I don’t know about y’all, but my husband and I don’t get out on date nights very often now that we have two young kids – especially since we don’t have family nearby to watch the girls. That’s why we take full advantage of going out on dates when my parents visit us or we visit them!
The beach is actually a really special place to us, since we spent much of our dating and engaged life coming here during the summer…ahh, to be a college kid with zero responsibilities again 🙂 We also got engaged at this very beach in December 2011, so needless to say, it’s ‘our spot’ and being here together brings back lots of memories.
We’ve been trying to plan some date nights for the upcoming week and I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorite date ideas on the Outer Banks in case you’re planning a visit and need some inspiration!
1 – Enjoy a Drink at Trio
This cute little wine bar is right up our alley – it’s very mellow and it has lots of seating options so you can join the crowd at the bar or if you’re wanting some one-on-one time, there are tables in the corner and a lounge area upstairs. Trio has every type of wine and craft beer you could ever want and they even do live music and drink specials throughout the week (like 1/2 price beer on Sundays and 1/2 price wine on Mondays!). I literally couldn’t name a better date night atmosphere than the one at Trio.
2 – Grab a Bottle of Wine and Hit the Beach
This is our go-to and one we did often when we were younger since it’s one of the least expensive but very romantic date ideas. We usually grab a bottle or two of chilled wine and cups from a nearby grocery store and go sit on the beach as the sun goes down. In the summer, dusk is literally the perfect time to go out on the beach, since it’s cooling down and much less crowded. Sometimes you can even catch fireworks up and down the beach if you stay late enough!
3 – Play Putt-Putt
Mini golf isn’t just for kids – in fact, dare I say it’s more fun to play with adults since you can be competitive 😉 From time to time, we’ll opt to play putt-putt as one of our date ideas on the Outer Banks just to change it up and have a little friendly competition.
4 – Have Dinner at a Nice Restaurant
Since we’ve always stayed at cottages in the past and now my parents live at the beach, we’ve always had a kitchen to cook in and don’t eat out every meal. We usually try to do one dinner with the whole family and then we’ll have a date night where we go to one of our favorite seafood restaurants. Truthfully, most places here are really good but I like to save the more fancy options for date night. Some of our favorites are the Black Pelican, Lone Cedar Cafe and Owen’s.
5 – Take a Drive Down the Coast
We actually haven’t done this as a date (we’ve gone with the whole family), but we’re thinking about driving south to Cape Hatteras for the day. There are miles and miles of empty, unspoiled beaches between Nags Head and Hatteras and it’s a beautiful drive there.
6 – Climb a Lighthouse
Sometimes we like to do adventurous dates to mix it up – after all, you can only go out for dinner and drinks so many times before it gets old! There are several lighthouses that you can climb and they all have gorgeous panoramic views of the ocean and sound.
7 – Catch a Sunset on Jockey’s Ridge
Jockey’s Ridge is the largest natural sand dune on the East Coast and it’s definitely a sight to see if you’ve never been! We try to make it up there at least once during our beach vacation, and in my opinion, the best time to go is just before sunset. It’s honestly way too hot in the middle of the day because the sand heats up dramatically, and going at sunset means you can catch the sun as it drops into the sound from the top of the dune. Also, be sure to stop for a signature Orange Crush at Mulligan’s just across the road afterward – we always have to get at least one each summer and it’s one of our favorite date ideas on the Outer Banks!