One of the best aspects of renting a vacation rental home is the option to whip up cocktails, mimosas or margaritas, and enjoy them on an ocean or sound facing deck. You may already have the mixers and the blenders nearby, but to purchase the alcoholic ingredients, you'll need to head to the local ABC store, which in North Carolina, is the only shop that sells hard alcohol (non- beer and non-wine products) to the public.
Happily, there are a number of ABC stores in the Outer Banks, located in Ocracoke, Buxton, and a handful of northern Outer Banks locations. Grab a sweet bottle of rum, or maybe a little tequila, and keep your spirits up during your Outer Banks vacation.Antique Stores
Antiquing on the Outer Banks can be a nautical adventure, with treasures ranging from classic fishing gear or ancient maps to classic coastal furnishings and decor. If your tastes veer towards the eclectic or the classical, you'll find the antique stores in Outer Banks serve up tons of historical pieces with a bit of coastal flair.
Head to the local thrift stores for antiquing on a budget, or take an afternoon trip to a regional area, like downtown Manteo, for a collection of shops in one convenient walking locale. For a souvenir that is completely one-of-a-kind, Outer Banks antiquing is sure to be a fun hunting trip that all the shoppers and bargain hunters in your crowd will enjoy.Art Galleries
The Outer Banks is filled with galleries that specialize in local artists and coastal-themed works of art. With miles of natural inspiration, artists love the coastal North Carolina region for its fantastic landscapes, wildlife, and gorgeous backgrounds that, with a little talent and a lot of hard work, turn into equally gorgeous pieces.
Explore displays of local and regional watercolors, pottery, oil paintings, photos and prints, and even sea-themed jewelry and wearable art. On the Outer Banks, virtually every region has a collection of top-notch galleries that have been in business for generations, or have made appearances in national or regional magazines and publications. Have fun exploring, and see first-hand what talented local artists can accomplish with the beautiful resources around them on the Outer Banks.Bakeries
Why not start off your beach day with a warm donut or croissant, or load up on freshly baked breads to make some fantastic oyster or shrimp po' boys for a casual lunch? The bakeries on the Outer Banks are experts in the area of all things fresh and delicious, and patrons will find cases filled with sweet treats, decadent desserts, homemade breads, and everything in between. Call ahead to plan a special cake for a birthday or even a wedding, or just swing by before you hit the sand to get your morning coffee and donut fix. Vacation is all about indulgence and enjoying yourself, so make sure to treat yourself to a tasty reward at one of the Outer Banks' bakeries.Bath & Body Products
There's a reason why so many spa treatments are based on products from the sand and sea. If a sea salt body scrub or a relaxing bubble bath sounds like your idea of a perfectly relaxing vacation, then scope out the local gift shops, beauty shops and spas that specialize in specialty bath and beauty products.
Many of these stores and spas carry lines that can't be found anywhere else, including local or regional brands, or all organic and natural specialty products that are good for the body and the environment too. Put that vacation rental Jacuzzi or decadent tile shower to good use while on vacation, and load up on unique bath and body products that can only be found on the Outer Banks.Book Stores
A day lounging on the beach isn't complete without an engrossing summer read, and thankfully the Outer Banks has plenty of book stores to keep beach goers entertained on the shore, in a comfy living area, or on a breezy ocean or soundfront deck.
Leaf through the latest new releases and best sellers, or dig through the used sections to find beach-worthy books on a budget. For many vacationers, a great day at the beach and a good book go hand in hand, so make sure you arrive on the sand prepared with an entertaining read obtained at a local Outer Banks book store.Bridal Shops
Beach brides need to look their best on their wedding day, and the Outer Banks delivers with a number of apparel or jewelry shops that specialize in bridal or bridesmaids' attire, tuxedo or suit rentals, and all the little accessories to make a big day completely unique and personal.
Additional bridal supplies, including fresh bouquets or centerpieces, can also be picked up at a number of reputable local florists, and small jewelry shops or art stores can help provide spectacular and wearable gifts for the entire bridal party. Look and feel your best on your Outer Banks wedding day, with a tour through one of the boutiques on the Outer Banks that specialize in bridal attire.Butchers & Seafood Markets
There's nothing like a fresh seafood feast while on a beach vacation, and with the number of seafood markets and butchers on the Outer Banks, visitors will find all the materials they need for a fantastic home-cooked meal.
The majority of the seafood markets on the OBX offer staples that are available throughout the year, such as shrimp, scallops, tuna and a variety of fresh shellfish. The real treat, however, are the seasonal specials that only come in during certain times of the year. Increase your seafood palate by trying a little fresh Spanish mackerel, flounder, pompano, bluefish, mahi, or even cobia, and discover how delicious seafood can be when it's been hauled directly from the docks to the seafood market case.
