Outer Banks Travel Guide Summer 2022 .

The Outer Banks is a small island off the coast of North Carolina. With gorgeous beaches and a friendly atmosphere, it’s no surprise that it remains one of the top vacation destinations along the East Coast. My family and I have been coming here every summer for as long as I can remember.

The week-long trip has become one of my favorites of the year—there’s nothing I love more than full beach days followed by yummy dinner, cute stores, and ice cream for dessert.

In all honesty, it’s a rather repetitive trip. I do nothing besides lay in the sun from 9 am – 5 pm, eating at the same few restaurants, sleeping in the same family friend’s beach house in Kitty Hawk. And yet each summer I seem to get recommendations of my favorite things to do on the island. I decided this year it was finally time to sit down and share a list of favorites—food, swimsuits, and more!

I know it’s a bit different from my usual travel guides but I sure hope you enjoy!

What To Wear 

Whoever said life is better in a bikini sure knew what they were talking about! There’s nothing better than getting to wear a different swimsuit each day— linking all of the suits I wore on this trip as well as my Rainbow flip-flops. If you don’t have a pair of these, you’re living under a rock! I got mine 8 years ago and they are still kicking… they take a while to break in but once you do, the leather is so comfortable.

I was recovering from my appendix surgery this year so I only ventured out a few nights. For those days, I stuck to lightweight linens since that’s what was most comfortable along my incisions. For the rest of the days, a big tee shirt and lounge shorts did just the trick! I love that I can just be chill at the beach.

What To Pack

We’ve been to the Outer Banks so many times that packing for it has become second nature to me. It’s one of those trips where you don’t need much, just beach day essentials, and a few more tee-shirts than you’re allotting for.

A few things I never go without:

  • Sunscreen (and lots of it)— Although this is the East Coast, the sun is strong in the Outer Banks. Definitely make sure you’re packing sunscreen and a lot of it. I rotate back and forth between Sun Bum, Copper Tone, Bask, you name it! I usually switch between spf 50 and 30. (No tanning oil here!)
  • Aloe + Vitamin E Lotion— One of my most asked questions is how I’m able to get my tan to last for so long. I swear a layer of Banana Boat aloe and a layer of their vitamin e lotion do just the trick. I put this on every night after I shower and almost every morning and it gives my skin all the hydration + moisture it needs. I’ve done this for years and don’t plan on ever stopping.
  • Tommy Bahama Beach Chair— I know some people are team towel but I am definitely a team chair girly. There is no beach chair quite like a Tommy Bahama. They are by far the most comfortable and can get wet which I love.
  • A Tote Bag— You absolutely need a tote to throw all of your beach day essentials in. I’ve used cloth ones, I’ve used straw ones, but currently, I’ve been using my trusty ole Longchamp. I will never get over how easy it is to clean plus it can get wet which is a plus.
  • A Good Book (or 3)— If you’re anything like me, you’re going to want to bring a good book… or three. This year I read Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover, Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and The Woman In The Window by A J Finn.
  • Floppy Hat — I’ve had the same floppy hat for nearly five years and I still bring it on every tropical vacation to this day. I got it for $15 from TJ Maxx and still love it all these years later. A must if you’re not much of a sunglass wearer OR if you want to protect your scalp!

Where To Eat

When we vacation in the Outer Banks we typically cook at home all but two nights. However, each year we find ourselves at the same few restaurants because they are just that good. Leaving a few of our favorites below!

Hurricane Mos

Hurricane Mos has always been our family’s favorite dinner spot. It’s got a chill, beach feel with good vibes all around. They’ve got live music every night at the outdoor bar. Their drinks are $10 but 1 is all it takes, lol. I get their Island Grilled Chicken every year and it’s incredible. Fresh mango salsa and the best coconut sticky rice ever.

Menu // Directions

Barefoot Bernie’s

This is another favorite restaurant of ours that we come to every year without fail. I also get the Island Chicken here and it’s so good. The portion is bigger than Hurricane Mos and has more of a teriyaki glaze to it. My parents absolutely love their tacos—they’ve got chicken, shrimp, mahi, you name it.

Menu // Directions

Outer Banks Travel Guide Summer 2022

Art’s Place

If you’re looking for something super casual with a diner-like vibe, this is the place. It’s mostly burgers, chicken wraps, and french fries but both are delicious.

Menu // Directions

Outer Banks Travel Guide Summer 2022

Stack Em High

We rarely go to breakfast on the island but this place is great if you’re wanting something super fast. You order at the counter here and the food comes within minutes. Their potatoes are great and they’ve got a gazillion options.

Menu // Directions

Snow Bird

We are also super big ice cream people. If you’re in Kitty Hawk there are tons of places so we tend to experiment each night.  I personally like Snow Bid best because they have Dole Whip! This is super hard to find but they always have it here. It’s $5 for a huge portion and it hits the spot every time.

Menu // Directions

Things To Do

The Outer Banks is like any ole beach town. There’s not a ton to do, just the usual stuff—small souvenir shops, lots of restaurants, and a few water activities. Because I was supposed to spend most of this week recovering from my appendix surgery, I didn’t do really anything this trip besides lay on the beach. I swam, read, and napped. All week long.

Don’t get me wrong, over the years we’ve gone to the sand dunes, visited the lighthouses, and explored new areas of the island but there’s something I love about doing a whole lot of nothing… isn’t that what they call relaxing?!

This year I did make it a point to get up and see the sunrise two different times. It’s important to go out at least twenty minutes before the weather app *says* the sun is going to rise as that’s when you get all of the cool colors and such. If you can, I recommend taking a dip in the water. It can be very cold in the morning but my gosh is it such a cool experience. It’s such a core memory, especially if you’re with friends. I cannot recommend going enough!

Watch The Week

Want to see my trip to the Outer Banks on camera?! Sharing behind the scenes of some beach photos, lots of swimming, and some unreal sunrises in today’s video. Plus, a whole lot of fun with the family. Hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out on new vlogs every single week!

Outer Banks Travel Guide Summer 2022

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Even after nine weeks in California, there was nothing more exciting than getting to be at the beach for another week. I’m a coconut girl at heart and truly feel my happiest after a long day in the sun, slightly crisp to the touch. Feeling refreshed and relaxed after a week in my favorite spot. Already ready for next year’s adventure!

With love, McKenz

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