Outer Banks TOP 10 Breakfast Restaurants

Breakfast eggs.

What is the most important meal of the day?  That is right, BREAKFAST!  Sometimes before I go to bed, I make my plan for breakfast the next day.  Then all of the sudden daylight appears and it’s time to get out of the sandy sheets and get there before the rest of the crowd.  Now I want to see your vote on the BEST breakfast restaurants here in the Outer Banks.

Below are some delicious breakfast places that the good old Outer Banks has to offer.  All you have to do is vote for your favorite place!  If you have missed some of these, then you must get out there and eat.  Ready, set, go!  This list constantly updates to keep the current favorite at the top!


(If you don’t see # of votes, please refresh the page)

Don’t forget to browse our HUGE inventory of Outer Banks Vacation rentals!





Outer Banks TOP 10 Fish Tacos


Welcome to the most delicious blog on the Outer Banks.  This list is the brainchild (two year old procrastination) of a self-identifying food junkie… my original plan was to dissect each and every one, expressing my delights and dislikes, to produce a true taco dissertation.  But, too much time has passed, and I’m holding my readers accountable (and liable) for the rankings on this page!

Below are some of the finest fish tacos that the Outer Banks has to offer.  Your job is to vote for your favorite(s) to make this the best running OBX fish taco list around!  I don’t think there are any right now, so we’re looking good.  OK GO!  This list constantly updates to keep the most voted at the top!


(if you don’t see # of votes, please refresh the page)


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Top 10 Summer Beach Reads


Once you’ve made it to the Outer Banks, it’s time to relax. I’m not sure it gets much better than packing a cooler, your beach chair, towel, a good book and parking it on the beach for the day. Well, we’ve got the beach, you brought your chair, cooler and towel with you, now check out our list of books to read at the beach this summer!

Top 10 Summer Beach Reads

divergent-series-_01. Divergent Series

Written by award winning author Veronica Roth. Divergent Series is a 3 book series spinning off of her first book Four: The Transfer. Included in the series is Divergent (#1), Insurgent (#2), and the most recent Allegiant (#3). All three books have made appearances on the #1 New York Time‘s bestselling list. Some claim similar to Twilight and Hunger Games, this series will pull you in and leave you begging to read what happens next. Roth brings the series to an authoritative conclusion while illuminating secrets that have captivated readers.

the-fault-in-our-stars2. The Fault in Our Stars

Written by John Green and just recently made into a motion picture by 20th Century Fox premiering Summer 2014, this story will grab you by the heart strings and keep you hanging on until the end. The Fault in Our Stars is about Hazel and Augustus, who are two teenagers who meet at a Cancer Kid Support Group. Hazel was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has been given a few years by her tumor-shrinking miracle. They share a dislike for the conventional, and a love that brings them joy and adventures.

walking-disaster3. Walking Disaster

Walking Disaster is the highly awaited follow-up story to the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Disaster. If you haven’t read Beautiful Disaster, I would say must read that first. Throughout this book you read of Travis’  life full of underground gambling, women and violence… until he met Abby. Author Jamie McGuire, claims every story has two sides, Beautiful Disaster was Abby’s, now Walking Disaster is Travis’. McGuire says Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before her passing: love hard and fight harder.

and-the-mountains-echoed4. And The Mountains Echoed

Story brought to you by Khaled Hosseini, author of two #1 New York Times bestselling books. This novel is based on how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations.  It is described as “an unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else”. Through each page he speaks about the many ways families nurture, wound, betray, honor and sacrifice for one another. He describes the true feeling of surprise by the actions of those close to us.

inferno5. Inferno

Written by Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. Brown yet again fuses history, art, codes, and symbols together to challenge the minds of his readers. This novel has brought Brown back to his element, and allowed him to create a new thriller of the highest stakes to date.  A Harvard professor is drawn into the mysterious masterpieces of Dante’s Inferno… pulling him into the land of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Deciding on whom to trust, and racing to find the answers before the world is completely altered.

the-cuckoos-calling6. The Cuckoo’s Calling

Written by J. K. Rowling, this crime fiction novel is published under the pseudonym Robert Galibraith. This story goes right into the investigation by Detective Cormoran Strike on a supermodel’s suicide. Struggling to keep his own head afloat after loosing his leg in Afghanistan, creditors calling, losing his longtime girlfriend, and having to live out of his office, this is the one thing that keeps him going. He gets tossed into the world of millionaire beauties, rock stars, enticement, seduction, and more.

the-5-love-languages7. The 5 Love Languages

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman preaches the 5 languages of love. Sometimes we are in a relationship or marriage and it seems that we are speaking two different languages with our loved ones. He guides you through the 5 primary love languages: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Dr. Chapman mentions that love is a choice, and it’s up to us to figure out what our partners love language is in order to communicate properly to each other. Great knowledgeable book!

prodigy8. Prodigy: A Legend Novel

If you loved The Hunger Games and the Divergent series, you will love this series by Marie Lu. Prodigy is the long awaited book number two to her New York Times bestseller Legend. June and Day who come from very different worlds realize why they have met and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep it’s secrets. June and Day are requested to kill the Elector, Anden, who took his father’s place after his death. She begins to question this request and wonder if maybe this is a new beginning? You reach a conclusion in Prodigy. 

