This Post is in Partnership with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau.
Opinions are 100% my own.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of collaborating with the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau in order to create a mini travel guide just for you! Kelli Boyd, from Kelli Boyd Photography, and I packed the car and headed to the North Carolina coast. We’re always up for a road trip, especially when it involves a beach destination. Pulling up to the gorgeous beachfront home in Nags Head, graciously provided by Carolina Designs Realty, instantly set the tone for an amazing trip. Upon arrival we met the other influencers that made this trip a reality, namely Meg Biram, Pretty in the Pines, Feast + West and Spicy Candy DC. Our large beach bungalow was located right next to Jennette’s Pier, a prime fishing spot. I was totally impressed with the expansive and soft sandy beaches that make the Outer Banks (OBX) an extremely popular travel destination. After my first trip, I’m already hooked and can’t wait to return.
My brother-in-law and his wife travel to the OBX every year, as well as a handful of my friends, thus I’ve heard countless stories about the Outer Banks and knew this trip was going to be a blast. I didn’t get to travel much growing up (although I’m certainly making up for it now!) but many of our close friends reminisce about stories of their family vacations to Nag’s Head, Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Manteo so this trip has been on my bucket list for years!
Kelli and I explored the OBX for four days as I attempted to become an #OBXpert and share my experiences with you. With the help of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau and MMGY Global, we planned a pretty awesome itinerary that was the perfect blend of history, arts and outdoor activities. If you’re planning a trip to the OBX — you’ll want to pin or bookmark this post. You can always explore the OBX Visitors Bureau website as well for hotels, restaurants and outdoor activity recommendations! The whole group documented our travels on Instagram using the hashtag #DareYouToOBX. And for more travel inspiration, follow my adventures on Instagram. So take a look at our adventures through these different lenses. The main thing that I learned about the OBX is that: it’s rich history + coastal landscape makes these barrier islands truly unique.
Become a History Buff in the Town of Manteo.
Waterfront Village. Just a 10 minute drive from Nags head, the town of Manteo has so much to offer. There is a waterfront village with a variety of shops and wonderful dining options such as the 1587 Restaurant and Avenue Water Grille. You can also explore the marina and Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.
“The Lost Colony” Outdoor Amphitheater. “The Lost Colony” is the longest running outdoor drama in the country. During my trip to Manteo, I learned that in July of 1587, over a hundred English men, women and children came to Roanoke Island with a commission from Elizabeth I to establish a permanent English settlement. When the English ships returned to bring supplies three years later, they found the island completely deserted. Over 450 years later, the disappearance of the colonialists remains an unsolved mystery. Every summer since 1937, “The Lost Colony” has been performed on the same site where the colony was originally built. We were lucky to get to experience a private backstage tour. It was amazing to see over 100 actors prepping for the show — body painting the Indians, making last minute costume adjustments and getting the props ready while listening to the long history of the theatre. It was an incredible experience and I will definitely watch the performance again when we return to the OBX. Queen Elizabeth’s costume alone will keep me coming back to the show!
Outer Banks Distillery. Hands down, my favorite spirit is rum–I absolutely love it! So it was a treat to tour a local distillery in Manteo where they produce small batches of Kill Devil Rum. The prohibition of liquor in 1920 catapulted widespread rum running along the Atlantic coast. As a result, the Outer Banks became a strategic midway stop on the journey from the Caribbean to Canada. Ever since, rum has become the Outer Bank’s unofficial spirit. Today, the Outer Banks Distillery pays homage to this unique and rich history. When we toured the distillery, I loved listening to one of the owners describe his passion for the distillation process. Not to mention their rum is delicious! In fact, on our way home we drove 20 minutes out of the way just to grab a bottle to bring home. For more information, check out the Outer Banks Distillery to read about their daily tours and tasting schedules.
Be a Beach Bum in Nags Head.
Northern Beaches. As I mentioned earlier, I was super impressed with the pristine white beaches in Dare County. It’s the perfect place to grab your Kitty Hawk Kite and enjoy a day at the beach. There you will experience the winds that the Wright Brother’s harnessed in order to make their dream of flying a reality. The best thing about the beaches is that you can drive on them (with proper permits of course). One evening, you’ll have to pack your car with a cooler full of fresh seafood from Austin Fish Company and build a small bonfire. There’s nothing better than enjoying seafood on the beach and sipping on an ice cold beverage, all while gazing at the stars.
Jockey’s Ridge. I have never seen dunes anywhere near as large as those on Jockey’s Ridge in Nags Head. They’re the tallest natural sand dunes on the east coast and probably one of my favorite landmarks in the OBX. It’s almost like you’re walking through the desert, but it gives way to breathtaking ocean views. It’s truly a remarkable sight that you have to witness for yourself.
Bodie Island Lighthouse. I’m a firm believer that it’s important to explore landmarks that are local to the destinations you are visiting. We took a trip to the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which was built in 1872. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot that captures the essence of your OBX trip, then head to the Bodie Island Lighthouse. You can stroll along the boardwalk to enjoy beautiful views of the marshlands and tall pine trees.
Do you dare to explore #OBX? Check out my Mini Guide to the OBX Part II.
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