What's New in the Outer Banks

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The idyllic North Carolina destination blends Southern hospitality with laid-back luxury.

Sanderling Resort unveils another phase of its multimillion-dollar renovation, along with a partnership with local adventure sports venue Kitty Hawk Kites. A new lunch spot brings seafood and sushi to hungry beachgoers, and rum lovers can take a distillery tour.

Where To Stay

Sanderling Resort
The beachfront Sanderling Resort unveiled redesigned rooms and updates to its spa in 2017, as well as a refresh of its casual restaurant, the Lifesaving Station. At the Spa at Sanderling, guests can choose from therapies like facials, mani-pedis, and massages, plus activities like morning stand-up paddleboard yoga. Afterwards, hit the updated restaurant for one of the most popular breakfasts in the Outer Banks. From $319; 1461 Duck Rd.; 855-412-7866; sanderling-resort.com.

Resort Realty
The best way to do the Outer Banks is with a private beachfront rental. Local company Resort Rentals has properties from Corolla to Hatteras Island with luxe features like home theater rooms, pool tables, Jacuzzi tubs, elevators, and private heated pools. All of their rentals include linen service and most have keyless entry. Stay at one of the properties in the Shores at Nags Head community for oceanfront views and daily beachside cabana service. 800-458-3830; resortrealty.com.

Courtesy Milepost Portraits / Courtesy Resort Realty

Where to Eat

Café Pamlico
New executive chef Mitchell Nicks joined the kitchen team of this popular Buxton restaurant in the spring. Don’t miss his elevated take on local cuisine, featuring dishes like soft shell crabs with corn pudding and caper remoulade and Carolina shrimp and grits served with vegetables from the restaurant’s garden. 49684 NC Hwy. 12; 252-995-7030; innonpamlicosound.com.

Single Fin Bistro Bar & Grille
This highly anticipated seafood spot opened in June with well-loved OBX chef Phongrit “Pok” Choeichom at the helm. The menu is mostly focused on seafood and sushi, with a variety of influences from North Carolina to Thailand making an appearance: Think mussels with lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, Birds Eye chilies, and cilantro; a crab cake topped with crispy pork belly and pimento cheese; and sushi both classic (salmon nigiri) and inventive (maki rolls filled with lobster salad, avocado, cucumber, and asparagus and topped with avocado and fried almonds). 2424 S. Croatan Highway The Bypass, MP 10.5, Nags Head; 252-715-3983; singlefinobx.com.

What To Do

Outer Banks Distilling Tastings
Outer Banks Distilling opened in 2015 under the leadership of two former microbrewery veterans as the first distillery in the area, and their bottles are already winning awards: their silver, spiced, and pecan rums were all awarded silver at the 2017 San Francisco International Spirit Competition—the last of which 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 and Kitty Hawk Kites takes visitors on twilight kayak tours through the 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 Runcation series, which hosts runs throughout the year. Events range from standard 5Ks to an open-water “Run, Swim, Run” event and the “Run A Muck in Currituck” 5K obstacle race and mud run. Walkers, children, and athletes of all levels and abilities are welcome. runcations.com.

Corolla Wild Horse Tours
Currituck, the northernmost section of the 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 »