unbroken9. Unbroken

Unbroken is a World War ll story of survival, resilience, and redemption. Told by author Laura Hillenbrand and soon to be made into a major motion picture,  Unbroken earned a spot on #1 New York Times bestseller and takes you through all kinds of extremes. In May 1943, an Air Force bomber crashed into the Pacific leaving nothing but debris. Lieutenant Louis Zamperini, who was a rebel all of his childhood, was the plane’s bombardier, and survived. This begins thousands of miles of open ocean, sharks, thirst, and starvation.

the-elite10. The Elite

Kiera Cass’ sequel to The Selection will call to all who loved the Divergent series and The Bachelor. Bringing in what captivated the audience in her first book, The Elite is adventurous with glamor and politics. In the world of America Singer, a bride is chosen for the prince, not by falling in love, but through an elaborate televised competition. Now that there are only six girls left she begins to question if Prince Maxon is what she really wants. Or is it her first love, Aspen?

Outer Bank’s Top 10 Surf Spots

Top 10 Surf Spots

The Outer Banks is full of things to do.  I am grateful to live in an environment when asked: “what do you want to do today?” at least the first 5 to 10 things that come to mind are all outdoors, weather permitting.  From riding bikes, toskating, to playing volleyball, to fishing, to surfing – the Outer Banks adds its special touch to make all of these activities different than anywhere else.  Whether it’s the views of the beach, views of landmarks, sunsets along the sound, to sunrises over the ocean; everything seems better here.

suring-airSurfing is one of those activities.  OBX isn’t Hawai’i, where you have consistent waves, consistent swells, consistent trade winds, and ridable waves 360 days out of the year.  Everything is variable.  Variable winds can change the form and conditions of the waves within minutes of switching directions.  It’s all about timing here on the Outer Banks.  Right swell direction, right wind direction, best timing according to the tides, and whether you feel like surfing with a bunch of guys or take the waves less crowded.  “You have to strike while the irons hot” in other words.  Five AM surf sesh may be the only time the conditions are clean, come 7AM or 8AM the wind could switch and change everything. You’ll get out, turn back looking at the choppy mess out in the water in disbelief that you were just pitted all morning in clean, hollow barrels.

As far as winds go… You tell wind the by direction it’s coming from, not the direction it’s blowing towards.  You always want off shore (blowing from land) winds.  When the wind blows towards the ocean it pushes on the wave and helps it to stand up creating a nice face to drop in.  Depending on what spot you go to, the off shore direction may be different.  Now with that little background on surfing on the Outer Banks, here are what I would list the top 10 surfed spots as:

daniel-pullen-hatteras-top-10_01. Lighthouse l Hatteras, NC

Home of Professional surfer Brett Barley. For the surfers living in town, when you get to take off for the day and get in on some tasty waves down South, it’s a treat. Up before sunrise, cup of joe, boards loaded, and you’re on the way. The whole way down your anticipating your first sight of the ocean and the conditions it’s bringing that morning. This is a pretty well-known spot, so if you snooze, you will lose. Photo:Daniel Pullen

2. Ocracoke Island

Due to the hassle it takes to get there from the rest of the Outer Banks, these spots are usually left to the locals. Sometimes when you don’t want a crowded wave, Ocracoke holds a day of fun with wide open beaches.

3. Duck Research Pier l Duck, NC 

This spot will produce some of the most beautiful and yet heavy waves I have ever seen on the Outer Banks. Usually when there are waves it’s an automatic “let’s go down south”. Duck Research Pier never fails when it’s pumping.

nags-head-pier_04. Nags Head Pier l Nags Head, NC 

Nags Head Pier, depending on the direction of the swell and wind, can be good on both sides. It can and will be very crowded. If you decide to sleep in past 9AM and want front and center in that line up, you will have other plans that day… like waiting your turn.

avon_05. Avon Pier l Avon, NC

Avon Pier hosts the Gromprix Surfing Competition where groms from all over compete to win a free entry into the O’Neil/Sweetwater surf fest. This is a great spot to take the whole family with large beaches, pier convenient store, and fishing. Pictured here is Brett Barley charging the water with all the groms in a session with the pros. (grom: kids surfing 15 and under).

6. Lillian Street l Kitty Hawk, NC


Near the infamous Pelican’s Perch; One of the last houses standing along a stretch on the beach road. Cons: public parking available, this spot will fill up quick. Pros: there are no homes along this portion of Kitty Hawk, the beaches are uncrowded, wide, with lots of shells to be found, and waves to be had.

kitty-hawk-surfing-copy_07. Kitty Hawk Pier l Kitty Hawk, NC 

Located in front of the Hilton in Kitty Hawk, this is a great spot when staying at the Northern beaches. When the wind direction is right, this spot produces some nice barrels without the long drive down south. Kitty Hawk is also home to ESA Surfing Competitions throughout the year. They welcome all age groups to compete for a spot in the Masters.

