Ocean to the right, Sound to the left, NC-12 in the middle
Here's a quick summary of our trip, and the great businesses we found (and will support again)! We planned this trip on a budget, so this post will include the costs we incurred while traveling. Our car (a Honda Fit) averaged 38.3 mpg and we drove about 700 miles round-trip; we spent about $60 on gas. The ferry to Ocracoke was not running (shallow water), and we almost didn't make it through the flooding on NC-12 in Mirlo Beach!
Mirlo Beach - NC-12
Accommodations: Breakwater Inn, Hatteras, NC
I bought a Groupon several months ago for about $40 - the catch was, it needed to be used on certain days during the off-season. It ended up being a great deal, and the room was very nice! It had a beautiful view of the Sound, and the bed was incredibly comfortable. The hotel had a small continental breakfast available in the lobby as well - coffee, tea, fresh fruit, pastries, and bagels.
View from hotel room at Breakwater Inn
Dinner and Drinks: Pop's Raw Bar, Buxton, NC
The person working at the hotel front desk recommended a few restaurants to us, and this is the first one we found that was open. It is a small hole-in-the-wall type bar, with excellent fresh seafood and cold beer. It is clearly a locals bar, but they welcomed us and we enjoyed their company. We had steamed oysters, steamed seasoned shrimp, and steamed lemon pepper scallops. The shrimp was especially delicious. I think the cost was about $8-10 per plate. We'll definitely be going back the next time we're at the OBX. The bartender owns a taco stand, Gringos Tacos in Hatteras Village, that is closed for the season, so next time we head to the OBX we need to make a point to stop there also.
Breakfast: Grits Grill, Nags Head, NC
We checked out of the hotel about 8am on a Sunday, and didn't see an open breakfast or coffee spot until we passed 64 and headed into Nags Head (over an hour's drive!). We stumbled upon Grits Grill, a casual diner that was packed with people. The food was priced higher than most of the diners in Greensboro, but it was tasty, and the coffee was good and hot. We ended up spending about $20 on breakfast for the two of us.
Fun Stuff: NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island
We had a few hours to spare before we needed to hit the road to head back to Greensboro, so we stopped by the NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island. We hadn't been to this aquarium before, but with our membership to the Natural Science Center of Greensboro we were able to get in for free! It was a relatively small aquarium, but would be perfect for toddlers and young children to spend a few hours. If our kids had been with us, they would have really enjoyed the Operation: Sea Turtle Rescue exhibit for kids.
Turtles at NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island
On the way home, we decided to check out the hype surrounding the signs for Historic Downtown Plymouth on the Roanoke Riverfront. We literally did not see a single person or car, so we drove along the river through the town and headed back on our way. We did find a neat lighthouse though!
Lighthouse in Plymouth, NC
Our total cost for this trip was about $120 --- $40 for the hotel (paid months ago), $40 for dinner/breakfast (plus a bit more for drinks), and $60 for gas. Not bad for a night away at the OBX!