Outer Banks Spring Picnic Places

A fully equipped Outer Banks Vacation rental kitchen with a view of the ocean.

Each Vacation Rental Home comes equipped with a kitchen capable of whipping up some amazing picnic meals!

The arrival of Spring weather on the Outer Banks seems to send everyone racing to the nearest beach, park, or patch of grass, with a gingham blanket and basket in hand. A picnic menu requires skill: the food must be prepared ahead of time and packed correctly so as to not make things soggy, it needs to also be robust enough to survive the journey, and delicious at room temperature. 

All of the Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates Vacation Rental Homes on the Outer Banks have kitchens where you can create your own fabulous picnic so much easier than trying to navigate a tiny hotel room with just a dorm fridge and microwave. 

From the quick and easy to the more involved glamorous feast here are some great ideas for meals and some scenic suggestions for that perfect OBX picnic location!

Quick wraps and rollups perfect for an Outer Banks beach picnic.

Enjoy quick picnic foods perfect for grabbing on the go and heading to the beach.

When it comes to the most basic of beach picnics the theme is often quick, easy, and cold. Check out these suggestions for simple beach picnic foods to pack.

Fruit: When sandy fingertips are involved, whole fruits are preferable to cut up fruits. Apples, peaches, and bananas (which can become soggy in the sun, so keep them in the cooler) are all good options. A tub of watermelon or cantaloupe slices, cut from the rind, is also perfect for the beach. Almost all of these foods are also hydrating, which is a plus!

Nuts: It’s a perfect way to get some protein in a rush. If you think you can eat this without crunching on sand (struggle!), make a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts.

Chips or Crackers: If you need to bring some snacks, crackers and chips are a nice choice. If you prefer whole-grain crackers, they would be less salty and healthier for you.

Wraps: The star of the show down on the beach. A sandwich filling like tuna or chicken salad is more enjoyable to eat when it’s wrapped in anything other than two pieces of bread, whether it’s a tortilla or your favorite gluten-free plant. Kids may also eat a wrap with one hand, leaving their other hand free to keep their sippy cup upright. Wraps are a lot easier to make.  Protect the bottom half with a cloth napkin or even a paper towel to keep the sand out.

Drinks: These can be whatever you want as long as they are cold and refreshing and fit in the cooler. But please do not bring glass to the beach, that is a huge NO-NO!

*** Please remember to use recyclable silverware, paper straws, and other items that are beach and marine life friendly while on your beach picnic. Also, it is important to note that all OBX beaches are carry-in carry-out so remember to pack a trash receptacle in your picnic basket to carry any trash off the beach. Leaving your best beach picnic place as clean as you found it.***

Choose one or all of these suggested beach spots to have your best beach picnic:

  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The park is known for its towering sand dunes, which stand between 80 and 100 feet tall and appear to belong in a desert region rather than a coastal beach town.
  • Nags Head Town Park. A scenic 1-mile hike through sand dunes and maritime forests leads to a remote, quiet sound side beach at the nearby Nags Head Woods Preserve nature trail.
  • The beach right outside your door. If you are lucky enough to secure one of our oceanfront vacation rentals in the Outer Banks then just throw open your door and head down to the beach where you are staying!
A group of young adults gathered around a picnic basket in an Outer Banks park eating sandwiches.

Sturdier dishes and sides are perfect for the in-between or impromptu picnic spots all over The Outer Banks.

Unlike a quick beach picnic the inland outdoor dining experience can be a little more creative and fun. Dishes that can be prepared together for a bit more grown up and sophisticated feel are perfect for these types of Outer Banks picnics. 

Sandwiches with a little flair can start to come into play with these picnic levels. Think panini’s and cubanos wrapped tight to stay warm. Triple decker club sandwiches stacked high with all the toppings come to mind as main attractions for these basket dinners.

You can also think of pairings such as chicken on the bone whether it is fried, grilled, or baked all three taste great with some rice and beans and salad. Maybe even some fish tacos with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob would be a delicious treat. These foods can still be eaten with your hands if you wanted or since you will have put a little more thought into this meal and you had plenty of room in your vacation rental homes kitchen they can be placed on some reusable plates and eaten with utensils. 

Foods on a skewer can be added to these types of picnics. They are still in the wheelhouse of convenience but also lend themselves to the diversity of multiple flavor profiles all in one meal. Kabobs of steak and peppers or chicken and tomatoes come to mind.

Finding one of these fun sites or Outer Banks parks to dine outside along the coast this Spring will make your vacation feel exciting and eventful!

