If you have ever been to the Outer Banks, you know that there are many different towns you can stay in and that it’s actually a pretty long stretch of islands. In this post, I’m referring mostly to Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head and Manteo. I have also stayed in Corolla, which is beautiful, but most of this info is focused on those three towns. 🙂
My husband and I are very lucky to have family in the Outer Banks, so we have been there many times and always have locals to show us the best places to see and things to do. 🙂
This lighthouse is in Manteo and it is beautiful! It’s smaller than most of the others you’ll see, but it’s so pretty and is surrounded by a ton of cute shops and restaurants. You can walk right in it and check out the history. It was decorated here for the 4th, but it looks great around Christmas too!
We were there for the 4th of July and Manteo had so much going on downtown! There were a few carnival-like stands and one of them was selling smoothies in pineapples, so naturally, I had to have one. 🙂 Manteo had an army band and great fireworks that night too! They also had a parade, live music almost all day and a watermelon eating contest, so if you’re thinking of heading there next summer, the 4th of July would be a great time to go!
When we’re visiting the Outer Banks, we stop at the Front Porch cafe almost every day. I got lavender lemonades every time during this trip! The West 3rd is also amazing and so is the Honey Almond Almond (or Soy) Latte. 🙂 I mention it again at the end of this post under “Where to eat.” You definitely have to go at least once! There are three locations and this picture was taken in Manteo.
And, of course, you’ve got to head to the beach. All of the beaches are beautiful, so you really can’t go wrong. Jennette’s Pier and the Outer Banks Fishing Pier are two of our favorites.
Lastly, this wouldn’t be a style blog if I didn’t mention where you can shop everything in these photos! You can find links to all of these items and/or similar items here.
Where to eat:
Front Porch Cafe -Where I got those lavender lemonades I’ve been raving about. 🙂 Every time I’ve been to the Outer Banks, we’ve stopped here almost every day! They have great coffee, the orange cranberry muffins are amaaaazing and there are three different locations!
Bonzer Shack – You could probably drive right by this place without even noticing it. The first time we went was because the restaurant we had wanted to go to was way too crowded, so we drove until we found somewhere else. But, I’m so happy we stopped here because we have gone back on every visit since! They often have live music and games outside, like corn hole and life-sized Jenga & Connect Four. Definitely try their chicken or fish tacos-they are so good!
Fish Heads -This place is on a pier, so it’s perfect for grabbing something while you’re at the beach. You can leave your things on the beach while you eat here, then head right back to the water! They have things like fries, chicken tenders and hummus with vegetables, so nothing super fancy, but the atmosphere is great and so fun to just hang out there for awhile.
Lost Colony -This is right in downtown Manteo near the lighthouse. My husband says it’s the best place for locals brews! Each beer name tells a story about a nearby town or place and gives a little history lesson on the area.
Real Watersports –This will take a bit of a drive, but there is a really cool surf shop and a restaurant with amazing views of the sunset. There wasn’t any the night we were there, but they do have live music sometimes and the food was great!
Surfin’ Spoon -Okay this one is a must! This place is SO cool! It’s a frozen yogurt place and the owner was a professional surfer (not sure if he still is), but the line is always out the door. They have the best dairy-free flavors I have ever tried and amazing ice cream sandwiches (some are vegan)! I can’t even tell you the last time I had an ice cream sandwich, but they have one that I think is called lemon lavberry that is vegan and I loved every bite! There is also money covering almost every inch of the insides because they collect donations and give to charities!
Things to do:
Jockey’s Ridge State Park – The tallest, natural sand dune in the Eastern U.S.! I haven’t actually been there myself, but I have driven by it many times and have heard that the sunsets are amazing!
Manteo Aquarium – This place is so fun and the perfect thing to do on a rainy day. Or even a sunny day because it is definitely worth a visit. 🙂
Elizabethan Gardens -This place is beautiful! You can walk through all of the gardens and check out their flowers, sculptures, etc. It’s a great stop around Christmas too!
Lost Colony Play – This play is performed each summer and tells the story of a group of people from England who settled on Roanake Island. English ships returned three years later to bring them supplies and the island was deserted. The mystery of what happened to them has never been solved!
Lighthouses -There are so many lighthouses on the Outer Banks that it would probably be hard to see them all in one trip, but you could definitely check out a few of them!
Mini Golf – Like most beach towns, there are a lot of mini golf courses to choose from!
Spend a day in Ocracoke– This is a fun day trip if you’re up for it! It’s a bit of a drive to the ferry, but you can drive your car right up on the ferry and the ride isn’t bad at all! We were coming back on the ferry once during sunset and it was beautiful! Ocracoke has great beaches, restaurants and some really cool shops. It is definitely a really unique place!
Where to stay:
This kind of depends on the trip you’re looking for and how many people will be going with you on your trip. If you have a pretty big group, there are tons of amazing, but incredibly large, houses you can rent right on the beach. You can check some of those out here. If you’re going with a smaller group though, there are some great options on Airbnb or the Tranquil House Inn is a really pretty hotel right in downtown Manteo. You can find some other great hotel options here.
I kept thinking of more things as I wrote this post, so I’m sure I’ll be adding to it! And please let me know if you have any favorites that I didn’t mention!
Thanks so much for reading!