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16 Nov 2022
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Events & Holidays

Here's our Christmas Weekend Itinerary for your December Outer Banks vacation!

The holidays are ramping up! What better way to spend these colder, winter months than with a trip to the Outer Banks? We're booking RIGHT NOW for weekends in November and December, so be sure to look at our available rentals and book your next weekend retreat or weeklong stay. Plus, right now you can take up to 20% off of remaining 2022 Outer Banks vacation rentals from Seaside Vacations! Get the deal HERE

So over the next few weeks, we're going to be publishing awesome and fun itineraries with suggestions for you to make the most of your Outer Banks stay in December! There is so much to do and you definitely don't want to miss out. So keep reading for an exciting itinerary to get the most of your stay when you spend Christmas on the Outer Banks! This is a Friday through Sunday weekend itinerary, so check-in on Thursday or Friday for the week or come for a quick, weekend getaway!

Friday, December 23: 

8:00 AM - Breakfast at Home or On The Go! If you're already in your rental, enjoy a quiet morning breakfast in your pajamas before greeting the weekend to be filled with adventures. If you're heading into town, or just want someone else to cook, stop by Sam & Omie's for a fisherman's hearty breakfast. Fresh Fit Cafe just down the road offers lighter fare as well as an amazing view of the water.

10:00 AM - Morning at Jockey's Ridge! It's so much fun to see Jockey's Ridge State Park soon after the sun rises. Enjoy the cool winds and the sound of birds and other wildlife as you run around on the dunes, have some fun in the sand, or head on across the street to Jockey's Ridge Crossing to get some holiday shopping in! Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy some outdoor time as well as your lunch together in the fresh air and cool breezes of these amazing dunes.

1:00 PM - Explore the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island!  No trip to the Outer Banks is complete without a trip to the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Explore the cultural history of the Outer Banks as connected to wildlife and the wetlands before visiting the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center where your kiddos can follow their own sea turtle through to rehabilitation in a fantastic simulation. Have some fun at the Touch Tank and explore the unbelievable history of the U.S.S. Monitor before taking a breather and relaxing in front of the massive tank with sharks and other fish.

3:00 PM - Visit Roanoke Island Festival Park! And when you're done at the aquarium, Roanoke Island Festival Park is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Explore this amazing museum park where you can walk through the Settlement Site or take a tour of the Elizabeth II and get an idea of what life would have been like aboard a 16th-century sailing ship. Don't forget to visit American Indian Town or the Adventure Museum for some hands-on history that you won't soon forget.

5:00 PM - Dinner! Before heading over to the Annual Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens, be sure to grab a tasty dinner in Manteo or Nags Head, just across the causeway. Enjoy something yummy at Mahi Mahi's Island Grill or Miller's Waterfront Restaurant. If you're hoping to stay on the island, why not try Blue Water Grill & Raw Bar or Orega'z?

7:00 PM - Winter Lights at Elizabethan Gardens! This is the last chance to see the lights before Christmas, so be sure to prioritize this stop! The Annual Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens is the biggest light display on the Outer Banks! Kids and adults of all ages will love wandering through this enchanted winter wonderland of dazzling lights and holiday decorations. Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for ages 6-17, and $8 for children 2 to 5. Infants under 2 get in free!  Dogs can come, too, for $5. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the door. The final tickets of the night are sold at 8:15 PM and since this display is outside, it is subject to weather cancellations. Even if you’ve been in the past, this is a display that you should see year after year! Click here for more information.

Saturday, December 24:

9:00 AM - Breakfast with Santa @ The Lifesaving Station! It's Christmas Eve! Head up to The Lifesaving Station in the Sanderling Resort for breakfast and photos with Santa! Enjoy a delicious breakfast, warm up with some hot chocolate, and enjoy an easy, breezy morning with St. Nick himself. Reservations are suggested, so be sure to book your table for memories your kiddos won't soon forget!

11:00 AM - Visit the Wright Brothers Memorial! While you're in town, be sure to stop by and see the essential sites. Most places are going to be closed tomorrow, so step back in time and celebrate the "12 seconds that changed the world" by visiting the Wright Brothers Memorial. Take a walk around the beautiful park, see the exhibits, and wonder at the tall, beautiful memorial nearby.

12:00 PM - Lunch on the Go! Many restaurants on the Outer Banks start closing up after lunch on Christmas Eve, so be sure to call ahead. Enjoy your choice of some of the spectacular seafood on the Outer Banks and enjoy a meal out with the family.

