July 2, 2020 – Thursday
We had pre-loaded the 4Runner the day before, so we only had the few remaining items to pack, mainly food. We decided to bring two coolers for this trip, one for food and the other for drinks. We have had issues in the past where your drinks end up being covered with meat juice once the ice melts. These were both empty on the way down, and after the trip was over, we decided for future trips two was not necessary.
We arrived around 3pm to the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau off of 158 after you cross over the bridge and met up with my parents who had been driving cross country. It was great to briefly catch up, but it was already hot and humid, so we quickly decided to hit a grocery store on the way to the campsite and stock up. We stopped at the Harris Teeter in Kill Devil Hills to grab some provisions. They were out of charcoal, which is a necessary at the campground as you are not allowed to have wood, so we stopped at the nearby Ace Hardware. The Ace was also somewhat empty and we grabbed a bag of charcoal.
We tried to cook dinner on the BioLite Firepit, however it appears the charcoal we picked up may be better suited to keep your smoker burning longer, as we could not get it to light and stay lit at all. We even used a JetBoil to try and catch fire, but it did not. Luckily we had a myriad of ways to cook, so we heated up hot dogs and buns in the frying pan over a Coleman stove.
After dinner, we walked over to the beach. The boys were raring to go and couldn’t wait. We noticed already that the bugs were going to be an issue, so we sprayed down and kept moving. The water was very warm, and there was a small area with standing water. We think this may have been due to some rain previously, as that area wasn’t flooded for the rest of the week. The boys of course made sure to fall in the ocean and those puddles, and were soaked pretty quickly. As it got darker, we decided to head back to camp. The Ez-Up tent with the screen was no match for the bugs this time, so we called it an early night and headed to bed. Little did we know that this would be foreshadowing for the whole trip.
July 3, 2020 – Friday
Everyone woke up early, around 6am or so and got started with breakfast and getting things sorted for the beach. We left around 9am and drove over to the beach access area. Not a lot of vehicles, so we were able to pick our beach spot pretty easily. It did get a little busier throughout the day, but still had plenty of space between ourselves and adjacent vehicles.
The nice thing about driving on the beach is you can bring your coolers and other provisions without having to lug it around. We had snacks throughout the day and made sandwiches for lunch.
We spent the full day at the beach, leaving around 4pm or so. Thats a lot of beach time for sure, and we were ready to get back to the site and figure out dinner.
Eli tired after a full day of beach Meatball Sliders & Potato Salad Corn & Meatballs on the Grill
For dinner, we had planned to keep with camping tradition and cook up Meatball sliders and grilled corn. We had picked up some potato salad at the grocery store and had that as a side. Seems I need to step up my cooking game as everyone was looking for something more advanced. I guess after all these years of only having to worry about one or two people when camping, you don’t realize you need to broaden the selection and spice it up a bit.
After dinner we tried to hang out for a bit. Everyone was pretty worn out and when the bugs hit hard and heavy again, we called it a night.
July 4, 2020 – Saturday – Independence Day
We woke up about the same time on Saturday, Independence Day, and headed to the beach again. Good thing we have quick access and get there early, as today there were a lot more people hitting the beach. It was pretty cool to see, as there were a lot of flags and people even dressed up in the spirit of the holiday. So plenty of red, white, and blue with stars and stripes.
In the morning, the water had a lot of seaweed and was a bit rough to swim in. This cleared up some as the day went on. It was also really hot, but the gustiness helped keep it somewhat cool throughout the day. Everyone was busy with sand castles and playing in the water.
After another full day at the beach, we decided to get cleaned up and head into town to grab something to eat and visit the Kitty Hawk Dune at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The campground has nice facilities and definitely one of the big positives for staying here. One of the places we like to hit for food is Sooey’s BBQ. It is conveniently located right next door to the Kitty Hawk Kite store and across the street from the dune. We weren’t on the road for more than 10 mins with the windows wide open and the boys fell asleep. So we skipped the dune and let them sleep in the 4Runner, while the rest of us went ahead and ordered food.
Sooey’s was packed and sending out a lot of take out due to Covid restrictions, but did have some outdoor picnic tables. We didn’t wait too long and got to dig into our BBQ. Wish we had ordered more hush puppies, as two is not enough, and the cornbread sizing was a little smaller than we were hoping for.
We normally also hit up The Spot for ice cream, however with the boys sleeping through dinner, we decided to just head back to the campsite.
July 5, 2020 – Sunday
We were definitely moving slower in the morning now, as a few days on the beach tends to wear one out. Other sites were starting to open up as people closed up and headed home. While walking around, we spotted a Sandhill Crane who was making quite a ruckus as it surveyed the campground.
This was probably the most perfect beach day out of the whole trip. There was a nice breeze, the water was warm and didn’t have a ton of seaweed in it, and it wasn’t as crowded. We also had good coverage from the sun, as there were a few passing clouds.
After another full day at the beach, we finally broke out the guacamole and chips and made quesadillas for dinner. We apparently packed in a lot of cheese, so we had plenty to go around. Decided rather than spending another night at the campground, to just pack up and head home. This decision boiled down to a few things. The bugs were still pretty relentless, the campsite was stifling hot with not much of a breeze resulting in the tent being sweltering. Also, since we were going to be leaving first thing in the morning, didn’t really see a benefit to staying another night and leaving the next day. I think had the bugs and the heat not been so bad, we would have definitely stayed another night.
After stopping to fill up the air in the tires and grab some snacks, we headed home. We noticed driving out, places like Dairy Queen and The Spot were crowded with lines of cars and people. This was crazy to us with everything going on and decided it was best to avoid them for now. We made another stop on the way home for gas and to stretch our legs. The boys ended up sleeping the whole time, and went to bed easily when we got home. We did unpack a few items but saved the majority for the next day since I had off from work.
We realized during this trip, that is time for us to buy a bigger tent. The dome tent we have is great if we are backpacking, but with two growing boys, it’s tight for sure. We didn’t really have the greatest nights of sleep during this trip because of this. Another issue was the air flow. While the main body of the tent does have a lot of screen, once you put the rainfly on, it’s hot. Now I know we could go without the rainfly, but I have woken up many times damp or wet due to the morning dew or a rain event in the middle of the night. So we’ll want to see if this next tent has better options for allowing air flow.
Found out later that you can fill in air at the marina, however it was pretty crazy with vehicles in and out over there. It was fairly hot the whole weekend, and we ended up making daily drives to a store to pick up a fresh bag of ice. Our coolers had been pre-cooled (our fridge died a few days before this trip) and we didn’t open them a bunch, but they seemed to not keep ice for longer than a day. We also are going to look into a divider for the coolers, which may help with some of our separation concerns.
We still love this campground and the drive on access to the beach. We have stayed at other beach campgrounds in the past, and this one has the better facilities and the ability to drive onto the beach with all your stuff is awesome. We stayed at campsite A17, which was great for access but still had people cutting through the site and didn’t have enough flat area for setting up camp and gear. It was a great trip, and we I believe at least a few times, we all were able to forget all the craziness that is going on around us at this time. We will for sure make a reservation again for next year if we can.
Cape Hatteras Camp Grounds
Oregon Inlet Campground
Nags Head, NC27954
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
300 W Carolista Dr
Nags Head, NC 27959
3919 S Virginia Dare Trl
Nags Head, NC 27959
The Spot – Nags Head
2805 S Croatan Hwy
Nags Head, NC 27959
Last modified: January 12, 2021