  • Lighthouses. Although you will not be allowed to actually eat at the top of the lighthouse you could voyage up to the top and come back down to work up your appetite and then have your picnic nearby with the stunning view of the lighthouse as your backdrop.
  • David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multiuse Path and Park. It’s a family-friendly community playground with play equipment for both young and older children inside a fenced-in area and picnic tables near the parking area on the outside. Perfect for that mid-range meal with friends or a special someone.
  • Dowdy Park. There is a fitness trail for adults to work up a healthy desire to eat. For everyone else, there are picnic pavilions, covered tables, and grills.
A woman pouring a sparkling water while feasting on a charcuterie board of nuts and fruits all on top of a hip southwestern design blanket.

Fancy portable meals that are easy to unpack but still feel glamorous like crab legs and charcuterie boards are a great fit for places that set the mood just right.

If you really want to create a posh picnic that will make memories to last a lifetime it starts in the prep work.

The key to really going all out during this process is planning. It’s also crucial to resist the sack-lunch mindset and instead opt for dishes that need more participation and collaboration. Choose recipes that you don’t make very often or that use higher-end ingredients for the most enjoyable picnic. This can be difficult to envision, so here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Meal ideas like crab legs, lobster, oysters, and filet mignon come to mind as the culinary experience unfolds. These are decadent but also easy to eat in the picnic setting. 

Something else to include is a charcuterie board. Not only are these beautiful to look at but you can get as fancy and visually creative as you want. You can add nuts, cheeses, fruits, meats, jams, honey, crackers or bread, and more. All of those ingredients travel well and make customizing your picnic flavorful and fun.

This is also where you can break out the higher-end drinks, a good bottle of wine or champagne. Maybe a pre-mixed themed beverage that can be made ahead of time and brought in a large thermos or tumbler.

(FUN IDEA: you both take turns trying to name the drink based on some of the memories already made on this vacation, like the “Lighthouse Lemonade” etc…)

While you are back in the kitchen putting this basket of goodies together put some thought into the presentation as well. Use real silverware, bring the good china, use the coziest blanket. This is not the picnic to skimp on the details. This is one for the record books!

(Do Not Forget The Flowers!)

When you have the meal portion of the picnic planned it’s time to think of a location here is where Spring on the Outer Banks really shines because you can go to one phenomenal spot and have an outstandingly romantic experience.

Say hello to Historic Corolla Park! Here you can cozy up to each other on the lush green lawn of the Whalehead Club, a stunningly restored Art Nouveau-style mansion on the National Register of Historic Places from the 1920s. You can marvel at the beauty all around you while dining on your carefully curated Outer Banks Spring Picnic!

A concrete sidewalk leading to a beautiful view of the lighthouse on the Outer Banks.

Any way you slice your sandwich, Spring is a wonderful time to start taking advantage of the incredible outdoor areas the Outer Banks has to offer.

The Outer Banks is known for its regularly breezy days, blooming trees, and daily temperatures perfect for outdoor opportunities in the Spring. 

We have plenty of wonderful vacation rental homes with well-equipped kitchens that are excellent for prepping any type of picnic you choose to go on around the barrier islands. Spring brings plenty of chances to start taking advantage of all the incredible outside activities and areas available to you in the Outer Banks.

So reach up to the top of your cabinets and dust off that old basket and throw the super plush extra-large blanket in the washing machine because it is Spring Picnic Season on the OBX!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades. 

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

The Cookie Crumbles at New Cookie Bakery Crumbl in Southern Shores

A plate of Crumbl chocolate chip cookies.
A plate of Crumbl chocolate chip cookies.

It’s that wonderful scent of freshly baked cookies that that seems to reach out and beckon to the unwary. And even the wary.

It doesn’t seem to matter. Crumbl, the new cookie bakery that opened just a couple of months ago in Southern Shores is doing a lot right. And one of the things they are most definitely doing right is baking cookies fresh all day long.

Even though they smell like home, these are not the cookies you and your mom and dad would sit around baking. These are huge, multiple serving behemoth of cookies.

Ok…admittedly, even though they’re really big, a lot of people just go ahead and eat the whole thing. But they are so big they could be a multiple serving dessert.

Crumbl is a national franchise that seems to be really taking off. The Southern Shores store, owned by local Dave and Susan Bramwell, is the only one right now on the East Coast, so the couple may be somewhat cutting edge in their business model.

What sets Crumbl apart, aside for the wonderful taste of the cookies, is how the company sets up their business.

