Last weekend, we ventured to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the first time! This trip originally came about because we were going to go with some friends, but with scheduling conflicts, that ended up falling through. During our time of looking for places to stay, we came across a really cute place on Airbnb and decided to make the trip happen, just the three of us! This was our first trip going solo as a family. Every other time we travel, we’re either with family or friends, or traveling to be with family or friends. It was so nice to get away, explore somewhere new, and have a lot of quality family time!
We were there during off-season, which worked out great for us. There were very few people around, so it was easy to get seated at restaurants and we didn’t get caught up in any traffic. While I would love to go back when the weather is a little better for being outside, it would be hard to beat not dealing with any crowds! We had perfect weather on Friday, then the wind picked up for Saturday and Sunday and it was harder to be outside with Liam. It was pretty steady at 20-25 mph with a chill, so we didn’t get to do as many things as we wanted, but we’ll just have to go back!
Where We Stayed
We stayed in Duck, which is a small little coastal town on the north end of the Outer Banks. It’s just under 4 hours to drive there from Raleigh. We stayed at an Airbnb right on the boardwalk at the Waterside Shops. It was the perfect location for us with Liam – we could walk to get coffee in the morning, let him run his legs on the boardwalk with the shops, and had easy access to the rest of town via the boardwalk that extends all along the Sound. It was great!
What We Did
We arrived around 4pm. We checked into our Airbnb and got settled. It was misting rain, but we took Liam out on the boardwalk with the shops to let him run his legs a bit after being in the car. I packed some food for him to eat, so we fed him dinner, bathed him, then put him to bed. He was tired from a shorter nap in the car, so it worked out nicely to be able to put him to bed and then enjoy dinner just the two of us! We got takeout from Duck Deli, which is just across the street from where we stayed. The food was good! I had barbecue pulled chicken and Mike got fish tacos. It was super convenient!
We grabbed coffee at Duck’s Cottage, which was just across the parking lot from where we stayed. I had a cappuccino, Mike got iced coffee – both were great! Then Liam and I hopped in the car and drove about 15 minutes into Corolla to get bagel sandwiches from Lighthouse Bagels. They were delicious – definitely recommend! After that, we got ready for the day and headed out. Our friends from Virginia Beach came to spend the day with us, so we met them at Coastal Cravings for an early lunch. I was a little skeptical, as the restaurant is attached to a gas station, but it was good! After lunch, the kids napped back at the Airbnb, so us adults got to have some time to catch up and hang out. Once both kids were up from naps, we walked along the boardwalk path to Donutz on a Stick for an afternoon pick-me-up. The donuts were melt-in-your-mouth good! Liam and I shared vanilla glazed with rainbow sprinkles donuts and they were delicious! We continued walking south along the boardwalk, popping into a few retail areas, stopping at a park, and then ducking into a little spot that had a bunch of beers on tap.
For dinner, we were going to eat at The Blue Point, but upon sitting down at the table, I knew it wasn’t going to go well. It wasn’t a kid-friendly restaurant and Liam was very tired, so we opted to give up our table and get takeout back at our apartment. There weren’t a lot of options, so we actually got food from Duck Deli for the second night in a row!
Once again, we grabbed coffee at Duck’s Cottage. Once we were ready for the day, we drove down to Kill Devil Hills for breakfast. Henry’s was pretty highly rated on Google, so we picked that. It was fine – inexpensive, which is harder to find in the Duck area, but just mediocre breakfast. We took Liam over to Dowdy Park to play a bit, but it was pretty cold, so we didn’t last long. It’s a great park, though! We went back to the apartment to play a bit and then let Liam nap. After his nap, we got ready and drove back into Corolla. Mike found a nature trail that was pretty heavily wooded, so we got some protection from the intense wind! It was Currituck Banks Boardwalk and Maritime Nature Trail. It’s a great little walking trail that is accessible, so strollers are no problem. Following this, we popped over to some public beach access to check out the ocean and what the beach is like. On a warm, sunny day, it would be beautiful! Liam played in the sand a bit and had a blast.
We had an early dinner reservation at The Village Table and Tavern in Duck. This was the best meal we had! I definitely recommend. Then it was back to our rental for the bedtime routine and hanging out. It was really nice for Mike and I to have the evenings to spend together!
We woke up, grabbed coffee, and loaded up the car with all of our stuff. We stopped at Barrier Island Bagels in Kitty Hawk on our drive out of town. Mike said it was the best bagel sandwich he’s ever had! Then we made the 30 minute drive over to the Aquarium in Manteo. We wanted to let Liam run around a bit before we made the 3 hour drive home from there. It was the perfect activity! After that, we hopped in the car and drove home.
Overall, we had a great time! We feel so lucky to have both the mountains and the ocean within just a few hours of where we live. We will definitely make a trip back!