Whether you’re new to the Outer Banks or you’ve been coming to this beautiful Corolla beach vacation destination for years, there are countless adventures to be had during the summer season. Each town and Outer Banks community offers many unique experiences and activities to enjoy, but one of our favorite places to explore is Corolla. Perfectly located near beachfront or soundfront homes, residents and visitors can experience everything from dining and shopping to wild horse tours and watersports. Corolla is the Outer Banks community that truly has it all.
Wild Horse Tours
Take on a self-guided tour in your own 4×4 drive vehicle or rent a Jeep nearby to explore the beaches and neighborhoods of Carova where a population of wild Spanish Mustangs roam freely. Local businesses also operate guided horse tours.
Ready to venture off the beaten path? If you don’t have your own, there are plenty of places on the Outer Banks to rent everything from standup paddle boards and kayaks to jet skis and sailboats. Venture out onto the Currituck Sound from locations in Corolla and explore the tall grasses along the shoreline. Or head a short distance to the ocean and try your hand at surfing or snorkeling! There are an unlimited list of activities with the water that can be fun for everyone.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
At 158 feet tall, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla began flashing it’s beacon light in 1875. The beam is visible for 18 miles and is nestled between Bodie Island Lighthouse in the south and Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia to the north. Imagine being the lighthouse keeper in the early 1900s as you climb the 220 steps for a fantastic view of the surrounding area.
Whalehead in Historic Corolla and Whalehead Wednesdays
Walking the grounds, enjoying the sunset over the Currituck Sound, or touring the 1920s Art Nouveau style residence open to the public are perfect ways to spend an afternoon or evening in Corolla. Learn about life on the Outer Banks during the early 1900s when the area was a prime spot for hunting waterfowl, or engage in the many ongoing presentations at the nearby museum. On Wednesdays, join Whalehead and local Sanctuary Vineyards as they host live music from 3-7pm throughout the summer. The event is held until August 26 and is free for non-drinking adults and children.
Throughout the summer, there are dozens of events held at different locations around Corolla. From sampling locally grown wine, game nights, benefits and mixers, to live music, there’s always something happening. The best place to find events is online or through many free publications you’ll find at shops and grocery stores. Or ask a local! The Corolla Wild Mustang Museum, for instance, host a ‘Paint Your Own Mustang’ activity several days a week in the Historic Corolla Village. Mike Dianna’s Grill Room has great live performance nearly every night for those looking for a night on the town.
Shopping, Dining and More…
Shopping in Corolla could not get any better. From the Timbuck II shopping center to nearby Monterey Plaza, you’re bound to find whatever you’re looking for. Stop in the locally-owned clothing stores, beach glass and jewelry shops, or arts and crafts businesses that make up the area. Scattered within the shops are also a handful of places to stop for a snack or a meal during your outing. If you’ve got kids in tow, check out the Corolla Raceway Indy kart track, miniature golf and more for recreation.
Historic Corolla Village
The village is a wonderful attraction for visitors who want to walk the sandy streets and explore historical buildings of the remaining isolated villages that were once found along the Outer Banks. Quaint shops are tucked in with century-old buildings. Explore places like the Wild Horse Museum, The Parker House, and the Village Garden. A local favorite, Corolla Village Barbecue is conveniently located nearby if you’re looking for an authentic experience and taste of Eastern North Carolina BBQ.
Walking is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to explore Corolla, whether shopping, heading to the beach or beyond. The Currituck Banks National Estuarine Reserve Access Trail is a must see while in the Outer Banks. For both visitors and locals alike, the trail covers more than 965 acres between the Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Your walk will take you through a beautiful landscape with wildlife and vegetation from marshes to maritime forest. Another favorite spot for walks are the long stretches of uninterrupted and quiet beaches. Corolla and towns in the northern Outer Banks have some of the quietest and unpopulated beaches in the area, perfect for a quiet evening.