The Outer Banks consist of a series of barrier islands in North Carolina. Look forward to sandy beaches and sunny weather. When your family stays at an Outer Banks vacation rental, the question of where to eat naturally comes up daily. Fortunately, the area is home to an abundance of kid-friendly restaurants. Here are 10 of the most inviting family eateries in the Outer Banks region.
1. Stripers Bar and Grille, Manteo, Roanoke Island
Stunning seaside vistas are a big reason people flock to find vacation rentals in the Outer Banks, and probably no restaurant in the area takes better advantage of those views than Stripers Bar and Grille. Doing business out of one of the most architecturally impressive buildings in the state, Stripers keeps a fully stocked bar on the ground floor, connected via elevator to the second-floor restaurant, where diners enjoy excellent surf and turf. Of special note for the kids is a wide variety of deep-fried shrimp and other treats, while adults who eat there can’t say enough good things about the lobster bisque. All the while, patrons enjoy a panoramic view of the marina from the enormous bay windows near every table.
2. High Cotton NC BBQ, Kitty Hawk
North Carolina is one of maybe half a dozen states that’s famous for its home-grown barbecue traditions, and no stay on the Outer Banks would be complete without at least one visit to High Cotton NC BBQ, in Kitty Hawk. This handsome brick establishment is just a few miles from the various local monuments to the Wright Brothers, so it’s ideally positioned for dinner with the kids on your way home from seeing the local sights. The restaurant serves hearty chicken quarters and delectable burnt ends smothered in its own proprietary barbecue sauce, which is available for purchase on your way out, in case your vacation rental has a barbecue pit of its own.
3. Kill Devil’s Frozen Custard & Beach Fries, Kill Devil Hills
Apart from its amazing name, this fast food heaven has the perfect location for beachcombers looking for a bite to eat with the kids at lunchtime. While still serving standard American fare of burgers and fries, Kill Devil’s has branched out into summer snacks such as frozen custard and enormous ice cream sundaes. Try to time your break from the beach at an off-peak hour, such as 2 pm or so, because long lines tend to form during the lunch and dinner rush hours.
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4. Lighthouse Bagels and Deli, Corolla
Getting your fill of the unique local culture is one of the best things about renting a vacation property in the Outer Banks, but sometimes you and the kids need a taste of the big city, if only for one meal. Lighthouse Bagels and Deli, in Corolla, combines the best of both worlds in a one-stop deli and pastry shop. With loads of convenient outdoor seating, it’s a great choice for buying the kids a few donuts and letting them run off the sugar in an open space outdoors, while the adults can enjoy a hearty bagel for breakfast with your choice of butter, cream cheese, or New York-style lox.
5. Slice Pizzeria, Kill Devil Hills
North Carolina has a unique take on pizza, and the Outer Banks can be even more unique than that. Slice Pizzeria, in Kill Devil Hills, epitomizes that fusion of coastal atmosphere and spicy Italian cuisine. Alongside the kid-friendly pepperoni and Hawaiian specialty pizzas, which can be ordered by the slice for picky and unpredictable eaters, parents can experiment with toppings like fresh basil, spinach, and roasted red peppers. Indoor and outdoor seating is available in this compact pizzeria, which helps to keep things roomy when the beach crowd shows up for the lunch rush.
6. Stack’em High Pancakes, Kill Devil Hills
Wherever your vacation rental is located in the Outer Banks, make it a point to visit Stack’em High Pancakes in Kill Devil Hills for breakfast one morning. This homestyle restaurant goes out of its way to welcome kids, with activity-heavy paper placemats and right-sized kid’s plates, while serving major stick-to-your-ribs pancakes, waffles, and skillet meals fried up the way only the South can manage. Doing business in a large, roomy building that’s well-screened from the street by head-high shrubs and a generous porch area for waiting families, Stack’em High does a brisk trade with holiday renters looking for a filling meal on the main drag.
7. Tale of The Whale, Nags Head
Great seafood is one of the perks of renting a vacation property in the Outer Banks, and a family-friendly restaurant that can deliver it is a jewel to find. Tale of the Whale, in Nags Head, fits that bill with large dining areas and multiple dining rooms capable of hosting anything from small, intimate dinners to raucous multi-family parties. Summertime sees kids’ events, such as live music in the gazebo, which sits at the end of a long pier attached to the property.
8. Neomonde Mediterranean, Raleigh
The Outer Banks are only a 15-minute drive from North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, and Neomonde Mediterranean more than justifies the brief side trip. Serving authentic Lebanese and Middle Eastern food, this combination bakery and deli is the ideal place to get your kids their first taste of outstanding hummus. The indoor area is mostly given over to display cases and serving areas, while the dining mostly takes place outdoors under large parasols. Picky kids can skip the exotic cuisine and enjoy more familiar staples, such as sandwiches and soda.
9. Bros Sandwich Shack, Avon
Bros Sandwich Shack takes the idea of “authentic” food and runs with it. The casual atmosphere in the roomy dining area belies the hard work going on in the kitchen, where staff grinds their own beef for the establishment’s signature huge burgers. Younger kids can probably get by splitting a single burger between them, while even older kids usually have half their meal left over to snack on during the rest of the drive back to the vacation rental.
10. Eduardo’s Taco Stand, Ocracoke
Sometimes, after a long drive out to the vacation rental in the Outer Banks, nothing is more kid-friendly than wide open spaces to run around and stretch the legs. Eduardo’s Taco Stand is almost nothing but that, operating from what amounts to a converted trailer abutting a green area near a parking lot. Pull up for some homemade, hand-crafted tacos splashed with lime, and let the kids tire themselves out with the other visitors who make a point of stopping here on their way into and out of the area each year.
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