Duck, NC + the Outer Banks Travel Guide

A travel guide to Duck, NC + the Outer Banks – where to stay, eat, and what to do! 

Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

So excited to be home and sharing one of my favorite beach towns with y’all! While vacation is great, there’s no better place then your bed! Don’t you agree? After two weeks in Duck, NC {one this year and one last year} I decided to put together a little travel guide for y’all! Including my favorite places to dine, explore, and more. If you’ve been to the area, I’d love to hear you favorite spots. Or those around the Duck, NC area. We’re always up for a little adventure. 

The Beach 

Both years I have visited Duck at the same time, right after Labor Day. Therefore the crowds were much lower than normal and the beaches weren’t as busy. Which was great! I love the laid-back feel and no wait when dining at restaurants. This year it was a little busier but the beach was still insanely calm where we were. 

The sand is a little rough and not too compact here. Making long walks on the beach not super enjoyable! Or really enjoyable is you’re trying to give your calves a serious work out. Joshua and I took two long walks and both days following those walks, our calves + ankles were pretty darn sore!  You are able to find some pretty seashells though and you’ll see the largest seagulls you’ve ever laid your eyes on. I promise, they are massive! 

The water was pretty rough while we were there due to the hurricanes {Irma and Jose}. Saturday-Tuesday we were not allowed to enter the water. Come Wednesday though the water started to calm down and Joshua jumped right in! He swam Wednesday-Friday, each day was a little calmer than the next. The waves are typically a little more intense here then other North Carolina beaches {such as Wilmington}. You’ll see lots of surfers and boogie boarders enjoying the waves. 

Outer Banks Beaches // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Outer Banks Beaches // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Outer Banks Beaches // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Outer Banks Beaches // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where To Stay 

Both years we stayed at the same house. You can find the listing for it here. There are five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a pool, hot tub, volleyball court, cruiser bikes, and lots of decks to enjoy! Definitely recommend this house for a family vacation or group of friends {we rented it for my bachelorette party last year}. 

Renting a house is a great way to go! If you’re interested in doing that I would highly recommend this company if you don’t go with the house we rented. They have several options and homes in multiple beach towns within the outer banks! Including Corolla, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Roanoke, Nags Head, and Currituck Mainland. You can find them all here

There are also a couple of hotels/resorts in the area. Including Sanderling Resort {I know a couple of people that have stayed here and LOVED it}, Hampton Inn & Suites Corolla, and Hilton Garden Inn Outer Banks

Duck NC Travel Diary // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where to Stay in Duck NC // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where To Eat 

Duck Donuts – This is a duh! You absolutely have to go here, at least once. They’re donuts are the VERY best! Plus you get to create your own. Choose the coating, topping, and drizzle. There are basically endless options. I recommend getting at least two per person and stopping in multiple times during your trip. 

Roadside Bar & Grill – My favorite spot for dinner! The atmosphere is so fun and quirky while the food is incredible. Most recently, we had the pimento cheese for an appetizer {yum!}, I had a fall salad {think pumpkin}, and Joshua went with the duck, which he said was amazing! Aside from the restaurant atmosphere and the tasty food, they also have a back bar, called backside. So cool! There’s live music, a bar, corn hole, spots to lounge, overall, just a really fun spot to hang out and grab a drink. 

Wave Pizza Cafe – Very casual, relaxed pizza parlor. Their pizza’s have the perfect thin crust and the freshest ingredients. I personally love the margarita and wipeout. They also have a wide selection of beers. Including lots of local brews! 

Treehouse Coffee Co. – This place is adorable! Tucked back in a sweet little shopping destination. Tasty coffee {I have heard}, great tea, and some killer biscuit combinations for breakfast! 

Sunset Grill & Raw Bar – So I actually have only had appetizers + drinks here. Both were great and the view of the water alone, was well worth the visit! Since I can’t say much about a full meal here, I say stop in for a drink, enjoy the sunset on the back patio and see what you think of the menu. 

Where to Eat in The Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where to Eat in Duck NC // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

Where to Eat in The Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What To Do 

Beach it up – This is a duh, right? I just wanted to make sure you knew, this was an option haha. Something you should absolutely do! On the beach is where we spent most of our days. Soaking in the rays, relaxing, playing games {lawn dice, bocce ball, and cornhole}, and reading. 

Go for a bike ride – If you rent a home, there’s a really good chance it will come with cruiser bikes. Ours had three and we loved using them to ride downtown or explore neighborhoods. Plus, it’s great exercise. Which is needed with all the eating that occurs on vacation! If you don’t rent a house or yours doesn’t come with one, you can rent them here. You can also rent surfer boards, kayaks, and beach equipment. 

