9 Must-Try Foods in the Outer Banks, NC

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Best Food in OBX

If you ask me to choose my utmost idyllic, perfectly perfect beach vacation spot, I’m pretty much guaranteed to say the Outer Banks, NC.  There are many reasons that I would pick this chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina as my favorite beach destination.  The reasons begin with happy memories from my childhood when my parents would take us almost annually for a week in Rodanthe, NC.  The reasons then continue from memories of wonderful trips with my own family over the last few years.  It is a wonderful land where sun meets surf meets sand.  The beaches are not nearly as crowded as we have come to expect at the close-by Jersey Shore and there is plenty to see and do for young and old.  Oh… there is also plenty to EAT in the Outer Banks (OBX for short).  

Yes, there are so many incredible meals and treats, from fresh caught seafood to delectable sweets for dessert.  Last summer we set out to round up as many of these delicious foods as we could in our one week in Nags Head, NC.

Here are the 9 foods that we highly recommend you try during a trip to OBX!

1. Duck Donuts – fresh, warm, made to order.  We once biked 12 miles for these babies. (Locations in the Outer Banks include Duck, Corolla, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.)

Duck Donuts

2. Apple Ugly from Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton, NC – Served piping hot and one is plenty to share between two people!  Expect to wait in line for these sweet treats.  The first picture below is so blurry due to the steam coming off of the pastry fogging up my camera lens!

Apple Ugly Pastry

Apple Ugly Orange Blossom Bakery

3 and 4.  Root Beer Float and Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie, both from Big Al’s Soda Fountain and Grill in Manteo, NC.  Classic meets sweet at this fun restaurant!  Make sure you take a walk around the building and look at the massive collection of Coca-Cola branded merchandise while you’re there.

Root Beer Float

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

5. Ice Cream Cones and Sundaes from Scammell’s Corner Surf Shop and Ice Cream Parlor Our favorite place to ride our bikes to after dinner when we stay in Nags Head, NC!  Make sure you stop by when the singing ice cream scooper is there – he takes song requests too!

Ice Cream Cone Rainbow Sprinkles

6. Crab Benedict from Sam and Omie’s in Nags Head, NC.  Simply put – this place is a hole in the wall.  It’s a small, older restaurant where you’d imagine the locals would go for meals.  And if you know anything about finding a GREAT place for meals when traveling, it’s to find out where the locals eat!  The food here is absolutely SUCCULENT and we never visit the OBX without eating here at least once.  Usually we eat here closer to three times… once we ate there for breakfast and dinner in the same day.  No matter what you order, you can’t go wrong and the prices are very reasonable.

Crab Benedict

7. Frogmore Stew Steamer Bucket from Armstrong’s Seafood in Nags Head, NC It’s the seafood feast that you bring back to your beach house and cook up for dinner!!  Absolutely delicious meal that includes crab legs, shrimp, potatoes and corn.  (We make this recipe many times at home for Easter!!)

Frogmore Armstrong Seafood

8. Lobster Mac and Cheese from Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head, NC – This dish (an appetizer if you can believe it!) is utterly to die for.  It so so unbelievably delicious!  Bonus – time your dinner at Pamlico Jack’s with the sunset and you will be treated to a panoramic sunset over the bay!

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Outer Banks Sunset Pamlico Jacks

9. Hot Crab Dip from Ocracoke Oyster Company on the island of Ocracoke, NC another sinfully savory appetizer that we enjoyed during our trip!

Hot Crab Dip Ocracoke

What would you add to our list?  I’d love to hear your suggestions!!

If you’re heading to the OBX with kids, I recommend you read this before going:

10 Fun FREE or CHEAP Things to do with Kids in the Outer Banks, NC

Free Stuff in Outer Banks for Kids


Best Food in the Outer Banks

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5 thoughts on “9 Must-Try Foods in the Outer Banks, NC”

  1. I highly highly recommend Run Down Cafe I Need kitty Hawk!!! AMAZING!! The food I don’t team about often (not kidding). THE Spicy Thai lemongrass with fish…. holy Mother of Goodness!!!

    Lo mein noodles in a spicy lemongrass broth with mushrooms, napa cabbage, spring onions, cilantro, and an oriental chargrilled gamefish filet. Finished with crispy wontons


  2. I’m a local from Kill Devil Hills, and I have to tell you, you missed at least two of the absolute best! Next time you come, you have to try fish tacos blackened at Mama Kwans, and you should also go to Johns Drive In for Dolphin (mahi) boats and the best milk shakes on the beach. You’re welcome! ;)


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