Life's a beach... but I don't want to die!
April 25, 2010 7:24 PM   Subscribe

Help me plan my Outer Banks beach camping trip!

Three friends and I are headed to the Outer Banks (Cape Hatteras) for five days in mid-May. We've all done some camping before, but never on the beach, and certainly never on this beach. We are going in a fairly small vehicle so space is at a premium. What are some absolute musts, and what are some things that make for extra-special beach camping?

Bonus question: anything on the way from Nashville, TN to Cape Hatteras, or in the Outer Banks area, that we can't miss?

Thanks for helping make this much-needed vacation even better!
posted by WidgetAlley to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oohhh... this is one of my favorite places to vacation.

In the morning go to Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe for breakfast, and definitely take the ferry to Ocracoke island and have dinner at Howard's Pub. Be sure to check the ferry schedule ahead of time and leave yourself enough time to get back - the line is long at the end of the night returning to Hatteras. Be sure to get some Hatteras clam chowder. It's got a clear broth - not the cream or tomato base as elsewhere - and it's delicious.

There's excellent windsurfing at Canadian Hole. If your vehicle is four-wheel drive and has enough clearance, drive out on the the point and do some fishing. Depending on time of year and currents you can catch some amazingly large fish right from the shore. The large ocean currents pass right by there - in fact changing its shape significantly from season to season. If you get there early enough you can snag a choice spot and camp out all day. In fact, I'm not really sure they make people leave overnight, but it's not a campground per se.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of stuff, but really, what makes Hatteras such an awesome vacation spot for me personally is the lack of things to do - just sitting on the beach reading all week without anyone in sight is my idea of a good time.
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 PM on April 25, 2010


Oh yeah - if your driving route is from Kitty Hawk then down the banks, make sure you know how long that drive is - it's deceptive. Just remembered another awesome food place - The Weeping Radish is an excellent German restaurant and brewery just above Kill Devil Hills.
posted by odinsdream at 8:54 PM on April 25, 2010


Seconding the The Weeping Radish. Also, on the camping side, you will want extra long tent stakes that are made for beach camping. Regular tent stakes will never survive a windy night on the beach.
posted by COD at 5:54 AM on April 26, 2010


Small broom or battery powered hand vacuum. Sand WILL GET EVERYWHERE and sleeping in sand sucks, so brush off your legs before you go to sleep and shake out what ever you are sleeping in/on.
posted by token-ring at 6:55 AM on April 26, 2010


Awesome! I'll be in OBX two weeks after you, though not beach camping.

A few ideas:

1. Roof-top luggage carrier for your vehicle. Not sure if you have roof racks, but even without you can strap it through the doors. I just picked up one of these Highland soft-sided weatherproof carriers for our trip. It will free up a lot of room in your vehicle for passengers and/or extra gear.

2. A portable radio. Beaches are made for great music. I got a Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere iPod dock (for $67 from Logitech's Refurb site). It runs on AC or internal Lithium Ion batteries (10 hours playback), perfect for the beach. If you don't have an iPod it also has an aux-in jack for your player of choice.

3. Decent flashlight(s) for nighttime galavanting.

4. Beer, and a cooler. If you can't or won't take glass bottles, buy/rent a mini-keg and bring plastic cups.

5. If anyone in your crew is musically inclined, a guitar is a fantastic thing to have on the beach. They make mini "backpacker" guitars if space is at a premium.

6. Sunscreen and sunglasses.

7. Warm clothing. I spent a week in the OBX a few years back and it was frigid; the air temperature was decent (close to 70) but the wind coming in was in the Arctic Blast range; sitting on the beach without a sweater/windbreaker was miserable.

8. Sandals. Sandy socks are the worst.

9. Rain protection.

10. Frisbees/balls & gloves/volleyball net/etc.

11. A Labrador Retriever, just cuz.

12. Lawn chairs/beach umbrellas?

13. Some really good books.

14. Jerky. The more exotic the better.

15. A power inverter for your car's cigarette lighter, so you can charge your various devices. This might not be critical, depending on how long your stay is.

16. First aid kit. Seriously, jellyfish are teh suck, and it's easy to tear your feet open on some rock/enraged crab. Also: Sharks.

17. Plenty of water - if it's sunny, dehydration can be a major buzzkill.

18. Boogieboard(s).

19. Dollar store sandcastle kit. Seriously, you'll thank me.

20. Cheap wind-up film camera. Don't risk your digital in the sand & surf. Besides, beach photos look 10x better on a cheap film camera for some reason.


Have fun!!
posted by sprocket87 at 1:55 PM on April 27, 2010


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