An area I have never been. There is a chance that I will have the opportunity to spend some time on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I know they have fabulous seafood but that is the extent of my knowledge. Any and all information about the areas restaurants, sights, attractions, etc. will be greatly appreciated.
Which town will you be in? It’s a long skinny stretch of land with only one real road running the entire length, so knowing where you will be based will make a big difference, especially if you’re there in-season and traffic is at its worst.
If you’re at all interested in nature, that’s a good time for bird watching. Certainly, the fishing would be fine. The ocean temperature would be rather chilly for swimming. Walking on the beach is always good down there.
I was just there briefly in December. The Wright Brothers memorial is quite nice. Be sure to stop by Mama Kwans which is about a mile down the street from the Wright Brothers site. The best fish tacos I’ve had. I stayed here and would recommend it- no frills but independent & very well run/great prices http://www.surfsideobx.com/
You will probably be right on top of the Wright Brothers museum and park, which is pretty interesting of course. If you’re staying closer to the soundside it’s a lot less touristy and peaceful, good place for nature walks. There’s a very reasonable wine and beer store just before you get to the Wright Brothers on the main road called Chips, much better than grocery store fare, though I was a bit wary of their temperature control when I’ve been there in April so May might be suspect. Most of the more remote nature areas are about an hour in either direction.
I have a brother in law that has a second home on Bald Head Island which is a little south of where you will be, near Cape Fear. It is an awesome place and love visiting as much as possible. Ferry boat access/golf carts only which really has a great dynamic once you are there.
I like experiencing the weather, which changes by the hour compared to docile So Cal and the nature - very tropical, alligators, birds, beach walking, golf, kayaking…
Marshall- Living in NC, we are probably on the OBX 3 to 5 times a year. One of our favorite places for quick weekends. Outerbanks.org is a great website for info. If you need any additional info/specifics I’d be more than happy to help.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the Kitty Hawk, Kill Devils Hill and Nags Head areas as they are the most touristy of the entire Outer Banks but they are good places for shopping and restaurants. If you have a choice, an upscale choice would be the North end of OBX which include the Duck, Corrolla and the Currituck areas (we will be in Corrolla this weekend at the Sanderling…a fantastic resort). During the summer when we do weekly rentals, our prefered choices are on Hatteras Island in the Buxton, Salvo and Rodanthe areas as these are not touristy (surrounded by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore) at all and you really get the sense of the Outer Banks as it used to be.
Reviving this thread for any thoughts. My stepsister and her fiance just moved to Raleigh, and she is enthralled with OBX. They changed the site of their wedding from upstate NY to here. I know the date is Sat June 25th but not sure of exact site location yet. I assume we will have hotel accommodations at/near the venue for the weekend or they are already planning on renting places for immediate family. But I was thinking of coming in the week before or staying through the following week but will probably bail before July 4th.
My dad was down there for the re-enactment of The First Flight so Wright Brothers Museum is on the docket if we have time.
I guess it’s hard to ask too many specific questions not knowing the wedding venue yet but if I wanted to rent a house from say Mon-Thurs prior or Mon-Thurs after the weekend and I could go anywhere up or down, where would you tell me to go?
I assume if they are in Raleigh we are either driving down or will fly to Raleigh and drive from there, unless there are ferries I don’t know about I assume all cars cross at Manns Harbor/Manteo/Nag’s Head.
My aunt loves bird watching, so I might factor that into our location.
If you’re expecting fabulous seafood, you’re going to be very disappointed. We had a hard time finding anything other than the typical generic heavily fired seafood wherever we went. I’d suggest researching places to eat beforehand. We unfortunately did not as we were under the same assumption that you have.
Brent, do you know where roughly in the Outer Banks you will be? It is a very long, very thin sand bar, and the list of things to do and places to go varies dramatically depending on where you end up.
A note about hotels: there aren’t many, and only a couple that offer anything more than a Courtyard Marriott experience. One, in the nothern banks, called Sanderling, is very nice, and even if the wedding is down in Nags Head area, I would be tempted to stay there. The drive isn’t too hideous unless – and I can’t stress this strongly enough – you have to drive it during the day on a Saturday, which appears to be when the wedding takes place. The road north is two lanes, just about every rental every house changes over on Saturdays, and to say the traffic can be epic is to fail to comprehend the magnitude of its awfulness. It is 20 miles from Nags Head (the base of the bridge over the sound to the banks) to where we stay, and it has taken me more than 2 hours before. Excruciating.
We stay (every year for decades) in the Northern Banks (Corolla), but I am familiar with the entire strand to some degree. You can post questions here or you can PM me.
Thanks for the info, when I know more about the wedding I will post or PM with specific questions. It may just be easier to add a couple days on to whatever the wedding accommodations end up being instead of trying to do something separate. I know my stepmother (and therefore dad) is going to be attached to sister at the hip right up until the ceremony so I have to go with the flow. I want to be down there a bit early to be the escape valve for my dad.
Also, I’m not really a beach guy, my extra time (and $) may be better spent meandering inland or going to see my buddy in Myrtle Beach.
Well, I love the Outer Banks but they are not for everyone, and I suspect not for you.
The Nags Head area is a poor man’s Hilton Head. Lots of t-shirt shops, taffy, and bad fried seafood. It tries to be a “happening” kind of beach atmosphere and fails utterly.
South of there (Bodie Island, Hatteras Island or Ocracoke) there are long stretches of pristine beaches and very little else. Vacation homes available to rent by the week and a few restaurants here and there, but nothing to keep you entertained unless you like the beach and the wildlife.
North of Nags Head (Duck and Corolla), there are a lot of very large vacation homes, a few decent restaurants and not much else. No (real) golf, no McDonalds, no malls, no shopping to speak of . . . lots of sand and water. It is heaven for me; I go with cases of really good wine, a bunch of books and movies I have been meaning to watch, and do absolutely nothing for a week or two.
Basically, the Banks give you deep sea fishing, a wildlife refuge – wild horses! – miles of seashore where you cannot see a building or another soul (complete with shipwrecks buried up on the beach), even in the high season (if you are willing to walk), a couple of lighthouses to climb . . . and that is it. I love it; it would be hell for many others.
Yeah I am thinking with the wedding being 2-3 days we only need a couple more on the beach, and if we are in Raleigh first or after there is more than enough Civil War stuff around there to distract my dad. I don’t think this trip itinerary will be a week on the beach with nothing to do.
I go to the NC beaches often and have for many years. Kitty Hawk is not my favorite part as others have mentioned but regardless the beaches there are excellent as are the dunes and history. However fine seafood is not readily available. Often it is fried “calabash style”. A real surprise and travesty. However we always buy fresh seafood from local places and prepare it at home which always works.
If you are looking for a hotel for the extended stay away from the wedding site, I highly recommend the Sanderling. It is really the only hotel on the entire Outer Banks that I could describe as a destination property. At least the last time we stayed there (some years ago), the rooms and service were excellent, they have a nice spa/gym area, and the restaurant was at least decent.
If you watch one or two of the brief films here ( http://www.sanderling-resort.com/gallery.php ) you will see how preposterously fragile the Banks are, and why I have resisted the temptation to buy a vacation home there. It really is a sandbar, and sooner or later, the Atlantic is going to take it back. Sooner, I’d say, as sea levels rise