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According to The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, tourism is their #1 industry. The Outer Banks get more than 5 million visitors a year.
I lived in Virginia during my 20s and first visited the Outer Banks in 1995. Since the ’90s, the North Carolina Outer Banks have become increasingly popular. Homes, hotels, and rentals line up against the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.
The Outer Banks is One of My Top 3 Places to Go
A fun fact about myself is that I live in the desert. However, anyone who knows me knows I am a total beach lover!
Out of all the places I have lived or visited, the Outer Banks is one of my top 3 places to go.
The beaches are sandy and white, the restaurants and stores are inviting, and the scenery is visually appealing.
I have been lucky to have recently gone back to the Outer Banks area. I traveled there during the Summer of 2020 and again in June of 2023.
Whether you enjoy sitting out on the beautiful shores, walking your dog, sightseeing, shopping, or eating fresh food, the Outer Banks has something for everyone.
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Spend Time on the Beach
Regardless of which area you decide to visit, the beaches in the Outer Banks are breathtaking.
If you are not a water person, think about people-watching. It is exciting to watch others surf, swim, and paddleboard. Even dogs love to take walks on the beaches of the Outer Banks.
The most popular beaches are:
- Corolla Beach
- Duck Beach
- Hatteras Island
- Kill Devil Hills
- Kitty Hawk
- Nags Head
- Ocracoke Island
- Rodanthe Beach
Download my free Travel Planner to help you prepare for your next vacation!
Visit a Lighthouse
The lighthouses in the Outer Banks area are Instagram-worthy.
I suggest visiting each lighthouse with enough time to explore the area and walk up to the top if given the chance.
- Bodie Island Lighthouse
- Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
- Currituck Beach Lighthouse
- Ocracoke Island Lighthouse
- Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
You can find a souvenir shop on every corner.
With tourists all year, souvenir shops are busy, especially in the summertime.
A popular place to stop and get your favorite beer, wine, or beverage is Brew Thru. Brew Thru has been around since 1977 and is known for the quick convenience of not getting out of your vehicle while purchasing a beverage.
They have merchandise for all ages.
If you appreciate everything about Christmas, you will enjoy shopping at Christmas Mouse.
I first experienced a Christmas Mouse store in Williamsburg, VA. I was in awe of the store and have since enjoyed visiting their locations in Virginia Beach and Nags Head.
They have ornaments, home décor, and much more.
Restaurants and Snacks
There are some great places to eat while enjoying the outdoor sun or indoor eats when you need to get out of the rain.
I have traveled with my family during my last two trips to the Outer Banks; therefore, finding a spot to eat for a vegetarian, seafood lover, and meat eater is always a difficult task.
Places I recommend for families are:
- Black Pelican
- Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard & Beach Fries
- Nags Head Café
- Sam & Omies
- Tortugas Lie
Places I recommend for snacks and treats:
- Booty Treats Ice Cream & Shave Ice
- Dairy Queen
- Duck Donuts
- Forbes Candy & Gift Shop
Other Sites to See During Your Long Weekend in the Outer Banks
- Digger’s Dungeon – Home of the Grave Digger
- H2OBX Waterpark
- Jennette’s Pier
- Morris Farm Market
- Wright Brothers National Memorial
As the vacation planner for our family, I suggest checking the weather when visiting the Outer Banks.
The ocean encourages wind, rain, and moisture to beach vacationers.
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