The Outer Banks, North Carolina is an ideal destination for a beach getaway. My family stays at the northern end of the thin island chain, in Corolla. What you may not realize – like me – is that the Outer Banks are quite large. The famous Hatteras Lighthouse is actually two hours from Corolla! Needless to say I had to change my plans for things to do in Corolla, Outer Banks. here is my top 15 list things to do, places to see, places to eat and places to visit.
Where is Corolla in the Outer Banks?
The Outer Banks are located on the east coast of North Carolina. This is a 320 km (200 mile) string of barrier islands (meaning there is a LOT to do here!). They start at the Virginia border and go all the way to Ocracoke Island. Corolla is located in the northernmost part of the islands, still in North Carolina.
Best things to do in Corolla
Visit Currituck Lighthouse
I was getting ready to see the famous Hatteras Lighthouse when Google Maps informed me that it was a two hour drive away. Fortunately, he also told me that there was another lighthouse closer: the Currituck lighthouse! This one is all brick and unpainted. The park that surrounds it almost makes you forget that you are next to the beach. You can also visit the lighthouse keeper’s duplex and the souvenir shop which was once a detached house. Access to the summit costs $10, but the walk is free. The lighthouse reopened on Labor Day 2020 (two days after we left) – but we were able to take some amazing drone photos!
Explore the Whalehead House and Museum
This was closed this year due to covid-19, but usually costs $7 to visit the museum. Corolla has a rich history, which I was unaware of before visiting it. The house was built in the 1920s and is beautiful (even from the outside!). Glad I spent some time exploring the iconic Whalehead House in historic Corolla Park.
Explore the Whalehead House and Museum
This museum was closed this year due to covid, but the visit usually costs 7 dollars. Corolla has a rich history, which I personally was not aware of before visiting it. The house was built in the 1920s and is beautiful (even from the outside!). Glad I spent some time exploring the iconic Whalehead House in historic Corolla Park.
Take a Jetski Ride
Yes, you read correctly ! A jetski ride! Corolla Water Sports offers a whole host of water activities, but my favorite was the jet ski ride! We were able to see Corolla from the water. From the historic lighthouse to the duck shacks in the water, it was definitely an interesting way to see the city. Our hearts also raced! We had a guide in the front and another in the back so it wasn’t like a normal jet ski where you are on your own at the moment. So if you fall or there is a problem with the jet ski (ours had weed stuck in it at first) they are there to help!
There is such an array of seashells in the Outer Banks. You will see all shapes and colors and find many intact shells. Please leave the seashells for others to enjoy and to help protect our environment.
Visit the wild horses
The wild horses of the Outer Banks are famous. These are wild animals that are protected and roam. Before you get carried away, read my full review of our horseback riding tour and decide if you should do it alone or with a guide!
Relax at the beach
This is one of the best and most iconic things to do in Corolla! The pristine beaches of the Outer Banks are perfect for relaxing with a good book. The beaches are quite flat, which is perfect for a long beach walk (or a jog if you like that sort of thing).
Where to eat in Corolla
The Chill Spot
Can you say you had a beach vacation if you didn’t stop for ice cream? Get your fix of ice cream, milkshakes or sundaes at The Chill Spot!
No, they are not made of duck. Yes, they are from the town of Duck, just down the street. However, Duck Donuts donuts are fresh and available in Corolla itself! You can choose any coating or topping as donuts are made to order. Be sure to order your donuts the day before.