8. Chicahauk l Southern Shores, NC 

Home to the Throw Down North of Town surfing competition. A surfing competition for all age groups, and an all around great family fun day.  Located right here in Southern Shores, it’s just a walk from most of our oceanfront properties.

jennettes_09. Jennette’s Pier l Nags Head, NC

Home to the WRV Outer Banks Pro where professional surfers from all over the United States come to battle it out for the grand prize and bragging rights. This spot ranks lower because it’s so well known, that usually when there is any kind of swell in the water, there will also be a ton of guys. It may be crowded, but this beautiful pier makes for a great spot when the waves and winds are hitting just right.

10. Hayman Street l Kill Devil Hills, NC 

A busy public beach access in the heart of Kill Devil Hills. Just about a half mile north of Avalon pier. With a lot of vacation homes, and one of the biggest beach public parking areas in Kill Devil Hills, this spot fills up quick. Depending on the swell direction, the sandbar, and the wind, this spot will break differently just about every time. Either way, this is a fun wave for everyone.

Stay Tuned: surfing etiquette to come.

TOP 10 Reasons to Vacation with Southern Shores Realty

Choosing an Outer Banks vacation rental home is fun.  Real fun!  There are thousands of rental properties all over the Outer Banks and dozens of realty companies and property managers who do an excellent job satisfying our beach’s visitors year after year.

Since I have your attention, I’d like to give you the TOP 10 reasons why you should absolutely book your next OBX vacation with Southern Shores Realty.  I’m talking without a doubt, no questions asked, going to have the best experience ever… here goes:


ssr_logo_309x207Southern Shores Realty has been proudly serving Outer Banks vacationers just like you since 1947.  I hope this webpage stays around for some time, but as of today that’s over 66 years!  Do you remember what you were doing in 1947?

With all those years under our belt comes unmatched experience and a natural knowledge on how to do things the “right” way.  We take pride in our decades of vacation rental experience and cherish the opportunity to earn our guests’ business year after year.


Photo taken by Terry Moore for Southern Shores Realty.The Outer Banks is one of the best family vacation destinations in the world.  When you bring your family to the beach with Southern Shores Realty, you are bringing your family to ours.  We are a family owned business and a tightly knit group of people who love what we do.  We are also part of the Outer Banks family; donating to hundreds of local organizations and charitable causes over the years.  When you book your OBX rental with SSR, rest assured that our family will do everything we can to make fantastic memories for yours!


outer-banks-map-rentals-selectionIt’s all about having the perfect house; right?  From Corolla to South Nags Head, Southern Shores Realty professionally manages and rents over 600 homes that offer exceptional and varied choices to our guests.  While many of our guests enjoy the satisfaction of staying in the same home year after year, others may enjoy experiencing multiple homes and new rental properties each time they vacation.

Whether you are seeking an Oceanfront rental with priceless views of the Atlantic Ocean, or a secluded beach box nestled in the maritime forest, Southern Shores Realty’s abundance of properties keeps our family of vacationers returning year after year!


we-love-our-jobsIsn’t it obvious when people enjoy their job?  Guess what, we all work at the beach!  Pretty cool right?

At Southern Shores Realty, we love what we do!  We help people vacation, and we think that’s awesome.  The next time you step into our rental office on a beautiful summer afternoon on the Outer Banks, take the time to enjoy talking with our front desk staff or greeting a maintenance worker servicing your home.  Your complete satisfaction is our #1 goal, and we have fun taking the time to earn it.


outer-banks-family-vacationWe appreciate your loyalty.  Many Southern Shores Realty vacationers have been renting with us for over 50 years!  As a family owned business we know how important family traditions are, and we would be honored to be a part of yours.  We will always continue to provide the best service, selection of homes, and area resources to all of our guests, making sure your vacations are filled with memories that last a lifetime.

Easy to Use

booking-on-a-tabletYesterday’s luxuries are today’s necessities, right?  Well, we’ve got you covered!  Southern Shores Realty’s website has been praised by hundreds of long-time OBX visitors as the hands down, easiest to use.  From our multiple search tools to easy to understand calendars & rates, our website has been designed with you in mind!

Southern Shores Realty is also pleased to announce that we have introduced mobile booking!  There’s no telling exactly when and where the “itch” to book your next Outer Banks vacation may occur so we’ve prepared for all devices!  Enjoy the conveniences and power of our full website right on your mobile and tablet devices.  Online booking has never been easier and we’re pleased to introduce it as the best on the beach for your mobile devices!


outer-banks-blogThe Outer Banks is big.  Real big.  Many of our seasoned vacationers know these beaches like the back of their hands.  But for some, a little assistance and knowledge is welcome, especially for first timers.  Our staff is all local, all the time!  We aren’t called the “Outer Banks Expert” for nothing!  We have an oversized Outer Banks Vacation Planner on our website that’s jam packed with area information like things to do, where to shop, and restaurants to eat at.  We also have a full-service Outer Banks Blog that’s home to some of the best articles and perspectives on everything from OBX Surf Fishing to Outer Banks Weddings!  Whether you are a 50 year vacationer or on the fence about visit #1, you are going to fall in love with all the resources Southern Shores Realty has available for you to plan the best vacation ever!

