Best Things to do at the Outer Banks OBX


August 14, 2012 by Jay Helms

Other Summer and Beach Blog Posts:
Best Meals to Cook at the Beach

Three Summer Sandwiches

Summer Sandwiches, Part 2

Here is our list of favorite things to do and places to eat at the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

Courtesy of Douglas Haber of

First things first: Many people like to go to Tale of the Whale or Lone Cedar Cafe restaurants in the Nags Head area. We’ve found that they are OK, but they are not nearly as interesting as some of the other restaurants listed below.

MP stands for “Mile Post” the higher the number, the farther south the location. Look around once you cross the final bridge on US-64 and you’ll notice these MP signs every half-mile along the highway and the beach road. As you head north, Nags Head is located in MP17-MP11 area. Kill Devil Hills is located in the MP11-MP6 area, and Kitty Hawk is in the MP5-MP1 area. The Main Bypass Highway US 158 and the Beach Road (hwy 12) run parallel and their MP numbers correspond to one another. So if you are traveling north to Kill Devil Hills or Kitty Hawk from Nags Head, you can travel on the main highway up to the area near the MP you are looking for and then cut over to the beach road to go the rest of the way to your location. This will save time. Just be sure to remember to notice the MP marker number close to your house for when you’re trying to locate the place on the way back from wherever you go.

Kitty Hawk Area

Seafood Market – Carawan Seafood – Bypass (Hwy 158) – MP 1.1 – 5425 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949. 252-261-2120. This is a great place to get seafood to take back to the beach house and cook for a family meal.

Rundown Café $$$ – Beach Road MP 1.5, Caribbean Beachy Food & Atmosphere. A little more expensive and far north from Nags Head, but it will be worth it! Coconut Shrimp! Try CP’s dip, that has coconut rice and black beans and guacamole.  252-255-0026


John’s Drive In $ – Beach Road MP 4.5, Hut on the Beach Road, Sells Fried Mahi-Mahi Sandwiches. This will be the tastiest and highest quality fried fish you will ever eat. Definitely call a day ahead to make sure it’s open when you want to go. Get there early (11am) or late (1:30pm) if you want to go for lunch. Supposedly open 10-6 every day except Wednesday. 3716 Virginia Dare Trail N, Kitty Hawk – (252) 261-6227 No inside seating and not many tables outside. You might send someone to pick up Dolphin Boats (a container of fresh Mahi-Mahi that is fried) and unique flavored shakes and bring them back to enjoy at the house.

Interesting Place for a Drive – Drive North on the Beach Road from John’s towards Rundown Cafe to see ocean-front houses that are so close to the ocean that, in a few cases, the waves come up underneath the deck of the house. The first time I saw these, I was fascinated.

Cap’n Franks $$ – Main Highway US 158 (also known as the Bypass), MP 4.4 Hot Dogs & Steamed Shrimp. It’s the shrimp that we go here for. Fun Atmosphere. John McEnroe used to frequent the place. Kitty Hawk, NC 27949 Phone: 252-261-9923 – this write up only talks about hot dogs, but we would go there for the shrimp.

Stack ‘Em High Pancake House – Bypass – MP 4.4. This is great for one family breakfast at some point during your visit. Who doesn’t love pancakes?!

Duck Donuts – Beach Road – MP 1.5. There is one located near to Rundown Cafe. Go early or you’ll stand in line. Don’t over look the strawberry donuts.

Kill Devil Hills Area

Avalon Pier – Beach Road – MP 6. I do not know much about Avalon Pier, but wanted to give a mile marker to make it easier to find.

Movie Theater – Bypass – MP 6.7 – 252-441-5630

Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard Ice Cream, Main Hwy US 158, MP 8.5 Ever had Goodberry’s? This is the same thing. In my opinion, this is the best ice cream anywhere. 252-441-5900 This page has a printable 10% off coupon – Another website –

Daredevil’s Pizza $$, Beach Road, MP 9. Semi-Thick Crust Pizza. There are a number of other good pizza places on the Outer Banks, but this is a different style of pizza and crust, slightly more in the direction of Chicago pizza, and less like thin New York pizza. 1112 S Virginia Dare Trl Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948-7745. (252) 441-6330

Putt-Putt – Lost Treasure Golf – Bypass – MP 7.2. 252-480-0142. There is another place called Paradise Fun Park on the Bypass at MP 5.2. It is expensive, but it has gokarts.

Millionaire Houses – Beach Road – MP 7.3. In this location on the beach road, it is interesting to see a few houses that sold for over 5 million dollars. See 1317 Beach Road, for example. These are looong houses, though they do not necessarily seem like they should be so expensive, but one of these houses sold for 6.8 million back in the mid 2000s.

