Top 7 Outer Banks Coffee Shops

Tree House Coffee

About 2 years ago we wrote an article with the Top 5 Outer Banks coffee shops, but some were missed and one went away. Not to mention a new coffee shop made its appearance on the Outer Banks this year. READ MORE

How To Avoid The Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks: Updated with Pro Tips

how to avoid the traffic outer banks

Back in 2014 we released a blog article on how to avoid the traffic on you drive to the Outer Banks. After seeing how many people that article helped and reading everyone’s responses and tips, we’ve decided to update it. Anyone who has driven to the Outer Banks on a Saturday knows how bad the traffic can be during peak season.  We’ve had reports saying the traffic was backed up 20 miles behind the Wright Memorial Bridge. READ MORE

How To Survive Long Days At the Beach

survive outer banks beach day

Summer’s approaching faster than you think and you know what that means; Long hot days at the beach! If you’re like me then you can barley contain your excitement when you think about being under the warm sun while listening to the sound of the waves roll onto the beach. I try to make the most out of my days at the beach. I clear my whole schedule and plan on staying from late morning until the evening. Long beach days like this take a lot out of you and many people couldn’t imagine staying that long. But for all the people that love beach days as much as I do here is how to survive a long day on the beach! READ MORE

Top 10 Planning Tips: Outer Banks Beach Vacation

Top 10 Planning Tips for your Outer Banks beach vacation

Planning for your vacation sets the stage for getting the most out of your vacation, even if your plan is to be as lazy as you can be.

When my family vacations we tend to plan in two stages. The first stage is all about thinking ahead to: what will we need for the trip and what will we need when we get there. The second stage is all about what are we going to do when we get there (activities). READ MORE

Which Outer Banks Town is Best for You?

Outer Banks vacation

No one has the same vision for the perfect vacation. Some may picture peace, quiet, and seclusion while others may picture plenty of activities close by. Regardless of what your ideal vacation looks like the Outer Banks has the perfect fit for everyone. READ MORE

10 Tips for Enjoying Your Outer Banks Vacation Without Gaining 10 Pounds

Gaining 10 Pounds
If you’re anything like me then you’re ready for some good food and relaxation on your Outer Banks vacation. You’re excited to indulge in the local cuisine and you’ve been dreaming about laying on the beach soaking in the sunshine. You shouldn’t let the thought of gaining weight stop you from fully enjoying your vacation. Then again who wants to gain weight and have to work twice as hard to lose it after vacation? What if I told you there was a way to fully enjoy your vacation without gaining 10 pounds? Here’s my top 10 secrets to do just that…

1. Set challenges

It is important to set goals, or challenges, for yourself before your vacation begins. Often when people set a challenge for themselves they are more inclined to stick to it. For instance, maybe make 100 pushups a day challenge. This would mean that you make sure to complete 100 pushups before the day is over. You can do sets of 10 or 20 throughout the entire day to make it easier. Feel free to lower the number if 100 a day is too difficult, but make sure it still challenges you. This will keep you active and keep your body in fat burning mode throughout your vacation.

2. Portion Sizes

Have you noticed the portions most restaurants give these days? Oftentimes, there is easily enough food for two people. If you have someone that is willing to share a meal with you then you will not only save calories, you will save money as well. If no one is willing to share with you that doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself and eat the entire plate. Eat half of your plate and save the other half as a meal for later. Maybe you’re eating in at your vacation rental and everyone is indulging in fattening foods such as pizza or ice cream. Why should you have to skip out on the delicious food when no one else is? It’s all about the portion sizes. Instead of having 3 slices of pizza cut it back to 2 slices or even 1 and a half slices. More times than not that will be plenty of pizza to fill you up and still feel good afterward. The same goes for ice cream. Don’t eat an entire bowl just have a good scoop. One scoop of ice cream may not seem like enough, but it should be plenty to satisfy your sweet tooth. Pro tip: Take smaller bites. This will trick your brain into thinking you are eating more since it will last longer.

3. Choose Menu Options Wisely

Trying to keep the weight off on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t partake in eating out at delicious local restaurants with everyone else. Don’t jump to a conclusion on the first thing you see that sounds good on the menu. Often there are many healthy menu items that are just as, if not more, delicious than the indulgent options. Pick your meal wisely and enjoy every bite of it. Instead of getting that plate of nachos smothered in cheese try some fresh local fish with coconut rice or another lean option.

4. Eat In

Outer Banks house rentals include fully equipped kitchens that make cooking in a breeze. Make eating in fun! Choose themes for every meal: Mexican, Chinese, grilling, seafood, vegetarian, etc., then research new recipes to try. Let every person/group choose a meal, so the entire group gets involved.

