The Ultimate Outer Banks Experience at Sanderling Resort

Sanderling ResortThe Ultimate Outer Banks Experience at Sanderling Resort

Sanderling Resort offers a wide range of amenities, including guest rooms with ocean views, three pools, a spa, fitness center, restaurants, and is just steps away from the beach and adventure

While it may look narrow on a map, the Outer Banks of North Carolina packs a lot along its nearly 200-mile stretch of the coast. There are sights to behold, places to relax and adventures to experience. You’ll find them all nearby when you stay in one of the guest rooms, suites or vacation homes at Sanderling Resort in Duck.

3-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Watch wild horses, climb a lighthouse and chase ghost crabs across the beach.

Day 2: Pedal a bike around Duck, shopping, sightseeing and stopping for lunch; then spend the afternoon at the resort spa.

Day 3: Visit Kill Devil Hills, where the Wright Brothers first flew, before soaring yourself at the East Coast’s largest sand dune.

Day 1: Immerse Yourself

Start this full day with a hearty breakfast at the Lifesaving Station, one of four dining options at Sanderling Resort. Its Eggs Sanderling is a barrier island-inspired version of Eggs Benedict, replacing Canadian bacon with Carolina crab and hollandaise with a light mustard sauce.

Sanderling Resort Lifesaving Station breakfast

Sanderling Resort

Lifesaving Station serves some of the most popular breakfast dishes on the Outer Banks

Afterwards, drive N.C. Highway 12 north to Corolla, where the pavement ends and the Outer Banks’ most well-known residents live. You can see wild horses while walking or driving your off-road vehicle along the beach. But to also learn their story, which begins with Spanish explorers more than 500 years ago, take advantage of the special rate Sanderling guests receive at Corolla Outback Adventure. Its well-versed guides lead two-and-a-half-hour tours from open-sided trucks that offer unobstructed views of horses grazing on dune grass, wading in the surf or tending to newborn foals in early summer.

Agava Roja’s friendly staff can help you choose lunch from a menu filled with Mexican dishes made with fresh, house-made ingredients. The sautéed fish tacos – topped with spicy crunch slaw, smoked chili aioli and guacamole – are some of the best on the Outer Banks.

While horses are the area’s best-known residents, lighthouses are its most recognizable symbol. You’ll need to backtrack a few miles from the restaurant to find 140-year-old Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Its top and panoramic views of the sound and Atlantic Ocean are up 220 steps. If that’s too many, stick to the base and first two landings, where exhibits tell the lighthouse’s story, including how it continues to serve as a navigational aid.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Climb to the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse for incomparable views of the Atlantic Ocean

You’ll need a flashlight to find ghost crabs on the resort’s three private beaches after the sun sets from late June through August. It’s a fun challenge for all ages. Scoop the quick crustaceans, which measure a couple inches across, in a small net or pick them up from behind, minding the pinchers. Keep them in a small bucket till you are ready to release them.

Day 2: Duck, Duck, Spa

One of the best ways to explore Duck is by bicycle because lots of level ground makes for easy pedaling. You can rent bikes at the resort in season and nearby year-round. Ride past the Town Green, where weekly concerts are held and family-friendly movies are shown in July and August. Stop and stroll The Waterfront Shops or meander Scarborough Faire Shopping Village to find the perfect souvenir.

Park your ride at Roadside Bar & Grill when you’re hungry for lunch. Choices include sandwiches, salads and the always popular creamy clam chowder. Its outside tables fill fast on sunny days.

Sanderling Resort Spa aromatherapy

Sanderling Resort

Add an aromatherapy soak, with local ingredients, to enhance your massage at the spa

Once you’re back at the resort, recuperate from your ride in the oversized hot tubs or at the spa. Use the indoor pool and steam rooms or arrange a massage or treatment, which are infused with the textures and smells of the coast. Yoga is offered May through October. Schedule a private session or join the popular sunrise classes before grabbing breakfast at the Beach House Bar, which serves freshly brewed coffee, tasty pastries and ripe fruit – also offered May through October.

You’ll find s’mores ingredients in your room, and the resort’s fire pit is the perfect place to assemble them. Listening to the embers crackle or live music at the Sandbar are great ways to wind down the day.

Sanderling Resort Beach House guest room

Sanderling Resort

All rooms at Sanderling Resort Beach House have recently been renovated

Day 3: Fulfill Your Sense of Adventure

Follow the sweet scent to Duck Donuts, which has been making treats to order for the past decade. Enjoy warm doughnuts with your choice of icings and toppings, from maple and bacon to lemon and coconut. It’s always a good idea to order a couple extra for a snack later. There’s a location in Duck, but choosing the Kitty Hawk one will put you closer to the day’s first adventure.

The Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills pays tribute to the two Ohio brothers who pioneered powered flight more than a century ago. Start at the visitor center and admire replicas of Wilbur and Orville’s aircraft. Displays show how they worked and lived here. Walk the Flight Line to get a true sense of each flight’s length.

If you want to feel the wind underneath you, head a few more miles south to Jockey’s Ridge State Park. It’s home to the largest sand dune on the East Coast and is a popular spot for hang-gliding. Instructors from Kitty Hawk Kites, which offers adventure sports, rentals and lessons, will be happy to take you. If you’d rather stay grounded, the ocean winds make kite flying a breeze. The park also has eight picnic shelters, where you can enjoy a lunch packed by the Lifesaving Station.

Hang gliding at Jockey's Ridge

Hang gliding and sandboarding are among the many adventurous activities at Jockey's Ridge State Park

If your stomach is full but you’re craving more adventure, Kitty Hawk Kites offers surfing, boogie boarding and stand-up paddleboarding lessons and rentals at Sanderling Resort from May through Columbus Day. Spectating is encouraged, too. You’ll find plenty of chairs and umbrellas on the beaches, which also are perfect for hunting shells, from the rare Scotch Bonnet – North Carolina’s official seashell – to the plentiful coquina clam.

If the ocean is too cold for you, try the resort’s pool, which opens as soon as spring weather allows. Or paddle through 2,600-acre Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary on a guided kayak tour. It’s a maze of marsh-lined canals, where almost every species of waterfowl lands during the year. Spectacular sunset views are almost guaranteed outside the floor-to-ceiling windows at the resort’s Kimball’s Kitchen. Enjoy oysters, certified Angus beef and homemade pastas there from May through October.

Written by Pete M. Anderson for, in partnership with Sanderling Resort.


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