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OBX Life: Duck, NC

One of our very favorite beach travel destinations is the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Outer Banks are a string of barrier islands beginning at the Virginia Border and continuing for 120 miles to Ocracoke Island. Along Hwy 12, the town of Duck stretches for 7 miles between the Southern Shores and the Village of Corolla.

Like its OBX sister destinations, the town of Duck has its own unique style, vibe, and temperament. We love Duck for its unique shops, upscale dining, spa experiences, and the boardwalk views of the Currituck sound.

If you plan to call Duck your home base for vacation this summer, we recommend renting a home from Twiddy Vacation Rentals. Twiddy boasts a local connection - family owned and operated - and the easy-to-use website has a large number of homes available at multiple price points. We prefer the "ocean" side of town which allows easy access to the beaches. If you are more of a pool person, you might consider renting on the "Sound" side so you can catch the sunset each evening from your deck or pool. If you do choose the Sound side, know the Currituck sound is not a place for swimming. If a home is too big or you are interested in a more full service lodging, you might consider staying at the Sanderling Resort. This beautiful, ocean front, resort has all the amenities including a spa and several restaurants.

Restaurants in Duck are not as casual as those found in Corolla - their neighboring town. While lunch locations like Duck Deli (casual, outdoor tables), Duck Pizza (casual, pizza and salads), or one of the restaurants located along the boardwalk at the Duck Waterfront Shops allows guests to walk in straight from the beach. Restaurants catering to evening meals will require a nicer dress option although shorts are typically okay. We recommend making a reservation for all evening meals. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating. Our favorites include AQUA (reserve a table on the deck for an amazing sunset), the Lifesaving Station at Sanderling Resort, or Sunset Grille and Raw Bar (classic beach fare with amazing sunset views).

Choose Your Own Adventure - Our Top Recommendations:

Shopping in Duck

We love to spend at least part of our day in Duck at the shops. The stores in Duck are arranged in a series of shopping complexes which are relatively close together making it easy to park your car and explore the shops on foot. These shopping centers include art galleries, local crafts, clothing boutiques, home stores, food markets, surf shops, and tourist souvenir stands.

Our first and favorite stop is always the Duck Waterfront Shops at the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk allows visitors access to the Currituck sound and gorgeous views all while strolling through the boutique style shops. Parking is typically not a problem in the lot. At the far corner of the lot is a great fruit and vegetable stand - we always recommend stopping to see what might catch your eye. This is also a the location to "catch" your fresh fish...Dockside in Duck offers a large selection of fresh fish and seafood plus everything you might need to season, bake, grill, or broil it!

Another favorite shopping complex is the Scarborough Faire Shopping Village. Located across the street from the Boardwalk shops, the two story complex has loads of shops which include a toy store, speciality food store, clothing boutiques, local artisans, and ice cream!

Dining in Duck

Duck has a great beach restaurant scene. While we typically stay in Corolla, we always make plans to spend at least one evening at a restaurant in Duck. Our favorites include:


  • Duck Donuts

  • Donutz on a Stick

  • Big Buck's Homemade Ice Cream

  • Outer Banks Popcorn Shop

Lunch/Casual Dinner

  • Duck Pizza

  • Duck Deli

  • Duck Duck Burger

  • Pizzazz Pizza


  • AQUA

  • Life Saving Station

  • Sunset Grille and Raw Bar

  • The Paper Canoe

  • The Village Table & Tavern

Unique Dining

  • Clambake OBX - personal chef experience in your home providing clam/lobster bake with all the sides and fixings

  • Growler's To Go Craft Beer - bottle shop offering large variety of local craft beers

Water Sports

Duck is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Currituck sound. Both bodies of water offer a large variety of water sports - kayaking, sailing, parasailing, jet skiing, kiteboarding, sunset & charter cruises, and paddle boarding experiences. The following vendors are some we recommend to schedule your water sport adventures.

Spa Experiences

Nourish your body, mind, and soul with a trip to one of the spas located in Duck. There are two spas and both offer full comprehensive spa packages including facials, massages, and nail care treatments. The AQUA Spa is located in the middle of Duck while the Sanderling Spa is located at the end of town.

The Beach

Beach access in Duck is restricted to those renting lodging in the town. The town of Duck does not have any public beach access. However, there are numerous private neighborhood beach access locations and wooden walk-overs for town residents, renters and their guests only. A complete list of beach access spots can be found here. The Currituck sound can be accessed from the Duck Town Park.

Resort Day Pass

Not renting in Duck but still want access to the beach? Not a problem! Visitors are able to purchase a Day Pass at the Sanderling Resort. The day pass includes the following:

  • Outdoor family pool

  • Adults-Only pool

  • Indoor heated pool

  • Hot tubs

  • Towel service

  • Food & drink available for purchase from Lifesaving Station

  • Private beach access with chairs and umbrellas

  • Outdoor showers

  • Fitness center

  • Lawn games

  • Access to watercraft rentals

  • 5% food and beverage discount

  • Complimentary wifi

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