Top 6 Tips For a Beach Day with a Baby

A day at the beach with a baby

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! READ MORE

Christmas on the Outer Banks

Christmas on the Outer Banks
Of course the Christmas season is special no matter where you are, but why not spend it in the beautiful Outer Banks? While you probably won’t see a white Christmas on the coast, there are plenty of reasons why the Outer Banks make the perfect family destination, no matter the season. The weather is chilly but not bone-chilling, vacation rentals are at the best value you’ll see all year, and when summer leaves, it takes all the traffic and crowds along with it.

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. READ MORE

Piers on the Outer Banks

Avalon Pier on the Outer Banks
It’s no secret that one of the most popular outdoor activities on the Outer Banks is fishing. We know that not everyone who visits the OBX is a fishing enthusiast, or maybe only one or two in the group are. The whole point of family vacation is to spend time with loved ones in spite of differing interests. That’s why the various Outer Banks piers are a great way to meet everyone’s requests, fishing, lounging, entertainment, children’s activities, and the beach, all in one!

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 READ MORE

Sea Glass Hunting on the Outer Banks

sea glass craft wall art
Sea glass is one of the coolest things you can find while strolling the beach aside from seashells. If you’ve taken a couple long walks on the beach, you may have found sea glass before and had no idea what it was or how it got there. Sea glass comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be found in various parts of the beach, but what is it? It begins as a regular shard of glass that gets tumbled repeatedly in the ocean waves, making the once sharp edges smooth and rounded and giving it a frosted appearance.

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.

Bringing Your Dog To The Outer Banks

outer banks dog friendly
If you’re bringing your dog with you to the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks you want to make sure you’re prepared and know everything you can to keep them safe and healthy. To make your life a little simpler, we’ve compiled a list of laws/ordinances, emergency phone numbers and other pet safety information for you.

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.

  • Carova and Corolla – Dogs are permitted on both beaches all year, but they must remain on a leash at all times.
  • Duck – You may unleash your dogs on the beach year-round but it is encouraged to keep your dog leashed if they do not have reliable recall commands, even despite distractions. This is for the safety and consideration of all beach patrons, canine and human!
  • Southern Shores – Dogs are allowed on the beach all year, within certain guidelines. During the in-season (May 15 and September 15), your furry friends are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 6pm only. Between September 16 and May 14, dogs are permitted all day so long as they are on a leash no longer than 10 feet.
  • Kitty Hawk – Dogs are allowed year-round in Kitty Hawk with specific restrictions as well. Between the Friday before Memorial Day and the day after Labor Day, from 10am to 6pm, dogs must remain on a retractable leash no longer than 12 feet.  The rest of the year, dogs may be taken off the leash so long as they are not disturbing others, have reliable recall commands, and are no more than 30ft from their owner with a leash available.
  • Kill Devil Hills – May 15 through September 15 from 9am to 6pm, no pets (other than service animals) are permitted on the beach. Any other time of the year, dogs are permitted as long as they are on a leash no longer than 10 feet.
  • Nags Head – Dogs are allowed on the beach any time of the year so long as they are on a leash no longer than 10 feet.
  • Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras and Ocracoke – Pets are permitted on a leash no longer than 6 feet, year-round. However, there are designated swimming beaches on which pets are prohibited.
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