OBX Love

obx-loveWe love the Outer Banks.  Quite frankly, it’s hard not to.  With that love for the OBX comes fantastic knowledge, advice, information, and entertainment for our visitors!  Our YouTube Channel is full of great video collections like “REAL Outer Banks Vacation Moments”, that highlight pivotal moments and milestones of a true OBX vacation!

So go ahead, click on over and get lost in the Outer Banks content we have for you!


guest-rewardsAs if your vacation isn’t rewarding enough, Southern Shores Realty offers exclusive rewards to our valued guests as a “Thank You” for staying with us.  Now these aren’t your everyday, coupon clippin’ kind of savings.  I’m talking about fantastic area offers and unique deals that we’ve secured just for our visitors.

Ranging from nightly entertainment to outdoor excursions, our Guest Rewards program is designed to offer varied Outer Banks experiences, at incredible discounts, that can be enjoyed all week long!


best-outer-banks-rental-companyIt can’t be all that bad to toot your own horn if it sounds wonderful, right?  Take a look around on various travel websites, review blogs, etc., and see what others are saying about Southern Shores Realty.  We’re the highest rated Outer Banks vacation rental company on Yelp.com with a 4.5/5 star rating, we carry a 4.5/5 average property rating on TripAdvisor.com, and boast a 4.8/5 overall business rating on Google.  Put that all together and you get a remarkable repertoire of reviews from real renters!  (Sorry for alliteration abuse!)

Horn tooting aside, you can rest assured that we operate to the highest standards in regards to our business.  We believe it’s not worth doing something unless you do it right, and customer satisfaction is paramount.  Why not go ahead and start browsing for your next Outer Banks vacation rental home today?

Here’s to Vacation!

Outer Banks Top 10 Tours | Things To Do

Exploring and savoring ALL of the Outer Banks can be quite a daunting task, and quite frankly impossible.  There are dozens of guided and non-guided Outer Banks tours you can partake in to experience some of the best things on the Outer Banks.  From the air to on the water, on your feet or in a boat, the tours on the beach here are quite extensive and you would be happy you went on many down here.  I have gone ahead and done you the favor of sifting out some of the best ones to try for a nice, well rounded take on the area.  If you are familiar with the Outer Banks TOP 10 series, you know that these are in no particular order or paid to be here, just me looking out for you and your vacation!  🙂

Bioluminescent Outer Banks Kayak Tour

Did you know, that some of what’s down below, has a tendency to glow?  All rhyming aside – you need to check this out!  Our friends at Kitty Hawk Kites offer a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience with their bioluminescent kayak tour!  This isn’t your typical paddling trip!  There are tiny micro-organisms that live in the ocean, and intercoastal waterways around the Outer Banks, that when agitated by movement, emit a brilliant light that’s visible at night.  The tour sets sail not far from Southern Shores Realty, and will be one to talk about and remember for years to come!

Alligator River Red Wolf Howling Tour

This one is for those looking to take a walk on the wild side!  Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of species of wildlife; including the endangered Red Wolf.  An Outer Banks tour that has to be experienced once in your life is the Red Wolf Howlings held here.  The Red Wolf recovery program, in an effort to educate the public, has been offering these tours for years.  Not only do you get a great evening walk through the refuge, you get the chance to actually “howl” with the Red Wolves that live in the refuge.  While wild Red Wolves still remain, the recovery program is continually attempting to save and protect the species and some remain in captivity.  For more information on the howling tour, click here.

Outer Banks Restaurant Tour

Photo taken by Terry Moore for Southern Shores Realty.Water and wildlife tours are fantastic, but let’s not forget about our stomachs!  Some of the best experiences on the Outer Banks include discovering new and fantastic places to eat.  With so many great restaurants on the Outer Banks this may seem like a intimidating task.  Rest assured, there’s a tour designed with you in mind!  There are several different Outer Banks restaurant tours available, including those in our Guest Rewards Outer Banks discounts program!  If food is your fancy, you will be delighted with your experience on these excursions.  You get 1-on-1 meetings with local owners and chefs, the inside scoop on how they work, and of course a generous sampling of fantastic local fare!

Outback Adventures Corolla Wild Horse Tour

corolla-wild-horses-outer-banks-horse-seeing-tourYou’ve heard by now.  Corolla is world famous for it’s population of wild Spanish Mustangs – descendants of those brought over by sailing expeditions.  This wild horse tour is your chance to hit the sand where the beach road ends, and take in some of the natural beauty of the Outer Banks!  Our friends at Corolla Outback Adventures have been in business since 1962; when there was no paved road to Duck and phone numbers had only 4 digits!  Judging by this experience, you know you will be experiencing the best there is.  You and your family will not soon forget the entire experience on a 4×4 tour seeing the horses in Corolla!

Bodie Island Lighthouse Tour


The Outer Banks is rich in maritime history, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is to take a tour of a lighthouse.  On April 18, 2013 Bodie Island Lighthouse officially opened for public touring!  We have an exclusive first look photo and video collection from the very first tour on opening day!  You and your family need to go and experience this firsthand.  Seeing photographs and driving by these magnificent and historical structures are not enough to really experience them!  Take advantage of the grand opening of Bodie Island Lighthouse and experience first hand the awesome history that exists there (plus get an amazing view from the top)!

