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How to Choose the Best Outer Banks Waterfront Restaurants

Are you hungry? Below is a helpful guide for choosing the right dining experience on the Outer Banks.

Did you know that more than 400 million Americans visit the beach every year? A beach destination is something that many people desire thanks to the beachy vibes. 

If you’re heading to the Outer Banks, we promise you’ll fall in love with the pristine beaches, the amazing seafood, and how convenient it is to go out for a meal. Nestled along the picturesque coastline of North Carolina, the Outer Banks offers not only stunning vistas but also a diverse culinary scene that is deeply intertwined with its maritime heritage.

With an array of waterfront restaurants to choose from, each promising a unique gastronomic experience, selecting the best spot can be a delightful yet challenging task.

Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast, a sunset seeker, or someone who values both cuisine and ambiance, this guide will help you navigate the process of choosing the best Outer Banks waterfront restaurants for an unforgettable dining experience.  

When looking for the best waterfront restaurants, there are several factors to consider to ensure a memorable dining experience. Here are some in-depth local insights to help you make the right choice:

Scenic Views

If you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience in the Outer Banks, consider choosing a waterfront restaurant that offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, sound, or other scenic spots. Sunset views, in particular, are a popular choice as they provide a picturesque backdrop for your meal. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, a meal with a view is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Fresh Seafood

The Outer Banks boasts an abundance of fresh seafood options. We highly recommend prioritizing restaurants that place a strong emphasis on serving fresh, locally sourced seafood. Look for establishments that offer a diverse and extensive menu of seafood options, allowing you to indulge in the rich and varied flavors of the region. Whether you’re a fan of classic seafood dishes or more experimental fare, the Outer Banks has something to offer every palate. So, don’t miss out on the chance to savor the delicious and bountiful seafood offerings of this coastal paradise.

Local ingredients

It’s always a great idea to choose a restaurant that serves dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients. Not only does this support the local agricultural community, but it also guarantees that you’ll be served the freshest, most flavor-packed meals possible. Luckily, many restaurants in the area take great pride in sourcing their produce, meats, and other ingredients locally, ensuring that you’ll have a culinary experience like no other.

Outdoor Seating

Consider opting for a restaurant that offers outdoor seating to make the most of the delightful weather in the region. Enjoying your meal with a view of the waterfront, the serene sound of waves, or a refreshing breeze can elevate your dining experience to a whole new level.

Live Entertainment

Some waterfront restaurants in the Outer Banks offer live music and entertainment, enhancing the overall ambiance. Be sure to check the restaurant’s schedule for any special events or performances during your visit. Here are just a few great options for live music:

Local Craft Beverages

If you’re looking for a unique dining experience on the Outer Banks, why not try exploring restaurants that offer a selection of local craft beers, wines, or cocktails? The area has a growing craft beverage scene, and enjoying a drink made with locally produced ingredients can be a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture. So, next time you’re out to eat, consider trying something new and supporting the local community at the same time!

Family-Friendly Options

If you’re traveling with family, look for restaurants that are family-friendly. Some waterfront establishments offer children’s menus, play areas, or activities to keep the little ones entertained. Below are a few options to consider:


Looking for some amazing restaurants to try out during your visit to the Outer Banks? We’ve got you covered! Check out our top recommendations below and get ready to indulge in some mouthwatering dishes.

The Blue Point: Known for its seafood and upscale atmosphere, The Blue Point offers a variety of dishes using fresh, local ingredients.

Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe: A waterfront restaurant with a focus on fresh seafood and Southern cuisine, offering a casual yet elegant dining experience.

Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant: Located in Nags Head, this restaurant offers a diverse menu with seafood, steaks, and other American dishes, complemented by waterfront views.

Aqua Restaurant: Situated in Duck, Aqua Restaurant is known for its contemporary American cuisine, featuring fresh seafood and creative dishes.

The Saltbox Cafe: A popular spot in Colington, The Saltbox Cafe is known for its farm-to-table concept, offering a menu that reflects the seasonal availability of local ingredients.

Black Pelican Oceanfront Restaurant: Located in Kitty Hawk, this restaurant is known for its oceanfront dining and a diverse menu featuring seafood, steaks, and more.

Tale of the Whale Restaurant: Situated in Nags Head, Tale of the Whale offers a seafood-centric menu with a focus on regional flavors and ingredients.

Mulligan’s Raw Bar & Grille: A casual spot in Nags Head known for its seafood, raw bar, and pub-style dishes.

Pamlico Jack’s Soundfront Restaurant: With a soundfront location in Nags Head, Pamlico Jack’s offers a mix of seafood, Southern cuisine, and live entertainment.

Red Sky Cafe: Located in Duck, Red Sky Cafe features a diverse menu with a fusion of global flavors, emphasizing fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

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