Let us give you a few suggestions about where to go and what to eat beyond the sandy dunes.
Where to Eat
1. Owens’ Restaurant (“Owens’ Restaurant”/March 2008 p171) Milepost 16 1/2 , Beach Road, Nags Head, NC 27959 (252)441-7309—Now under the guidance of a fourth generation, this 62-year-old eatery known for its crab cakes and hushpuppies has become an institution on the Outer Banks.
2. John’s Drive-In (“Beach Drive-Ins”/August 2008 p 158-161) 3716 North Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949 (252)261-6227—This drive-in has been loved by Outer Bankers for thirty-one years. Some favorite offerings include the fried mahimahi, tuna salad, burgers, hotdogs, crab cakes, and many irresistible side dishes.
3. The Big Oak Drive-In & Bar-B-Q (“Beach Drive-Ins”/August 2008 p 158-161) 1167 Salter Path Road, Salter Path, NC 28575 (252) 247-2588—This drive-in was founded by a commercial fishing family who wanted to cook and serve their catch rather than sell it wholesale. People travel far and wide for their shrimp burger, but they also serve spicy red sauce barbeque, burgers and more.
4. The Snowbird (“Beach Drive-Ins”/August 2008 p 158-161) 3530 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959 (252)480-0000—The Snowbird is a ice cream shop and restaurant. Vacationers come to The Snowbird hungry—and with good reason: there are no less than 100 flavors of soft-serve available.
5. Dune Burger (“Beach Drive-Ins”/August 2008 p 158-161) 7304 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959 (252)441-2441—Dune Burger is a classic drive-in with a sand parking lot. Located right across the street from the beach, it’s a popular hangout for locals and beachgoers alike. Dune Burger offers hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwiches, barbecue, ice cream, and milkshakes.
6. Howard’s Pub (“Seafood Tour: Outer Banks”/May 2012 pp 153-160) 1175 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960 (252) 928-4441–Step right in to Howard’s Pub and relax amongst the walls decorated with surfboards and license plates. For those who want a healthy variety of seafood, Howard’s serves “The Works,” a seafood combo of oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, steamed mussles and clams, and a cluster of steamed crab legs. *note, closed for winter, opens back again in March
7. Buxton Seafood (“Seafood Tour: Outer Banks”/May 2012 pp 153-160) 49799 N.C. Highway 12, Buxton, NC 27920 (252) 995-5085—In business for over fifty years, this restaurant offers fresh scallops, shrimp, flounder, and other seafood along. Nick Wolosuk has owned Buxton Seafood for the past decade and prides himself on his philosophy to buy and eat food “from here, not China.”
8. Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant and Tavern (“Seafood Tour: Outer Banks”/May 2012 pp 153-160) 2316 South Croatan Highway, Nags Head, N.C. 27959 (252) 441-4116—Over the past 25 years Mike Kelly has mixed Southern hospitality with his Irish heritage to provide millions of diners with satisfying dishes. Art and memoriabilia from the Outer Banks cover the wall of the restaurant, which offers a hearty menu for adults and children.
9. Coastal Provisions (“Seafood Tour: Outer Banks”/May 2012 pp 153-160) 1 Ocean Boulevard, Southern Shores, NC 27949 (252) 480-0023—A popular gourmet food and wine store, Coastal Provisions, opened an adjoining outdoor oyster bar last summer. Relax and enjoy one of the over twenty wines available and snack on a variety of small plates, salads, or signature entrees.
10. The Left Bank (“Seafood Tour: Outer Banks”/May 2012 pp 153-160) 1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949 (866) 860-3979—Part of the Sanderling Resort, The Left Bank is an elegant restaurant with equally beautiful food. Fine dine here in the evening and look out at the sun setting over the Currituck Sound. With Chef de Cuisine Travis Robinson leading the way, The Left Bank is a AAA Four Diamond Award winner. (reopening in April)
Where to Stay
1. Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging (“Rooms with a View”/November 2007 pp 80-86) 46677 NC Highway 12, Buxton, NC 27920 (800) 225-7641—Vacationers on Hatteras Island can get help from Lighthouse View Oceanfront Lodging to find the perfect motel room, suite, beach house, or cottage for their trip.
2. The Roanoke Island Inn (“Inn The Family”/October 2007 pp 210-216) 305 Fernando Street, Manteo, NC 27954 (877) 473-5511—Features like its green roof, rocking chairs, garden, and wooden staircases make The Roanoke welcoming and homey.
3. The Sanderling Resort and Spa, 1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949 (877) 650-4812. The Sanderling is situated in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound, and offers luxurious rooms, a spa and salon, as well as access to a fitness club and golf club. (**closed until April 2013)
What to Do
1. Jockey’s Ridge State Park (“Tracks in the Sand”/May 2009, pg 55) Milepost 12, N.C. Highway 158, Nags Head NC 27959 – Upon this 1.5 mile stretch of sand people learn how to hang glide, perfect their sand boarding skills, and take on the challenge of climbing to the top of the massive dune to enjoy long distance views.
2. Nellie Myrtle Pridgen Beachcomber Collection in Mattie Midgett Store (“What Nellie Myrtle Found”/May 2009, pp 96-105) 4008 South Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC 27959, email@example.com –After a lifetime of roaming Nags Head’s fruitful sands, Nellie Myrtle accumulated an intriguing collection of odds and ends, on display at the Mattie Midgett Store. Each item she picked up on the shore has become an artifact, shining light on Nags Head history.
3. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (“Rugged Duty”/February 2007 p 113) 46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC (252) 473-2111– This world famous lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. Today, you can climb the 268 steps to the top of the winding staircase and look out at the treacherous waters below, known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”
4. Wright Brothers National Memorial (“Kill Devil Hills”/July 2010 pp 26-37) 1000 North Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, N.C. 27948, 252-441-7430—The Wright Brothers National Memorial stands to commemorate the location where the Wright Brothers’ dream became reality when they achieved their first successful flight in 1903.
5. “The Lost Colony” Outdoor Drama (“The Father of Outdoor Drama”/May 2007, pp 112-118) 1409 National Park Dr. Manteo, NC 27954 (252) 473-2127—Watch the outdoor drama that has been entertaining and educating audiences every summer since 1937.
6. Frisco Native American Museum (North Carolina Lighthouses Field Guide, pp 40-41) 53536 NC Highway 12, Frisco, NC 27936 (252) 995-4440—There are hundreds of thousands of American Indian artifacts packed into this small museum. Owners Carl and Joyce Bornfriend do not want to simply showcase their collection; instead they see it as a teaching museum that shows the genius of Native Americans and explains their history.
7. Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum (North Carolina Lighthouses Field Guide, pp 42-44) 59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC 27943 (252) 986-2995—Over the course of four centuries, seafaring vessels have traversed the tempestuous ocean waters that have been known, nearly as long, as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Come and explore a staggering collection of artifacts ranging from roman coins and pirate doubloons to anchors and captain’s desks. Spend some time with these treasures and listen to the tale they tell.
View Our State’s Outer Banks Travel Itinerary in a larger map
Blue: Where to Eat
Red: Where to Stay
Turquoise: What to Do