Outer Banks Ghost Tour & Graveyard of the Atlantic Tour

outer-banks-ghosts-tour-haunted-halloweenBy far the most popular ghost tour on the Outer Banks, take a 90 minute Wednesday night walking tour of downtown Manteo while hearing the folklore and chilling stories of  local spirits.  From sea captains to ghostly dancers, there is more to Manteo than meets the eye!  Ghost Tours of the OBX also offers a Graveyard of the Atlantic tour on Tuesdays that highlights the many Outer Banks shipwrecks, pirates, and more!  Both tours are sure to make an awesome evening and reservations are highly recommended as summer weeks fill very fast!  This isn’t your average tourist tour – these are tours for those of you interested in learning more than meets the eye when it comes to the history of the Outer Banks!

Outer Banks Dolphin Tour / Outer Banks Sunset Cruise

outer-banks-dolphin-cruise-tour-sunset-captain-johnnysThere’s something special about getting out onto the sound and cruising about in the evenings.  An Outer Banks Dolphin tour / Outer Banks Sunset cruise is one of the most relaxing tours available on your vacation.  Both dolphin tours and sunset cruises last around 2 hours, and are an inexpensive way to get the family out on a boat together!  Pirate’s Cove Marina is the port of call for the Crystal Dawn Headboat; offering both fishing excursions and evening cruises.  The evening cruise here includes commentary on the Outer Banks while cruising the Roanoke Sound.  Sights include the Elizabeth II, Jockeys Ridge, Wright Brother’s National Memorial, the home of Andy Griffith, the Lost Colony, shorebirds and wildlife.  The Manteo Waterfront is also home to several tour guides to take you and your family on a great tour!  Captain Johnny’s Outer Banks Dolphin Tours is a great choice from June – October to spot Dolphin with your group.  In 2012 alone, they managed to see dolphins on 230 out of 235 tours!  Go ahead and check out all your options, you can’t go wrong with any of these tours and you’ll be glad you tried them out!

Outer Banks Helicopter Tour

outer-banks-air-tours-helicopter-tours-plane-toursIf you think the view of the Outer Banks is gorgeous from the ground, wait until you witness it from the air!  An Outer Banks Helicopter tour is an amazing way to get out and witness the geography, sea life, scenery, and beauty on your Outer Banks Vacation. Coastal Helicopters is one of the premier providers of Outer Banks air tours.  Owner Larry Ihle has been an FAA-certified pilot since 1981, and has lived on the OBX since 1982.  Touring with someone who loves the Outer Banks and it’s beauty so much is a sure bet for a fantastic time!  Try a helicopter tour this year and don’t forget your camera! P.S. Southern Shores Realty Guests are eligible for EXCLUSIVE pricing on Helicopter Tours with Coastal Helicopters, LLC!

Outer Banks Pirates Cruise Tour

outer-banks-pirate-cruise-tour-kids-children-yarg_0If the idea of setting sail on a replica Pirate ship doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!  Shiver me timbers, an Outer Banks Pirate Cruise is a guided tour to remember all your life.  Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks and the “Sea Gypsy” set sail from Manteo on Roanoke Island.  This adventure is perfect for kids of all ages!  Arrive about 30 minutes early to take advantage of extra activities like full dress up before stepping aboard!  Once on the ship, your little pirates will learn about life at sea and they are given a real treasure map to find the hidden treasure each trip.  More excitement is in store, but no more secrets from me!  The Pirate Cruises start Memorial Day Weekend each year, and are a great way to spend the afternoon with the family.

Outer Banks Driving Tour

drive-outer-banksSomebody once said “You make your own best tour guide.”  Maybe I just made that up, but I think it’s true!  One of the unique geographical features of the Outer Banks is that it’s basically a curved stretch of sand, with one big (subject to opinion) road going down the middle!  One of the coolest and most liberating tours is a driving tour of the Outer Banks with you and your family as the guide!  Roads connect Corolla to Hatteras and a ferry can shuttle you and your vehicle the rest of the way to Ocracoke Island.  You could try our day trip to Ocracoke & Hatteras Islands, or be the captain of your own trip and meander the highway yourself; enjoying all the scenery, stores, and attractions along the way!  Either way you can’t go wrong.  You can rest assured, people are friendly should you get lost, but hitting the road all on your own is an amazing feeling and you’d be glad you set sail to explore on your terms!

