Perhaps you can’t make it to Majorca this year and are considering a domestic locale for a beach getaway. Miami may seem an obvious choice, but we suggest staying north of Florida in the picturesque Outer Banks, NC. It is the perfect place to take a stateside beach trip – from a fun girls’ getaway to a wholesome family beach vacation.
Pick Your Perfect Beach
With over 100 miles of gorgeous shoreline to choose from, selecting your perfect destination within the Outer Banks won’t be easy. It is all so beautiful! We took an extended family vacation (we’re talking three generations) to Avon, NC. We chose Avon specifically because the beaches have a rustic beauty that felt closer to nature than other parts of the Outer Banks. Indeed, looking out from the deck of our house to the dunes and beach below, my kids were jazzed to spot lizards, bunnies and crabs scurrying among the brush and bright wildflowers.
On a more practical level, Avon had necessary conveniences right in “town” (hello, huge Food Lion supermarket!) that are downright lifesavers with 5 kids to keep fed and entertained.
House Rentals in Avon, NC
Basically every house in Avon is available for rent, so while the best homes book up quickly during the summer season, if you reserve early enough you should be able to find your perfect house from among the inventory. We rented our house through Surf or Sound Realty. When you select your rental, be sure to get a house that gives access to one of the pool clubs in the area. Many houses don’t have their own pools (but DO have their own hot tub), but include access to one of these pool clubs in the price of the rental.
Our house came with a gold membership to Koru Village. Club Koru has a nice-sized and well-appointed pool (complete with tiki bar – BONUS), gym, restaurant that you can order from poolside and a spa! They also host events like fam-friendly luaus. All in all a really great rental perk!
Fun Vacation Activities in a Historically Rich Area
I remember being thoroughly freaked out when I learned about the “lost” Roanoke Colony in elementary school: A settlement of 116 men, women and children who disappeared without a trace. Roanoke Island, where Sir Walter Raleigh founded his ill-fated colony, is in the Outer Banks – and you can visit it! The entire Outer Banks area is not only beachy and beautiful, but also full of such historically significant places…more than I could possibly list here. But know, if you’d like to do a bit more that lay on the beach all vacation long (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), the Outer Banks has so much cool stuff to offer. If you’re vacationing with kids, be sure to get a permit for a beach bonfire. Your realty agency can provide one. Our kids had such a blast making smores in the moonlight. Bring flashlights, too, so you don’t miss the march of the ghost crabs! Every night these guys come crawling out of the ocean towards the dunes, and your kids will love spotting them with flashlights.
If you’d like to burn some calories while sightseeing, I highly recommend visiting the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton. It was built in 1803 and is the tallest lighthouse in North America. Historical significance aside, best believe your beach body will thank you for making the almost 300 step climb to the top of the tower. Yowza…talk about buns of steel!
You can pack back on all the calories you burned at the lighthouse with a family-friendly lunch at Buxton Munch Co., just down the road from Cape Hatteras. With its psychedelic, kitch-ed out decor and uber-casual vibe, this is the spot to eat with kids. There are piles of books on hand for the kids to read and tchotchkes hanging on every inch of wall space, so the whole family will stay entertained throughout the meal. The super-fresh fish tacos are the specialty here, and definitely a must-order, but their homemade tortilla chips are INSANE: Something between a traditional tortilla chip and the dried noodles you get in little bags with Chinese takeout. May sound odd, but trust me on this one…we all were fighting over every chip in the basket! Such flaky, salty, fried goodness could only come from the south.
Don’t Miss Out on Fine Dining
Though this was a family vacation, the hubby and I did sneak in one romantic dinner while in the Outer Banks. We heard from numerous sources that Cafe Pamlico at The Inn on Pamlico Sound was the spot in OBX for a romantic dinner.
“Casual fine dining” may sound like an oxymoron, but this place gives life to the phrase. You can get dressed up or wear flip flops – either is completely appropriate. From the specialty gimlet to the crème brulee, everything we ordered was spot on. The menu changes frequently, but if you see mahi-mahi, make sure to order it…it was cooked to perfection! Cafe Pamlico’s most delectable offering, though, is its location. Situated right on the edge of the Pamlico Sound, we got to enjoy our dinner while watching the summer sun set over the water. It was the perfect (and peaceful) night out we needed.