2:00 PM - Grocery Shopping! Head to one of our local grocery stores and stock up on all your holiday needs for tomorrow! Don't forget the cranberries. And while you're at it, be sure to take a look at our selection of OBX Holiday Menu Ideas and whip up something local for your Christmas feast. Consider Ten-O-Six Sweet Potato Casserole or Red Sky's Famous Shrimp N' Grits to impress your family this Christmas!

5:00PM - Easy Dinner at Home! Plan for family movie night in the cozy living area of your vacation rental with popcorn and a relaxing dinner. Pick up a pizza or a seafood boil from Outer Banks Boil Company earlier in the day for a stress-free dinner together.

7:00 PM - Ghost Crabbing on the Beach! Although you need a few simple supplies, ghost crabbing is generally a cost-free activity that the whole family will love! Ghost crabbing can be done on any of our beaches on any day of the week at any time of the year. Head to your nearest beach access with a flashlight and your phone or a camera and try to find these little crabs darting in and out of the sand after sunset. Check out our Guide to Ghost Crabbing on the Outer Banks for more tips and tricks.

*Bonus Activity: Did you know that in Iceland, they have a Christmas Eve tradition called Jolabokaflod? During this spectacular tradition, you gift each family member a new book and maybe a pair of pajamas or their favorite hot drink and spend the evening cozied up together reading and enjoying each other's company! Check out our guide to Outer Banks Books for some OBX-themed book ideas and make this beautiful tradition a part of your family's holiday celebrations.

Sunday, December 25:

10:00 AM - Christmas Morning! Enjoy a quiet, easy breakfast as a family from the comfort of your vacation rental. Open presents, watch Christmas movies, and each other's company in one of the most beautiful places in the country. Make ahead some cinnamon roles or Bisquick sausage balls to pop into the oven so that there's no distracting from the calm quiet atmosphere of your early morning vacation. And if you're not one to cook? The Jolly Roger is almost always open for breakfast on Christmas morning, so give them a call and drive on down for a yummy brunch.

12:00 PM - Lunch! For that big holiday meal, why not try making some Seafood Stuffing or Awful Arthur's Crab Lobster Bisque? Give your holiday an Outer Banks spin and make it all about your time together as a family at the beach. If you're still looking for the perfect present before the big day, check out our OBX Gift Guide and don't be caught empty-handed.

2:00PM - Hunt for Sea Glass at the Beach! Walk off that mid-day meal or break up the day by heading to a Public Beach Acess for an afternoon of beachcombing and looking for sea glass. Check our guide for looking for sea glass and you'll find that the quiet, peacefull "off-season" can be the perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the Outer Banks while finding spectacular shells and ocean wildlife.

4:00PM - Bake Christmas Cookies! Spend the rest of the afternoon making some delicious Christmas cookies! And what better way to celebrate Christmas on the Outer Banks than to cut them into the shapes of sea creatures? Check out these super cute ocean wildlife cookie cutters for the ultimate beach-themed holiday.

7:00 PM - End the Day with Stargazing! After a fun day of food, family, and (who can can forget) presents, step out onto our balcony or drive to a local beach access and take in the stars. The Outer Banks is an amazing place to see many different constellations and the full moon is far enough away, that tonight should be an amazing night for catching a glimpe of the great beyond. Check out our Outer Banks Stargazing Guide for more information and ideas. 


We're booking RIGHT NOW for weekends in November and December, so be sure to look at our available rentals and book your next weekend retreat or weeklong stay. Plus, right now you can take up to 20% off of the remaining 2022 Outer Banks vacation rentals from Seaside Vacations! Get the deal HERE. Book your next hassle-free Outer Banks vacation today and we’ll see you at the beach!

Still Looking for the Perfect Gift? It's Not Too Late! 

Seaside Vacations Gift Certificate for Christmas

There are a lot of great, local gift ideas on this list that will help bring the Outer Banks home for holidays with the people you love. But sometimes, it just doesn’t get any better than an actual trip to the Outer Banks! So why not give them something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives and book an exciting, luxurious Outer Banks vacation for your family? We even offer physical gift certificates that we will print out and mail to you (for no additional cost) so that you can have something to put under the tree and enjoy the thrill of seeing their happy faces on Christmas morning. Check out our available rentals and pick out the ultimate Outer Banks vacation rental for you and your family. 

About the Author: Lauren is a mom, author, and travel enthusiast. She grew up on the Outer Banks and only left for a few years to get her degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and complete a tour in the Coast Guard before making her way back to the beach in 2017. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with a book and cup of tea in hand, planning her next travel adventure.