That Time We Went to the Outer Banks

There was nothing glamorous about our trip to the Outer Banks last month, but it was everything. I lost track of how many times Lily said “I wish we could move here.” This was my first big trip with just me and the kids, and it was a success! We drove from Maine to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, and I can’t wait for us to do it again sometime!

Each year, we do a big family trip, and I’m so excited to show them how beautiful our own country is! I know a lot of people looked at me like I was nuts for driving down by myself with two young kids and no screens for entertainment, but I’d do it 100 more times – no question! It was so much more affordable for me to do it this way than flying, less stressful, and it was nice to know I could bring whatever I felt like we’d need! I’ve been to the Outer Banks twice before, and I was so freaking excited to take the kids there. I’m even more excited to know that they absolutely loved it as much as I do there!

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and left Thursday afternoon. We only made a couple of stops for gas and bathroom breaks both ways to and from NC. Lily loved looking at the maps each and every time we stopped, haha. Our Air BNB was perfect, and so cozy and comfortable, that when we weren’t out exploring we were just as happy to be chilling. There was a Sorry Nostalgia board game that Lily and I loved to play after James was in bed each night. We stayed in Frisco and it was wonderful!

The trip was not without its challenges. James was pretty scared of the ocean for some reason when we were there (it hasn’t been a problem here at home), which made beach time a struggle. Lily was such a champ playing by herself at the water’s edge, while James and I sat on our blanket, and she had a blast. I joined when I could before James would lose it, and she was so patient and understanding.

We’re a simple family, and we appreciate all the little things. The only thing we did that cost money to “do” was going to the aquarium in Manteo on our way out. Everything else was free to explore! Here’s what we did while we were on the Outer Banks!

  • Checked out the lighthouses near us.
  • Lots of time on the beach playing in the water and looking for shells!
  • Took the ferry to Ocracoke Island. This was such a fun day trip for us!!! James was terrified of being on the ferry on the way there, and on the way back he was totally chill about it.
  • Bought a ton of books from Books to be Read, and Buxton Village Books.
  • Cooked food at the air bnb and ate on the awesome screened in porch.
  • Checked out Orange Blossom Bakery – highly recommend this place!!
  • Had our photos taken by Amanda Hedgepeth (I’m absolutely obsessed with ALL of them!!!!)
  • Walked a fun trail through Buxton Woods.
  • Had ice cream for dinner from Happy Belly Ice Cream.
  • Went to the aquarium in Manteo.
  • Checked out the Wright Brother’s Memorial in Kitty Hawk.

Mostly, we just took it all in and enjoyed our time together!! It was the best being able to explore somewhere new! I love how it doesn’t take much to make us happy!

Here’s a breakdown of the costs during our trip:

  • Take-out // $247.28 (this included food on the way there and back, and we ate out 4 times while in Frisco – one dinner, one lunch, one ice cream, one bakery stop)
  • Gas // $144.61 round trip – way cheaper than flights!
  • Groceries // $96.32 (cooked most of our meals at the air bnb)
  • Shopping // $188.27
  • Air BNB // $900 for 4 nights

Linda is a Portland-based photographer specializing in weddings and creating family legacies from Portland to Boston and across New England. You can see more of her work online at, on Instagram, or on Facebook. If you want to reach out directly:

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  1. […] been seeing all the redemptive pieces of my story, the most recent in the photos we had taken in North Carolina in April. The woman in the photos just a couple months ago is exuding genuine joy and peace. I have […]

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

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