Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Corolla, NC

Corolla is a great destination for those seeking a quieter alternative and a vintage beach retreat. The area is renowned for its natural surroundings, wild horses, quaint stores and structures from the turn of the last century, and relaxing tranquility. But describing it as sleepy would be inaccurate, since there is plenty to experience in Corolla!

Take a Wild Horse Tour

One of the most popular sights in Corolla are the resident wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that have lived in this region since the days of the Spanish explorers. By renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle or while on a wild horse tour, visitors can watch these beautiful animals as they graze on grasses growing among the sand dunes. Begin a day in Corolla by driving along the beach in search of the horses. If you’re lucky, they may even wander onto the property at your rental home. For a more in-depth exploration of the wild horses, visit the nearby Corolla Wild Horse Museum. Housed in a restored schoolhouse, the museum hosts exhibits for children and information from friendly docents about the local horses. Visit the gift shop to bring home a souvenir of your excursion while supporting the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, the not-for-profit group that helps protect these marvelous creatures.

Visit the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education

Other animal encounters can be experienced nearby at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. This quaint museum not only showcases animals that can be found in the region, but also has an aquarium containing local fish, a scientific display of wildlife craniums, and depictions of daily life of watermen who labor on the Outer Banks. Plus, the museum works to rescue wildlife—particularly sea turtles and marine mammals. Be sure to watch the interesting and informative short film before strolling over boardwalks and through the marshes that make up the adjoining Historic Corolla Park. You’ll likely be able to glimpse some of the native animals in the wild. A visit to this museum is a great introduction to the North Carolina coast and the best part is—it’s free!

Climb to the Top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse

In 1873, construction began on a structure that has worked for over a century to save countless lives. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is an impressive sight in Corolla. Unlike the other lighthouses that dot the Outer Banks, this 162’ lighthouse has never been painted but showcases the million bricks that were used to construct it. Its Fresnel lens can project a beam across the sea for approximately 20 nautical miles and still operates to keep boaters safe from the dangerous shoals just off the coastline. Currently, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse is managed and operated by a local non-profit organization. For a small fee to help cover costs of maintenance, those who don’t mind heights can ascend the 220 steps to gaze out over the land and sea. It’s a breathtaking view and a breath-taking climb!

Visit the Whalehead in Historic Corolla

After visiting the historic lighthouse, continue your journey into the past at the Whalehead Club. Serving as a beautiful reminder of the bygone era of the 1920s, this building is a testament of love. Railroad tycoon Edward Collings Knight Jr. so enjoyed hunting waterfowl with his wife, Marie Louise, that he built this hunting lodge for her when local hunting clubs would not accept female members. It has been painstakingly restored to the exact glory of the time when the Knight family lived within its walls. Visit the Whalehead in Historic Corolla to see life in the early part of the 20th century for yourself.

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