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Outer Banks: Dreaming of Duck

In some places, duck is a dish or a dynasty.  If you live anywhere near the Outer Banks, Duck is one of the crown jewels, where its wide, uncrowded beaches, wildlife, sound-side sunsets, surf and childhood memories call us back summer after summer.  We stand in line at Duck Donuts for tasty treats and buy a new swimsuit at Scarborough Faire.  And don’t forget to pack your bike and your pooch!  Duck is very bike friendly and dogs are allowed to run and play on the beach without their leash (just remember to scoop the poop).

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All along the east coast, families flock to Duck, North Carolina for their summer vacations.  Many have been coming here since they were children themselves and while the growth of the area has changed the look (and the volume of traffic), the feeling remains that of a small, quaint beach town.  It’s the kind of place that has that feeling you cannot wait to get back to.  Peaceful, yet fun.  Adventurous, yet relaxing.  Lots to do and a few history lessons for the kids nearby.

Here are few things to put on your list:

The Sanderling

This place will ruin you. If you want flexible and fabulous, then treat yourself to a stay at the Sanderling Resort.  It’s right on the ocean and offers you everything you’ll need for a memorable beach vacation.  You can rent a room, suite or mid-sized vacation home that sleeps anywhere from 8-16.  It has a spa, yoga, several onsite restaurants, pools, fire pits, water balloon toss, sandcastle classes, photography services, live entertainment and s’mores.  You could move in for the summer and never be bored.


Duck Donuts

Normally, donuts would not make the top ideas list, except for this case.  You have to venture out one morning (or maybe several) to spoil your clan with freshly made treats from Duck Donuts.  They are simply amazing pieces of dough!  You will probably have to wait in line because unfortunately the word is out and everyone wants some.  I recommend riding your bike to lessen the guilt and you won’t have to find a place to park.


The Lost Colony Performance

While it’s not right in Duck, you have to book your tickets and go see this show.  You have to.  Don’t tell yourself it’s not that good or that the tickets are too much.  Just go.  You’ll love it.  About 15 minutes away in the town of Manteo, the theater sits right on the water and during a nice evening, it really is one of the most enjoyable experiences you can imagine. Everyone in your family will be thrilled.  Just make sure you buy the tickets when the day is clear and weather is good (there is a rain policy).  You’ll want to pick a seat near the aisle to surprise your group when the Indians start their attack.  You’ll get a really close encounter with what you’ll swear is a real Indian warrior.  The production is incredible and the stage is over three times larger than a Broadway stage in New York.  There are epic battles, Indian dances, sorrow, heartbreak, tragedy and drama.  If you have some extra time, book a backstage tour.


Tip:  The traffic on NC 12 on weekends during the summer can be very backed up as new families move in and other families start their journey home.  Be forewarned and have a plan, trust me when I say you want to avoid arriving at peak move in time on a Saturday or Sunday.  Some rental agencies have special services that help you arrive early enough to beat the crowds, make sure you ask when you book your home or cottage.

Have you visited the Outer Banks?  Did you stay in or near Duck?  What is your top tip for others visiting the area?

Read more:

East Coast Beaches with Nearby History

Mackinac Island’s Old School Charm

3 Great Beaches for Treasure Hunting

Beat the Heat: 7 Wild Waterparks

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