What's New on the Outer Banks

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The North Carolina getaway destination blends Southern hospitality and laid-back luxury.

Where To Stay

Sanderling Resort & Spa
This summer, beachfront property Sanderling Resort (pictured below) completed the third stage of its multi-million dollar renovation, debuting 120 new rooms and suites. The hotel also brought in chef de cuisine Dan Grunbeck as part of the revamp, who handcrafts salt-water mozzarella and smoked tomato jam for his menus. He brings dishes like bourbon-glazed shrimp and grits to the in-house restaurant, Kimball Kitchen. Guests at Sanderling can also partake in a number of activities, including hang glide over Sanctuary Vineyards; SUP yoga classes; and a full roster of spa treatments like their trademark tandem reflexology massage. From $319; 1461 Duck Rd.; 855-412-7866; sanderling-resort.com.

Where to Eat

Hungry Pirate Waterfront Café
The owners of Outer Banks sweet tooth havens Big Buck’s Homemade Ice Cream and Distinct Delights chocolates ventured into savory-land this past June with Hungry Pirate, serving artisanal sandwiches and mini-pizzas (Prosciutto di Parma, manchego, Calabrian chiles), which can be pre-ordered as boxed lunches. 207 Queen Elizabeth Ave.; 252-423-3133; hungrypiratecafe.com.

Café Pamlico
After joining this upscale Hatteras Island eatery as chef de cuisine last year, Scott Surratt has been promoted to executive chef this season. Don’t miss his preparation of the catch of the day, or other daily rotating dishes like grilled rack of elk or Zarzuela de Maricos, a Catalan-style fish stew. Veggies and herbs like broccoli, carrots, and basil are grown in their garden. 49684 NC Hwy. 12; 252-995-7030; innonpamlicosound.com.

What To Do

Outer Banks Distilling Tastings
Outer Banks Distilling opened last year under the leadership of two former microbrewery veterans as the first distillery in the area. Their latest product, Pecan and Honey Rum, uses nuts sourced from within 15 minutes of the property. (Local bakeries are incorporating the rum-soaked pecans in their goods). Visitors can purchase their rums, take tours of the distillery, and participate in tastings Tuesday through Saturday. 510 Budleigh St.; 252-423-3011; outerbanksdistilling.com.

Sunset Kayaking Tours
A partnership between Sanderling Resort & Spa and Kitty Hawk Kites takes visitors on twilight kayak tours through Currituck Sound. It's all about the view: pristine salt marshes set against North Carolina's beautiful summer sunset. From $30; kittyhawk.com.

Runcation Race Series
This season, the Outer Banks brings back its fifth annual Runcation series, which hosts 5K runs every Tuesday and Wednesday. Walkers, children, and athletes of all levels and abilities are welcome. July 20–August 31; runcations.com.

Corolla Wild Horse Tours
The northernmost Currituck Outer Banks has been a sanctuary for wild Spanish Colonial Mustangs since 2001, when the nonprofit Corolla Wild Horse Fund was established to curb the spread of commercial development in the mustangs’ natural habitat. Visitors can take safari-like tours of the 7,544-acre grounds (from $45); all proceeds benefit the maintenance of the land and preservation of its wild horses. corollawildhorses.com.

For more on what’s new in classic American beach towns, see our complete slideshow »

Image: Courtesy Sanderling Resort & Spa