Many of these shops also offer special marinades, rubs, and seasonings to compliment your purchase, and even have experts on hand who are happy to give you tips on frying, grilling or broiling your fresh catch. Sure to wind up one of your family's favorite vacation meals, a seafood market can provide you with everything you need to have a gourmet dining experience at home.Candy & Confectionery
Go ahead and put your diet on hold for your vacation. With the variety of freshly made fudge, ice cold ice cream, salt water taffy and other sweet treats available, it's all but required to splurge a little while on the Outer Banks.
Load up on bulk items like gourmet jelly beans, caramels and childhood favorites, or head to the counter to see what homemade chocolates and cookies are calling from the display case. A favorite stop for everyone in your family, (especially the youngest members), the local candy shop is a must to make any OBX beach vacation especially sweet.Clothing Stores
The best way to get into a vacation state of mind is to dress the part, and there are plenty of surf shops, department stores and boutiques on the Outer Banks to keep everyone in the family outfitted for fun in the sun.
Pick up some new board shorts or bikinis, or get ready for a casual night on the town with a cool sundress or Tiki button down. The Outer Banks style is all about relaxed comfort, and as a result, shoppers will find plenty of fashionable, comfortable and well-crafted attire to add to their summer wardrobe. Whether you're on the hunt for some beach-worthy flip flops, or simply want to try on a new bathing suit or two, the clothing stores on the Outer Banks are sure to keep you always in style.Department Stores
The Outer Banks has several national or regional chain department stores for a wide variety of shopping options in one convenient location. Discover outlet shopping plazas that carry the nation's top brands, or enjoy an afternoon browsing through a large and established department store that's located adjacent to a handful of specialty stores and boutiques. Sometimes a rainy day is best enjoyed indoors, and for shoppers, a visit to a local Department store is sure to find hours of Outer Banks entertainment.Fishing Supplies
Since the Outer Banks is world famous as one of the best fishing destinations on the coast, it should not be surprising that virtually every region has a number of established and exceptional fishing supply stores to keep visitors and locals always ready to reel in the big one.
These bait and tackle shops are locally owned, and feature everything an angler could need regardless of whether they are going surf fishing, pier fishing, or deep sea fishing in the Gulf Stream. Load up on top-of-the-line rods and reels, or simply stock up on freshly caught bait, as well as drinks and snacks to keep you energized on the sand. With a variety that covers all aspects of the Outer Banks fishing scene, visitors will find themselves well-prepared and ready to enjoy a vacation filled with unparalleled fishing.Fruit & Vegetable Stands
A summer vacation can be even sweeter with a bag filled with fresh fruits, veggies , and specialty jams, jellies and honeys, all locally farmed from Eastern North Carolina. When you're in the mood for a home-cooked meal that had the best ingredients on the islands, swing by a local fruit and vegetable stand or farmers' market, and load up on fresh produce grown just miles away from the beach.
In the past 10 years, more and more farmer's markets or fruit and veggie stands have popped up all over the islands, and virtually every vacationer will spot one along the side of the road in their neighborhood. Seasonally open, with goods that vary depending on the time of year, the local fruit and vegetable stands are sure to curb your appetite for fresh Outer Banks fare.Gifts, Specialty & Souvenir Shops
It's all but required to pick up a few souvenirs to serve as permanent reminders of your Outer Banks vacation, or to load up on gifts for the friends, family, or house sitters who were left behind at home. Thankfully, visitors will find no shortage of gift, specialty & souvenir shops located all along the Outer Banks, and featuring everything from everyday beach gear to exquisite local pieces of art.
Visitors will find a number of regional chain stores located in virtually every OBX region, although patrons are encouraged to go out and explore the locally owned gift shops and stores. Here, vacationers will find unique gifts, apparel, trinkets, jewelry and more that can't be found anywhere else on the Outer Banks or the East Coast.
Set aside an afternoon for exploring the local shopping scene, and be sure and bring the family along. With something to please all tastes and styles, a day trip uncovering gift, specialty & souvenir shops on the Outer Banks is sure to be a crowd pleasing venture.Golf Equipment & Supplies
The Outer Banks is home to a growing number of renowned and challenging golf courses, so golf lovers who want to make sure they have the best equipment available to tackle the local beach courses should stop by a golf equipment & supplies shop to stay ahead of the curve.
From comfortable beach attire to the newest clubs on the market, the regional golf equipment & supplies shop work together with the acclaimed Outer Banks golf courses to provide the best supplies for visiting golfers. Make sure you're prepared for a challenging but rewarding day on the greens, and swing by a local golf shop on your next vacation to the Outer Banks.Grocery Stores
There are ample grocery stores to serve vacationers in all regions of the Outer Banks, ensuring that the vacation home kitchen will always be well-stocked with your favorite staples. Every region of the Outer Banks has at least one regional or national chain grocery store, and most areas have locally run, smaller grocers as well. Many of these businesses have been in business for decades, and carry the standard groceries in addition to beach equipment, fishing supplies, and even souvenirs.
