Washington DC for Spring Break…. Wait…..Outer Banks


When our daughter, Tessa, went to bed at 10:30pm Easter evening, we all had our bags (backpacks) packed for our trip to Washington DC the next morning. When she woke up the next morning, she was shocked to hear we were headed to the beach: the Outer Banks to be precise.

We had told everyone we were headed to DC for Spring Break. Even though we hadn’t reserved tickets to the White House in time, Brittnay McHale, from Senator Burr’s office, was nice to get us tickets for the Capitol tour. I had hoped we could stop by the Outer Banks on our way home, but Dan thought it would be out of our way. As the evening wore on, and I realized we couldn’t get into the National Archives,(booked til April 17), the Washington Monument (closed for repairs) and the Smithsonian tours (don’t even try it this late) and the great deal on the hotel we found was now gone, our enthusiasm for Washington DC was waning. I made the mistake of looking on Flickr for Washington DC pictures, and discovered this guy had visited both Washington  DC and the Outer Banks. He had posted some amazing photos of the Jockey Ridge Dunes and I was hooked. At 11:30pm, I looked at my exhausted family trying to locate a hotel in Washington DC and asked, “Why don’t we just go camping at the Outer Banks?” It was on.

After checking the weather forecast, we threw a few warmer clothes in our backpacks, printed out a some information on campgrounds in the area, and went to bed after midnight. By 6 am we were up. We were scrambling to think of things we would need as we had tent camped only once before, about 6 years ago. We found our tent in the shed. I grabbed some silverware, the electric griddle (we didn’t have a camping stove) an extension cord, a bowl, a pan, the George Foreman small grill, coolers, sleeping bags and we were on our way, finally, around 8am.

It was a long drive. The car was so overstuffed it seemed it would explode. So, of course, we stopped at Walmart on the way and bought a camping stove, a few camping lights, some cereal, paper plates, bowls, cups and flashlights. The kids had everything in their laps, but we only had about 2 hours to go. People in Walmart were surprised we were camping as it was supposed to get cold overnight. We weren’t deterred.

We finally made it to Kill Devil Hills around 4pm. It was windy and very chilly, so we thought we’d better head to the campground first thing. Adventure Bound Campground was the only thing we saw in the Kitty Hawk area. It lacked much in the aesthetic department, but it was clean, had clean bathrooms, and we found a spot under some trees. Oh, and there were peacocks: several noisy peacocks running loose in the campground. I have no idea why.

Tristan and Tessa put up the tent, while Dan and I enjoyed a beverage.  The campground didn’t have electricity, so I couldn’t use  the electric griddle, or the George Foreman. Thank goodness we bought the propane stove at Walmart.

As soon as the tent was pitched, the mosquitoes came out in force. The kids huddled in the tent while Dan and I went for milk and ice. When we returned, Dan fought the mosquitoes while he set up the propane stove. I couldn’t believe the bugs this time of year. Another couple had pulled in after us and had originally set up their tent down by a swampy looking creek behind the bathhouse. It didn’t take them long to reset their tent closer to us.

I left the safety of the tent to start dinner. First I had to find the starter we bought at Walmart. Ten minutes later, I still couldn’t find it: it was buried somewhere deep in the car. I was tired of looking and tired of the bugs. I gave up. We were close to the bath house and I was thinking I could run our super long extension cord into the bath house and find a plug in, just like the Dominican Republic, but there wasn’t an outlet in the bath house either. I told the kids I couldn’t cook, so they would have to settle on cereal. No problem for them, except we couldn’t find the spoons. Another exhaustive, bug filled search of the car and I came back with one spoon. We had to share.  I was last.  A hotel in DC was looking pretty good.


GROUNDS AT ADVENTURE BOUND (I think the name is a bit exaggerated)






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