5. Include Super Foods READ MORE

Christmas Celebrations in the Outer Banks

poulos outer banks christmas
If you’re looking for a special way to spend Christmas this year, the Outer Banks is a magical place to make Christmas memories. The weather is temperate, with average highs of 55 degrees and lows of 37 degrees, so there’s just enough chill in the air to let you know the holidays have arrived. Beach rentals are a great value, and there are no crowds or traffic to interrupt your tranquility.

The Outer Banks offer a variety of Christmas activities throughout the month of December. Events range from nostalgic to whimsical, and are fun for the whole family. One of the best parts of spending Christmas in the Outer Banks is the ability to become a temporary local. Join in the holiday fun at traditional seaside celebrations, and you’ll truly feel that you’re part of the community.

Ready to head for the islands at Christmas? Here are some annual favorite holiday events the locals love:

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Holiday Climb

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the United States. Climbing the lighthouse when it’s open has become a rite of passage for Outer Banks guests. This year the lighthouse will be open for a self-guided winter climb from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, December 9. The lighthouse has 268 steps that span the 208 feet from foundation to light, but the panoramic views from the top of the lighthouse are unforgettable and well worth the effort. The climb is free, but climbers must be at least 42 inches tall, able to climb all steps on their own, and must be 16 or older or accompanied by an adult.

Make an Elizabethan Ornament

Stop over at the Roanoke Island Festival Park any Friday in December at 11 a.m. and learn to make a 16th century Elizabethan-style Christmas ornament. Roanoke Island settlers in period costume will help kids (and adults) of all ages make a lovely Christmas keepsake. This family-friendly activity is included in the price of park admission.


Manteo Christmas Tree Lighting

Take part in a long-standing family tradition as Manteo residents and visitors get together on the first Friday night in December for the Lighting of the Town Tree. This event takes place downtown on the Manteo Waterfront on Queen Elizabeth Street in front of the courthouse. The evening is festive and convivial, and the lighting is topped off with traditional Christmas carols and free hot chocolate for everyone.

Dare County Annual Holiday Small Works Show

From December 1 through January 10, the Dare County Arts Council hosts the Annual Holiday Small Works Show at the DCAC Gallery in downtown Manteo. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for the art lover in your life, or for yourself, this event offers small original works of art created by local Outer Banks artists.

Winter Lights at Elizabeth Gardens READ MORE

What You Need to Know About Outer Banks Surf Fishing in the Fall

Outer Banks Fishing
The fall in the Outer Banks is the best time to go surf fishing. At the end of the summer, the weather is cooler, and there are fewer people. Of course, you don’t have to fish in the fall. Surf fishing is fun any time of the year. It can be a relatively inexpensive hobby compared to other activities such as windsurfing or kiteboarding. Here are the things you need to know about surf fishing in the fall in the Outer Banks.


You don’t need much in the way of equipment — a rod and reel. The tackle shops in the Outer Banks sell rod and reel combinations so you don’t have to figure out the rod and reel separately. These combinations are sold in different weights and lengths. An eight to nine foot rod is the best size to buy.

When you’re surf fishing, make sure you have a sand pipe so you can put the end of the rod in it. This sand pipe can be a piece of PVC pipe stuck in the sand. You won’t want to put the rod in the sand because a reel can get ruined.


Depending upon the season, the bait will vary. The local tackle shops can help you figure out which bait you need. Whatever bait you buy, make sure you keep it in a cooler so it stays fresh. The fish bite better when the bait smells good and is fresh.

You might also want to have artificial lures to attract the fish. Some fish like a lure better than bait. Just make sure the lure is shiny and pick one that is heavy enough to cast out into the ocean and also make sure you have extras in case the fishing line breaks.

North Carolina Fishing License

A fishing license is required to surf fish. You can get that license through any of the tackle shops in the Outer Banks or through the N.C. Marine Fisheries and Wildlife website.

Beach Driving Permit

During the off-season, you can drive your four-wheel drive vehicle on the beach in a few places, such as Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Hatteras Island. You may need a permit to drive on the beach in some of these areas.

Best Place to Fish

The best place to surf fish in the Outer Banks is Cape Point. This point is where the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current come together. The Diamond Shoals are located off of Cape Hatteras and are sandbars that shift with the currents. You can find plenty of fish between the two currents and the Diamond Shoals.

Cape Point can be crowded with fishermen from all over. The most popular times are the months of September and October. You can catch such fish as sea mullets, trouts, mackerels, bluefish, and croakers.

Surf fishing is done at any time of the year in the Outer Banks. However, the best time is in the fall when the hot temperatures are gone and some of the fish are migrating during the off-season, providing plenty of fish to catch.

Top 5 Outer Banks Coffee Shops

Tree House Coffee
Most people need a good cup of coffee to get their morning started, and everyone has a specific way to make the perfect cup. Your perfect cup could be as easy as a little cream and sugar or be something more complicated and long that is sounds a bit like a foreign language. While on vacation pleasing every coffee drinkers’ palette can be difficult, but there is a great personalized experience to be had for everyone and we have a list of our top coffee shops to visit in the Outer Banks that will make your vacation mornings memorable.

