Outer Banks, NC  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Outer Banks Area Features

Corolla, NC

For those seeking a quieter, vintage beach retreat, Corolla is the place. The area is renowned for its wild horses that roam the unspoiled beaches, quaint stores, and total relaxation. Yet, there is plenty to experience in Corolla, with adventure available to those who want it and welcoming historic structures that are open to the public.

For the Love of the Whalehead Club

Journey into the past at the Whalehead Club. This magnificent building continues to serve as a testament of love and also as a beautiful reminder of the bygone era of the 1920s. 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.

Scale the Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse has been an impressive sight in Corolla ever since its construction began in 1873. This monumental structure has worked for over a century to save countless lives. 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!

Journey Along with the Wild Horses

One of the most popular sights in Corolla is 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 Corolla Wild Horse Museum. Located in the same complex as the Corolla Visitors Center, 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.

Explore 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!

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