The Dahls Explore Outer Banks

Outer Banks, NC,  one week, one house, thirteen people.


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At one point prior to our vacation, I thought I would write up a “traveling with a two year old” advice type of blog post about our visit to our beach style vacation.  In hindsight, I find that hilarious. I have no tips for you people. Not even one. My two year old had a crying/screaming/destructive outburst several times a day. We over packed for him,  didn’t stick to our normal strict(ish) schedule, his feet got sunburned, we let him eat french fries and ice-cream like 70% of the trip (or more), and even broke the rule of not sleeping in our bed at least once.  So yeah. I in fact, am the one who should have been looking up “traveling with a two year old” advice columns. So, onto plan B. A blog post about all the wonderful things we did while exploring Outer Banks. I’m so thankful to be able to share this trip with my family, and to see Ari explore new things.

In our family, there are several different age groups, personality types, maintenance & tolerance levels, personal interests, vacation desires, and all that good “diversity” stuff. But duh. That would be for any given family, ever. So, today, I’m sharing a few snippets of some of my favorite activities from our Outer Banks beach trip, that were more of a personal favorite, and not necessarily the favorite of all people. Some activities we did, were way too fun to even remember to take photos, and some were awful and completely not right for a two year old, and some were just not blog worthy at all. Outer Banks is chalk full of things to do, so it would take months for me to even explore every nook and cranny. Below are my top picks from this trip.

Nags Head Fishing Pier:

This isn’t exactly “two year old friendly” long term, but for a short visit, it was perfect. This particular pier goes out 700 feet into the ocean. That’s quite long compared to most piers, meaning more time for me to freak out about the “what would i do if..” thoughts on my way to the end. This is one of my top picks for the experience alone. At the distance we were standing, the ocean was jaw-dropping gorgeous. I mean, it always is, but something about seeing the mighty ocean from above, gives you chills and awe all at once.

It’s perfect for fishing, sitting, staring, and eating. If I was alone, I would have people watched weird fisherman and listened to all of their conversations while pretending to listen to my ipod. Both my husband, and my father-in-law claim that the pier restaurant has the best fried oysters, but I wouldn’t know, because I ordered a tuna sandwich. Why Lauren, why?


Family Pier Pic

The Beach:

I know, what a no-brainer. I had my reservations about beach time, because Ari is very into having clean hands. He’s also very into not listening to mommy. Which is a problem with the whole sand and beach thing. I feared that the beach would be complete non-sense. Turns out, the beach was the calmest place of all.  Ari could sit for hours pouring piles of sand into other piles of sand. Me too, Ari, me too. The sand on his skin annoyance was only an issue for about seven minutes, and he quickly got over it.



Local Food:

Food is a priority for me, and for most people if I had to guess. Outer Banks was swimming with local food joints.  I love exploring local food, and finding the best of the best made with love and fresh ingredients. I mean, I don’t actually find these places, as much as a Yelp them up with my online research. As a child, I always wanted to spend my money on some sort of souvenir or token of the experience, but now, I’d rather spend my money on food. Cold gelato from Sweet Cups really hit the spot on a hot day out, fresh seafood from Steamers rated as my personal top three crab cakes ever, and Duck Donuts took my “indulging on vacation” to a whole new  level. In fact, I went back for more the next day, but the line was out the door.

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Alone Time:

Alone time, as in with other people that are older than two years old. One morning my sister-in-law and I went out for some super tasty local coffee at Outer Banks Coffee Shop. It’s nice to leave reality and pretend we are just two hot young ladies out for coffee. Which we are. Coffee was much needed, as the day would soon be filled out and about touristy things.

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Home Life:

We rented a beach house;  the only way to do the beach in my opinion. Other than spending much needed time with the larger family, food happened to be my second focus for home life.  I also enjoyed the pool, long naps,  and cooking shows from time to time. I’m still thinking about the banana pancakes my brother-in-law made, and really wondering why I never make them. Fresh local crabs were a family event as well, thank goodness I have a husband who will take time out to create a personal pile of crab meat for me. Because, I’m not about that “picking apart crabs” life.

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The Sand Dunes:

For an activity that seemed so spur of the moment, the sand dunes turned out to be one of my very favorite parts of the entire trip. That’s how things are sometimes.  The weather that particular day definitely had something to do with my great time. Windy, breezy, a slight chill, and cloudy. Not beach weather, but for climbing big piles of sand with no shade, it couldn’t have been better. Ari was able to be independent, and get lots of energy out, while remaining in constant sight. It’s the very best place for a two year old.

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The picture below is a favorite of mine. It reminds me of how small Ari is, and how big the world is, yet onward he goes.

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Lauren Dahl, Louisville KY

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3 Comments on “The Dahls Explore Outer Banks

  1. I love your photos and writing style, Lauren! They inspire me! I find myself taking “Lauren~style” artsy photos when I can! 🙂

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