Wright Brothers’ National Memorial Museum, Main Highway US 158, MP 8. Fantastic!


Duck Donuts – Beach Road – MP 8.3. These are a MUST! Go early or you’ll stand in line. Seriously…take my advice on this one. A friend once waited in line for 45 minutes, because they went at 9:30am. Call ahead to ask about best time to go: 252-480-3320. Don’t over look the strawberry donuts.

Mama Kwan’s Tiki Bar & Grill $$ – Bypass – MP 9.5 – Great beach sandwiches…asian bbq, fish tacos, grilled chicken and pineapple sandwich.  252-441-7889

Pigman’s BBQ $$$ – Bypass – MP 9.5 – If you just have to have BBQ or ribs or smoked chicken, here’s a good place to get take out and take back to the beach house. 252-441-6803. They used to have sweet potato fritters. Not sure if they are permanently gone. You could call and ask.

Laser Tag! at Gearworks – Bypass – MP 10.3 – This is a relatively new place. See 252-489-2105

Front Porch Cafe – Bypass – MP 10.3 – Coffee – – 252-480-6616

Morning View Coffee House – Bypass – MP 10.6. – 252-441-4474

YMCA – Bypass – MP 11 – YMCA Members in other communities have access to this facility.

Nags Head Area

Tortuga’s Lie $$$ – Beach Road, MP 12.4, Caribbean Style, My wife’s parents really like this restaurant. Nags Head, NC 27959 (252) 441-7299

Galaxy Golf – Beach Road, MP 12.3. This is a smaller Putt-Putt place, but it is one of the few that are on the beach road. It is likely to draw a smaller crowd, which would have its benefits.

Jockey’s Ridge – Main Hwy US 158, MP 12.6, Gigantic dune with an amazing view. If you call ahead and pay money, you can do a sound-side kayaking trip from here – (252) 441-7132

Hang Gliding Lessons – Jockey’s Ridge Area – MP 12.6

Stop by Kitty Hawk Surf Co. (MP 12.6) to ride their new mechanical shark (similar to a mechanical bull).

Fresh Seafood – MP 12.6 – In the area right around the Kitty Hawk Surf Co., there is a place to buy fresh seafood. It is located in between the beach road and the bypass. I got some of my information mixed up in my trip notes, but this may be Austin Fish Company.

Nags Head Pier – Beach Road, MP 12.5 – I have not ben on this pier, but wanted to make a note of exactly where it is located.

Hospital – Bypass – MP 14. Hope it is not needed, but it’s at MP 14 on the bypass if it is needed.

Fresh Market – Bypass – MP 14. High-end grocery store.

Putt-Putt – Mutiny Bay is at 15.5 on the Beach Road.

Dinner with a Great View – Pamlico Jack’s has one of the better sound views for any restaurant in the area. The food is decent, but you don’t come for the food as much as the setting and the view. 252-441-2637

Adventure! – First Flight Adventure Park – Bypass – MP 15.5. This is a high ropes course for families with teens. You will be able to see the tall web-network of high ropes activities from the bypass.

Coffee – Waverider’s Coffee & Deli – Bypass – MP 15.5. 252-715-1880

Jeanette’s Pier – Beach Road, MP-16.8. This is a brand new, rebuilt concrete pier. It costs a few dollars per person to go out on the pier.



Red Sky Cafe 1197 Duck Road, Duck, NC 252-261-8646 Excellent food every time I have been there.

The Blue Point Bar & Grill Great dinner place for couples, with a nice view of the sound. At the Waterfront Shops in Duck 1240 Duck Road Duck, NC 27949 252-261-8090

Pine Island

Drive north of Duck on Hwy 12 and see how the other half live in this short stretch of real estate. Here is the exact location of this area of houses. You better be secure in yourself and happy with your life if you take a journey to this row of houses.


This is pronounced much more like “parabola” and not so much like the Toyota. This is where I would go for surfing lessons. The slope of the beach makes it much easier to learn here, than other places.

There are wild horses here that are descendants from horses that swam ashore after shipwrecks hundreds of years ago

Drive up here to see where the asphalt beach road ends and people drive on the beach in a unique setting. Don’t drive on it. Just drive up to it and park and walk to the beach and see this area where there are no more roads.

OBX Surf Co – This one is for those of you who have a surfer or skateboarder in the family.


Pine Island on Dwellable

One thought on “Best Things to do at the Outer Banks OBX

  1. Sarah says:

    My name is Sarah and I’m with Dwellable. I was looking for blog posts about the Outer Banks to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, drop me a line at Sarah(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Jay Helms


Enter your email address to follow Echo and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 28 other followers

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: