There are few places more laid back than the thin barrier islands of the Outer Banks. Saddled along the east coast of North Carolina, the banks are overflowing with opportunity. There is always something to do, or not do, no matter the place, time, or weather. We love taking the opportunity to vacation there for a week every summer.
There is a small time-share resort in Kill Devil Hills that we call home every May and it’s a wonder we come back. Excitement for our week in the sun builds up over the year, particularly during the cold winter months, and in the spring, it’s so close we can taste it. At first there was some worry about investing in the time share. Would we really want to come back to the same place and do the same things year after year? Would the timing always work out? Would the whole family go?
In short, it was one of the best decisions that we’ve ever made. And when I say we, I mean my mother, the lynch pin that holds us all together. You may recognize her from some instagram photos, including a particularly joyous kayaking trip. Her decision to take all of us down there, to invest in a yearly family vacation has created so many moments of joy and happiness. Yes, we love the beach, and the time off from work, and all the fun things we do, but in truth it allowed us time to come together as a family. With no responsibilities or stress, we are able to simply enjoy being around one another.
Happy hour is always a must in the Outer Banks. It may even be a way of life. While there were days that we started early, (it’s 5 o’clock somewhere right?) happy hour is where the party gets going. Drinks and Apps, they go together like pb & j. A few places that we hit this year (and loved!) were Hurricane MO’s, Noosa, Blue Water Grill, Tortuga’s Lie, and Miller’s on the Sound. All great options! There are so many unique restaurants and bars that it’s hard to get to them all in one trip (and the bar tab adds up). Another yearly favorite is the Outer Banks Brewing Station; although my mother doesn’t a good beer like the rest of us, she loves their steak!.
The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island is always a must visit! The little ones (and my sister-in-law) love it to pieces. It is by mean’s a large aquarium but they make the most of their space, both indoor and outdoor. The kids and the sister-in-law absolutely adore the otters who you can see swimming around as well as when they are napping in their den. I, personally, love their sea turtles, both those in the exhibit tanks, and the ones that they take in for rehabilitation. They actually have an amazing program, the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center. This year they had a humongous loggerhead sea turtle in one of the nursing tanks. We were all so stunned by its shear size that nobody thought to take a photo. Unfortunate. But it was amazing.
As I mentioned, there are countless ways to spend your time in the area. The kids went mini golfing, and rode down to Rodanthe. Last year we rented paddle boards and jet skis (I have the balance of a newborn doe and was terrified of falling). We have also traveled to the cape Hatteras lighthouse, as well as the Bodie Island Lighthouse. Exploring the lost colony of Roanoke is something that is still on our list to do.
If have any special Outer Banks spots on your list, I’d love to hear about them!