where Blackbeard the Pirate once frequented. The outer banks truly have so much to offer for adults and kids a like. So much that I am going to break down this Edition of Backyard Travels into 4 parts.
Today for Part 1, I am going to talk more logistics; how to get there, grocery shopping, liquor shopping, renting anything and everything you might need, when to book, and where to stay. Part 2 will be all about Avon. Part 3 Buxton and Frisco. Finally Part 4 will be my favorite, Ocracoke. Let’s get started!
Suitcases: Samsonite Spinner Luggage
:: How to get there ::
We flew from Chicago O’hare into Norfolk, VA. This is the closest international airport and is still a 2 1.5 – 3 hour drive into the OBX. You will need to rent a car no matter what. Typically the house rental check-ins/outs are Saturday to Saturday. That being said if you are flying in on a Saturday fly early, and drive early. Otherwise be prepared to sit in traffic. What we did for this last trip was fly in late Friday night, stayed at a hotel close to the airport, and then drove out early Saturday morning to beat the traffic. There is plenty to see and do along the way. This is also the perfect time to get your grocery shopping done. Don’t forget to stop at the dunes on your way to wiggle your toes in the sand and maybe have a beer or two!
Cheers to vacation!
Pants: Young Fabulous & Broke Hat: Eugenia Kim Boots: Sam Edelman
My niece is obsessed with planes, and has become a very good flyer. I have no personal advice for flying with kids, yet, seeing that I have none. BUT Taza one of my favorite bloggers has an amazing article all about traveling with kids if you are interested.
This place was open late, and regardless of the fact that we were starving, it was really yummy!
One must always stop at a Waffle House for a waffle, right?
On our way!
My favorite beer…of all time…ALL time!
This picture reminded me of a very important recommendation I would like to make, so listen up! Since we went during the summer, it was hot, sunny, and incredibly beautiful. However, the sand was hotter than he**! The beaches are very wide and long so be smarter than us, bring water shoes, or gym shoes anything really to protect your feet while you walk on the beach.
:: Grocery Shopping ::
I am a sucker for Farmer Markets. Truly they make me oddly happy and excited. So luckily for us, on the drive from Norfolk to the OBX, there are a few places in the countryside that offer fresh, amazing produce. This is one thing I consider a necessity but it is also part of the experience. We’ve stopped at a few different places in the past, but Powell’s Road Side Market is my favorite. It might also be because I have a thing for red barns…Located right on US Route 168, it’s conveniently on the way to the Outer Banks. There will also be plenty of actual grocery stores on the drive in, but I would recommend stopping in whichever town you are staying at. Food Lion Grocery Store is one of the main stores located on the different islands. This is also something I would recommend doing fast and early, especially since it’s typically the first thing on everyone’s list so it gets a little cray cray in the store.
Since there was so many of us we pre-planned our meals so we could create a grocery list of what was needed, but then also had a wishlist from everyone. This made shopping a lot easier and everyone was fed & happy. Whatever you don’t eat that’s still sealed you can leave for the realty company and they will donate it to the food bank. I mean, how amazing is that!
Dress: Hollister Shoes: Converse (Custom)
These peaches were the best I’ve ever had…ever.
:: Liquor and Beer Shopping ::
Something like this doesn’t seem to warrant its own section, but it does. First of all, the state of North Carolina still has strict laws about liquor and also controls the sale of it. That being said, if you want to make yummy Mai Tai’s on your vacation, you can, you are just limited to the places where you can purchase the liquor and how much you can purchase. Beer and wine on the other hand, is so extremely convenient and might I say fun to buy out there. Let me introduce you to the ‘Brew Thru’!
Bru Thru’s are located once you hit the Kitty Hawk area and will continue on pretty much until Rodanthe. This would be the time I would recommend buying your beer and wine and stocking up. Literally, you drive thru as if you were going through a fast food line, put your order in, and they’ll even put it in the trunk for you!
We stopped at ABC Liquor in Dare County, Nags Head before heading into Avon. Highly, highly recommend making the stop here and stocking up on whatever your liquor choices may be. They had literally everything. Once you get into the Avon, Buxton area there’s few places if any to buy liquor aside from dining out.
:: Where to stay and how to Book ::
The best way, in my opinion, to truly experience the Outer Banks is by renting a house. We went through the Surf or Sound Realty Company. Their site is so easy to navigate and gives you thorough pictures and pricing of the different houses you can stay at. We rented house #677 – Tarpon Watch, and she was amazing! Right on the canal to the sound and only 2 blocks away from the beach and ocean. I’d also recommend visiting their site when booking for vacation planning, as they have up to date event calendars and things to do during your stay. You can book through them 51 weeks in advance, and I highly recommend you book ASAP. Preview their homes and find the one you love with the location you want and set a date. These places go fast, I promise!
Some of the most colorful sunsets I’ve seen.
:: Water Sport and Home Rentals ::
Last but not least, let’s talk about rentals. Most houses will NOT have cribs, pack’n’plays, linens, water sport equipment, lawn chairs, umbrellas, etc. Let me just say, do not let that deter you from coming here. Ocean Atlantic Rentals needs to be bookmarked for your next stay in the Outer Banks right now. Not only do they have everything you need or want, its at a great price, AND they will deliver; drop off and pick up at no extra charge! It is built into their rental cost, which is usually for a full week or two. On our trip we rented two cribs, two stand up paddle boards, and a kayak. It was delivered there and waiting for us as soon as we arrived. On our departure day, we set the rentals out front, and they came for pick up. No fuss.
I truly hope you found this post helpful and inspiring. Please let me know what you thought and if you have traveled or plan on traveling to the OBX. I’d love to hear about your travels. Keep a look out for the 2nd Part of our trip, which will be all about Avon.