Beach days before having a baby meant complete relaxation. Entire beach vacations were spent catching up on some reading while kicked back in a beach chair without a worry in the world and maybe even a drink in your hand to top it off. With a new little one in tow, planning a vacation in general is usually a much different story. It may not be quite as carefree as prior vacations, but it doesn’t have to be any less fun! Here are some tips on how to have an awesome beach day with your baby!
While you’re in a beachy winter wonderland for the holidays with your loved ones and away from the monotony of home, here are some annual activities for the whole family to enjoy alongside the locals:
Annual Holiday Tour of Homes
December 1 @ 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm – $20 admission
Enjoy a holiday home tour of historic homes, inns and more on Roanoke Island in Manteo. Light refreshments and check-in are at The Outer Banks Distillery where the owners offer afternoon tastings for tour goers and a tour of the distillery. Your group will receive a brochure with a map of the tour route to help you navigate as you walk or bike through this historic area of Manteo. This tour marks the beginning of a day filled with holiday festivities, making it a full-day of fun-filled shopping, dining, and sightseeing.
Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens
November 24 – January 19, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-17) $9, Child (5 and under) $6.
Here’s a quick rundown of some local piers and what they offer to help you plan your next Outer Banks trip.
Avalon Fishing Pier: Mile Post 6, Kill Devil Hills
Avalon Pier is great for the night time or adventurous angler. The Pier has its own bait shop and even has a webcam, so you can check out what the waters look like before even heading out. Once you have a stamp good for the day, you can take advantage of this 700-foot-long pier to catch everything from blues and flounder to cobia and kings! This pier even has a “no bystander” policy for the end of the pier to keep the clutter of extra lines, coolers and chairs out of your way while you fight reel in your catch of the day.
If fishing isn’t really your “thing” don’t worry! There’s an awesome arcade inside complete with pool tables and foosball. You can grab a bite to eat or a nice cold beverage at the snack bar while you’re there.
Nags Head Fishing Pier: Mile Post 12, Nags Head
With a bait shop and restaurant on-site, Nags Head Pier takes customer service to a new level with their “you hook ‘em, we cook ‘em” meal option allowing you to do the angling and them do the cooking. They’ll even serve it to you with French fries, slaw and hushpuppies. Even if you don’t have all your gear with you to catch your own dinner, the full-service tackle shop offers rod and reel rentals in addition to the appropriate bait and/or tackle for your desired catch.
After you’ve gotten your fishing fix and fill to eat, take a trip over Capt. Andy’s Oceanfront Tiki Bar and Grill for specialty drinks, over 30 beers on tap, live music during the in season, karaoke and dancing for a full day and night of OBX fun!
Jennette’s Pier: Mile Post 16.5, Nags Head
First built in 1939, Jennette’s Pier is truly a one-of-a-kind pier from its concrete structure that extends 1,000 feet into the beautiful Atlantic to its partnership with the NC Aquarium educational programs, aquariums full of local species of fish and special events areas for weddings and other gatherings. The pier has taken a serious beating from the rough wind and waves of hurricanes since it was built, but has been reconstructed into the wonderful landmark it is today. There’s plenty to do at Jennettes’s Pier to make a full day trip for the whole family. Even just strolling the pier can be entertaining as you read the fish plaques people have purchased in honor or in memory of loved ones and events.
As the longest OBX pier, this is a favorite spot for experienced anglers and pin riggers who are out to catch more than the occasional trout or blue. Their website has a fishing report that is updated daily to keep everyone updated on what kinds of fish are in the area and what they can expect before even arriving. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins or a Humpback Whale like the one seen on December 18, 2017.
Outer Banks Fishing Pier: Mile Post 18.5, South Nags Head
You may think that you can just go to any craft store and buy a whole bag of sea glass, but this glass is typically not weathered by the sea at all, instead it’s placed in a rock tumbler to mimic natural sea glass. If you’re just looking for beach themed décor, this is a beautiful and much easier found option, but combing the beaches with your friends and family is a lot more fun!
Now that we know what it is, let’s talk about where in the Outer Banks to go sea glass hunting and what you can do with your found treasure.
There isn’t an exact science as to when and where you will be guaranteed to find sea glass, but there are a few places and times that can increase your chances. In most cases, sea glass is found hidden among piles of broken shells and pebbles that get washed ashore by the tides. The earlier in the morning you go searching through these areas, the less people have gotten a chance to comb the beach ahead of you, making your chances of finding the glass higher. By the same token, less people are typically on the beach in colder months, making it a great time to go looking for shells, sand dollars, and sea glass. Some of the best places in the Outer banks to search are Carova and Bodie Island, but it’s possible to find it on any stretch of the Outer Banks. To further increase your chances of striking hidden sea glass treasure, many locals believe that hunting for sea glass during low tide, a full moon, or after a big storm results in larger than average sea glass findings because the sediment on the sea floor gets stirred up, uncovering “new” sea glass!
If you’re like me and refuse to let something so beautiful just sit in a jar, there are plenty of cool crafts and do-it-yourself décor ideas on Pinterest to put your findings on display. Here are a few:
1. Wall Art
If you have a pretty large collection of sea glass and shells, you can make a large piece, or keep it small. This example is super easy and fun to recreate and lets you put your creativity to work. Just grab a couple wooden boards, arrange and glue your findings in the shape or pattern of your choosing, hang them up, and voila! You have a piece of the Outer Banks right in your home for all to admire. It’s a great way to keep the memories of the beach alive too! Another option is to do this within a shadow box and fill it up with your findings.
2. Homemade Jewelry
This is a great option for the crafty person in the family. You can use sea glass as the focus piece of any type of jewelry from matching necklaces and earrings to bracelets and rings. A few ways to do this are: drill a small hole in a bigger piece and pair it with beach themed charms for a beautiful DIY necklace, learn the wire-wrapping technique (great for those of us without power-tools or jewelry making experience) and soldering metal around your favorite piece. Check out Pinterest for tons of tutorials and tips.
3. Personalized Christmas Ornaments
Whether you share them with family members to commemorate your family beach trip or keep them for your own beach themed tree, these are cute and simple ways to keep your sea glass for years to come. As with any other craft, there are many ways to use sea glass in ornaments. You can place some sand and your glass inside of a glass ball ornament, make snowmen with the commonly found white sea glass, make a sea glass angel and more. This would be a fun idea for the kids to really get their creativity flowing while you reminisce on your vacation memories.
Whatever you choose to do with your sea glass findings, one thing is for sure; you’ll have an awesome time searching for it by yourself or as a bonding activity with your family and friends. The Outer Banks has a way of creating memories you’ll cherish forever, but it’s nice to have a unique souvenir from the gorgeous Atlantic itself.
Leash Laws and Regulations
Each of the beach towns have their own laws on when pets are allowed on the beach and what their specific regulations are. Make sure you know the laws for the area you are going to be staying in.