OBX Finale: Wild Horse Beach + Eats

Hey friends! Matt and I are back in DC after a fun week in North Carolina at the beach! We go to the Outer Banks (Duck specifically) every year with Matt’s family and a big group of family friends – it’s always a blast. If you missed the first two recaps, check them out: Outer Banks Beach Fun and Fitness + Food in the Outer Banks. Here’s the final recap!

duck outer banks boardwalk

Hot tip: if you are in the Outer Banks and have an SUV with 4 wheel drive, check out the wild horse beaches up north of Corolla! You drive right onto the beach because there’s no road up that far – so cool.

corolla wild horse beaches

Matt and I went up there on our own one afternoon – we’d always wanted to check it out and decided this was the year! We ended up having quite the adventure because our car got stuck in a patch of deep sand – thankfully some good samaritans helped us out with some shovels and pushing! They also gave us the tip to let some air out of our tires (and re-inflate them once back on normal roads). Whew!

corolla horse beach

We hung out there for the afternoon and while sadly we didn’t see any wild horses, we did see a ton of dolphins! They were really close to us in the water, playing away.

corolla wild horse beach

Next time it would be fun to do an official wild horse tour – they can take you farther into the deeper sand where our car couldn’t quite hack it. :)

Anyway! One of the best things about our annual OBX trip is all the good eating and socializing! We always rent two big houses and a couple times during the week we all get together for a big group meal. On Tuesday, the other house hosted our group feast – here’s the whole gang!

group beach picture

Tuesday’s dinner was an old fashioned BBQ in honor of the little guy of the house who was turning 3. We also had unpictured cupcakes and ice cream – delicious!

bbq beach eats

Matt and his brother Drew provided the entertainment – as you can see, we had all sorts of music equipment with us for the occasion. :) We even had the house next door out listening and cheering them on!


On Wednesday night we had another yummy home cooked meal, this time as a smaller group at our place. Drew and my sister-in-law Morgana were in charge of this one and whipped up a yummy peanut-y slaw with grilled tuna.

grilled tuna with peanut slaw

Using broccoli slaw as the slaw was a great idea – no chopping required!

For dessert, they picked up some fun goodies from a place called Zen Pop – organic popsicles and ice cream sandwiches! We all shared so we could try a little of everything – my fave was the salted caramel chocolate popsicle. Mmmmm!

duck nc popsicles zen pop

Thursday night was another big group night – everyone came to our place for this one! Matt’s dad was in charge and did a fun made to order pasta bar.

made to order pasta bar

There was obviously a menu for the occasion, too – tradition! (If you’re wondering about the “Mauney State Senate” sticker like I was, it was apparently Matt’s dad’s uncle – neat!)

made to order pasta night

The appetizers were amazing too:

italian themed appetizers

When my turn to make my own pasta creation arrived I put together a chicken, shrimp, and penne combo with a ton of veggies and pesto, marinara, AND chunky tomatoes. Delicious! I like it saucy. :)

made to order pasta bar at home

Matt’s dad brought those portable burners from home for the occasion – smart!

made to order pasta bar

Ready to eat with some fresh basil on top! So yummy. For the grilled chicken (prepped in advance) he used a rub inspired by my Roasted Salmon with Watermelon Salsa recipe – a mix of ground coriander and chili powder.

veggie filled pasta

Friday night we split up and did separate dinners – this time our house had a simple grilled swordfish with a big salad and some grilled veggies – trying to use up all the random stuff in the fridge!

simple grilled swordfish with veggies

Dessert was a special treat: the famous Duck Donuts! :) Sooooo delicious – donuts are one of my favorite treats. I enjoyed half a cinnamon sugar and half a plain glazed – both were awesome but cinnamon sugar was my fave!

duck donuts

After eating in all week we decided to go out to eat for our last night together on Saturday. We hit up the Life Saving Station over at the Sanderling Resort, which is a nice but low key spot with good food that’s appropriate to bring the little kids to. :)


I was rocking a dress from StitchFix! It was fun to dress up after being mostly in wet swimsuits/a hot mess all week. :)

stitchfix beachy dress

As for food, I started with the crab ceviche (crab + avocado + watermelon):

crab avocado watermelon ceviche

And then had the Mahi Mahi for my entrée. This was delicious! And now I’m officially burned out on fish for a little while. :)

lifesaving station sanderling resort dinner

As for other highlights from the past week, they included some pool volleyball show downs…

pool volleyball

A fun bike ride with Matt on Saturday morning…

biking at the beach duck obx

And happy hour on the beach (complete with fresh oysters – my favorite tradition!)…


fresh oysters on the beach

fresh oysters on the beach

fresh oysters on the beach obx

What a fun week – I’m so sad it’s over and already looking forward to next year! Matt and I got up super early yesterday to beat the traffic – it gets insane and we wanted to get back to DC in time to have most of Sunday to get organized for the week. We left just after 6 a.m. and were home by 11 – sweet! Totally worth the early wake up to have a quick drive.

