An impressive resort town in North Carolina, Duck, was named for its abundant waterfowl that has been attracting hunters and gatherers right since the 1800s. With great beaches, outdoor adventures, fine dining, diverse shopping, first-class events like Jazz-Festival and water sports aplenty, Duck doesn’t fail to keep visitors and residents entertained every day of the year.
Most of the beaches in Duck are titled the best in the nation and offer great shell collecting opportunities, especially during the offseason when the pickings are flush. A few local restaurants feature open-air dining, and most of the shops and restaurants here are connected by the Duck Trail that runs parallel to Highway 12 or along the sound-side boardwalk, offering serendipitous views of the Currituck Sound.
Even though the town underwent a phenomenal transformation in the past few years, Duck is still enveloped in the charming resort town aura. No matter where you are staying in Duck, there are plenty of attractions and activities to see and do.
Here is a list of the top 5 things to do to help get your adventure started in Duck. Whether you are looking to soak in the sunshine, explore the outdoors, or play on the beach, there’s always something exciting and new happening in Duck.
1. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse
If you are in Duck, the distinct Currituck Beach Lighthouse that towers over the Corolla landscape is a must-see, especially if you love history, Outer Banks icons, and stunning views. The lighthouse grounds are well-landscaped with native foliage and the former keeper’s quarters feature an on-site gift shop.
While the lighthouse remains open for explorers year-round, adventurous visitors without a fear of heights are only allowed to climb the lighthouse seasonally. It is a steady and frightening 220-step climb to the top of this historic structure built-in 1876. However, reaching the small circular deck and the First Order Fresnel light is worth the effort, thanks to the breath-taking view.
If you’re a shutterbug, you will definitely want to capture the sky-high vistas that can only be witnessed here at the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, situated at a full 162′ feet above sea level.
2. The Waterfront Shops
A unique waterfront shopping village featuring eighteen specialty boutiques, quirky art galleries, pop restaurants, and more, the Waterfront Shops in Duck will make any shopping lover go crazy. A far cry from the typical chain retail establishments found elsewhere, the shops in Duck are grouped into a half-mile strip where you can spend hours exploring the various shopping and dining options by foot.
The waterfront boardwalk winds along the shores of The Currituck Sound and joins the new Town Boardwalk. At the center of the boardwalk is a new expansive town pier that accommodates boats, allowing visitors to water travel to the complex. Regardless of your age, style, and interests, you will enjoy a terrific shopping experience in this quaint village of Duck.
3. Duck Town Park
Spreading across 11 acres of green space, the Duck Town Park holds a lot of outdoor entertainment and natural landscapes within it. Situated in the sound side locale, the park proves to be a fantastic destination for all types of nature lovers alike—water lovers, bird watchers, joggers, walkers, and almost anyone looking to enjoy the calm, breezy atmosphere of the beach.
The park features an amphitheater, shaded gazebos, the Town Green (a playground), plenty of hiking trails that lead through the maritime forest, a crabbing area, a public kayak/ canoe launch, a picnic shelter, and access to the Duck boardwalk.
Take a leisurely stroll in the evening to catch a glimpse of Duck’s romantic side or experience the incredible waterfront scenes at the very edge of Barrier Island, you will never run out of things to do in Duck Town Park.
The best time to visit Duck Town Park is during the summer season when a lot of family-friendly activities such as magic shows, concerts, story hours, theatre performances, and Fitness on the Green will be held here.
4. Duck Beach
Duck Beach is arguably the Outer Banks’ focal point with a backdrop of seven miles of white sand, dazzling clear water, and an unhindered view of the ocean frames. This beach is both kids- and dog-friendly. So, if you have a fur baby, you can allow it to roam freely off the leash in the windswept open areas.
Furthermore, water sports like kayaking, surfing, and jet skiing are also a huge attraction here. While many of the town’s residents have never been sailing on the open water or standing up on a paddleboard, numerous people actively partake in water-based activities. For this reason, you will be able to find more than a dozen locally owned businesses lining the beach that specializes in offering all the equipment you need for fun on the water.
Guided kayak tours and sailing excursions are popular among vacationers. However, you always have the option to rent the right equipment and create your own tour.
5. Sanderling Resort and Spa
Resting perfectly between the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, the Sanderling Resort and Spa offers tranquil views of the water from almost all of the guest rooms alongside an extensive menu of world-class spa treatments.
Taking in the panoramic views of Currituck Sound, you can indulge in body wraps, massage therapy, pedicures, facials, manicures, makeup treatments, a spa lunch, and much more.
Among the many available packages, the Island Oasis is a favorite Signature Treatment that allows you to enjoy a relaxing reflexology massage and rejuvenating customized facial with two service providers working in symphony.
Additionally, this award-winning spa and the on-site Kimball’s Kitchen restaurant offer seasonal yoga classes and bridal packages. Open to the public daily, the resort also serves as an excellent venue for wedding receptions. But most importantly, the Sanderling Resort and Spa provides big-time luxury with an edge of small-town charm.
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