It’s simple—they bake cookies and nothing else.

There are two cookies that are always on the menu—the chocolate chip, which is a rich full-flavored cookie made with milk chocolate chips. The other cookie is a sugar cookie. And Wow is it sugary.

The other four cookies rotate, Monday being changeover day. So if you’re in the store, find a cookie you really like, Sunday will be the last day to get it.

Crumbl is located at 5385 N Virginia Dare Trail. That’s that little strip center on the access road between NC 12 and US 158 just past the Southern Shores Town Hall.

Another wonderful reason to spend some time on the Outer Banks. Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has all the perfect locations and best homes.

Big Currishuck, Great Food, Great Music and a Great Good Time

All you can eat oysters, freshly steamed and tasty. One of the best parts of the Big Currishuck.
All you can eat oysters, freshly steamed and tasty. One of the best parts of the Big Currishuck.

If it’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving it has got to be the Big Currishuck at Sanctuary Vineyards in Jarvisburg. It’s just a little ways north of the Outer Banks. Close enough that we can still call it the Outer Banks.

This is the seventh or eighth version of the annual event and it always seems to keep getting better and better. Or maybe it’s just that the latest one is so good that memory pushes the last one to the far reaches of our minds.

The Big Currishuck is all about fresh steamed oysers, all you can eat. And crab, all you can eat. And fantastic eastern North Carolina barbecue…all you can eat.

And music—we don’t want to forget about the music. This year from Jonny Waters & Company and Trae Pierce & the T-Stones back for the fourth year in a row. They’re a central Florida band with an amazing range of music all done in their own hiphop, jazzy kind of style.

Can’t forget the four local microbrews that were on hand either. Nor the wines from Sanctuary Vineyards.

In short, it’s a great event and the perfect way to wrap up Thanksgiving Weekend.

It has become such an event that people plan their visits around it. Really, there were a couple of visitors who mentioned that the Big Currishuck is right up there with Thanksgiving dinner as a highlight for the weekend.

The oysters are the main attraction and a big shout out to I Got Your Crabs down in Kitty Hawk for steaming up so many, and keeping everyone stocked. According to what we heard they were form Chesapeake Bay this year. Makes sense. Hurricane Dorian did a number on the local oyster farmers.

Also a shoutout to John Wright of Sanctuary Vineyards for putting it all together. Can’t wait for next year.

Winter is special on the Outer Banks. Discover the hidden side of life on a sandbar in a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home.

10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff–Great Food for a Great Cause

Preparing Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck's.
Preparing Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck’s.

Now that the 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff is an event of the past, we can honestly say we never thought shrimp could be prepared in so many ways.

There was the California Style Shrimp Wonton from Ocean Boulevard. Really two dishes on one plate—a poached shrimp in a fried wonton and spicy shrimp rice ball.

It was good. No wonder it won the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards.

That, however, was just one of ten remarkably innovative ways to think about preparing shrimp.

Something heavy? Go for the shrimp biscuit and gravy from Bad Bean Baja Grill featuring a shrimp and pork meatball over a freshly made buttermilk biscuit.

Looking for something lighter? The Polynesian shrimp in a crispy wonton topped with a kimchi cucumber at Shipwreck’s was delightful.

There was so much to choose from that trying to choose the best was really difficult.

The best part of the day, though, is that the Shrimp Cookoff is a fundraiser for the Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research. Actually their biggest of the year and Executive Direrctor Jessica Taylor mentioned that they sold out of tickets.

That’s great. It means the research the OBCDR has been doing on the Outer Banks dolphins will continue to be funded. The work the group has been doing has been invaluable in identifying the local population and getting a reasonable count. Around 800 in Roanoke Sound and still counting.

Next up on the Outer Banks—next weekend is Veteran’s Day Weekend which mean the Outer Banks Marathon will be happening 

There is so much to do on the Outer Banks one week is barely enough time. Stay with us at Joe Lamb, Jr., & Associates for a week or two and discover the real Outer Banks.

Shrimp Cookoff to Support Outer Banks Dolphin Research This Sunday

The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff will support Outer Banks dolphin research.
The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff will support Outer Banks dolphin research.

Eating shrimp for a good cause. Could there possibly be a better plan of action than that?

The 10th Annual Shrimp Cookoff is this coming Sunday, November 3 at Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk. 

The good cause? The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research.

The Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research has been gathering data on the Outer Banks dolphins that call Roanoke sound and surrounding waters their home. Yes, there are a lot of them.