The Outer Banks Top 10 Foods to Try | Things To Do

Congratulations!  If you are reading this you are probably going to, have been , currently are on, or are planning an Outer Banks Vacation!  There is not enough space on this page to describe just ALL The Outer Banks has to offer from food, fun, activities, history, things to do, etc.  Southern Shores Realty – your premiere destination for Outer Banks Vacation Rentals and The Outer Banks Current would like to welcome you to the “Outer Banks Top 10”; a guide feature bringing to you the “bests” and “must-trys” from around the beach! Our first installment: “Top 10 Foods to Try”, is to educate and inform visitors about the cuisine that should be experienced at least once to get the most out of your stay!  These are not necessarily our favorites, sponsors, endorsers, or partners.  They are simply a collection of delicious experiences we feel you should share in at least one time that you are here.  So in no particular order, I present to you:




    You heard it right! North Carolina Barbeque!  I’m not here to start a war over “who invented the…” OR “who started…”, but what I can tell you is that you would be sure missing a staple of Americana if you passed up true eastern NC BBQ during your Outer Banks Vacation!  Hopefully many of you have sunk your teeth into the soft, melt-in-your-mouth experience that is true eastern Carolina barbeque.  If you have not, you are missing out on one of the defining cuisines of the area.  Historically very vinegary, NC BBQ is a revelation for those of you that slab gobs of sauce onto your pork patties!  Memphis, KC, and Texas can have it their way, but the way pork is prepared here, in time honored manner, is AMAZING!  You won’t find a lot of beef as pork is the preferred medium of mastery here, but the essence of the “Q” here is to cook and prepare the pork in such a manner that extras are not needed!  The process starts with LOW and SLOW smoking/cooking to preserve the texture of the meat while complimenting it with smokey notes.  After the cooking process most pork is either chopped or “pulled” before it’s reached it’s final stage.  A short toss in some sauce (typically brown sugar, vinegar, and pepper flake) and the meat is ready for the mouth!  Typical accompaniments include  fries, slaw, cornbread, or some oh-so-buttery-yum hush puppies (adjective creation comes with experience)!  Now for some excellent references! A GREAT NC BBQ experience can be found at many of the purveyors here at the beach, however some standouts include: High Cotton BBQ, Sooey’s BBQ, and Pigman’s BBQ.  Heck, try all you can find! There is NO reason not to give NC BBQ a shot and once you try it, you will be hooked!


    Considered a delicacy, soft shell blue crabs are a delicious experience and a perfect way to savor one of the area’s most plentiful resources!  Typically available from May – September, soft shell crabs are blue crabs that have shed or molted their old shell in order to develop a new shell to correspond with their growth.  After shedding the old shell, the crabs have an extremely soft and edible exterior.  The soft shell crab season is a VERY busy time for the local fishermen.  After harvesting, blue crabs are kept in large fresh water tank assemblies most often refereed to as “peelers” or “shedders.”  These shedders are checked frequently throughout the day to harvest the crabs as soon as they have split from the shell;  the key to soft shell crabs is the FRESHNESS!  It’s recommended that after molting, soft shell’s are eaten within 4 days as they should be kept alive before cooking (if possible).  Typically after molting their shells the crabs are packed on ice and shipped across the country to be savored.  One of the benefits of vacationing to the Outer Banks and eating locally is the price is not as expensive.  What may cost you $15 a dozen here may very well be $60 in New York City, etc.  Soft shell crabs are easy to prepare!  Most often times a good battering and pan frying is the method of choice, however you can broil, bake, etc., with the crustaceans.  Keeping with the “simple and tasty” motif, traditionally soft shells are served up fried with a squeeze of lemon, and on a fresh baked bun with lettuce and tomato!  They may seem a little out of most people’s realms, but soft shell crabs are definitely a must-try and can be found on many menus in-season and when food vendors attend festivals, etc!


    Another tasty resource of the Outer Banks is oysters!  Harvested much like clams, oysters are found in the brackish waters of the sound and can be dredged, raked or gathered by hand in water.  Prime oyster season is typically in the fall, however because of demand, you can find oysters on the menu most of the year on the Outer Banks.  After harvesting, oysters can be prepared many ways; steamed, boiled, baked, broiled, fried or even consumed raw.  Although many look for pearls to be concealed by the shells of an oyster, folklore suggests finding a small crab (known as an oyster crab) inside of your oyster is very lucky!  These small creatures actually come to live inside of some oysters for protection and are often cooked right up with the mollusk itself.  No matter how you indulge in oysters whether by the dozen steamed or raw with a chaser, one dish you MUST try at least once is oyster stew.  People LOVE food down here and competition gets pretty heated when claiming #1, or “the best” at anything.  However, that being said there is a very tasty nomination I’d like to serve up to my readers to go out and try some superb stew.  Striper’s Bar & Grille in Manteo, just past the Shallowbag Bay Club, serves up an AMAZING cup of oyster stew!  It’s simple, delicious, and quite frankly leaves you wanting more.  The recipe is fabulous; cream, butter and oysters finished with chimmy churry & oyster crackers.  If you haven’t tried it yet, please do!  It’s definitely a dish to remember the tastes of the Outer Banks!


