My family loves our annual beach vacations. Last summer, Flo and I decided to wander a bit further south and explore the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We booked the holiday online and found the whole process to be easy and quite fun actually.
It took a whole Sunday to drive there from Syracuse, but the kids kept themselves busy. As soon as we arrived at our beach house in Kill Devil Hills, we knew we had a special time ahead of us.
The place we called home for the next week was called the “American Beauty.” It was nicely decorated inside, and there were a few small decks with beautiful ocean views. We shared the house with my sister, her husband, and Flo’s brother and his family. Our party of six adults and five kids all fit comfortably in the five bedrooms.
Our house wasn’t right on the beach, but a five minute walk down quiet streets brought us to the sand and surf. The house also had its own pool and hot tub. We took advantage of them when we were feeling lazy, but we spent most of our time at the beach.
The beach access path was right by a fishing pier. On our first Monday morning trip to the beach, Sean asked if he could go fishing. We ended up getting all week passes for Sean, Peter, and their older cousin Carl.
Flo and I joined them during their first evening at the pier. I had a beer and enjoyed the cool sea breezes while my wife tried a few casts with Peter’s rental pole. Flo had never gone fishing before, but she figured that vacations are a time to experience new things. On her third cast, she hooked a stingray. I helped her reel it in close enough for taking pictures before Carl cut the line and let it go. That was definitely a new experience for all of us!
The boys spent most of their vacation fishing, chatting, and bonding with each other. They caught several bluefish and brought them all home when they had enough for dinner. We made several tasty fish fries in our beach home’s nice kitchen. Meals were always easy in the Outer Banks because there was a grocery store nearby.
Emily and her cousin Kyle were too young to fish alone, so they spent their time at the beach with us. They made friends with several kids from the nearby beach homes. All the kids had fun going swimming and seeing who could make the biggest sand castle.
The kids also had fun joining the grown ups on the boogie boards. We all learned how to surf the easy way. All we had to do was lay down on the board and paddle out until we felt the right wave. If we caught a wave right, it would give us an exciting ride back to the shore.
We had to take a break from the beach and the pier when it rained all day on Thursday. We didn’t have to stop having fun, though. We played air hockey and foosball with the kids in our home’s rec room all morning. In the afternoon, we all took a short drive to the nearby movie theater. After the show, we got ice cream and shopped around for souvenirs.
Friday was a much nicer day, so we got up early and went to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial. We explored the sand dunes where the world’s first flight took off over a hundred years ago. It quickly grew hot, so we made our way back to the indoor exhibits. We joked that we were trekking across the Sahara Desert as we walked.
Learning about the Wright Brothers was interesting. Flo and I never knew that these pioneering pilots had started out as bicycle mechanics. Emily said that she wanted to fly a plane someday. Sean told her that he was happy with being a fisherman for the rest of his life.
The kids didn’t want to go back to Upstate New York when the week was over. They were dreading having to go back to school in a few weeks, but we promised them that summer would come again. When they asked us if we could come back to the Outer Banks, we quickly said yes and started planning the next trip.