For the most part they are seasonal visitors, staying on the Outer Banks from spring though early fall. They are somewhat migratory and as the weather turns colder, they head for warmer waters.

What is surprising is how many dolphins call the Outer Banks home during the summer. Since 2008 when they first began counting dolphins, the OBCDR has confirmed 800. 

To identify individual species, the OBCDR uses a simple but effective method. They photograph the dolphin’s fins. Each fin is unique, often with evidence of tangles with sharks or other predators, making identification fairly obvious.

Their work has helped scientists get a better handle on which dolphins migrate to where and when.

It is ongoing work, and the Shrimp Cookoff goes a long way to helping the OBCDR do its research. 

Some great restaurants will be on hand, including Ocean Boulevard, of course, Bad Bean Baja Grill, AQUA Restaurant and many more.

This is a great opportunity to sample some great seafood from some of the best Outer Banks chefs and help a good cause.

There is always something to do on the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates  and see what it’s all about.

For The Lost Colony Third Time Is Truly the Charm

Wine, food, some beer, wonderful music, perfect weather and a great time at The Lost Colony Grand Tasting.
Wine, food, some beer, wonderful music, perfect weather and a great time at The Lost Colony Grand Tasting.

For the The Lost Colony Grand Tasting third time’s the charm evidently, although we have to admit the first two times were awfully nice.

But the Saturday wine tasting at the the SoundStage Theater certainly seemed like the best yet.

Maybe it was the weather, with that gently breeze blowing off Croatan Sound; or the bright sunshine. Maybe it the music—some jazz in the beer garden and the vocals and acoustic guitar of Jessica Hudson & Thorne Wiggs inside. Or the food which was sublime.

And then there was the wine. Over 100 different wines from around the world to sample. Probably somewhere in the 550 folks that were on hand tried to get to all 100+ wines, which would be unfortunate because the object is to try the wines and find the best.

The technique is to sip a bit and maybe pour out some of the wine. And be sure to try some of the food offered by the finest Outer Banks restaurants. It all comes with the price of a ticket, so why not.

The Grand Tasting is part of The Lost Colony’s Wine and Culinary Festival, a weekend long celebration of wine, food and the Outer Banks. Friday night there was a wine dinner with five Outer Banks chef’s using their imaginations to create a multi course dinner paired with wines. Sunday it’s brunch at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe.

But the signature event for the weekend is the Grand Tasting and The Lost Colony management has made some great decisions to insure its success. Perhaps most importantly they limit ticket sales to 500—or 550 if the weather is going to allow people to get outside. The insures little or no line at the tasting tables and quick service for food.

It really does make for a better event.

October seems to be event month with Rock & Roast in Corolla, the Duck Jazz Festival Columbus Day Weekend, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival the following weekend and even more events throughout the month. It’s a great time to stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates.

CrabDaddy Reappears at Sanctuary Vineyards

CrabDaddy Poster

All is well on the Outer Banks as CrabDaddy makes his annual appearance this Saturday on the north lawn of the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg on September 21. That’s this coming Saturday.

Who, the uninformed may ask, is CrabDaddy, not realizing that CrabDaddy is a what as much as a who.

What he, or is it what, is is a fantastic celebration of food, family, crab, wine and beer in a beautiful setting.

Brought to the world by Sanctuary Vineyards and held under the towering pines on the north end of Sanctuary Vineyards, the event is an all you can eat crab fest. There is also a local pit master smoking up some eastern North Carolina barbecue. The wine is from Sanctuary Vineyards. The beer is local. For kids there are hay rides and what is particularly nice there is plenty of room for kids to roam around in a very safe area.

The music this year may be the best ever for the event with Almost Everything, Roots of a Rebellion and Twen on hand and a possibility of more.

Along with more food than any human can possibly consume, beer, wine and great music, CrabDaddy also features the Crabdaddy Olympics. These are competitions that should be in the Olympic lineup but aren’t—including grape stomping. Hop in a barrel, smush some grapes and get some juice.

Right now Saturday is looking fantastic, so plan on heading 11 miles north of the Wright Brothers Bridge and have a meet and greet with CrabDaddy.

CrabDaddy is just one of many special event happening this fall in and around the Outer Banks. Spend some time with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and see what life on a sandbar is all about.

Second Outer Bean Opens in Village of Duck

Outer Bean in Duck. A great look and many of the same great items.
Outer Bean in Duck. A great look and many of the same great items.

