Corolla, North Carolina is just one of the beautiful “towns” on this beautiful sandbar we call the Outer Banks. There’s so much to say about each part of the popular vacation destination that I couldn’t possibly fit everything about every area in one list. Not to mention, each town has its own unique features and history. Maybe you’ve been on the OBX more times than you can be bothered to count or maybe you haven’t gotten the chance just yet; either way, here are a few things about the Currituck Outer Banks area that you should know.
1. Beach Driving
If you go to the northernmost part of Corolla, past The Villages at Ocean Hill community, you’ll reach what’s known as the 4×4 area of the Currituck beaches. If you’re vacationing in the Northern Outer Banks are and have access to a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you’ll want to take advantage of this one of a kind opportunity. Gather up the family, pile in the Jeep and take a cruise to your own little spot on the coast for the day. If you do get the chance, make sure you brush up on all the need-to-know information so that you’re fully prepared. For a quick rundown of the laws/guidelines and general information about the 4×4 area, check out our blog, A Guide to 4×4 Carova, Outer Banks, NC (AKA Corolla 4×4).
2. There’s a Lot of History
From the Historic Corolla Park and Whalehead Club to the ambiguous, and widely debated, history of the wild horses, this stretch of the Outer Banks has a rich history all it’s own. People tend to forget that the Outer Banks is one of the earliest areas to be settled so the history goes back to the 1500s and beyond. Even the name “Currituck,” meaning “land of the wild goose” is derived from the Native Americans who first lived there. From the time the Outer Banks was settled to now, a lot has changed in this area, now known as Corolla.
3. Wild Horses
Speaking of the wild horses, if there’s one thing you’ve heard about Corolla, it probably has to do with these beautiful creatures that grace the dunes. These protected, feral horses, after 450 years of isolation, are a distinctive breed to the Outer Banks. They’re fairly short and stocky, thrive on the wild grasses, and are a beautiful sight to see. Genetics have established that these horses are descendants of the Spanish Mustangs of the Conquistadores, but the big mystery is…how did they get here? Some theories are that they escaped sinking ships during transport, they were left behind as Spanish colonies evacuated, or are were they brought over with the Lost Colony? We may never know the exact story but one thing is for sure, we’re sure happy they’re here! If you ever get the chance, make sure to go on a wild horse tour to see them in all their glory.
Depending on what time of year you visit, there may be limited dining options directly in Corolla. Many restaurants are open on a seasonal basis, generally May through September, but they’re all delicious. A couple of my favorites are Agave Roja, Philly Steak Subs, Cosmos Pizza, and Off the Wall Taphouse. Even if none of these options sound like exactly what you’re looking for, there are more dining options in nearby Duck!
5. Respect the Dunes
All along the Outer Banks, you’ll see signs saying something along the lines of “please stay off the dunes”. These protective mounds aren’t a natural occurrence. The manmade dunes and their seagrass have been put in place to protect the beaches from eroding away. Each harsh storm our beautiful coast bares would be much harsher if it weren’t for these dunes!
6. Off-season Vacations are Tranquil
Contrary to what may come to mind when you think of a beach “town” or what you’ve seen with mid-summer traffic, Corolla does not boast a large population. There are less than 800 permanent residents in Corolla, NC, which is quite the opposite of what you would expect when you look at the great influx of visitors throughout the season. That’s why if you’re looking for a slow-paced atmosphere, serene seascapes and little to no crowds, and even saving some money on lodging while you’re at it, a fall or winter vacation to Corolla might be your new favorite getaway.
7. It’s “Cor-rah-la” not “Cuh-roll-uh”
In the grand scheme of things, this is probably the most minor on the list. But it’s worth noting that the pronunciation is a bit different that what it may look like at face value. It may be spelt the same as the popular Toyota sedan, but locals and frequent visitors know it’s a bit different.
8. It’s Truly Captivating
No matter what time of year, how many people there are, or where you decide to get dinner, there’s one thing that everyone who visits the area can agree on: it has an allure like no other place on earth. Between the lazy beach days that restore the soul and making lifelong memories with the family, it’s no surprise that Corolla is cherished by locals and visitors alike. I mean, what’s not to love?