Posted February 25, 2010 by Jamie Moore
Think the ultimate summer vacation is one spent entirely in flip-flops? The casual sand and sun scene of North Carolina's Outer Banks is ideal for families on a budget. You won't have to stray too far from the beach to eat breakfast with the locals, fly a kite on a massive sand dune, or uncover (toy) pirate treasures.
Sam & Omie's: This 70-year-old Nags Head legend originally opened as a place for local fishermen to grab a bite to eat before heading out to sea. Still popular among locals, Sam & Omie's serves classic breakfasts in a barefoot and beachy atmosphere just steps from the sand. Try the crab and eggs Benedict; it's well-worth the $12.95. Kids love the hot cakes.
Jockey's Ridge State Park: If you can slog your way up to the top of the largest sand dune on the East Coast, amazing views and perfect kite-flying wind are your reward. Colorful kites and hang-gliders often dot the sky at this 420-acre Nags Head park with enough sand to fill six million dump trucks. Pick up a unique kite at nearby Kitty Hawk Kites, whose hang-gliding experts teach lessons in Jockey's Ridge State Park near the visitor's center.
Teach's Hole: Strap on an eye patch and let out your best pirate arrrrrgh. This Ocracoke Island store—filled with pirate patches, flags, play pistols, and treasure chest booty of all kinds—is named after Edward Teach (a.k.a. Blackbeard), who once sailed these waters. Bet you won't hear any complaining from your young mates about learning history during their vacation as they explore this store and its fun Blackbeard exhibit.
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(Photo: North Carolina Division of Tourism)