Romance looms on the Outer Banks, a long, narrow stretch of barrier islands in eastern North Carolina. The idyllic setting of Outer Banks (OBX), features miles of remote, sandy beaches. On the east side, waves roll in from the Atlantic Ocean, while on the west, sounds provide moments of peaceful reflection. The area is also home to abundant wildlife that includes wild mustangs galloping on the beach. We felt like we’ve stepped right into a Nicholas Sparks novel.
It’s been a few days since we returned home from our escape to Outer Banks (OBX), but Abhi and I are still dreaming of our blissful time in North Carolina! We couldn’t have spent the long weekend any other way. From the pristine blue waters to the mesmerizing sunsets, our visit was so perfect that we are already looking into another trip!
The drive till Outer Banks was about 10 hours from Cinicinnati. As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed immediately by our landlady to take us to our home for the weekend. Yes! this time we rented an apartment instead of a hotel to live like a local in the island. She didn’t hesitate in offering us refreshments, upon our arrival. As soon as we pulled into the house, we knew we were in for the best treat.
We hoped to have the best stay at the island, although that turned out to be a silly thought because there’s no way NOT to have the best time at such a lovely house. The gorgeous property is set far away from the main road and close to the beach. While Kitty Hawk is a popular spot to stay, we absolutely felt like we had the place all to ourselves which was perfect as we wanted a peaceful stay-cation.
The beach-themed house also featured a lovely pond and we got to see a tortoise walking right past our door. Not only did it boast a gorgeous living room with tons of natural light, but it also featured lots of cozy sitting areas. Moreover, there was a well-equipped kitchen at our disposal and we did spend some quality time, cooking dinners together.
Normally whenever Abhi and I travel for the blog, we usually have an itinerary set on what we are doing and when and where we are doing it. This time, aside from our sunset sightings, we didn’t have a set itinerary. We wanted to relax and enjoy ourselves as we had spent the last few vacations hiking and driving all along. And after weeks of blogging and working, we can say we earned our peaceful escape to Outer Banks.
For our first night in Kitty Hawk, we made dinner at home, watched TV, and gulped down a few Tropical Sangrias before calling it a day. The next morning we woke up excitedly to explore the OBX barrier islands. For breakfast we went to The Good Life Gourmet, and our first meal before heading to the beach could not have been any better.
One of the more remarkable characteristics of Outer Banks is how varied the terrain is. Tucked away among the dunes and forests that form the western edge of the islands are vistas of the estuaries, water and land that are absolutely incredible.
- We started a tour of the Outer Banks by driving the 100-mile journey along Highway 12 to Ocracoke Village at the southern tip of the Outer Banks.
- Explored the Wright Brothers’ Memorial where modern aviation started.
- We went to see the Bodie Island Lighthouse.
- Stretched our legs at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Made a quick stop at “Rodanthe” – a home made famous by Nicholas Sparks’ novel “Nights in Rodanthe“
- Drove and enjoyed the exquisite views of the Cape Hatteras coast.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
While passing along the way through Cape Hatteras National Seashore, we spotted towering historic lighthouses, and frolicked in the surf at the many beach stops on either side of the highway. When we entered Cape Hatteras, malls and traffic lights gave way to a landscape resembling a savanna set down in the ocean. We combed for shells on Coquina Beach, sat on a dune, and scanned the ocean for dolphins.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
Six miles south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore’s northern entrance stands the 156-ft Bodie Island Lighthouse. We strolled along the Bodie Island Pond Trail through bird-rich marshland. The seating arrangement gave the perfect view of the splendid architecture.
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
A few miles farther south, we came upon the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, where we hiked the nature trail and over the dunes to a beach almost as pristine as it was a hundred years ago.
While driving to the Outer Banks, we took the 16-mile, four-lane Chesapeake Expressway linking Virginia and North Carolina. The highway links I-64 in Chesapeake, Virginia, to North Carolina and the Outer Banks. The 5 1/4-mile-long Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, the longest bridge in the state, gave a stunning view of the approaching islands.
There is something magical about the land of sunken ships, pirate tales, and wild horses that roam the shoreline. While the Outer Banks have become very touristy, there are also massive national wildlife refuges, protected seashores and conservation areas that hug the waterways.
Rent a heavy-duty umbrella and its well worth it if you want to camp out in the shade and remain comfortable in the harsh sunlight. We’d recommend getting the extra base because the winds can blow pretty strong and that will help anchor it so you don’t spend the day running down the beach to catch your runaway ‘brella.
Search for shells in the surf, look for dolphins jumping from the waves, walk to the pier, play with pet, or just lay and soak in the salty air. Soothes the soul, we tell you!
Photos by Abhi & Suchi