Have a great day guys!

Have you ever been to the Outer Banks? Which beach do you go to?


  1. 1

    I’ve loved reading your OBX recaps. I went for the first time this summer and I absolutely LOVE it there! We stayed in Corolla. We went kayaking, climbed sand dunes, went on the nature trail. I love active vacations and OBX has so many fun options.

  2. 3

    Looks like lots of fun! I love dolphins so much and it’s really cool to see them in the wild. We did a pasta bar for the reception after our wedding! It’s our 2-year anniversary on Wednesday :)

  3. 5
    Roadrunner says

    Wow, looks like an awesome week! Nicely done! Food looks awesome — and it looks like the weather cooperated too!

    • 6

      Yes, we got super lucky with the weather! Only rained one afternoon and it was our last day, so we just used the time to pack up and do some laundry.

  4. 7

    My husband and I went to OBX for our honeymoon, 13 years ago. We rented a house in Avon. We later took his parents and our then year and half old son and again stayed on the south side in Waves. We did ride up to Duck and Corolla on our honeymoon catching all the lighthouses while we were there. I remember it seemed quite nice there with even larger vacation homes! I am hoping I am able to toe the line in November for the OBX marathon, and starting to look for our lodging.

    I’m always envious of your OBX vacation because it looks like so much fun and such good food!

  5. 9

    My boyfriend, Scott’s family has a place in Duck. We try but unfortunately don’t get there every year. Awesome vacation.

  6. 10

    Our family started going to the Outer Banks when I was 16 – I am now 48. I love that part of the world, but haven’t been back in probably 15 years. After seeing all your pictures, I am reminded that I need to go back!

    Glad you had such a great time – love the pasta bar idea!

  7. 12

    Wow! It looks like your weekend was unreal!!

    ALL OF THE FOOD is mouth-watering .. especially the donuts since donuts are my weakness ;)

  8. 13

    My husband’s family (from Sewickley too, actually! Connections all around!) goes to Duck every year :) We do our best to join them and this year are headed there in August! Duck Coffee is my favorite! Bringing our bikes this year so we can ride up to Corolla too! Would love to see the dolphins :)

    • 14

      You should check out Treehouse Coffee in Duck – it’s adorable! Have a great trip! Too funny that you stay in Duck and that your hubby’s fam is also from Sewickley! :)

  9. 15

    Love the OBX. Looks like you all had so much fun. We climb the lighthouse in Corolla every year. It is an amazing view. Thanks for sharing it with everyone.

  10. 17

    you should check out ocracoke island if you’ve never been. such a beautiful place and a lovely quick ferry! used to go there and camp right on the beach and eat at Howard’s pub and the back porch!

  11. 21

    WOW, all of that looks so good. It’s amazing. The Outer Banks must be an amazing place to have a vacation, because you are the 3rd person I’ve seen go on a vacation there. The houses there look really beautiful and amazing. And you all know how to cook! :) That pasta bar? That is so fancy. I literally thought you were at a restaurant before I read the description. Who came up with that genius idea?

  12. 23

    I’ve been going to OBX just about every year since I was 12 (almost 30 years ago!) – it is my absolute favorite week of the year! We used to go to Whalehead, and back in the 80s/90s the wild horses were everywhere. I remember them occasionally walking around the neighborhood and hanging out in the front yards of the vacation rentals. Very cool.

    • 24

      That is SO cool. Love that you have been going for so long! It’s such a nice tradition to do a trip there every year – I love that we started going a few years ago!

  13. 25

    We go to OBX every summer with my family! We’ve done it since we were children, and now we are bringing our spouses and our own kids 😊 We are heading to Duck, NC in a few weeks and I’m so excited! (We live in Seattle so I’m looking forward to those beautiful, sunny,warm beaches!)

  14. 27

    wow so fun! i went to OBX once with my family, about… 9 years ago! i was in 6th grade and we stayed in this super tall beah house, it was so fun! :)
    about your recap, my favorite part is the meal Matt’s Dad made! i love hearing about him cook :D and especially because it’s a pasta bar… maybe because i’m in italy now and all the food makes me happy :D except, my current professor rages almost everyday about how much americans LOVE alfredo sauce, and how unitalian it actually is. it’s quite funny ;”D

  15. 29

    What a trip! I love how much all of your family loves food. That pasta bar is such a great idea especially when entertaining big groups!

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