Outer Banks Family Beach Vacation | Spending Time Away

May and June were two of the busiest months I can remember. I had weddings nearly every weekend, with plenty of engagement sessions and family sessions in between. I survived by buckling down and ONLY focusing on work. Nathan cooked (and often cleaned) and I did the bare minimum as far as housework and errands in between the moments where I was at my computer.

Although it doesn't sound like it, I actually really enjoyed these two months. But when vacation finally came, I was more than ready. As much as I love work, it felt amazing to step away for that long and just not worry about everything that had to get done. We spent the whole week with my siblings, parents, aunt and uncle, and Nathan's parents in Nags Head at a beach house. Yes, we all stayed in one house together and yes, we all managed to get along and still love each other by the end!

The first few days were almost solely beach days. We soaked up the sun, I plowed through my latest book (Brain on Fire - I highly recommend it!), and we all did pretty much nothing. The rest of the week it looked like it would rain, so we planned other activities. Wednesday we took a trip to the Wright Brothers Memorial, which was fun mostly because Nathan's dad knew SO much more than the displays presented.

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I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I did enjoy visiting a couple local places - and of course I had to find a new mug for my growing collection (thanks, Cotton Gin!). One day we spent the morning walking around Downtown Manteo on Roanoke Island. They have the best local shops and restaurants!

Thursday night was time to update everyone's family portraits (you'll see those soon!), and Friday we set up a bonfire on the beach complete with bocce ball and s'mores. In between all the beaching and traveling, we managed to visit some amazing restaurants, spend tons of time together as a family, and see as much of the Outer Banks as possible.

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After a week away and a quick trip by The Christmas Mouse and Morris Farm Market (for fresh peaches), Nathan and I got back home feeling relaxed, refreshed, and so grateful we were able to spend the time with our families. Now...time to tackle the rest of the summer! (Scroll all the way down to see our restaurant reviews & recommendations)

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You've never seen a game of bocce ball THIS intense!

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Since food is always a big deal for us when we travel, we were able to visit a ton of restaurants and coffee shops! If you're interested in traveling to the Outer Banks, specifically Nags Head, here are some quick and honest reviews of a few places we visited.
Jolly Roger - great breakfast, especially if you're on a budget!
Front Porch CafΓ© - fantastic coffee & drinks, but NOT a good place for breakfast. Portions are way too small.
CafΓ© Lachine - good coffee, really bad customer service (I wish I could say differently!)
Outer Banks Brewing Station - the burgers were tasty, but the service was extremely slow
Miller's Waterfront Restaurant - I got a salad, and it was delicious. Other people liked the crab and oysters. Overall, I'd go back!
Taiko Japanese Restaurant - incredible sushi, and the presentation was on point
The Coffee House on Roanoke Island - this is the only restaurant in downtown Manteo, so there's not much competition! But I did really enjoy their iced coffee.
Morning View Coffee House - best coffee I had all week. I recommend their iced coffee! 
Full Moon CafΓ© - I didn't love the tuna sashimi, but the chicken quesadilla was pretty good. I would probably find somewhere else to eat if I went to Manteo again.
Kill Devil's Frozen Custard and Beach Fries - highlight of the week! Their custard and whipped cream is homemade, and absolutely delicious. My sister-in-law loved their fries with malt vinegar.

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.