If you go: Outer Banks tips

Nags Head, N.C., is on the northern peninsula of the Outer Banks. Its unspoiled beaches are free, with plenty of parking available. The inimitable pink-blue sunsets and charming mom-and-pop establishments help it to sustain an unaffected, wholesome vibe.

Getting there


Nags Head is about 325 miles from Baltimore. You can fly Southwest Airlines nonstop into Norfolk, then rent a car for the remaining 88 miles. Most folks contend it's easier, and cheaper, to make the trip by car, about a six-hour drive.



Village Realty,

252-480-2224, For expanded living spaces and picture-perfect sundecks, rent a beachfront condo or cottage from Maggie Sexton.

First Colony Inn B&B,

6715 South Croatan Highway, 252-441-2343, With its ocean views and private boardwalk leading to the beach, the historic inn offers an upscale stay. Summer room rates are $189 to $289 per night.



South Beach Grille,

6806 S. Virginia Dare Trail, 252-449-9313, offers fresh seafood with Caribbean and Asian accents — and stunning sea views from the outside deck upstairs. Entrees: $12.95-$22.95


2316 South Croatan Highway, 252-441-4116, Year-round residents love Kelly's for its fresh flounder and sweet potato biscuits. Entrees: $18-$29.

Sam and Omies

, 7228 S Virginia Dare Trail, 252-441-7366, This "barefoot and beachy," circa-1937 restaurant is a favorite spot for breakfast. Entrees: $2.50-$14.99

Don't miss


The Bridge at Whalehead Club,

1100 Club Road, Route 12, Corolla, 252-453-9040, Insiders say this is the ideal spot to pop the question. The bridge is within the gardens of a 1920s hunting club and mansion. Admission to park is free; audio house tours are $9.

The Lost Colony Outdoor Drama,

1409 National Park Drive, Manteo, 252-473-3414, Performed outdoors nightly from June through August, this long-running outdoor symphonic drama tells the tale of an early British colony established in this area that simply vanished. Just one clue was left as to their whereabouts: the word "CROATOAN" carved on a palisade. Tickets: $24.

The Corolla Wild Horses

are protected in a dedicated wildlife sanctuary that features an interactive museum. 1126 Schoolhouse Lane, Corolla, 252- 453-8002.

Jockey's Ridges State Park,

West Carolista Drive, Nags Head, 252-441-7132, For the best beach vistas, check out the highest sand dune on the East Coast. The park also features trails, a boardwalk and beach activities.



Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, 1 Visitors Center Cirtcle, Manteo, N.C., 877-629-4386,


For intriguing Outer Banks lore, pick up a copy of "Legends of the Outer Banks and Tar Heel Tidewater," by Charles H. Whedbee.