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Tim and Lisa, owners
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First up, a fresh coat of pale, pale blue for the walls, new sofa and bench and a new rug in a beachy chevron.
I love the Rowe sleeper ordered from local business Manteo Furniture. It’s in a durable Sunbrella fabric, perfect for rental wear and tear.
Noticed the mural in that last photo, huh? Let’s take a closer look.
Inspired by this wall from Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, I liked how it’s evocative of the ocean while helping to draw my various color choices together.
Goodbye, 80’s gold! A can of Rustoleum heat resistant paint transformed the whole look of the fireplace. The paintings on the mantle got moved to a hallway in exchange for this mirror I bought on Craigslist and painted white.
These mason jars left behind by a guest and Dollar Tree vases also got upcycled to help aid with our cool coastal theme.
Our favorite update – the Queen bedroom. Photos don’t do it justice, likely because I’m a terrible photographer. This went from perfectly usable, but bland to a peaceful and calming retreat thanks to new paint in ocean colors, Stella bedding from West Elm and local photography by Eve Turek, owner of Yellowhouse Gallery in Nags Head.
My biggest complaint about vacation rentals are DULL KNIVES. I recently discovered Mercer knives at A Culinary Affair in Outer Banks Mall. Mercer supplies all the cooking schools and offer good quality at affordable prices. They actually aren’t pictured here. The new knives are on a simple, clean magnetic strip on the wall. Also not pictured: a new sink faucet and a fabulous new washer dryer unit.
Horses on Coquina beach.
The Cape Hatteras Light Station is a historic landmark.
The Wright Brothers Memorial is a short walking distance away via back roads.
A short trail leads to a quiet beach on the Roanoke Sound in Nags Head Woods Preserve.
A kite flies against the setting sun on Jockey’s Ridge
Read about our favorite things to do.
What’s nearby? Everything!
- Comedy club
- Fishing pier
- Jockey’s Ridge State Park
- Movie theater
- Nags Head Woods Preserve
- Places of Worship
- Walking paths
- Wright Bros. Memorial Park
U.S. News & World Report recently named the Outer Banks the top family beach vacation in the USA, beating out more exotic locales of Maui and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The magazine lauded the OBX’s “consistent-yet-manageable waves and beautiful natural landscape,” also giving a nod to its historical charm and rugged sense of adventure.
“A cottage or condo rental will give you more space for family time and prime beach access.” -U.S. News & World Report.
Vacationing with children at OBX is a joy at any time of year. Here’s our list of recommendations.
For the wee ones
- Sound side beach. A favorite among locals is behind Jockey’s Ridge where the kids can play in the water with no waves. It’s around milepost 12 on Soundside Rd. — take a right at the Nags Head church. The entrance is down the road on the right. Here’s a map from the condo.
- Coquina Beach. This one is nice because it has wide beaches and a bath house with restrooms and changing stations. Our son was terrified of the ocean until he was about 3 so having a wide stretch between the sand and the waves was a big plus.
- Playgrounds. Hayman Park at MP 5.5 is the one we normally hit when we go down there. Perfect for the 1-3 year olds, the park set is set in the residential west side and surrounded by live oaks. Bonus: it’s not well known to tourists.
- Wright Brothers National Memorial. Lots of open space for the little ones to wear out. Be sure to keep to the trails and not the grass, which is full of prickly pears. Don’t miss the photo ops near the interactive sculpture of the first flight and at the top of the memorial!
- NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island and Jennette’s Pier (http://www.ncaquariums.com/). Be sure to check out the historic Roanoke Island waterfront after visiting the sharks!
- Pirates & Pixies toy shop. You’ll find tons of fun, well crafted gifts and the owner is usually the one behind the counters.
- Duck Soundside Boardwalk. An easy, picturesque walk lined with shops and restaurants.
- Outer Banks Children’s Museum. The museum recently re-opened in the Buccaneer’s Walk Center, expanding the already great play/learning space.
- Bouncing off the Walls. Inflatable bounce houses and other fun for children under 12.
- Extreme sports. Here’s a map showing The Lark in relation to kayaking, parasailing, sandboarding and hangliding locations. We keep a body board at the condo for those who want to enjoy the waves. First Street, our closest public beach access point, is also a historic surf break of the OBX. View the live cam. Kitty Hawk Park also has a 5,000 sq. ft. skate park (and covered picnic areas so you can watch your children under the shade).
- Mini Golf. These fun themed putt-putt courses are all throughout the Outer Banks. The closest one being Lost Treasure Golf 1/2 mile from The Lark!
- First Flight Adventure Park. Hello, ropes, zip lines and obstacle courses 10-50 feet above the Sound!
- Destination Funplex. Nearby The Lark is an indoor bounce house, arcade, mini golf and laser tag. Great for those rainy days.
- Arts and crafts. Paint your own pottery at Glazin’ Go Nuts or make jewelry at its sister store, Garden of Beadin’ or Cloud Nine in Pirate’s Quay shopping center. You can also tye dye a shirt at Island Dye.
- Hair wraps and temporary tattoos. No trip to the beach is complete unless you come home with your hair in corn rows and your arms covered in temporary tattoos. At least that was me growing up.
