Currituck County's northern beaches around Corolla have been described by USA Weekend as ''one of the 10 best undiscovered beaches on the East Coast.''
The northernmost accessible town on the Outer Banks, Corolla has seen rapid development over the past ten years. Up until 1984, when the state extended Highway 12 north from the Dare County line, the town was a sleepy seaside village. Today, multimillion dollar vacation homes dwarf the village proper and make Corolla one of the most desirable upscale vacation destinations in the country. Ironically, it was the opening of the road and the ensuing traffic that eventually led to the relocation of one of Corolla's most famous attractions, the wild ponies.
The opportunities for outdoor activity are incredible in Currituck County, and fun isn’t limited to the beach or golf course. The Currituck Sound supports numerous activities: kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, and boating. The shallow sound makes it easy to learn sports like windsurfing, but it requires that motor boats and sailboats have a very shallow draft. Kayak eco-tours and parasailing are offered on the Currituck Outer Banks.
Off-the-water activities include bird-watching, hiking, off-road driving, and biking. Of interest to birders and wildlife enthusiasts are an Audubon Sanctuary just south of The Currituck Club, the 4WD area north of Corolla, the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, and the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge at Knotts Island. Biking is great fun on the flatlands of Currituck County, though it’s best to steer clear of the busiest roads during times of heavy summer traffic.
Hunting and Fishing
The Currituck Sound has long been called a "Sportsman’s Paradise." Named for the Algonquin Indian term meaning “Land of the Wild Goose,” since the early 19th century shooters from all along the East Coast have flocked to the area along with the yearly migrations of ducks, geese, and swans. The Currituck Sound, a shallow, grassy body of brackish water stretching 35 miles long and 4 to 15 miles wide, still supports a variety of waterfowl.
For more information about Waterfowl Hunting on the Outer Banks or to setup a trip visit http://www.outerbankswaterfowl.com/hunt.html
Anglers can be seen fishing from boats on the sound. Surf fishing at the ocean is also popular. Licenses are required for both freshwater fishing in the Currituck Sound and saltwater fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. (Children younger than 16 do not need a license.) They can be obtained at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education in Corolla, via www.ncwildlife.org or by calling (888) 248-6834. To obtain an application for hunting blinds or for the hunting regulations of Currituck County, contact Cindy Scott, Clerk to the Currituck County Game Commission, (252) 429-3472 or visit www.currituckgamecommission.org.
Corolla is all about retail recreation. Shopping opportunities are abundant in and around the three major shopping complexes — The Shoppes at the Currituck Club, TimBuck II, Monteray Plaza and Corolla Light Town Center — and in the old Corolla village area.
Almost all of the shops here are locally owned and operated, so they each have an individual character and offer things you won’t see at home. You could easily spend a whole day shopping in Corolla when you need a little break from the beach. Just remember that on rainy days, everyone else will want to be shopping with you. Vacationers are notorious for getting in their cars on rainy days and heading straight to the shopping areas.
If you’ve got family members in tow, don’t worry, because most of the shopping centers here offer diversions other than shopping. TimBuck II Shopping Village has plenty of recreational opportunities, like water sports and go-carts, to keep the family entertained while you shop. At Monteray Shores Shopping Plaza, there’s a climbing wall and movie theater. Corolla Light Town Center features a new skatepark that’s as much fun for curious onlookers as it is for skaters.
Corolla Wild Horses
For more than 400 years, the small, swift and sturdy Corolla Wild Horses have run free on the Currituck Outer Banks. These beautiful Spanish mustangs can still be seen roaming the beaches. Click here to learn more about the Corolla Wild Horses or visit the Corolla Wild Horse website at www.corollawildhorses.com.
The Whalehead Club at Currituck Heritage Park
Built in the mid-1920's, the Whalehead Club continues to stand as one of the most spectacular landmarks on the Currituck Outer Banks. Owners, Edward Collings and Marie Louise Knight traveled to Corolla from points north and used Corolla Island as their winter residence from 1925-34. Boasting art nouveau architectural styling and accented with Tiffany lamps, cork-tiled floors, brass duck head and water lily hardware, this magnificent structure stood isolated for years on these remote barrier islands and has been fully restored.
