If you go: Outer Banks tips

Baltimore Sun reporter

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, villagerealtyobx.com. 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, firstcolonyinn.com. 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, southbeachgrillemp16.com. offers fresh seafood with Caribbean and Asian accents — and stunning sea views from the outside deck upstairs. Entrees: $12.95-$22.95

Kelly's, 2316 South Croatan Highway, 252-441-4116, kellysrestaurant.com. 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, samandomies.net. 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, whaleheadclub.org. 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, thelostcolony.org. 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. corollawildhorses.com

Jockey's Ridges State Park, West Carolista Drive, Nags Head, 252-441-7132, jockeysridgestatepark.com. 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.


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

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

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