We’re back home from our Cape Hatteras Family Vacation and I’m experiencing some post-vacation blues. It was such a fun and relaxing family vacation and it’s hard to come back to laundry and bills and all that real life stuff. Now Albuquerque, New Mexico feels farther away from a beach than ever before and I’m rethinking all the life decisions that brought me to this desert state.
Since I’m missing that salty sea air and the soothing soundtrack of crashing waves, I thought I’d revisit our Cape Hatteras Family Vacation here in pictures. Come join me on the beach for a minute!
Last summer, my sister’s husband took up surfing. To feed his new passion, they went on a fun family trip to Emerald Isle in the Outer Banks. They had so much fun that they decided they wanted a beach vacation again this year. This time around they found a beach house (pictured above) on Cape Hatteras at Rodanthe beach and invited us to tag along too.
I haven’t explored all over the Outer Banks, but for what it’s worth, Rodanthe Beach is a perfect beach for a family vacation. The water was so warm, the beaches were sandy and full of sea shells, it wasn’t ever crowded – not even on the 4th of July, and it’s a charming little town.
Before we got there, I worried that there wouldn’t be enough to do all week. I wondered what we could do if we got tired of spending all day every day at the beach.
After the first day of 8 hours on the beach, with only meal and potty breaks, I had to laugh at myself. Who gets tired of the beach? Not us!
Our daily vacation schedule went something like this: Wake up. Eat breakfast. Sunscreen the gaggle of kids. To the beach! Back to the beach house for lunch. Reapply sunscreen. To the beach again until the sun starts to set. Dinner. Crash into bed, sandy, but happy and tired.
It was perfect.
At the beach, we set up a big open tent that we left up all week so we’d have a shady place to keep our chairs, towels, and the kids’ massive sea shell collections. Our vacation rental was right on the beach, just a few yards from the shore, so it was easy to run back for snacks and bathroom breaks. But most of our days were spent in the water and sand.
The kids and adults had fun with the boogie boards my sister brought. While my brother-in-law did the real surfing, the rest of us just tried to catch waves on our bellies and ride them into shore. This alone provided hours of fun.
When we weren’t catching waves, we caught crabs (ghost crabs! hermit crabs!) and were wildly entertained by all the birds. We saw a lot of terns and a few plovers. We also got to see pelicans catching fish out on the water, which was exciting to this bird loving family!
The kids collected piles of sea shells, found horseshoe crab shells, and even a couple of mermaid purses.
One day, thanks to the tropical storm near Florida, there were so many jelly fish. But instead of being scared, the kids had fun catching them in nets, marveling over their many shapes and colors, and tossing them back in.
When it came to vacation food, we took #26 of Jenny Rosenstrach’s Rules of Vacation seriously. She says, “The minute you arrive, you must throw out the grocery shopping rule book. First thing in the cart for us: Cinnamon Pop-Tarts.” And while we didn’t have pop tarts, we had all the junk food that I’d never ever buy at home. This is a smart and realistic way to approach vacation food with 13 people (and 8 kids) in the house. Dinosaur chicken nuggets? Why not!
But there were a few good food moments. Before we arrived on the island, we stopped at a farmer’s market in NC and picked up some local fruits and veggies, including peaches and blackberries. A couple rolls of frozen puff pastry turned that fruit into a mighty tasty dessert! Also, everything tastes better when you eat it on a deck to the sound of crashing waves.
While the rest of us were swimming in the salty waves, my dad headed down to Rodanthe Pier where he had the catch of the day! He brought home his Red Drum (and some Blue Fish) and we turned it into some mighty good, fresh fish tacos.
We also enjoyed delicious sea food at Good Winds, a waterfront restaurant in Rodanthe. If you go, I highly recommend the Asian Glazed Shrimp, the Shrimp and Crab Bruschetta, the Crab Cakes, and the Fish Tacos. The staff there are so friendly too!
Mostly it was a lot of swimming, sand castles, and relaxing. I read 4 books on the beach and slept better than I ever do at home. It was a perfect Cape Hatteras Family Vacation!
On the last night there, we got a permit to have a beach fire. We roasted marshmallows and bid the beach a final farewell.
We brought home a generous amount of sand (not on purpose). We also brought home a large sea shell collection (definitely on purpose). We’ll keep these memories forever!
It was so good to spend a whole week relaxing. I feel recharged, even though I’m still sad it’s over. Till next time!
Thank you so much for reading. We love you Rodanthe Beach! xoxox