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The Outer Banks (OBX)

July 20, 2009

Growing up my vacations consisted of visiting my grandparents in Orlando, Florida and ski trips to the Poconos and other ski resorts with my Dad and brother and sometimes my best friend to keep me company on the long drive in the back seat. I spent every summer at camp and graduated from day camp to overnight camp by the age 11. In summary – I never had a beach vacation as a child.

The concept of spending all day on the beach as an enjoyable pastime is still fairly new to me. Like I mentioned, I grew up at a summer camp in bunk beds playing sports, competing in Color War and swimming in the pool. After college I moved to Miami and lived in an apartment building in South Beach with direct access to the ocean. Even then I couldn’t spend more than a couple of hours on the beach without getting bored – I knew I had to be missing something.

Then I moved to New York City in my mid-20’s, got a demanding corporate job and fell into the fast-pace, non-stop life that comes with the 917 area code. All of a sudden the idea of sitting in the sun, listening to the ocean and officially decompressing sounded like my perfect day to relax and turn off my brain. So my transformation was like a light switch and now I can spend an entire day on the beach with my daily concerns buried with the sand crabs.

Which leads me to my next travel destination recommendation, the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Picture 1The Outer Banks really appeals to large families or big groups of friends who are looking to spend at least 1 week in a large house where the main activity is beach-going. The process consists of searching all of the available rental homes on the local real estate websites and finding one that suits your vacation needs. Amenities typically include bedrooms that could sleep anywhere from 10-16 people, large kitchen, multiple bathrooms, game room, outdoor shower, BBQ grill, pool and if you’re lucky, an oceanfront location. There are more houses than you can imagine, each with a clever beach name, and actually deciding on which house to rent will be the most stressful aspect of your whole vacation.

Houses like “Everybody Duck!” are available in towns like Corolla, Duck, and Kitty Hawk and the town environment really lends itself to spending quality time with your travel companions. There is not much to do in town besides the novelty activities like mini golf and surf shops, but this is one of the best parts of this locale since you won’t feel guilty never leaving the house.  There is also 1 spot far down the beach where wild horses roam if you can spot them. Apparently Wild Spanish Mustangs have survived on these beaches for 400 years. There is a 4WD guided tour that can take you as well called the Wild Horse Safari.  A day trip on a rainy day, or if you got too much sun, is a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills to learn about the founding fathers of air flight in 1903. There is plenty of other outdoor activity if you are interested in even a little exercise while on vacation like bike rentals with bike-friendly paths, tennis, and canoe rentals.

It’s a truly relaxing vacation with great, accessible beaches for people of all ages. Over the past 3 summers I have stayed in both Corolla and Duck and have visited in 3 different months. I don’t know the migrational habits of jellyfish, but it seems the end of June had the least amount in the water which is always a plus for me!

Duck, North Carolina - winding down a perfect beach day

Duck, North Carolina - winding down a perfect beach day

Restaurant Recommendation:

I have only eaten in 2 restaurants during my 3 visits to the Outer Banks since our family usually cooks each night, so here is the one place we definitely return to each summer!

Capt’n Franks’s

MP 4.5, Bypass, Kitty Hawk
(252) 261-9923

“Hot dogs, NC BBQ, All-American sandwiches and steamed shrimp at night (in-season). An Outer Banks landmark for 34 years.”

If you are up for the challenge, order the Junkyard Dog topped with the works!

If you are not driving distance from The Outer Banks, the best travel option is to fly into Norfolk, VA and rent a car. The drive from Norfolk to The Outer Banks is approximately 90 miles south.

The Outer Banks

The Outer Banks

One Comment leave one →
  1. dolores Turner permalink
    July 28, 2009 7:22 pm

    Enjoyed your blog. I found it very interesting. Looking forward to future segments. Good luck.

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