The Whalehead Club is opened year around. Location: just off Hwy. 12, Corolla. Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; admission charged for adults and children over 9 years of age. Call 252-453-9040. Website: www.whaleheadclub.org
Currituck Heritage Park
For a relaxing day, visit Currituck Heritage Park, located at the Whalehead Club in Corolla. Take a stroll along the winding walkways that lead visitors to the original boathouse and pedestrian footbridge, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Just north of the boathouse are two additional restored structures: the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Light Keeper's House. Built in 1875 and towering 163 feet high, the lighthouse welcomes visitors to climb its 214 steps to the top. The keeper's quarters has been restored and is currently used as a private residence. Tours of the Currituck Lighthouse are held daily from Easter to Thanksgiving. Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; admission is $6.00 per person (free to children under 8 years of age). Call 252-453-4939.
Corolla Chapel is one of Corolla's most-treasured historic buildings tucked away behind the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in soundside of old Corolla Village. It is one of the most quaint and charming churches you will ever see. It was built in 1885 and was recently moved so that it could be expanded to accommodate its growing attendance. The century-old chapel still has its original interior walls and ceilings and is furnished with many of the original items including its pews, pedal organ, pulpit and pulpit chairs.
The best way to see the Corolla Chapel is to attend a service there. Interdenominational services are held year-round. It is also a popular destination for weddings.
Schedule of Services:
In Season: Memorial Day weekend through August - 8:30 AM & 10 AM
Off Season: October through Sunday before Memorial Day weekend - 10 AM
Unscheduled Services: call (252) 453-4224
Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Visitors to the 22,000-square-foot center located on the Currituck Sound will have the opportunity to learn about Currituck County’s coastal wildlife. Waterfowl hunting, decoy-making and fishing are all traditions connected to the region's ecology and are important elements in the center's design.
The Center is located off of Highway 12 near the Whalehead Club and Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
Hours of Operation:
Open daily, 9am-5pm.
Open Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Friday. Closed on other state holidays.
Admission is free; please call to sign up for programs.
Contributions to the center are gratefully accepted; donation boxes are located in the lobby. Please ask at the information desk about tax-deductible gifts to the center.
Currituck Outer Banks Visitor's Center
Located at 500 Hunt Club Rd., just off Highway 12 in Corolla, NC, the Currituck Outer Banks Visitor's Center provides guests with access to a wide variety of information on the sights, happenings and entertainment in Currituck County.
Stop by and let the knowledgeable staff help make your vacation "More Than You Imagined!"
(252) 453-9612 Local
(877) 287-7488 Toll Free
At the luxurious Sanderling Spa, you'll find yourself immersed in a tranquil setting situated in a unique, natural environment in which to relax and unwind even before your treatment begins.
The Sanderling Spa's menu of services presents a delightful selection of massage, body, skin or nail care treatments. Each one is inspired by the unique natural resources of the Outer Banks coastline and incorporates indigenous ingredients celebrating our beautiful surroundings.
The Sanderling Spa is open everyday at 8:00 a.m.
Seasonal hours vary; please call for most current schedule of services.
Phone Number: 252.261.4111
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse at Corolla is the only light in North Carolina that is still housed in its original structure. The tower is 163 feet tall. First put into service on December 1, 1875, it still serves as an aid to navigation. Each of the many lighthouses in the region received distinctive painted exteriors to aid identification --except the light at Corolla. It was distinguished by being left unpainted, allowing the visitors to view nearly one million bricks!
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Museum Shop are open daily 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM from Easter through Thanksgiving (closed Thanksgiving Day). Admission to the grounds and parking are free. There is a fee to climb the tower for everyone 8 years of age and older. Children 7 years and younger are admitted free with a climbing adult. Cash, checks and domestic Traveler's Checks are forms of payment. Credit cards are not accepted. The Museum Shop accepts cash, checks and credit cards for their merchandise only and not for climbing the lighthouse. Telephone 252/453-4939 for lighthouse hours, fees and other information.
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge is found in the northern portion of Currituck Sound on an Outer Banks barrier island. Some tracts transition from the Atlantic Ocean to Currituck Sound, which include sandy beaches, grassy dunes, maritime forests, shrub thickets, and fresh and brackish marshes. There are concentrations of wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, and raptors with a variety of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. Piping plover and loggerhead sea turtles occasionally nest on the refuge.
- Total Acres: 4,103; Wetlands 2,033 acres; Woodlands 778 acres; Brush 874 acres; Beach 418 acres.
- Location: the refuge is located 3/4 of a mile north of Corolla, NC. NC Route 12 ends in Corolla. After the road ends proceed up the beach 3/4 of a mile to the first refuge tract.
- Refuge managed as a satellite of Mackay Island NWR.
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