    The name says it all!  Unfortunately for other rounded pastries, Duck Donuts has made a name all for themselves!  Owned and operated by former vacationers, Duck Donuts has grown to four locations on the Outer Banks and serves up donuts the way they were intended; warm and with just a little bite to them!  If you include sugary indulgences in your regular morning routine or just like to splurge once on your visit, trust me when I tell you to try these creations out.  There are a few things to remember when it comes to Duck Donuts: 1) Go Early! – many, many people are now trying the simple deliciousness that is the Duck Donut, so get there as soon as you can in the morning. 2) Don’t be afraid to call in your order! – With all the flavors of icing and combinations of toppings you can be sure your family members want to customize the order (my personal indulgence is maple icing with bacon topping)!   And lastly,  3) Remember your friends back home! – Duck Donuts can travel with you home.  A quick zap in the microwave for 8 seconds provides your friends at home a great sample of what you enjoyed at the beach each morning (granted only if any last the car ride home)!  Overall, there is a reason Duck Donuts made the list, they are unlike any other yummy treat down here and you will thank me once you bite into the warm fried-fresh creation!


    Wait; we aren’t in Key West are we?  NOPE, but another honorable “must-try” mention is a tangy yet sweet creation being served up on the Outer Banks!  Traditionally a fare waging culinary contests further south, there is a Key Lime pie being served on the Outer Banks that any vacationer would be missing out on if not tasted at least once.  The not so secret restaurant is called the Kill Devil Grill.  Located right on the beach road past milepost 9.5, the Kill Devil Grill has captured a spot in many vacationer’s hearts the same as many of our famous eateries.  The one item we HAD to highlight as a must-try however, is the Key Lime pie!  Oversized and set on a delicious buttery crumble crust, their Key Lime pie is the tastiest I have ever eaten.  The portion is large – so be prepared to share!  The filling itself is served at just the right temperature and has the best balance of sweetness, lime flavor, and the zesty finish you would expect!  What are you waiting for? Get on over to the Kill Devil Grill and cool off after a hot day in the summer sun with a big slice of Key Lime pie – The Outer Banks way!


    The Outer Banks is considered to be the billfish capital of the world!  With hosts of marlin, sailfish, swordfish, etc. being hauled in off charter fishing vessels, there’s no doubting the statement.  As an avid fisherman, I am proud to live in such a historically bountiful fishing destination.  One of the major harvests from both commercial and recreational fishing is Dolphin (dolphinfish or “mahi-mahi” as many Hawaiians and restaurant goers know it as).  The taste of the fish is fantastic; it has a nice white flaky texture and can stand alone or be woken up by hosts of sauces, salsas, and spices.  You need to try dolphin at least one time when you’re down here on the coast!  It is often served as a lunch fare as perfect portions are not giant and the fish is rather thin making fillets not as tall.  My personal favorites for dolphin include: fish tacos, blackened over rice, and batter fried and on a sandwich (not so crazy about the mango salsa mania).  Speaking of sandwich, there was anOVERWHELMING response from our “field studies” that aligned well with a must-try dolphin destination.  If you have only one chance to try the fish out – you need to stop over to John’s Drive In, located on the beach road in Kitty Hawk at milepost 4.5!  Heralded as having the “Planet’s best milkshakes”,  John’s cooks up a tasty torpedo that is the “Dolphin Sandwich” served right with tomato and tarter.  For those of you craving more fish,less bun – go ahead and get the “Dolphin Boat” which will add some tasty fries, more fish and a drink to the equation while ditching the bun!  The taste of the sandwich is simply spot on.  The bread is corn dusted and warm, the fish is fried perfectly, and it all comes together with a great atmosphere to eat; right smack across from the salty sea itself!  No paid endorsement, no playing games here, get on over to John’s Drive In, and taste some dolphin….and a milkshake!


    An ode to the blue crab; we meet again!  We have another culinary creation that makes the “Top 10 Foods to Try” on the basis that it’s too delicious to pass up on.  You’ve reached the point in your life when you’ve eaten enough clam chowder and lobster bisque.  You need to step out of the routine and into a warm creamy bowl of a soup that will rock your socks off – come on, you’ve earned it!  The soup is named for the “She Crab”, or female crab, as the orange crab roe is an ingredient in traditional she-crab soup. Other ingredients may be added to the soup or substituted for others, although tasty crabmeat is found in all versions.  She crab soup is particularly delicious with its heavy cream, milk, and buttery base partnered up with some light veggie notes (celery, onion, bell pepper, parsley) depending on where it’s ordered.  Of course you will find some Old Bay crab seasoning, a dash of sherry, and generous helpings of crab meat.  Together, the creamy base is a perfect medium for the crab’s texture, and the spices, sherry, and veggies add perfect accents to the taste!  If you are a fan of any crab dips you have eaten in the past, go on, don’t be bashful, order a massive bowl of the “she” and make your stomach smile!  Now as to where to go dine: I have eaten more bowls of She-crab than I’d like to admit, however there are two GREAT mentions that you should consider.  Hurricane Mo’s Beachside Bar & Grill  in Kitty Hawk and The Colington Cafe in Kill Devil Hills are rated highly and frequently considered some of the best She-crab that the Outer Banks has to offer!  There’s no point in trying just one, so go ahead and taste them both, then drop us a comment on the top or bottom of this page to help settle the score!


