When I was pregnant with Benjamin, my best friend, Candice, and I went on a road trip to Washington D.C. On our way back to Atlanta, we traveled along the coast and happened upon the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I honestly had never heard of OBX before that trip, but from that moment on, we’ve been wanting to take a vacation there. Enter, our girls’ weekend getaway and road trip to the Outer Banks!
When I got back from visiting California this spring, I immediately suggested she and I go on vacation for her birthday weekend. We got to planning and on Wednesday she flew in. It’s a 10-hour drive to Southern OBX, where we were staying. Our plan was to get up and leave at 5 a.m. on Friday. After some drama getting our car rental Thursday evening, we ended up leaving directly from the another rental place at 11 p.m. She and I drove until around 4:30 a.m. before stopping to sleep in the cab of our rented JEEP at a rest stop. It wasn’t the most comfortable sleep ever but all part of the adventure!
Our first stop once we got to the Outer Banks was Rodanthe, NC. made popular by the Nicholas Sparks’ Nights in Rodanthe. I really wanted to visit the house used in the film, but couldn’t find an address online. I was relieved to learn that the owners put the blue shades from the movie back on and a plaque that reads Inn of Rodanthe, making it easy to spot right from the road! So fun to see!
We stayed in the SANDS Cottage in Buxton, NC. It’s located just a few lots from the beach, and central to just about everything in the little town. We ended up walking most places we wanted to go, like the corner store, to get dinner and ice cream. This was my third experience with Airbnb, and I’ll never go back. If you haven’t used Airbnb before, here is $40 off your first booking!
Per our Airbnb hostess’ suggestion, we had a yummy dinner at Diamond Shoals. (I got the Tiger and Philly sushi rolls.) I loved that it was just around the corner from the house, so we could easily walk there and then hit the corner store on our way back.
On Saturday our alarms went off at 5:30 a.m. We were hoping to catch the sunrise but the clouds did a pretty good job of covering it. It was still beautiful to see the half-moon and the sky turning pink. After about 20 minutes we went back to the house to sleep for a few more hours.
When we woke up again, we got ready and drove a short 1.5 miles to Cape Hatteras Light Station. Cape Hatteras is the tallest lighthouse in all of the United States! I am terrified of heights. Terrified. But, I just had to climb to the top. Candice and I have been to three lighthouses together and this is the only one I’ve gone up in. I’m good on that. I hugged the wall and I stood out on the balcony and there were tears, but I survived. 😉
We were determined to have fish tacos on this trip, so we headed to Buxton Munch, which was also recommended to us. Unless you’re starving, I recommend splitting a plate — it was a lot of food!
After lunch we visited “our” beach. The Atlantic Ocean is so different than what I’m used to growing up in California. The waves are very aggressive right from the coastline. I read that it’s 20-50 feet deep, not very far off. For this reason, we didn’t spend a lot of time here. I will say that if you’re a strong swimmer and don’t mind getting wet, there are huge shells to be collected in this area! I had the best time gathering them to bring home to Benjamin.
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Saturday afternoon, we walked to Uncle Eddy’s Frozen Custard. We both got the Frozen Eddy — mine was a mix of chocolate and vanilla with Peanut Butter Cups and Butterfingers. Yummy!
I had read that this was one of the few places on the East Coast where you could see the sun both rise and set over water unobscured by land. Having had no luck to this point in our trip, we headed up the road to Canadian Hole. This body of water is called the Pamlico Sound and is located on the opposite/inside of the peninsula. It’s calmer coastline makes it ideal for families with younger children. The wind, makes it ideal for water sports such as wind surfing! We arrived around 3 hours before sunset.
As luck would have it, clouds rolled in just before sunset. I was able to get some beautiful photos and a video of the sun disappearing over the water. We packed up and were walking back to the JEEP when the sky opened up and complete drenched us! It was hilarious and still so fun! Lucky for us, we had a frozen pizza to enjoy back at the house so we spent several hours in, just hanging out. When the rain let up, we walked to the corner store for [more] champagne and then enjoyed it on our little pier/bridge, drinking and laughing together under the stars. It was seriously so much fun!
Sunday, we slept
off our hangovers in a bit before getting our things together to head out. Our plan was to take our time leaving the Outer Banks on our way back to Atlanta. We stopped at a 5-star burger joint called Bros Sandwhich Shack. So, so good!
After lunch, we headed to Bodie Island Lighthouse near Nags Head. This was the third out of 5 OBX lighthouses we’ve been to (saving two for future visits). I didn’t go up this lighthouse but Candice did, and I’m sharing her photos from inside it, here.
After the lighthouse, we hit the road, having made so many awesome memories during our 48-ish hours in OBX. It’s for sure a destination worthy of tradition, and I can’t wait to go back!