You may have a little wait for breakfast at Cox's in Morehead City, where locals crowd the booths and tables. Nothing fancy here (just about everything is less than $5), but if you're looking for bacon and eggs served all day, you're in the right place.
Request a water-view table for lunch at the Front Street Grill at Stillwater. Dill and bacon flavor the fresh clam chowder ($4.25), and you'll like the delicately fried soft-shell crab po'boy ($9.75).
One of our favorite stops in the area remains the Beaufort Grocery Company. You won't be disappointed with the Sonnamabeach sandwich ($9.99) with ham, capocolla, and salami served with a garlic-and-herb aïoli, grilled onions, and peppers. And unless you're ready to be tempted, divert your eyes from the rich, homemade desserts in the case up front. Editor's tip: Consider packing a picnic lunch from here for one of your beach excursions.
left: Seafood shines at The Sandbar in Town Creek Marina, with entrées such as the mixed grill featuring fresh wahoo, shrimp, and herb-rubbed lamb chops ($27).