    Once again I present you with a must-try that has made a name all for itself.  Although not representing a single property in the town of Buxton, NC, Southern Shores Realty and The Outer Banks Current are giving you the best of the beach. Period.  And back to tempt your sweet tooth is the “Apple Ugly.”  Conjured up at the Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe, Apple Uglies are the tasty treasure of the southern beaches!  The creation is a fantasticly large mount of what could also be called an apple fritter in other culinary cultures.  They are large, warm, and loaded with large chunks of apple and swirled with cinnamon.  The Ugly is fried, giving it a crust demanding a conscious bite, and is then glazed over with some of the tastiest sugar icing you will experience!  The Apple Ugly is a must try at LEAST one time in your life, even if it’s so you can just tell the story later!  The Orange Blossom offers a nice menu selection for the early morning visitors ranging from hot breakfast sandwiches on fresh bread to cookies and pastries by the dozen.  One (not so secret) secret tip for getting your hands on an “Ugly” is to GO EARLY!  Published open hours are from 6:30am – 11:00am 7 days a week, HOWEVER,  I can tell you from experience (with a small violin playing in the background) if you make the mistake of going anytime after 8 or 9 in the morning you have a better chance of winning $1,000 in the lottery than getting your paws on an Ugly.  Sure, there will plenty of “something” left, but you don’t want just “something”; you want an Ugly!  In later posts we will cover the joys and fun of an excursion to the southern beaches and Ocracoke Island.  If you are traveling further south, make an attempt to get to the Orange Blossom early one morning and your family, friends, and stomach will thank you!


    You’ve made it!  Your enjoying an Outer Banks Vacation Rental!  It’s time to unwind from the stresses of work and your “ordinary” routine that occurs the other 51 weeks out of the year.  You are on the Outer Banks and a fantastic way to celebrate your vacation is with an “Oyster Shooter.”  What is an Oyster Shooter you say?  Well, it’s no secret (especially if you read up to this point) that on the Outer Banks oysters are enjoyed in a wide variety of ways.  Fried, steamed, … yeah, yeah, yeah, we got it the first time.  However the raw seafood culture is also quite popular on the beach.  While oysters are a tasty treat served raw on the shell paired with your favorite beer, etc., there’s a way to enjoy several of these together, all at once.  The purpose of these lists are to get you (yes you) out and about trying out all the cool stuff you have to do at LEAST once on the Outer Banks, and the Oyster Shooter is no exception!  It all starts off with a freshly shucked oyster, that gets plopped into a shooter filled with ice cold brew, and topped with a dash of cocktail sauce or hot sauce depending on where you get one!  Recommended stops include Awful Arthur’s Oyster Bar on the beach road at milepost 6 across from the Avalon Pier, and Howard’s Pub on Ocracoke Island.  These two come highly recommended from many visitors as well as my own personal taste buds!  Make your Outer Banks Vacation complete; celebrate your week in paradise with an Oyster Shooter – you’ll always remember it!


    We have now pretty much celebrated the flavorful creations that the beach has offer as far as sandwiches, entree’s, sides, sweets and deserts, but what happened to true breakfast at the beach?  I’ll tell you what happened!  It is here and it needs to be experienced!  There are many options that the Outer Banks has for breakfast seekers ranging from buffets to grab and go markets.  There is a must-try restaurant on the Outer Banks that will treat you to a breakfast fit for a king… AND a pirate!  The hint has been dropped and the curtain rises; The Jolly Roger Restaurant located on the beach road on milepost 6.5 in Kill Devil Hills, is a hands-down, knockout punch for a tremendous Outer Banks Breakfast!  When I recommend to you The Jolly Roger for breakfast it’s not because they have one particular dish that rocks, it’s because they have a FULL breakfast menu that will amaze you with any pick you make.  The portions – enormous, the selection – vast, the ambiance – probably the most unique on the beach.  The cozy setting is complimented by hundreds of lights, ornaments, and other decor PLUS a full crew of pirate-dressed wait staff that will make your visit one to remember!  Every item on the menu is delicious; huge homemade toast slices, tasty grits, enormous pancakes, and the most delicious paring of seafood and breakfast ever.  Popular combinations include taking your breakfast favorites like omelets and eggs benedict, and then pumping them up with loads of fresh crab meat that take them to an entirely different level!  A visit to the Outer Banks would not be complete without a tasty breakfast out.  A morning meal to remember can be ordered right up at The Jolly Roger!  I know where I’m going to eat Sunday Morning!

I sincerely hope that this list proves to be both informative and resourceful to our readers. This is not a definitive list by any means. The foods are not ranked, the recommendations are not paid for, they are simply the here and now recommended eats for visitors. You should really get out and make the most of your vacation to the Outer Banks. Don’t take for granted that you can try a special food next visit if you are lucky enough to come back; sometimes sadly, menu’s change, businesses come and go and you might miss out on something great. You don’t have to deplete your savings account and go on a roundabout dining tour, but print the page and leave it in the car -you never know when the perfect opportunity may open up for you on your vacation! We are looking forward to generating more Top 10 Lists for The Outer Banks; our next installments will guide you to must visit attractions and activities you need to experience! I’d like to thank our readers for giving us content to produce and publish. Without you and the rest of Outer Banks vacationers, I would not be living here today! Until next time – get out and enjoy!