- Off-roading. See the wild horses, take a 4×4 adventure trip or a Segway tour in the Carova Beach region to the north. You can rent your own off-road vehicle or take a guided tour.
- Take a hike! We love the Nags Head Woods Preserve.
- Jockey’s Ridge. Climbing the dunes is a must. You may also buy a kite across the street at Kitty Hawk Kites or take a guided sunset tour.
- The Lost Colony. The historical reenactment is a 2013 Tony recipient for excellence in theatre. Not to mention a lot of fun.
- YMCA. The Y in OBX has all the regular fitness equipment and group fitness classes for Mom and Dad, as well as pools with a waterslide and a skate park.
- The Wright Brothers National Memorial. To mark the 99th anniversary of humans’ first flight in 2002, 99 aircraft flew over the memorial and parachuters glided to the earth near the granite statue that marks the location of the Wright Brothers’ historic flight. We likely won’t be treated to another such spectacle for another 100 years, but the memorial is still impressive. You can walk to the memorial from The Lark on the multi-use trail. Go south on the trail for about 1.5 miles and turn into the charming little airport at the rear of the memorial.
- Ghost Tours. I actually lead ghost tours in my hometown of Harrisonburg, VA, and was excited to find these tours at Whalehead in Historic Corolla. There’s a nighttime and daytime option as well as other tours of the non-spooky variety.
For more ideas and events, check out Outer Banks Child. Around The Lark, you can also make it a family day in by choosing a family-friendly selection from our DVD collection or hanging out by our pool.
Parents’ Night Out
Need a break from the little ones? You can hire a sitter to come to the condo. A quick search for “babysitting Outer Banks” will yield several results. We personally met the owner of At Your Service and found her to be professional and trustworthy.
Family Friendly Restaurants
Truly, though, there are many, many great options. Outer Banks Taco Bar has a box full of toddler toys to keep the littles entertained and Outer Banks Brewing Station has a playground on premises. We also enjoy American Pie, Rundown Cafe and Mama Kwans. If your child is a history buff, check out Black Pelican. The old life saving station is where the Wright Brothers sent their telegraph announcing they had successfully taken the world’s first flight.
Our Child Friendly Amenities
The Lark was designed with young children in mind. We have everything you need for a relaxing vacation.
- Pool located directly across our building with beach and pool toys
- First Street beach access is a mile down the same road and has a lifeguard station
- Low profile queen size bed for easy in and out access
- Sleep sound machines in both bedrooms
- Outlet covers, child cabinet locks and child proof option on the dishwasher
- Toys, books and board games
- Pack N’ Play, travel high chair and baby spoons
- Potty reducer seat
- Clutter-free decor! Nothing is more relaxing than chasing your child around putting dusty knick-knacks back in place right? Right? (Not.)
- Easy wipe furniture, extra towels for accidental spills and lots of soft or rounded furniture edges
- Open concept design so you can watch the little ones while cooking
The whole family will enjoy the pool
Comfy and low to the ground, the queen bed is great for kids or the second couple in your party
We have your entertainment covered! DVDs, games, WiFi, HDTV, books
Rest and relaxation await
Dining table expands for more seating
The “secret” sound side beach behind Jockey’s Ridge is great for little ones
Rain, rain, go away…
Guest: We are so excited and looking forward to our trip! We are taking the scenic ferry route from Cedar Island to Ocracoke to Hatteras and up Hwy 12.
I understand most attractions are outdoors at the Outer Banks. However, with a chance of rain, besides the Wright Brothers museum, are there other places where we may explore indoors?
Our reply: For rainy day attractions, you’re right that the Wright Bros. museum is a good one. In order of how close they are to the loft, there’s:
Bottom line: Don’t let rain keep you down. When rain keeps you off the beach, start exploring the rest of the unique and wonderful OBX!
The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education explores local wildlife and folk art and is adjacent to the historic lighthouse and Corolla village.
Every time we visit the Outer Banks we’re struck by how dog-friendly it is. Most recently we went to Home Depot to pick out new kitchen appliances and we mentioned that our pups were in the car.**
“You should bring them with you next time,” the sales associate exclaimed, “We’re a pet-friendly Home Depot!”
It’s the same story all over the island, from big box stores to mom and pop restaurants with outdoor seating. Even the lawyer’s office that handled our real estate closing had a resident legal beagle. It’s no wonder OBX was named one of America’s best pet-friendly beaches by Travel Channel. Many businesses will leave water bowls out for the passing canine. We find this especially handy when we visit the Soundside Boardwalk in Duck, a stunning 0.35 m. boardwalk that winds through the Currituck Sound, shopping and eating destinations, crabbing and kayak piers, amphitheater and tiny church. Bonus, there’s no dog leash requirement on the beach in Duck!
** Disclaimer: It was 65 degrees on a beautiful January day. You should never leave your dog unattended in a car when there’s a chance heat of stroke or freezing!
Favorite pup hangouts
Our rental is dog friendly
Your furry pals will love our two dog beds and the walking paths that line the buildings. And for your convenience, bowls are provided for water and food and there are special receptacles right outside the building with clean up bags for your pet.
Our pet policy is more generous than most. The pet fee is only $75 plus taxes for your entire stay, and we allow up to three dogs with no weight limits! Look for a copy of our full pet policy when you book your stay with more information.
More about dogs at the beach