Sunday, August 25, 2013


A ferry ride away (free too!) is Ocracoke Island.....Check your maps or your apps because it is a long drive just to get to the ferry location if you are staying at one of the northern beaches.  But if you are staying anywhere from Nagshead south, it is certainly a wonderful day trip.  The ferry ride takes at least 1/2 hour depending on weather conditions and the "shoaling" in the sound.  The sand has been shifting and making the ferry go out of its normal route lately.  From the ferry landing on Ocracoke it is only a short ride into the little village.  We enjoyed bringing our bicycles with us and biking around the town.  There you'll find an information center and a few small museums.  The shops are plentiful and eating right on the waterfront is delightful.  If you plan your trip as an overnight, there are several choices.  We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast one trip and thoroughly enjoyed our stay. While biking we found some walking paths to deserted beaches.  In fact, the beaches there are stunningly beautiful.  We sometimes head back toward the ferry area and then enjoy the beach right there until close to departure time.

Celebrating the 4th of July

Whether you are in Duck, Corolla or Nagshead celebrating the 4th of July on the OBX is terrific. In Corolla the festivities center around the Whalehead Club and include family-style activities on the grounds culminating in fireworks once it is dark. 

If you are in Duck, the celebration kicks of with a "hometown" type of parade with decorated bicycles, lifeguards on boats, families in golf carts, kids in wagons, decorated dogs and local businesses in vans.  It snags what is already a traffic nightmare for a while in the morning, but if you are already staying in Duck it is a delight to witness. Be sure to go out to wear themed clothing and hats yourself..... part of the fun is watching the parade watchers!

We have never celebrated in Nagshead or Manteo, but we know for sure that fireworks are part of the festivities.  From our location in Southern Shores we were able to see fireworks in BOTH directions this year.   Sometimes the localities celebrate on different days, so be sure to check websites or local publications to find the fun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Manteo - Pirate Adventure, Festival Park

Great day trip if you are staying anywhere from Duck south on the Outer Banks.   From Corolla it would be a bit too far for most families.... Ours enjoy walking around the "downtown" shops, eating on the waterfront, a small playground on the waterfront and then 2 other main activities if you have kids..... From the Milepost 1 it is probably about a 25 minute drive to Manteo.....

Pirate Adventure

During the summer season a troupe provides a Pirate outing on a boat that is well designed and run for kids and their families.   You meet the group in town where pirate songs are taught and some face-painting or tattooing is provided.   The group then parades across to the waterfront for the adventure ...... well "acted" by the troupe and lots of fun for kids 8 and under.....

Manteo - Festival Park  - Museum and Grounds


Another outing well worth it for all ages..... We've gone with our children and grandchildren, but we've also gone with friends our age who enjoyed the outing as well.

Jockey's Ridge State Park - Nagshead

Jockey's Ridge is a GIANT sand dune with access to it on the Sound side of Nagshead.  There is an information center (with bathrooms and gift shop) but the major attraction is the dune itself.  There is a handicapped accessible ramp to a spot with an excellent view...but at the end of that ramp you can access the area where you can climb to see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck Sound from the same vantage point.... well worth the climb.

On the ocean side of the dune right on Highway 58 is a kite and outdoor shop that provides rentals to try some of the more adventurous activities like hang-gliding.....lessons offered as well.

Jennette's Pier - Nagshead

Following some hurricane damage the remodeled Jennette's Pier is a terrific place to fish or just to visit.   Our non-fishing grandson enjoyed watching the surfers from the great vantage point of the pier itself.   Admission is "suggested" and required if you are fishing.... but it is minimal for the outstanding access it allows.   Lots of cleaning stations, shaded areas on the pier, displays, even a small aquarium..... Great spot to spend some time.

The Pier is located close to the causeway to Manteo..... south of Nagshead itself....

Duck - Boardwalk Area and Donuts

Duck is located about 8 miles north of the Wright Brothers Bridge.  If you survive the traffic in the height of the season to get there you may not need your car anymore..... Lots available that you can walk to..... Car still needed for serious grocery runs, but other than that, your needs can be met within walking distance.
The "Town of Duck"  has added a beautiful boardwalk over the Currituck Sound.  It has platforms for fishing or crabbing and is lit during the evening by solar power.  During the summer there are concerts, children's shows, and exercise classes at the Pavillion in the heart of Duck.    A variety of sizes of homes are available for rent.  The websites have become MORE informative over the years with virtual tours and great maps.... making it easy to pick out a great vacation home for your travels. There is also a small playground near the boardwalk. (Public Restrooms too!)

Sunset over the Duck Boardwalk

The Boardwalk Has Grown to Include a Picture Perfect Chair!

A regular stop for our family is Duck Donuts.   We make at least one visit each time we are at the beach.  The store has expanded so you place your orders on one side of the soundside pier and then pick them up on the other side.  The store has built small platforms so the kids can watch the process of making the delicacies.   They are warm and yummy.  The variety comes from the frosting and toppings and most folks LOVE them!

Watching the Process

The donuts are popular so be prepared to wait in a line.... it moves along, and the scenery can't be beat... At least at the original location..... They've expanded to Southern Shores, Corolla and other parts of Virginia as well.....