Really, going to the Outer Banks, or OBX, any time of year is a good idea. There are fishing tournaments all year round, and, more importantly, fresh seafood all year round. The weather is mild, so there may be quite a few days in the 70s throughout the winter.
Summer is the high season, especially in July, and there is no end of activity. Or, there is no end of relaxing on the beach, in the coffee shop and on the patio. Make it what you want because that is one of the advantages of being in the OBX.
Now, there are plenty of places to find wine, beer and liquor, but you can bring your own if you rent a place to stay for a week, two weeks or a month. You can rent vacation homes online and land a great deal.
Now, just dreaming, but why not the whole summer? There are bars, restaurants, combinations of both and ABC stores in various places in the OBX. They know what people want on vacation. If you bring kids, maybe double up on the liquor.
I’ve stayed in big, five bedroom houses on the beach to smaller, two bedroom houses about five rows back. I have also stayed on the sound, which is so beautiful and restful. I would stay in a cardboard box if it were on the beach, or anywhere in the OBX. It might be 95 degrees here in summer, but on the beach, it is perfect. Get wet, feel the breeze and resume Nirvana.
If you have to go fishing, bring the kids to a family-friendly fishing boat, which is like a small ferry, so they can bait the hooks for you. There are ads everywhere and they’re easy to find. The staff and captain know how to work with people of all ages, and they know you’ve had your nails done. Kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding rentals are all around for the doers.
Serious fishing charters go out about 25 miles into the Atlantic for real catches, like schools of Mahi Mahi and wahoo. They are delicious even after being flash frozen and kept in the freezer for six months. Some fishing docks will freeze them and hold them for a while until you go home. A cooler with ice will get them home if the ice is refreshed when necessary. This is not a fishing trip for young children. Even older children are questionable. The waves may lead to nausea even on a nice day. It’s true that the flash frozen fish smells fresh after six months in the freezer after flash freezing. It’s amazing.
Kitty Hawk, a monument to aviation and the Wright Brothers, is not far from any location in the OBX. It is educational, but fortunately, it is interesting enough for kids to like it. Adults like it, even on the third visit. Yes, I have done that. Hang-gliding is very near here on the dunes at Kitty Hawk. Kids aged 4-104 have learned how to do it and survived. They enjoyed it, too. I did not do that, but I might yet. You only live once.
Other air-borne activities in the OBX include kiteboarding and windsurfing. They start out on the water and take off from there. The wind does amazing things when sails are involved. Some people get 15 feet on a hop. These people are usually very strong men, but not always. Very strong women can get air, too. Kids, don’t even think about it.
Sandcastle construction, moats and outer protection walls are important technical projects for younger children. Future engineers and anyone who loves to play in sand will enjoy this. Moms don’t care because: ocean water rinse off. This means bringing shovels, pails, turret molds and finding shells for adornment. All of this equipment is in every other store on the beach, everywhere. Towels, too, and flip flops, hats, sunglasses, sun screen and water bottles are available as well. Whatever you forgot, it’s there: dish towels, cooking equipment, bath towels.
Many vacationers who like to cook, bless their hearts, like to buy fresh seafood right out of the water and cook it at “home” for dinner. This is tremendously good if cooked correctly, and butter really kicks it up a notch. Huge, delicious meals can be prepared for much less money with fresh, local food. Produce stands offer sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra and melons from local sources. We have made ceviche from local, fresh seafood that was as good as any high end restaurant’s. The raw seafood cooks in the lime juice and makes us very happy.
There are enough eating establishments in the OBX to keep everyone fed and looking forward to the next feeding time. Those of us who don’t cook appreciate this. Sun, sand, seafood and friendly people make it all worthwhile.