Duck’s Cottage
Duck, NC

Duck’s Cottage is a quaint, little coffee shop tucked away in the Waterfront Shops in Duck, NC. This coffee shop/book store may be small in size but it’s large in heritage. Set in an old waterfowl hunting lodge from the 1920’s known as Powder Ridge Club. It was then bought and preserved by Betty and Duck Braithwaite thus renamed Duck’s Cottage With a cozy indoor reading nook and inviting front porch and specialty house drinks like the “Mucky Duck” or well-known house coffee “Coconut Crunch”. Celebrating 15 years of service to the Outer Banks, Duck’s Cottage has become a staple in the community and continues to provide good coffee and a piece of historic charm.

Treehouse Coffee Company

How to Avoid the Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks – Updated

In 2014, we released this article because summer traffic to the Outer Banks was a topic we knew could use a little insider information on how to avoid this traffic. The article was well received and many people responded with their own tips and tricks. 3 years later avoiding traffic on the drive to the Outer Banks is still a subject that is valuable to our visitors so we decided to update this article with some of the wonderful tips provided by our readers.

Anyone who has driven to the Outer Banks on a Saturday knows how bad the traffic can be during peak season.  Every year we hear reports saying the traffic was backed up 20 miles behind the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Everyone knows where the problem is.  It’s the intersection in Kitty Hawk that takes you north onto highway 12 into Southern Shores.  Traffic there bottlenecks and can add anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to your driving time. For guests who are staying south of this intersection there is a better way. If you’re staying in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Nags Head with Outer Banks Blue here we have some time saving tips for you.  During the peak vacation season, do not come across the Wright Memorial Bridge to get to the Outer Banks over the Wright Memorial Bridge during peak vacation season!

As most veteran vacationers to the Outer Banks know, traveling to the Outer Banks from the north and driving across the bridge will add around 3 hours to your driving time due to traffic. Google maps may say the stretch from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, the middle ground for our Kitty Hawk to Nags Head guests, will take you 2 hours and 57 minutes but in reality it will take you 5 to 7 hours.

Those of you who usually drive by, or near Richmond and then take Highway 64 to Chesapeake, instead take Richmond, VA to Edenton, NC.  Yes Google maps will say the drive is 4 hours, which is 1 hour and 3 minutes longer, but when you consider the traffic it is actually a time saver.  Most who are trying to arrive on the Outer Banks by crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge are averaging a 6 hours drive from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, but if you take the Edenton route you may cut as much as 2 hours off your drive.  You may still encounter some traffic once your arrive on the Outer Banks, but as everyone knows the traffic south of the Kitty Hawk-Southern Shores traffic light is rather light by comparison.

Not only is this route a time saver but it is also full of smaller roads through the countryside which may be a nice change of scenery from your average drive down the interstate.

Another alternative to these routes is to take I-95 South to US-64 East by Rocky Mount, NC. This path shows on Google Maps as being 16 minutes longer than the Edenton route, but it is mostly freeway and has a lot more gas stations and food to stop at along the way.

Even those of you who must travel through Chesapeake, due to where you live, can take advantage of this tip when coming to the Outer Banks on a Saturday during peak season. The problem where traffic occurs typically begins somewhere between the Virginia-North Carolina state line and Highway 158-Highway 168 intersection.  With there being an additional hour and 14 minutes to go the Edenton route you will still save time when considering traffic.

You can use Google maps link to map out this route.  Simply adjust the start location with your home and the end location with your Outer Banks Blue vacation rental address.

A big tip to beat a lot of traffic is what day you check in on. Typically, most people vacationing on the Outer Banks choose to rent from Saturday to Saturday. If you switch up your check in day to a Friday or Sunday Check in traffic will be much less.

If you are crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge no later than 9:00 am then you are usually in the clear. Most days traffic doesn’t tend to get congested until around 10 am. I know 9:00 am sounds early, especially if your rental won’t be ready until 4:00 pm, but it’s more enjoyable to find something to do on the Outer Banks rather than sit in traffic for hours.

If you arrive to the Outer Banks before your Outer Banks vacation rental is ready try grabbing a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. The beach is full of great local cuisine that we recommend everyone try (Top 8 Favorite Place To Get Breakfast on the Outer Banks). One of the best early arrival tips we can give you is to plan like you will arrive early. Pack swim suits and beach chairs to be easily accessible. If there is still time to kill until you can check into your rental you will be able to get to the beach gear easily and have a beach day until you can unpack the rest of your luggage.

We hope these tips can help you on your next trip to the Outer Banks. If you have any tips that we’ve left out we would love to hear them in the comments!

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