What to Pack for the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Updated June 23, 2020.

It’s What I Wore Wednesday! I recently took a little weekend getaway with some girlfriends to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I’ll be honest, this was a packing challenge for me! I was not in charge of any of the planning, driving, finding restaurants, anything, so I had a hard time knowing what to pack since I didn’t know what we’d end up doing. To complicate matters more, the forecast was rainy all weekend! And even though this was a road trip (so no airport security or liquid limits to consider), the car I was in was at its 7 person max, so I still needed to make sure I packed lightly! And this is what I came up with.

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For the Drive

Can I just say how grateful I was not to be driving? It’s about a five hour drive from Washington, D.C., to Corolla, NC, and I’m just not a fan of driving at all. I don’t get motion sick, so I’m much happier in the back and enjoying the car conversation with friends! So I chose light denim ankle pants, a classic white t-shirt, sandals that would go with everything else I’m packing, my favorite travel purse, sunglasses, and my new “Beachy” hat! Click on the photos below for yours if you like this look!

Comfort is Key!

Daily Wear

Since I was not planning the trip, I didn’t know what we’d be doing! But since we’d only be there one full day and spend the rest of the days mostly driving, I decided to give myself two options for the most likely activities: hiking and sightseeing. I knew I’d want to run at least one morning, if not both mornings, we’d be there, so I have one exercise top with a built-in bra for both running and hiking, a bright yellow top for sightseeing that can go with my jeans above, and black yoga pants that can go with both!

Keeping it cool and casual.

Going Out

I didn’t know if we’d all go out to a nice restaurant or not, or whether I’d prefer a dress instead of jeans if we went sightseeing. I also needed a coverup for my swimsuit, so I had to go with my favorite, most versatile dress!


Even though we were there early in the season (before Memorial Day) and would probably not get in the water, you can’t go to the beach without a bathing suit right? This is one of my favorites, and bonus: the top can also be a top to wear with my jeans for hiking or just bumming around the vacation rental. Easy! I also always recommend water shoes when going to the beach to prevent getting cut on rocks, coral, broken glass, etc. The towel is a quick-dry, multi-purpose towel, and of course I needed sunscreen, even if it ended up being cloudy all weekend.

Beach ready!


Because this was a girls’ trip, I wanted to take a cute pair of pajamas! My mom got me these macaron pajama bottoms when she came up to visit me a couple of months ago.

Comfy pajamas!

I hope this helps you decide what to pack for your own trip to the Outer Banks! For more, check out What to Eat in the Outer Banks and 10 Things to Do in Corolla!

And for all my best packing hacks, tips, and strategies, I have a dedicated Packing Page!

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