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Wanderlusting in the Outerbanks: Southern Shores and Duck


“A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.” ~ Henry Grunwald


Summer is in full swing, in fact you could even say we are approaching the dawg days of summer (though I am in staunch denial about THAT!). Nothing quite says summer like going to the beach or vacationing in a beach town, preferably one that is on an island.

The Outerbanks or OBX truly is quintessential summer. With their myriad of beaches, shops, some of which are a bit honky tonk and kitschy, and of course, the lighthouses… oh the lighthouses. It has that small town island charm, but watch out, because it can be insanely busy with all the people that descend upon the island during the summer. Approximately five million people each year!

The Outerbanks is a barrier island in North Carolina, that is 200 miles long, and takes three hours to go from end to end and that includes a ferry ride! It is comprised of ten towns, all incredibly unique, and having their own claim to fame on the island. Though honestly, I have a hard time discerning when one town ends and the other begins, without signs alerting me! Exploring it is fun, and in these next few posts I will take you through all that I did while adventuring in OBX, what they are known for, and of course, my favorite parts of my travels.

Southern Shores

The very first stop was Southern Shores. Actually technically the first stop was the Southern Shore’s Starbucks which to be quite honest, I am not sure if it is Southern Shores (it says it is, thank you Starbucks app) or Kitty Hawk, but it IS at that junction you take onto the island and divides it into North and South. And like I said earlier I am still unsure where the town divides are. Southern Shores is not only newer, but very residential. It is also stunning. The houses are something you would see out of a catalogue. It sits between Duck and Kitty Hawk, and most of the beaches are private. You can only get to them by either renting a house, or knowing someone who has a house there.

 Exploring Duck

Duck, is the newest town in OBX (officially incorporated in 2002) and definitely has a unique name, is well known for it’s vibrant and extensive recreational areas, and has more amenities then Southern Shores. Duck is nestled between the ocean and the sound. It has an extensive boardwalk that is a mile long and perfect for walking or you can explore all the shops that line either side which are mostly upscale or small business owned which I love. They also have restaurants and several bars that look out onto the water, so grab a cocktail bevy, or maybe some ice cream and enjoy the view and people watching! It also has a town park, which has an amphitheater and hosts concerts, and other events entertaining the community and visitors alike!

I loved exploring Duck. It reminded me of a Southern Dock Square or Bar Harbor. It had shopping, but as I mentioned it was all small businesses, and the building designs were thoughtful to the area, made out of distressed beach wood and shiplap, the shops felt more like cottages than a mall which I loved. There were benches you could sit on, as well as one area that had communal tables, that quickly get taken in the busy months. It was a fun, peaceful day, walking around and perusing the shops. And I of course snagged some ice cream right before we left!

Have you been to the Outerbanks? Have you been to Duck or Southern Shores? 

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