If there’s one thing I’m really good at, it’s overpacking. Last week I spent a few days on the beach and exploring the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and as always I overpacked. Since I was driving down there from DC I didn’t have a bag limit — which meant I could easily bring as much as I wanted — which is good, and bad.

I had never been to the Outer Banks and really never thought of North Carolina as a place to go to the beach, but now I see the light, or the sun rather. The Outer Banks is a group of four barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina and it is very much a place to go to the beach. I have the sunburn tan to prove it.

Surprisingly, it was only 5 or so hours from DC (depending on the traffic of course). So I just hooked up my iPhone to the car speakers and listened to the book I’m currently “reading” on Audible the entire way down and back.

I was there on a press trip with a group of bloggers (Monica, Shelby, Susannah, and Carla). We had a lovely time getting to know the area and having the folks at The Outer Banks show us around.

My favorite part of course was the actual beach. Give me a beach, a sunny day, a book, and something cold to drink and I’m a happy girl. The two beaches I had the privilege of enjoying were at this amazing house (you can rent it too — it’s amazing) near Jennette’s Pier in Nag’s Head, and the beach at the Sanderling — a resort in the town of Duck. Yes, there’s a town called Duck, and yes that is where Duck Donuts was founded, and yes I had multiple donuts while there.

Both beaches were large, with good sand (not too shelly), and weren’t over crowded at all. I highly recommend both locations if you’re looking for a place to stay with good beach access and a nice beach. Both the house and the Sanderling have pools as well so you can have the best of both.

Even though I brought too much stuff with me, I forgot one of the most important things — sunscreen. Not that I couldn’t have easily bought some at the store, I just didn’t. Definitely won’t be making that mistake again.

When packing for the beach, don’t over think the clothes. You really need a lot less than you think. Most beach towns aren’t super fancy. They are more casual, and you can get away with a sundress, flat sandals, and minimal makeup anywhere you go.


Some of my favorite beach items this season:

SUNGLASSES // I absolutely have raccoon eyes from wearing my sunglasses every day all day, but my crow’s feet will thank me later.

HAT // I’ve been looking for a black straw hat for months now. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet on this Laurie hat.

BEACH BAG // Okay, there are way too many cute beach bags on the market. I mean, I only need one, but there are so many cute ones out there, it’s hard to resist. Need to find a reason to justify why I need this fringy beach tote!

LIP BALM // Not only is this some of the best lip balm I’ve ever tried, but it also has SPF 15, and it comes in a ton of colors.

AFTER SUN SPRAY // Note to self, buy this After Sun Mist and put it in the fridge. Because how great would that feel to mist on your crispy shoulders after a long day in the sun!?!

BEACH TOWEL // I have a thing for cool beach towels.

SANDALS // When you are going to be trekking on and off the beach, I think slip-on sandals are the way to go.

MINERAL SUNSCREEN // No more worries about toxic sunscreen — Suntegrity has you covered (gosh that is a great pun) with their healthy mineral sunscreen.

BIKINI // I’m obsessed with this black & white bikini. There’s a bandeau version too!

DRESS // An easy dress that barely touches the skin is a must for beach vacays.

PINEAPPLE TUMBLER // Drink your beverage in style with this brass pineapple tumbler (it’s a great gift too!).

SUNGLASS CASE // I tend to like expensive sunglasses, so bringing along a sunglass case is necessary.

DENIM SHORTS // Jorts are a must for the beach. I like to go old school and go for Levi’s cutoff denim shorts.


This post was done in collaboration with The Outer Banks. All opinions are my own.