For everything you might need, (and a few extra treats that can be picked up just for fun), the grocery stores on the Outer Banks will keep your family well fed.Jewelry Stores
Stock up on sea-inspired pieces and one-of-a-kind necklaces, pendants, and bracelets for a stunning Outer Banks souvenir that everyone can admire. A number of local gift shops and souvenir shops sell budget-friendly pieces of jewelry for casual shoppers, and the Outer Banks also has a handful of specialty jewelers as well, with exquisite pieces that range from beach-themed costume jewelry to flawless engagement or wedding rings.
Shoppers can also breeze by the local art galleries for hand crafted pieces that are literally works of art, or simply scope out the accessories sections of their favorite local boutique. With so many options, and attention-grabbing pieces that will surely become your favorite items to wear, the Outer Banks is truly a jewel of a vacation destination.Outdoor Supplies
Considering that life on the Outer Banks is all about the great outdoors, it should come as no surprise that there are countless avenues for shoppers to explore when on the hunt for outdoor supplies. The local bait and tackle stores will keep fishermen outfitted for long days and nights along the shore, while local hardware stores have plenty of camping gear, bug spray, and even hiking supplies for more adventurous travelers. For life on the water, shoppers can also pop into the local surf shops and sports shops to rent or purchase all the boards and rides they'll need to enjoy the wide open waters of the ocean or sound. With so many adventures to enjoy outdoors, you'll definitely want to stop by an Outer Banks outdoor supplies store before you dive into your vacation to make sure you're well prepared.Party Supply Stores
Life's a party when you're on vacation, so why not celebrate Outer Banks style with an outdoor barbecue, a picnic on the shore, or an informal gathering at the vacation rental house complete with pizza and cake? The Outer Banks has plenty of stores that specialize in on and off the beach celebrations, whether you're planning an impromptu birthday celebration for a beloved family member, or a show-stopping oceanside wedding reception for all of your family and friends.
From professionally decorated cakes to portable dance floors, visitors will find they can purchase or rent just about anything they'd need for a fantastic coastal celebration. Get your party on, and celebrate Outer Banks style, and you'll surely turn a day at the beach into a memorable special event.Pet Supplies
Everyone loves the beach, even the furry visitors, and Outer Banks vacationers love to spoil their pets as much as they spoil the other members of their family. For this reason, there are a number of pet supply shops along the Outer Banks that specialize in treats and toys for your beloved dog or cat. Pick up a couple beach-themed chew toys, some tasty treats to enjoy on the deck, or even pet medications and flea treatments. The Outer Banks appreciates all of its visitors, including the furry ones, and vacationers will find their pets well taken care of at the local OBX pet supply stores.Shopping Centers
Turn an afternoon of shopping into a retail odyssey with an expedition to one of the dozens of shopping centers located all along the Outer Banks. Shopping centers can range from the basics, with grocery stores, quick delis and even post offices or DMV services, to the exceptional, with specialty boutiques, fine dining restaurants, acclaimed galleries and surf shops all located in one convenient and utterly enjoyable location.
Many shopping centers are located close to the major highways, and are open year-round to appeal to shoppers of all seasons. If your idea of a great vacation includes a little exercise for your credit card, then plan a trip to a shopping center or two and sample everything the Outer Banks has to offer.Specialty Foods
Some visitors to the Outer Banks may have special dietary needs, such as gluten or sugar-free restrictions, while others may have a love of specialty items ranging from homemade sauces and condiments to decadent chocolates.
Thankfully, the Outer Banks accounts for all tastes with a number of shops that specialize in specialty foods for all diets and palates.
Stuff your pantry with gourmet sauces, rubs, dressing and marinades to make those fresh fish fillets even tastier, or grab a couple bags of specialty coffees to bring back home. From homemade candies to gluten-free flours and baking goods, the specialty food stores on the Outer Banks are sure to please every vacationer's appetite.Surf Shops
Get ready to hit the waves, or just capture the laid-back local look, with a trip to the local surf shops on the Outer Banks. A number of these shops have experts who craft exceptional surfboards right on the premises and sell them in their shop, and these stores often feature sales, rentals and even lessons as well. Pick up a board for the summer, or just schedule a lesson or two to get your toes wet in a new sport. The surf shops along the Outer Banks have everything you need for a full vacation of surfing, kiteboarding, and even windsurfing, from hourly rentals to the newest boards and equipment.
In addition, these shops often have the latest surf styles in board shorts, bikinis, and even sundresses and accessories to keep your beach wardrobe up to date. Snag a new pair of sunglasses, or a stylish new beach bag, and hit the sand in style.
Whether you're a novice or an expert, the Outer Banks surf shops have anything you might need for enjoying a great day on the water, or just enjoying the local surf scene.