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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

Cedar Island, North Carolina
A Week of Fun in the Sun and Out on the Deck Grilling

Cedar Island NC ferry
Cedar Island, NC


Grill Girl on the Deck at the Beach
Grill Girl Hits the Deck


Catching Fresh Crabs
Catching Fresh Crabs


Fresh Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon
Fresh Shrimp on the Grill


Grilled Dinner on the Deck
Dinner on the Deck

My oldest son graduated from high school last month and heads off to college in August. Since this is his last summer at home, I told him to pick our vacation spot. I had no idea what he might pick, but he said he wanted to go back to Cedar Island, North Carolina.

Cedar Island, North Carolina

Cedar Island is a tiny island tucked behind Ocracoke Island on the outer banks of North Carolina. The island is around 5 miles long and 1 mile wide. The bulk of the island is a nature preserve. A small town sits along the shore leading up to the Cedar Island ferry.

How I Found Cedar Island

I’ve found that vacations work out better for our family when we get a house. We’ve stayed in hotels and done the high impact vacations. The boys were not so thrilled. So, I switched gears.

Vacation Rental by Owner has homes all over the world that can be rented directly through the owners. I just stumbled on VRBO and have used the service for several years.

In many cases, it’s less expensive to rent a private home (a modest one anyway) rather than finding a spot in a hotel. We have, for instance, stayed a week in the mountains of North Carolina for $250. Beach prices are higher, but a house on Cedar Island is less expensive than hotels that are on the water on the Outer Banks.

Staying in a house is much more relaxing. Most have all the comforts of home. In looking for rentals, we try to get on the water (of some type) and also look for houses with decks and grills. It’s also nice when there’s a washer and dryer at the house.

Our First Stay at Cedar Island

We didn’t really know what to expect the first time we went to Cedar Island, but we found that it’s a very friendly area with lots of outdoor activities. The boys clammed and put out crab traps and fished. We all rode horses on the beach. And, we took the ferry over to Ocracoke for a day where we could four wheel drive on the beach.

They have a small hotel on Cedar Island and a couple of campgrounds, but we rented Cedar Sunrise cottage through VRBO. It’s a cute yellow cottage on the sound. There are three bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and a deck with a gas grill. They also have a nice dock to get in and out of the sound.

The boys had a grand time exploring along the beach and getting out in the water. The sound water is salty but does not have big waves like further out on the Outer Banks. I could see them while I was grilling our meals. They just ran in and out like at home. It was very relaxing and fun.

This Year at Cedar Island

It seemed like only a couple of years since we’d visited Cedar Island, but I checked. It had been five years. Time does go by fast.

The boys were older on this trip, so we took more trips. It’s around an hour to get to Morehead City and to Emerald Isle. We took day trips to those beaches and also returned to Ocracoke again.

In the evenings, the boys canoed and kayaked. My younger son bought his own kayak which he brought and gave a good work out. He has really enjoyed kayaking and has joined a local group for kayakers.

I, of course, spent a lot of time on the porch grilling. Quality Seafood (about a mile down the road) had fresh shrimp for $3 a pound. That was straight off the boat. The boys dug up clams, and I steamed those on the grill and also made a yummy clam chowder.

Produce is plentiful on the eastern shore of North Carolina, so we visited roadside stands and picked up fresh vegetables. My boys especially love corn grilled. We grilled some in the husks and some in tin foil. Delicous either way.

Is Cedar Island the Spot for You and Your Family?

If you enjoy crowds and lights, then I would not recommend Cedar Island. It really is a remote spot and tranquil. Even the cell phones wouldn’t pick up on the island (but did when we took day trips).

For a relaxing vacation and for those who love the outdoors, Cedar Island is perfect. I would think a house would be the best bet or perhaps camping. Much of the appeal is in feeling the flow of the island life and leaving all the gadgets and worries at home.



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