The Outer Banks is known for a lot of great things, one of those is fantastic breakfast spots to get your vacation days started right. There are too many great restaurants to name, and not all of them are equal, but there are some that stand out as fan favorites. Here are our top 11 breakfast places where you can get all the morning must-haves and more!
The Outer Banks is in no shortage of amazing restaurants and meal options, including desserts. Whether you’re looking for just something to grab and go or make it a family outing, you’re sure to find something to satisfy everyone in your group’s sweet tooth with one of these sweet treats.
Yes, that delectable treat that has become synonymous with a visit to the Outer Banks is the star of our Memory Monday photo submission contest.
Special thanks to Jason Tucker of Sellersville, Pennsylvania who stayed with Outer Banks Blue at the Corolla area vacation rental “Nauti and Nice” who shares his photo with us saying that after hearing about Duck Donuts for years he “finally made it” himself.
Jason reminds us that this very successful franchise (Duck Donuts claims to be the fastest growing donut shop in the country) which has taken off around the Outer Banks and has locations in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, and California among other locations that they also have a shop in Pennsylvania near where he lives.
We checked with the founder of Duck Donuts to confirm and indeed Duck donuts was started right here on the Outer Banks. Amazing story.
If you have not had the pleasure of going to Duck donuts yourself and don’t know what all the fuss is about you owe it to yourself to give it a try. There is just something about watching those little fritters being dropped into boiling grease right before your eyes, cooked while you are there, and then while the batter is freshly cooked you tell the attendant to put the toppings on while you watch. Peanut Butter, Icing, Chocolate, Coconut, Sprinkles – you name it and they will put it on the donut for you.
Thanks Jason for sending in your photo memories. We look forward to serving you again soon. I’m sure Duck donuts does as well.
All the best from the beach.
Start Your Day at Duck Donuts
You haven’t had a donut until you’ve had one from Duck Donuts. Made fresh to order, these warm and soft donuts are unlike any others. That’s because each is one of a kind and made just for you. Check out the featured selections that rotate with the seasons — the menu may include tempting combinations such as maple bacon, chocolate mint, vanilla coconut, or chocolate marshmallow. Feeling creative? You can build your own by choosing any combination of icing, drizzles, and toppings.
Get Out on the Water
Now that you’re fueled with carbs, it’s time for a bit of water fun. Paddleboarding combines exercise, relaxation, and excitement. You can rent a standup paddleboard (SUP) from Nor’Banks Sailing and Watersports on Duck Road. This outfitter is located on a soft, sandy beach that is a safe location to learn to paddle. Beginners can take a 1-hour lesson in warm, shallow water while experienced paddleboarders can strike out in the waves on their own.
If you’ve always wanted to try sailing, Nor’Banks offers rentals and instruction. Rent a small Hobie Getaway for an accessible introduction to sailing, or get a 14-foot catamaran that carries up to three people. If you already have some sailing experience, Flying Scots are available to you. These speedy, 19-foot sloop-rigged monohulls hold up to six people. Nor’Banks also offers private sailing lessons in a two-person Sunfish sailing dinghy.
Want to go faster? Rent a Waverunner or sign up for a Parasailing or tubing excursion. Parasailing rigs hold three people, so kids can ride with a parent. Parasailors get to choose between three aerial vantage points that range from low to high.
Refuel With Rock & Roll Tacos
Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, head 3 minutes up the road to the Duck Deli for a casual lunch. Their famous Rock & Roll fish tacos are a delicious way to recharge after a busy morning at the beach or on the ocean. This favorite spot also offers light salads, delicious sandwiches and subs, burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, and filling seafood platters. Another Duck original you’ll want to return to again and again!
With a belly full of tacos, you might not be thinking of dinner (or maybe you call it supper), but if you plan to catch it yourself (which we highly recommend), it’s time to go crabbing and catch your dinner. High tide or low tide, crabbing is best when the water is “moving,” so about two hours before or after slack tide is just right. Crabbing is fun for the whole family, requires little gear and zero experience. You’ll need a weighted line with a hook on the end, fishing line, a package of hot dogs or chicken necks, and a fishing net.
Attach the bait securely on the hook, then gently drop it into the water until it rests on the bottom. Wait 5 to 10 minutes, or until you see your line moving, then slowly begin to raise the line. If you see a crab attached to the bait, raise the line until the crab is about 2 feet below the Surface.
Slowly lower the fishing net under the crab and scoop it up. Crabs are fast, so it helps to have one person raising the line and one person operating the net. Carefully detach the crab from the bait and put it in a cooler. If you’ve never boiled or cleaned a crab, a quick YouTube video will make you a pro in no time.
You’ll need some side dishes to go with your crab tonight, so a stop at Tommy’s Natural Foods Market & Wine Shop is in order. Tommy’s is the place to pick up ingredients or prepared side dishes, including fresh bread and rolls. If you didn’t have any luck crabbing (or took pity and set them all free), Tommy’s also has dinner to go.
Sunset Stroll on the Boardwalk
Sunset is a celebrated event every evening, and there’s no better place to take it in than the Duck boardwalk. The boardwalk is a nature trail that spans nearly a mile by and over the Sound, connecting Duck shops and restaurants and the Duck town park. Keep a watch for wildlife such as ducks, geese, songbirds, large fish near the pilings, and even dolphins. After sunset, browse the boutiques that dot the boardwalk.
Duck waterfront shops offer everything from swimsuits and T-shirts, souvenirs, home décor, and art to books and sunglasses. If you’re ready for dessert, Sunset Ice Cream and Cappuccino has dozens of flavors — and a great view while you eat.
It’s not hard to have a perfect day in Duck. Start your day at a famous donut shop and end with a beautiful sunset, and you’ll have created a day full of unforgettable memories.