Shop – We spent one afternoon doing this. There are SO many shops in downtown Duck, it’s insane. Kitty Hawk and Corolla are also full of them! There’s the Scarborough Faire {my favorite}, the Cotton Gin, the Urban Cottage {incredible decor items + furniture}, the Scarborough Lane Shoppes, and more. 

Explore –  There is SO much exploring to do! Whether you stay in Duck or go to a near by town. There are several light houses in the area to see. You can check them all out here. Joshua and I made a little afternoon trip to one of them, the Bodie Island Lighthouse, and also visited a fishing inlet, The Oregon Inlet

You can make a trip up to Corolla to see the wild horses and drive on the beach! Here you can also rent a jeep to cruise the beach if you don’t want to use your own car. Or dune hang glide in Kitty Hawk. 

Also, you can rent a charter fishing boat to spend a couple hours or a full day out at sea. This was on Joshua’s to do list but sadly because of the hurricanes they weren’t going out while we were there. Even the Oregon Inlet was pretty cleared out as folks were trying to keep their boats safe! Next time

What to do When Visiting the Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What to do When Visiting the Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What to do When Visiting the Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

What to do When Visiting the Outer Banks // NC Outer Banks Travel Guide // Louella Reese Life & Style Blog

P.S. if you want to take a look back at past travel guides you can find them here. As well as travel style here. I’ll be sharing a look from our vacation tomorrow and start sharing fall looks from our visit to The Lodge at River Run on Thursday. So stay tuned!


  1. September 18, 2017 / 11:03 am

    Oooo love the idea of going right after Labor Day to skip the crowds! I’ve never been to duck but need to add it to my list!

    • September 18, 2017 / 11:39 am

      It’s the best! Love the calm atmosphere after the busy season. Plus, a lot of times rental rates are lower. You should definitely add Duck to your list, it’s a beautiful place.

      xo Laura Leigh

  2. September 18, 2017 / 11:29 am

    Oh my gosh that area looks GORgeous! Absolutely stunning and you my dear are glowing in these photos!
    The Adored Life

    • September 18, 2017 / 11:40 am

      It really is! I completely fell in love with the little beach town and cannot wait to visit again. Oh my gosh, thank you so much gal!

      xo Laura Leigh

  3. September 18, 2017 / 11:46 am

    We love the outer banks! I’ve been going to duck since i was a baby and we were supposed to get married in kitty hawk last fall (hurricane matthew womp womp). Loved what you highlighted…i have a obx travel guide on my blog too!

    • September 18, 2017 / 2:04 pm

      Oh that is so fun! So sorry about your wedding though, those dang hurricanes!!! I am heading to your blog right now to check out your guide. Wish I would have spotted that before our trip!

      xo Laura Leigh

  4. September 18, 2017 / 12:32 pm

    I never heard of this place until you went here – your trip looked so fun and relaxing! Love all these photos…especially the donuts 😉

    Pink Champagne Problems

    • September 18, 2017 / 2:03 pm

      Duck is such a sweet little beach town. You would love exploring with your beau for sure. Oh gosh the donuts, soooo good!

      xo Laura Leigh

  5. September 18, 2017 / 12:58 pm

    Looks like the perfect place to visit! BTW I just Love the tunic you wore <3

    • September 18, 2017 / 2:02 pm

      Definitely is! I highly recommend it. Aw thank you gal! I’ll be featuring it on the blog tomorrow.

      xo Laura Leigh

  6. September 18, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    That place looks so pretty! especially the light house!

    • September 18, 2017 / 4:33 pm

      Duck and the Outer Banks are beautiful places for sure! So serene and peaceful.

      xo Laura Leigh

  7. Jessica Camerata
    September 18, 2017 / 6:03 pm

    Loved visiting Duck with the girls last summer. Such a cute little town.

    xo Jessica
    My Style Vita

  8. September 18, 2017 / 7:06 pm

    Such a fun guide. I haven’t been but I’m definitely bookmarking for when I do get to go

    • September 19, 2017 / 6:33 am

      Thank you gal! I am sure you will fall in love with the little beach town when you do go!

      xo Laura Leigh

  9. September 18, 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Need to bookmark in case I ever go! Looks amazing!

  10. Sandy a la Mode
    September 18, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    These pictures are beautiful! I love the Outer Banks – it’s amazing there!

    • September 19, 2017 / 6:48 am

      Thank you so much Sandy! My husband will be so happy to hear that. I completely agree, it’s a special place!

      xo Laura Leigh

  11. Leah
    September 18, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    You’re adorable! Love those morning shots of you

    • September 19, 2017 / 6:49 am

      Aw thank you so much Leah!!! I really appreciate that gal! Means a lot since I am make up free. Which is always a little scary to share ha.

      xo Laura Leigh

  12. September 19, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Wow, so beautiful!

  13. Nina
    September 24, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    Looks like such a great trip and i need those donuts!

    Xo, Nina
    Law of Fashion Blog

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