5 Things to Know About The Outer Banks


5 Things You Should Know About The Outer Banks

If you’re considering spending some time in The Outer Banks, here are five essential things you should know about these barrier islands off of North Carolina. I just learned all of these firsthand on my trip to Corolla last week. Number one is the most important: you will love The Outer Banks! So stop worrying and start planning your trip.

1. Don’t worry, you will love The Outer Banks. I wasted so much time deliberating about where we should spend the last week in the August. I knew we wanted to be at the beach, but I didn’t know where. Should we head north from New York City and go to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Maine or Prince Edward Island? Or should we head South to The Outer Banks, Bald Head Island or Hilton Head? All of those places are fantastic, but eventually The Outer Banks won out for us. The Outer Banks has gorgeous, unspoiled beaches and a family-friendly atmosphere. It manages to have that special sense of place that a destination either has, or it doesn’t.

2. You still have to figure out where to stay within The Outer Banks. Just deciding to go The Outer Banks isn’t enough – it’s 200 miles long so you need to decide which town is for you. We stayed in Corolla, which is on the northern end. It’s upscale, family-oriented and the beaches are particularly wide. It wasn’t too built up but there were plenty of shops and restaurants. If you want somewhere more remote, you can go to Carova, which is the northernmost town and it’s only accessible in a 4X4 because there are no paved roads. Duck is more centrally located and has more restaurants. Nag’s Head, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk are even more developed and attract more singles because they have much more to do. Corolla was pretty sleepy but that suited us because we were exhausted by the end of the day.

2. It’s warm and windy in The Outer Banks. You will notice several kite stores as you drive through the island. It can get very windy on the beach. It depends on the weather pattern, of course. But the Wright Brothers chose Kitty Hawk as their first flight for a reason: good winds. If you’re lucky, there will just be a nice ocean breeze. If you’re unlucky, you may not be able to open your beach umbrella. But those winds help keep you cool in The Outer Banks when it’s hot. And it feels hot even in the 70s, I learned last week. I often become obsessed with checking the weather for the days leading up to my travels, and this time was no exception. I was disappointed when I was that most days would only be a high of 80. Well, with the humidity and the strong sun, 75-80 feels hot in Corolla! Our weather was just perfect. I laugh when I was worried that it woudn’t feel hot enough. (Up north, mid-70s can feel chilly on the beach.) On the day we were leaving, we got a taste of true hot weather, and it would have been tough on the kids.

4. The people are so nice. I always defend New Yorkers as being nice, but then I go somewhere that actually has nice people and I see the difference. It must be that Southern Hospitality, and we weren’t even that far South! I’d say that we encountered the third nicest people here, the first being Costa Ricans and the second being Portuguese. Everywhere we went, we just felt so welcome. Especially at restaurants, even though we had a five-month-old and a three-year-old with us. Which brings me to…

5. The seafood is amazing. If you love shellfish, it’s hard to have a bad meal in The Outer Banks considering that fresh crabs and fresh shrimp are plentiful. I had a crabcake every day. We also had a few meals of California-Mex, which seemed to be a popular cuisine down there, although we couldn’t figure out why. But fish and shrimp tacos are delicious so that was good by us.

12 Responses to 5 Things to Know About The Outer Banks

  1. Gran Canaria Local September 4, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

    Beaches you can only reach by 4X4? Warm and windy days? Friendly locals? It sounds a lot like the Canary Islands to us i.e our kind of place. Thanks for the recommendation, guys.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..El Caserio de San Jose de Las Vegas

  2. noel September 4, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    I’ve only visited the barrier islands in Georgia and FLorida, time to take another road trip soon!
    noel recently posted..Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas

  3. Terry at Overnight New York September 5, 2014 at 12:53 am #

    Great tips for a trip to the Outer Banks. I love that you can fly a kite!
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Spinning the U.S. Open at Affinia Hotels

  4. JENNIFER September 6, 2014 at 4:23 am #

    Sounds like a really mellow, relaxing, low-key place to hang out with friends and family.
    JENNIFER recently posted..Top Zip Lining Companies in Hawaii

  5. Aleah |
    Twitter: ALEAHphils
    September 6, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Like what Matthew said, it also sounds a lot like the Philippines! White sand beaches, crystal blue waters… I wish I were there now.
    Aleah | recently posted..Of Angels and Other Stories of Kindness on the Road

  6. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    September 6, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    I never knew (or thought) there would be such nice, sandy beaches in North Carolina!
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Understanding the US Visa Waiver Program

  7. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    September 7, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    The Outer Banks sound like they’d be perfect for a really laid back, relaxing beach vacation. I honestly had no idea that the beaches there had such white sand, either!
    Micki recently posted..Four Gorgeous Greek Islands Off The Beaten Track

  8. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    September 7, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    My sister used to spend her summers in the Outer Banks and love the experience! I’ve never been to the Carolinas, but we’re considering a mini moon there next August!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Autonomous Community Spotlight: Cantabria

  9. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    September 8, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    We loved the Outer Banks and especially enjoyed learning how to hang glide over the soft sandy dunes.
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..PHOTO GALLERY: The Beauty of J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

  10. Penny Sadler September 8, 2014 at 1:22 am #

    I’ve always wanted to go to OBX. I have customers that go every year and it sounds heavenly.
    Penny Sadler recently posted..On The Slopes in Obergurgl, Austria

  11. Katie Baird March 19, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    This is the one destination my family returns to year after year … can’t beat the OBX beaches!

  12. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family
    Twitter: flashpackerfam
    June 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    Just re-read this post as we’re thinking about visiting there later in the summer.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Taking a Mom Break in Milwaukee

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