These photos were sent to us by Pat Winward of Cape May, New Jersey who stayed with us two weeks ago in the Duck area vacation rental property “Beach House on the Moon.”
We will let Pat’s own words take it from here:
“Our family of 20 just returned from the best family vacation through Outer Banks Blue in Duck, NC. We vacation together as a family every year, but this was our first year in Duck. We have a tradition of planning an elaborate Pirate Treasure hunt with our 9 grandchildren, and it was really special to be able to incorporate the boardwalk and the beach in the town of Duck. The merchants were amazing and fully engaging in our Treasure Hunt.
Attached are a few of our favorite pictures of this amazing vacation. Thank you for the opportunity to submit pictures for your contest. We look forward to seeing them posted, and hope you will select one of ours as a winner! ”
This is one of our larger properties which is perfect for a family reunion and that is just what happened with our family this week.
Lots of pictures to enjoy with this week’s submission so here you go!
Great photo memories Pat! Thank you for sharing them with us.
Now that is a family vacation!
All the best from the beach
Sam & Omie’s
First on our list and longtime local favorite we have Sam and Omie’s. Located across the street from Jennette’s Pier and known for their Sunday brunch. Be sure to try the “omie”lettes or the crab and eggs benedict.
Next up we have Henry’s, family-owned and operated since 1989. Some of my favorites include their home-style hot cakes, biscuits and gravy, or their seafood omelet. Even if you are getting a late start breakfast is available until 1 PM!
Of course we had to include Duck Donuts! You cannot make a trip to the Outer Banks without stopping here! All donuts are made to order so you don’t have to get up early and rush to get them while they are hot and fresh. Whether you keep it simple with a vanilla iced donut or go all out with a maple iced donut and bacon on top you cannot go wrong!
Nags Head Pier House Restaurant
If you are wishing to enjoy your morning cup of coffee while looking over the ocean and hearing the waves crash on the beach, then Nags Head Pier House Restaurant is the place for you. You must try their pancakes or home fries, they are delicious! Also, their seafood omelette is one of the best on the beach. Come early because there is typically a wait for breakfast, especially on Sundays.
Known for their catchy slogan “Eat and Get the Hell Out,” Bob’s Grill has one of the best (and my personal favorite) breakfast on the beach. They have a large variety of stuffed omelettes and voted best hashbrowns on the beach. My personal favorites include their French toast or their HUGE (bigger than the plate) blueberry pancakes. With breakfast served till 2 PM you do not have to rush to get there in the morning!
Take a step back in time at Grills Grill, a 60’s themed diner complete with retro pink and green vinyl. Serving a southern style breakfast until 2 PM daily. Not only do they have the best and fluffiest biscuits on the beach they also have Krispy Kreme donuts! These go quickly so get there early! Also, be sure to try their biscuits and gravy or their famous “Kiss Our Grits” platter.
The Jolly Roger
Known for their pirate memorabilia, Christmas ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and of course their breakfast is The Jolly Roger. Located on the beach road in Kill Devil Hills, the Jolly Roger is another longtime local favorite. Their breakfast platters are huge and affordable and their pancakes are the size of a dinner plate! Be sure to get their home fries and toast with your meal, both are made in house and are delicious.
Lighthouse Bagels & Deli
Serving up the best breakfast in Corolla is Lighthouse Bagels & Deli. With over 15 different kinds of bagels and made-from-scratch donuts you can find something for everyone. They also offer hot off the grill breakfast sandwiches and amazing cinnabuns and scones. Get there early because they are known to sell out of bagels by late morning.
There you have it! These are our top breakfast places on the Outer Banks and ones we often recommend. With so many great places to choose from I am sure we missed other great breakfast spots. Do you have an all-time breakfast favorite that we didn’t mention?
First on our list is Duck Donuts. You cannot make a trip to the Outer Banks without stopping here. Whether you keep it classic with the vanilla iced donut with rainbow sprinkles or go all out with a maple iced donut with bacon on top you cannot go wrong. All donuts are made to order so you do not have to get up early and rush to get them while they are hot and fresh. With four locations, from Corolla to Kill Devil Hills, no matter where you stay in the Outer Banks Duck Donuts is only a short drive away.
Number two on our list is a long time local favorite, John’s Drive In, whose been serving the Outer Banks since 1977. Even though there may be a wait, and the parking can be a little difficult, it is totally worth it. With a large variety of flavors to choose from you are bound to cure that milkshake craving you’ve been having all summer long. This is the perfect treat to take with you to the beach. Don’t forget to pair this tasty treat with one of their famous dolphin boats.
Newer to the area but making a big wave is a frozen yogurt shop located on the beach road in Nags Head called Surfin’ Spoon. Frozen yogurt is a yummy and healthy alternative to ice cream. Surfin’ Spoon also has at least one vegan flavor to choose from at all times. From fresh fruit to sour candies Surfin’ Spoon has toppings to cure sweet cravings. Whether you bike, walk, or drive be sure to stop in and check out Surfin’ Spoon on your next trip to the Outer Banks.
Last on our list we have Big Bucks Homemade Ice Cream. With over 50 flavors to choose from and made fresh daily they are bound to have something for everyone. Not only do they have great ice cream but they also offer fresh fruit smoothies, an espresso bar, and a large variety of candies. Do you have a special event such as an anniversary or birthday during your vacation? Don’t worry! Big Bucks has you covered with specialty ice cream cakes. Big Bucks is conventionally located in Corolla, Kitty Hawk and Manteo.
Even though there are many more places to cure your sweet tooth on the Outer Banks, these local shops are some of my personal favorites on the beach. From ice cream to candies, and fresh hot donuts, this list cures my sweet tooth every time.
Is there a place that you like to go while you are on vacation in the Outer Banks to cure your sweet tooth?