Every year instead of getting anniversary gifts for each other, my husband and I take a trip. With COVID-19 being a big problem this year, we had resigned ourselves to the fact that travel wasn’t going to happen. However, a few weeks before our anniversary, we had to getaway. We wanted to go somewhere and settled on the beach for the safest COVID travel. My husband grew up vacationing with his family in the Outer Banks NC and thought it would be the perfect spot to safely social distance and relax. It’s an 11 hour drive from Nashville but we had the best time and stayed safe. I thought I’d share a recap of our trip in case you’re wanting to do a socially distant vacay yourself!
COVID Travel: The Best Things to Do Outer Banks NC When Social Distancing
Where to Stay
We traveled with our two black labs so we found an Air BNB near the beach that allowed dogs. (Take a look here.) It was simple and right on the beach and was perfect for us. We packed our own sheets, pillows, and towels, and the second we walked in wiped EVERYTHING down with disinfectant wipes. If you’re bringing your pups, I recommend bringing a dog gate so the pups can roam the porch. It also has a kitchen and outside charcoal grill so you can prepare your own food.
Where to Eat
- Duck Donuts in Duck – You can’t go to OBX and not get Duck Donuts. There are several locations but we went to the original in Duck. We ordered online ahead of time to ensure we got our choices and were not disappointed! This location is right off the Boardwalk so we picked a nice spot to enjoy our donuts and then took a long walk around the area.
- Booty Treats Ice Cream & Shaved Ice – The name alone is what made us want to come here for dessert! They had so many great ice cream combos. We also got Tim a t-shirt to wear at home!
- The Brew Thru – This isn’t necessarily a place to eat, but it’s essentially a drive-through bar. You pull in, pick your beer and wine and then drive out. The concept is genius! We came here to get some beer for the beach and they gave our pups lots of treats!
- Wave Riders Coffee & Deli – We came here as soon as we came into town for an early morning pick me up (we drove through the night to get here). We also came back and had sandwiches for lunch and they had an outdoor patio where you could sit and enjoy your lunch six feet away from others.
- The Buxton Munch – This was a little out of the way but worth it! You order and pay through the phone and you can either pick it up and go or enjoy your food on a picnic table outside. I had a hamburger and fries (it was delicious) and my husband had lobster tacos with Old Bay seasoning, and he loved them!
- Hatteras Sol – A great dinner spot one night. They had indoor seating that had a phenomenal view of the water, but we had the dogs and opted to order our food-to-go and eat outside and enjoy live music and the sunset in the harbor. To be honest, the food was average so I would just order some drinks and an appetizer and enjoy the ambiance and view.
- Aqua Restaurant – Located near Duck, we came here without the dogs to “celebrate” our anniversary. We ate a ton of delicious seafood and loved the live music!
- Jack Browns Beer & Burger Joint – We wanted to pick up some food to go to enjoy on a beach so we got burgers at Jack Browns. It was the best burger I’ve ever had in my life! I had the Elvis and my husband had the Cobra Kai.
- Surfin’ Spoon – We loved this place so much that we came twice! It’s like a Sweet CeCe’s, you pick your ice cream flavor and then toppings. I’m a classic vanilla frozen yogurt girl with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and chocolate chips!
- American Pie Pizza – Pizza on the beach is the best. Trust me on that. We ordered a pie to go, grabbed a few beers, and enjoyed the sunset. Pure bliss.
- Miller’s Waterfront – This place was crazy busy but worth the wait! You could sit inside or outside. We chose outside, even though we didn’t bring the dogs, and just enjoyed a glass of wine outside while we waited. We had pork loin, hush puppies, seafood, biscuits, cornbread, and everything was delicious! It was also a killer place to watch the sunset.
What to Do (All Dog Friendly)
- Watch the Sunset at the Sand Dunes – The first night we were there we walked up a couple of sand dunes to watch the sunset. It was so cool and a great walk with the dogs. It’s been years since I’ve been around a sand dune!
- Bodie Island Lighthouse – Free to the public, you can walk around the lighthouse and then down a boardwalk to get a better view of the lighthouse and scenery around it.
- Cape Hatteras Light Station – Another free activity, this was right off the Old Lighthouse Beach and another cool place to walk around. We sat on the beach for a while and when we got bored just walked to the lighthouse and then back to the beach.
- Walk the Boardwalk in Duck – I mentioned above we walked the Boardwalk after enjoying our donuts. The Boardwalk twists and turns through different little shops and restaurants. If you don’t have pets you can shop and take your time shopping. I saw several cute boutiques it would have been fun to pop into!
- Wright Brothers National Memorial – You had to pay to get in here and the indoor museum was closed due to COVID. So you essentially pay to see the memorial statue. You walk up a big hill and enjoy the view and the history and see a replica of the first plane in flight.
- Old Lighthouse Beach – I mentioned the Cape Hatteras Light Station above and it’s known as one of the prettiest dog-friendly beaches in OBX. The sand was so soft and we enjoyed laying here with the pups.
How to Keep the Dogs Cool
It was warm while we were there and we had to be careful with Gatsby and Fitzy both having black hair. We came prepared and did a few things to cool them down.
- Avoid the Heat of the Day – The sand is super warm in the middle of the day and hurts their little paws. Mornings and evenings are ideal!
- Bring TONS of Water – We always brought more water than we thought we could ever need and the girls would go through it quickly. We brought a pop of bowl and would pour water in to keep them hydrated.
- Put Up an Umbrella – We didn’t put up an umbrella for us but for the girls. They could lay under it or the chair and get some shade. Gatsby burrowed under a beach towel at one point for some shade!
- Dunk Them in the Ocean – Our dogs hate the water and we’d have to pick them up and dunk them. This cooled them down real quick! We also would walk close to the water because the sand was cooler.
The big thing is to make sure their noses are cold and wet. Push lots of water! Our Air BNB was right on the beach so there were a few days where we left the dogs in the house with a Kong of peanut butter while we laid on the beach. Then once it cooled off, we brought them out.
Have you been to Outer Banks NC before? Let me know in a comment below!