I love the ocean and there is something about the Outer Banks of North Carolina that I find intriguing. So when we decided to have a family vacation there last year I couldn’t have been more pleased. Our daughter and her family were able to make the trip from California which made it perfect!
We chose the town of Duck on the northern end of the outer banks as our destination for this trip. There are many very large and beautiful homes there to rent, but there are many modest homes as well. We chose one that was within walking distance to the beach and into the small town of Duck and the boardwalk.
The house could not have turned out to be any more perfect for us. There was a swimming pool which the kids practically lived in! And there was a hot tub which the adults enjoyed relaxing in in the evenings. The house was also dog friendly, so we were able to take our collie, Gunnar. He seemed to like it too, except for the kids being in the pool. He just could not understand why they were being so loud and rambunctious and therefore took it upon himself to jump in twice and try to save them!
The beach was only a short walk to the end of the road and over a sand dune. We made our trip the end of May and found it to be the perfect time. The beach was not crowded and we spent a lot of time there; lying in the sun, walking, playing in the water and in the evenings watching the ghost crabs. The kids had so much fun trying to catch them. They are fast!
There are many family friendly things to see and do on the Outer Banks; many more than can be seen in a short week! These are some of the things we experienced or wished we had:
Fishing piers – we visited the Avon pier one day and tried our luck at fishing. We caught some small ones and my son caught a skate.
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island – I am an animal lover so if there is an aquarium around I want to visit it. Everyone else was up for the trip so off we went. The aquarium is pretty small, but nice and was enjoyed by all.
Jockey Ridge State Park – This is located in Nags Head and is the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern U.S. A kite festival was going on during our trip and we stopped to check them out.
Fishing charters – there are several of these to choose from, many of which will take you out to the gulf stream.
Surf fishing – my son tried his luck at this one.
Watersports – kiteboarding, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, eco tours, etc.
Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks – this would be great fun for kids!
Skate parks, go-carts, mini golf
National Wildlife refuge – Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Lighthouses – many beautiful historical lighthouses.
Wild horses – we weren’t able to do this on our trip, but I’m definitely not missing it next time!
Dolphin watching – we went on a boat out of Manteo and were able to watch a small pod of dolphins for some time. The narrator was very knowledgeable and informative. There are several other locations to launch from as well.
Fort Raleigh and the Lost Colony – do you remember this from your American history class?
Even though there are many things to keep you busy, most of our time was spent simply relaxing at the rental house or on the beach. We thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk to restaurants, shops and the boardwalk as well as the beach without having to load up a car and travel. We were able to watch a sunrise over the ocean and a sunset over the sound. Perfect! I would love to go back again. Paul and I agree that this was one of the most relaxing vacations we have ever taken.