Outer Bean in Kitty Hawk has always been one of our favorite places. Great coffee, excellent smoothies, wonderful sandwiches and lunch specials—made with organic ingredients when owner Necla (Nay-schlah) Rader can get them.

The help is always friendly and the feeling is very much a European cafe, where you can sit and sip an espresso and no one will hurry you away. Some of that feeling may be that Necla’s native country is Turkey and before she became a citizen she traveled a lot.

The big news is, though, there are now two Outer Beans. 

This past week the second Outer Bean opened in the Barrier Island shops right on the north end of Duck. The shop is right across the street from Sunset Grille.

This new place is much smaller, so some of the menu items are not available in Duck. However, the staples are still there. On a hot day, the iced cappuccino is excellent and their smoothies are guaranteed to put a bounce in anyone’s step.

They will be serving sandwiches at the new location, but paninis and those spectacular soups that Necla whips up…well, there’s just no room to make any of that.

Initially the Duck Outer Bean will have to be mostly a to go place. Over time, Necla may be able to figure out some sort of seating arrangement, but right now the place is pretty small and any seating would have to be outside.

It’s definitely worth checking out. It is the perfect location for weekend traffic heading to Corolla. Just about the time things begin to ease up a bit, Outer Bean will be on the right. A great excuse to stop before the last half hour of the trip.

Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates homes put our guest in the heart of what’s happening on the Outer Banks. We look forward to seeing you this summer and many times to come.

Fresh Strawberries Ready to Be Picked

Picking fresh strawberries at the Malco's strawberry patch just north of the Wright Memorial Bridge.
Picking fresh strawberries at the Malco’s strawberry patch just north of the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Everything is right in the world of the Outer Banks. The weather has been springtime perfect and Mr and Mrs. Malco have opened their strawberry patch for picking once again. 

It’s hard to remember from year to year just how good those berries are, but this year’s crop, by acclimation seems to be really, really good.

Just about everyone living on the northern Outer Banks knows where the strawberry picking is, but for visitors, it’s about a three quarters of a mile north of the Wright Memorial Bridge on the Currituck mainland. With the weather as good as it has been, the Malco’s should have things open, but just in case, look for the strawberry banner with the open sign.

As an adult, picking fresh strawberries is a taste delight, but for the real joy in the event, take a child…preferably one who has never eaten a strawberry that they picked and then ate. The look of wonder that crosses their face is beautiful

A couple of things that are important to know.

It is all cash. No credit cards, checks or any other form of payment. The berries are $2.50/pound this year. We always figure we’ll pick around 10 pounds but invariably end up with 12-15. 

Containers are available to carry the strawberries home, but there is a fee for them, so it may be better to bring your own.

There is no shade, so it’s a good idea to bring some water and put some sunscreen on.

These are not store bought strawberries. They taste infinitely better than anything purchased in a store, but their shelf life is limited. Be sure to make plans to freeze some. They’re fantastic in smoothies.

Mostly—go have fun.

There is always something fun to do on the Outer Banks. Stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and discover the joys of life on a sandbar.

John’s Drive In & Tar Heel 2 Open for OBX Season

John's' Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk has reopened for the season.
John’s’ Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk has reopened for the season.

John’s Drive In and the Tar Heel 2 Produce stand have reopened for the season and all is right in the world of the Outer Banks.

The weather is warming, the days are getting longer, traffic is picking up on the Bypass so yes, the natural progression of the seasons is once again on us.

John’s Drive In on the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk and Tar Heel 2 in Kill Devil Hills are about as iconic as businesses could be on the Outer Banks. Both are family owned small businesses that have stood the test of time, occupying the same locations for over 30 years.

For visitors who have not been to John’s Drive In—well, until you go, you have not experienced the real Outer Banks. The burgers are made the way burgers were made 30 or 40 years ago, so don’t expect some super lean cut of meat.

The specialty, though, is their dolphin boat. A huge portion of perfectly fried mahi-mahi bites with very hot french fries. It is the perfect beach food.

And…we can’t forget their milkshakes. The real thing. Thick, filled with ice cream they are almost a meal in themselves.

Expect slow service. It’s not intentional. It’s just that everything is prepared to order and the kitchen is small.

Tar Heel 2 in the Seagate North Shopping Center probably has the best produce prices on the beach. Because he’s been dealing with local farmers for so long, Ed Goninan can usually get local produce when no one else seems to be able to find any.

Definitely the place where locals shop.

Things are really picking up on the Outer Banks. Summer is coming so make sure those Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates reservations have been made.