Posted by Outer Banks Blue

A Perfect Day in Corolla in the NC Outer Banks

Wild Corolla horses

Blessed with 15 beaches plus multiple attractions, Corolla is one of the most popular spots in the NC Outer Banks. Spend some time here with your family, and you'll quickly see why.

Here's how you might pass a typical day in this peaceful coastal paradise.

Start with a Scrumptious Breakfast

Corolla's bracing sea air can give you a hearty appetite. So, head out early to First Light (790 Ocean Trail) for mouthwatering favorites like Cajun crab cakes smothered with homemade Hollandaise. Or opt for freshly baked bagels 'n' tasty fixins at Lighthouse Bagels (807 Ocean Trail).

Then get set for your first adventure...

See Corolla's Famous Wild Horses

Have you heard of the Banker horses? For over 400 years, these famous feral ponies have been wandering, wild and free, across the beaches of the Outer Banks. Nobody knows exactly how they got here, but it's believed that their ancestors were brought aboard a 16th-century Spanish galleon that shipwrecked somewhere close to Corolla's shore.

Today you can watch these magnificent Mustangs as they roam over snow-white sands and wade in the warm ocean waves. It's an unforgettable experience.

Come to Wild Horse Adventure Tours (610 Currituck Clubhouse Drive) and hop aboard a customized open-air Hummer H1 for an exclusive guided tour of Corolla's Wild Horse Sanctuary. As you roll through secluded Swan Beach, you'll get a chance to glimpse wild Banker ponies in their scenic natural habitat. Along the way, you'll also enjoy 360-degree views of colorful coastal wildlife.

The entire tour takes two hours and covers about 25 miles of unspoiled coastal wilderness. Throughout the trip, your guide will provide fascinating details on points of special interest.

Several other local companies offer similar guided excursions. Plus, if you prefer - and if you own a 4-wheel-drive vehicle - you can embark on your own self-guided cruise in search of the Banker horses. One word of caution, though. While these beautiful beasts are surprisingly docile, they're also completely wild, so always maintain a safe distance.

Climb the Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Up for a bit more family fun before you break for lunch? Visit the legendary Currituck Lighthouse, just north of Historic Corolla Park in Historic Corolla Village.

Since 1875, this majestic red-brick tower has been guiding mariners to safety. Today its First Order Fresnel Lens - now fully electrified - still beams a brilliant flashing light, ranging up to 18 nautical miles across the Atlantic Ocean.

All year-round, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can wander over the lighthouse grounds and browse the adjacent museum shop, absolutely free of charge. Plus, during the season - mid-March through the end of November - you can climb the 220 spiral steps to the circular observation deck near the top of the towering structure.

Be sure to pause at the base and at the first two landings to view museum-quality exhibits spotlighting the lighthouse's fabled history. And, once you reach the top, keep your camera handy as you drink in dazzling views of your breathtaking surroundings.

Climbers must be age 4 or older, although younger children (newborn to age 3) may "go along for the ride" as long as they're safe in a snug, secure carrier worn by a paying adult. Admission is $10 per person and free for tots 3 and under.

Pause for a Picnic Lunch at the Beach

By this time, you're probably more than ready for a rest and a bite to eat. Why not pick up some tasty takeout and head to one of Corolla's pristine public-access beaches? 

Several local eateries are known for their luscious lunches. Check out Corolla Pizza & Deli, Mama Easley's, and Corolla Cantina, among other area bistros offering tempting takeout fare.

Load up on yummy foodstuffs, spread your blanket on the beach, and spend a restful hour or two just noshing, chatting, relaxing, and watching the waves lap the shore. What a way to recharge your batteries!

Take a Leisurely Stroll Through the Whalehead

Now that you've got your second wind, why not explore the Historic Whalehead Club, located at 1100 Club Road right on Currituck Sound?

Originally built back in 1925, this opulent Art Nouveau mansion has now been meticulously restored to its original grandeur and glory. What's more, it's open to the public year 'round at very reasonable rates. (Children 5 and under are admitted free.)

Take a self-guided audio tour through the 21,000-square-foot main house to view richly appointed rooms with elegant period furnishings. Or, if you prefer, opt for an expertly guided tour, available weekdays between 11:00 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Any history buffs in your family? Or connoisseurs of interior décor? They'll relish this chance to see exactly how America's privileged elite lived during the Roaring Twenties. Even the kids will be wowed by the magnificence of it all.

End with a Delicious Dinner - Preferably Right on the Waterfront!

From casual eating to gourmet fine dining, you'll find it all in Corolla. Relax over freshly caught seafood and other coastal delicacies as you discuss your memorable day. Then head back to your luxury vacation rental to rest up for tomorrow's adventures.

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