The Outer Banks—better known as OBX to locals—is a 200-mile long string of narrow barrier islands branching out from the North Carolina coast, a slight but beautiful stretch of beaches separating the mainland from the sea.
Steeped in rich history, the Outer Banks offers family fun and community engagement during peak season and serious seclusion in the off-season. Home to approximately 15 towns and villages, it is Duck that has remained one of the peninsula’s best-kept secrets for years.
With the surf-ready Atlantic waters on one side and calmer Currituck Sound on the other, Duck offers seven miles of clean water access for travelers. Entirely walk-able and bike-able, the town is anchored by its adorable, waterfront village center. From fantastic restaurants to gourmet groceries, gift shops, art galleries, women’s boutiques, bookstores, locally owned pet stores, coffee shops, and parasailing launch spots, “downtown” Duck is a feast for tourists.
Rental prices for homes and condos can cost individuals upwards of $1,000 or $2,000 during peak season (June to August), but those prices drop to less than $1,000 in the off-season, which constitutes the rest of the year. Hotel and bed and breakfast rates drop considerably during the off-season, too, and many owners will offer special three-day weekend rates, as opposed to the summer’s more expensive weekly prices.
Could you use a long weekend away this spring? Consider taking advantage of the town’s off-season prices and book a stay in quiet, secluded Duck, NC. You’ll have plenty of time to check out:
Whether you feel like heading out onto the sound in a rented kayak or canoe, or enjoying some time on the ocean in a pontoon boat, jet ski, of skiff, you’ll find watersport rental agencies dotted throughout the center of town. Parasailing is a huge draw, as is surfing, thanks to the Outer Banks’ infamous waves. Rent a surfboard for a few days or a week and hone your skills, or take a lesson from a local pro. Though some watersport rental agencies may be closed, most should be opened; if you own your own kayak, surfboard, or boat, though, even better.
Plenty of fish
No matter the time of year, Duck offers excellent fishing, and Duck fishermen know there’s multiple ways to get a good catch: Cast off from a local pier, surf fish, charter a boat for off-shore fishing, or drop a line in the sound. In terms of surf fishing, April and May are excellent times of year for catching black and red drum, bluefish, sea mullet, and more. Go off shore, though, and you may be able to find anything from marlin and mahi to tuna. You can even crab. Don’t have a rod, reel, or bait? An array of boating and fishing outlets in town will be happy to provide you with the supplies you need.
Feel like fish and chips? Oysters on the half shell? Crab cakes or the fresh catch of the day? Feel like fine dining with a sound view, a stack of crab legs at a sports bar next to the ocean, or a freshly wrapped tuna steak to take home and cook from the local market? How about homemade donuts or coffee on a front-porch rocker?
Duck is host to some of the Outer Banks’ top food and wine destinations, and there’s no better time to enjoy them than spring, when lines are short, the sun is out, and it’s finally warm enough to lounge on the deck. Whether fine dining is your dish, or casual fare, or eclectic dinners prepared at home with local seafood, you’ll find everything you need in this small town.
Did you know the Outer Banks is considered the birthplace of aviation? For centuries, adventurers have been drawn to this secluded strip off the coast of North Carolina, including the flight-hungry Wright Brothers. Travel 20 minutes outside of Duck to visit The Wright Brothers Memorial, a looming granite monument set among sweeping sand dunes, in Kill Devil Hills, NC, and pay homage to the first flight that happened a little over a century ago.
Or head down the road to Manteo to catch The Lost Colony, our nation’s second-longest-running outdoor symphonic drama, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green. Written to commemorate the first English colony in America, The Lost Colony has been performed since 1937 in an outdoor theater located on the site of Sir Walter’s colony on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks region, which is near present-day Manteo. More than 200 actors, designers, technicians, and volunteers rehearse each year to bring it to life.
To learn more about Duck, and the Outer Banks’, history, visit http://www.outerbanks.com/history.html.
Head just 10 minutes north to Corolla to catch a sight of the famed wild horses (Colonial Spanish Mustangs) that roam freely on the northernmost beaches of the Outer Banks. Though tour groups exist, the horses are a treasure that locals want to protect and responsibly manage while allowing to live freely.
On your way to Corolla, make a stop at the red brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Climb the winding staircase inside to the top for a 365-degree view of the sound and the ocean, or check out the lighthouse exhibits below to learn more about the lighthouse’s history, its place on the Outer Banks, and its keepers.
Though reclining by the beach is plenty relaxing, those looking for extra luxury can hit up any number of local day spas. The Sanderling Resort, which offers rooms, a restaurant, and more in Duck, should be your first choice. Recognized by Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards as the #3 spa to go to in the US, a visit to the Spa at Sanderling is the ultimate way to top of a vacation to this scenic town.