Bodie Island Lighthouse in Nags Head, NC
We spent a glorious week exploring the Outer Banks last month and thought that in the spirit of what we do -- curating gift boxes full of the best foods the great state of North Carolina has to offer -- we'd share our own curated list of all the highlights. This overview is by no means exhaustive as there are so many quaint towns to see, and we only had 7 days (and we're already dreaming of going back!). But in case you're planning a trip out that way, or our round up inspires some spontaneous wanderlust, here are some of the best things to do and most importantly EAT in NC Made’s Guide to the Outer Banks.
Tacos at TBC West Tacos & Taproom in Rocky Mount, NC
Starting with the road trip portion of the journey, we stopped at 200-year-old Rocky Mount Mills to have lunch at TBC West Tacos & Taproom. A branch of nearby Tarboro Brewing Company, owners Inez and Stephen Ribustello serve an eclectic menu of tacos made from fresh, local ingredients that pair nicely with their rotating selection of house-brewed beers.
Roanoke River Lighthouse in Edenton, NC
Our next destination was Edenton where we hopped on the guided Trolley Tour for a slow, informative drive around the picturesque town. It's been nicknamed the South's prettiest small town, and its well-preserved colonial- and plantation-era architecture did not disappoint. Built in 1886 and lovingly restored, the Roanoke River Lighthouse on the waterfront is thought to be the last square-sided screw-pile lighthouse left in America. So that was cool!
We stayed in an amazing Airbnb in Kill Devil Hills that we'd recommend if you don't mind a bonus hot tub and pool with your beach trip, but there are loads of other great properties like this one and this one. And this one! Oh! And this one too! The beach there was beautiful, of course, and it was a great home-base for the various day trips we took throughout the week to get to know the area.
A wild horse (!!) in Corolla, NC
A Wild Horse Tour in Corolla was at the very top of our list. We piled into an open-air safari truck with a guide who drove us over 25 miles of beach while we learned about the area's history and saw actual wild horses! Climbing the stately unpainted red-brick Currituck Beach Lighthouse in nearby Corolla Village was another high point of the day.
Weeping Radish Farm Brewery in Grandy, NC
Weeping Radish Farm Brewery in Grandy bills itself at the oldest microbrewery in the state, so a beer was obviously in order. And they have an award-winning Butchery on-site that turns out the most delicious selection of seasonal sausages. Get the Reuben, and be sure to pick up a few packs of their amazing all-natural pork hot dogs to grill up back at the house.
The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island in Manteo was the ideal rainy day activity. Their jellyfish were real stunners. Pun very much intended.
We had a lovely dinner at The Blue Point in Duck. They serve outstanding locally-sourced seafood with a Southern focus. The rows of Adirondack chairs facing the Currituck Sound made for some seriously breathtaking views at sunset. Breakfast at the famous Duck Donuts was also a no-brainer. They come warm and made-to-order and are superb.
Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, NC
In Nags Head, we had a fantastic lunch at Fish Heads Bar & Grill on the water followed by a long walk on Jennette's Pier where visitors are welcome to drop a line into the ocean and take in the gorgeous blue views. Further north, the eclectic beach-themed seagreen gallery is a great spot to pick up a souvenir followed by a trip to sweet Surfin' Spoon for a cup of frozen yogurt or a Lemon Lavberry ice cream sandwich. We especially loved their curved peach door. No visit to Nags Head would be complete without a stop at the black-and-white striped Bodie Island Lighthouse as well as Jockey's Ridge State Park for the tallest natural sand dunes in the Eastern US.