We’ve got easy vacation recipes for you and your family! Vacation is always the perfect excuse to pig out and try out new food! However, this summer may be a little different than in the past. Many local OBX restaurants and businesses are short-staffed so you may experience longer wait times at popular establishments. Don’t worry though, there are solutions to this issue! The beauty of renting an Outer Banks vacation home for your stay is that you get access to a full kitchen!* You can prepare meals for your family in the comfort of your home; often saving you and pretty penny and giving you more quality time to spend with your group. If patience isn’t really a strong suit and longer wait times at restaurants just sounds like a buzzkill for your vacation; we’ve got some great, OBX inspired recipes that are easy to make at your rental home for you and your family!

*this may vary from rental to rental, see individual property details page for more info or give us a call at 800-458-3830

Easy French Toast Bake

This easy french toast bake is the perfect vacation recipe for a larger group. This recipe is prepared the night before and the morning of, just pop it in the oven! This recipe as is serves about 8 but for a larger vacation group, it can easily be doubled and prepared in 2 casserole dishes.

This make ahead french toast bake is an easy recipe to make during your next vacation!

Recipe Courtesy of Lil Luna


1. Cut entire loaf into cubes and place evenly in a greased 9×13 dish.

2. Mix eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and pour evenly over bread.

3. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4. Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl.

5. Cut in butter with flour mixture until crumbly. Place in ziploc bag to refrigerate overnight as well.

6. When ready to bake, sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the bread.

7. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes to 1 hour (longer cook time = crispier bread).

Serve with syrup

Blackened Fish Tacos

The cool thing about preparing your own meals during your vacation? You have the opportunity to support local! This easy fish taco recipe calls for white fish (like tilapia) but you can really use any locally caught fish on the Outer Banks or offshore. Mahi-mahi, bluefish, spot, and flounder all make for great fish tacos and you can find these locally sourced fish at almost every local seafood market! This recipe as is serves 4.

Fish tacos can be an easy vacation recipe to try during your stay, all while supporting local fishermen!

Recipe Courtesy of Evolving Table


1. Combine blackened seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Sprinkle blackened seasoning over both sides of the fish fillets; rub seasoning into fillets.

3. Place 2-3 tablespoons of oil into a skillet over medium low heat, add fish to heated skilled and cook for 4-5 minutes on both sides.

4. While fish is cooking, place avocado, yogurt, lime juice, 2 tablespoons, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a small food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and completely combined.

5. Serve fish on tortillas with avocado sauce and other toppings.

Other optional toppings to add: corn or flour tortillas, shredded cabbage, chopped cilantro, green onions, white onions, queso fresca, and pico de gallo!

Surf & Turf Kebabs

If your vacation rental features a grill, you’re in luck! These surf and turf kebabs are perfect for a post-beach cookout during your vacation and another excuse to support local. You can get locally caught shrimp at any seafood market on the Outer Banks, making this fun vacation recipe that much better. This recipe as is serves 6.

Surf and turf kebabs are another recipe that's easy to prepare during vacation and allows you to support local fishermen too!

Recipe Courtesy of I Am Baker


For the Chimichurri Sauce:

1. Combine all ingredients together in bowl and leave at room temp for 2 hours.

For Surf & Turf

1. Soak wooden skewers in water to prevent burning on grill

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat

3. Cut beef into 1″ cubes; thread steak and cleaned shrimp onto skewers

4. Brush oil onto steak and shrimp skewers and lightly salt and pepper both sides

5. Cook for 8-10 minutes; turning every 4 minutes

6. Remove from heat, drizzle with chimichurri sauce, and serve

Bruschetta Pasta Salad

What’s better than a bowl of cool, pasta salad after being in the pool or ocean all day? This pasta recipe is perfect for your next vacation and can be prepared in bulk! The recipe as is serves 6 but you can easily double or triple it if needed.

Pasta salad is always an easy vacation recipe. You can make large quantities and is perfect for hot summer days.

Recipe Courtesy of A Pretty Life


1. Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, chopped basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese. Let this mixture rest for at least 15 minutes

2. Toss tomato mixture with cooked noodles

3. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper

This easy recipe can be served right away or can rest up to an hour before serving!

Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

Another easy and tasty vacation recipe; pineapple chicken sandwiches! This recipe is meant for a crockpot and while some vacation rentals to provide a crockpot, some may not. No worries though! This recipe can be made on the stove top by browning your chicken first, combining ingredients in a large pot, bringing it all to a boil, reducing heat to simmer, and letting it cook for 30 to 45 minutes; checking on it about every 15 minutes or so. This recipe as is serves 6-8 people.

Hawaiian chicken sandwiches are the perfect summer food!

Recipe Courtesy of Jamie Cooks it Up


1. In a large, deep skillet, melt the butter. Add onions and cook until translucent.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic, ketchup, soy sauce, Wrocestershire sauce, salt, pepper, onuon powser, and ginger.

3. Add flour to the skillet with the butter and onions; this mixture will become pasty. Then add pineapple juice mixture to skillet and stir. Allow it to come to a simmer while stirring and cook for 5 minutes

4. Place chicken in a 3-4 quart crock pot. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours; checking every so often.

5. After the chicken has been cooked, shred with 2 forks, add back to crock pot and allow it to cook for another 30 minutes.

6. Top with coleslaw* and serve on a brioche roll!

*Coleslaw recipe:

  • 1 & 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 14 ounce bag of coleslaw salad mix

Mix all above ingredients in bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

A Few Vacation Tips

You can also look at our list of Outer Banks inspired recipes here and try something new during your stay too! With this summer being a particularly hectic one, please be sure to remember a few key tips:

  • Restaurants will still be open but most will be operating on alternante schedules. If you do go out to eat, expect a longer wait time than usual and please remember to be kind and patient.
  • If you don’t want to deal with packed grocery stores, try the Food Lion to Go app ahead of your arrival time (as far as 6 days in advance but we would suggest 2-3 days). Your groceries will be ready for pickup at a specific time and you don’t even have to get out of the car. If you have the space and means; consider grocery shopping before you leave your hometown. The Outer Banks is made up of a chain of islands and sometimes restocks can take a little while
  • Locals, business owners, and employees really are trying their absolute best, again, please be kind.