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Corolla Things To Do

Looking for something to do beyond the beach? Corolla’s recreation scene tends to focus mostly on beautiful Mother Nature, as any respectable Outer Banks things to do should. One of the most popular Corolla things to do is to take a tour to see the Corolla wild horses. Another top Corolla recreation is going on a kayak outing to see the natural wonders of this area from a backwaters perspective—it’s quiet and unhurried and settles the soul. As with all Outer Banks recreation, fishing is huge here, so much so that you’ll see an entire section devoted to that addictive activity.

But if you have your shoes all laced up and are ready for some real action, Corolla’s things to do offer first-rate tennis courts and a fitness center, screaming go-carts, an 18-hole links course, a climbing wall, Segway tours, putt putt golf courses and hikes in a nearby nature sanctuary or just along some of Corolla’s village lanes.

It can be debated whether the premier Outer Banks thing to do is surfing or nightlife (though some would argue it’s actually shopping), but either persuasion is sufficiently supported here. Surf shops provide advise, lessons and gear. And, while Corolla’s nightlife scene isn’t as multi-faceted as that found a bit farther south, you can definitely relax with the perfect martini and live tunes.

Back Beach Wild Horse Tours

1159-H Austin Street
(252) 453-6141

This is Wild squared! Join Bob in one of his three monster trucks or his open-air safari-style trucks for a wild ride to see Corolla’s wild horses. Up to 14 people can join the fun—including Grandmom and the baby, because while it’s wild, it’s also perfectly safe—for a view of Corolla’s horses, wildlife and landscape like no other. Your tour guide will regale you with stories of history and fun facts. These tours run five times a day, March through November (weather permitting), from 9 a.m. until sunset. Don’t miss out on this unfiltered fun!

Back Country 4x4 & Kayak Safari

Corolla Light Town Center
(252) 453-0877

Some of the best wildlife viewing and paddling on the Outer Banks is in the remote northern waterways of the Currituck Sound near the Virginia border. Back Country’s unique 4x4 & Kayak Safari carries small groups and families by custom open-air Safari Cruisers through 30 miles of off-road beach, dune and sand trail to paddle from the private Spanish Mustang Preserve where they have exclusive access. The waters here are protected from wind and current, and the tandem kayaks are super stable. Naturalist guides, who are also your kayak instructors, will explain Outer Banks ecology and point out local wildlife. In an effort to preserve this unspoiled habitat, Back Country limits space to just 10 people. More often than not you will even see the wild horses from the kayaks if not from the safari cruiser. Two distinct tours are available. Each tour is 3-plus hours and is the best of both worlds, an off-road 4x4 Safari excursion and a kayak tour. Tours are available for beginner or intermediate paddlers. Reservations are required.

Back Country Segway Safaris

Corolla Light Town Center
(252) 453-0877

The Segway looks like so much fun that when you see people gliding around Corolla on them, you’ll want to try one too! The Segway is a two-wheeled electric vehicle that’s a blast to ride! It’s so easy it seems the Segway was made just for you. At Back Country Segway Safaris, located at the Corolla Light Town Center in Corolla, you can choose a gliding tour of historic Corolla Village, or for maximum fun take an open-air Safari Beach Cruiser up 10 miles of beach and experience the world’s first off road Segway trail ride. Reservations are required.

Back Country Wild Horse Safari

Corolla Light Town Center
(252) 453-0877

Scott Trabue’s Wild Horse Safari is an off-road eco-adventure that will deliver you and your family directly to the wild Spanish Mustangs that have thrived on the northern Outer Banks for nearly 500 years. Your naturalist guide will carry you in custom open-air Safari Cruisers through 30 miles of beaches, dune and back country sand lanes to discover the Outer Banks’ unique wildlife. Shore life including pelicans, dolphins and osprey are almost always present. You will hear stories about the Ghost Fleet and Outer Banks maritime history and learn about the mysterious petrified forest. Back Country Outfitters has exclusive access to the Spanish Mustang Preserve, where sightings of these regal wild horses is guaranteed, while your tour guide explains their Spanish Colonial heritage and the local preservation efforts. Reservations are required.

Bob’s Wild Horse Tours

1066 Ocean Trail, Inn at Corolla Light
Highway 12
(252) 453-8602

Bob White is a legend among the horse-sighting enthusiasts, and his trained staff has been offering tours since 1996 with a great reputation for being entertaining and informative. Bob’s tours last two hours and incorporate quite a bit of local history to complement the sightseeing. At the beginning, your guide will take you past Whalehead and the lighthouse and through Corolla Village, showering you with some interesting lore. Then it’s up to the four-wheel-drive area, where you’ll see the horses grazing in their natural habitat. Bob’s tours are given in their open-top vehicles — one of a kind experience! — and in their new “Monster” vans, and they can accommodate large groups. Call for details and reservations. All tours have a money back guarantee if you don’t see the horses.

Coastal Explorations

1118 Corolla Village Lane
Historic Corolla Village
(252) 453-9872

Coastal Explorations is a small, adventure-oriented touring company in Corolla. Their guides are friendly and outgoing and have the skill and knowledge to keep you entertained and informed. Whether it’s kayak rentals, kayak tours, boat tours or crabbing trips, they’ll get you out on the water and having fun!

Corolla Outback Adventures

1150 Ocean Trail
(252) 453-4484

Established in 1962, Corolla Outback Adventures was the first to offer guide service and off-road beach tours on the Currituck Outer Banks. Benderʼs Beach Service began guiding beach tours to Corolla and beyond 50 years ago, well before a paved road existed north of Duck. That same tradition continues today, featuring their unique tour into Corollaʼs “outback,” where wild herds still roam freely. The 20-mile round trip along the beach strand includes exclusive access into the wild horse habitat on land the Bender family donated to protect future herds. Seasoned guides share their experience and knowledge along with history and colorful folklore. Corolla Outback also offers off-road transportation for special events, wedding parties, family reunions, school groups or business meetings.

Corolla Raceway

796 Sunset Boulevard
Timbuck II Shopping Village
(252) 453-9100

The Corolla Raceway features one large track running single, double and junior go carts. For the tamer ones in your crowd, there are freestanding, gas-powered bumper cars. The on-site arcade is a hit with the kids. The ospreys in the nest overlooking the track are a hit with everyone. The Raceway is open Easter through the beginning of October.

Corolla Wild Horse Museum

1129 Corolla Village Road
(252) 453-8002

Housed within a historic home in Corolla Village, the free Corolla Wild Horse Fund museum shares the wonderful history and legacy of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs. Descendants of Spanish Mustangs brought to our island nearly 500 years ago, they are a hardy and majestic breed that is teetering on the brink of extinction. At the museum the whole family can learn more from their knowledgeable staff, photography and historical information. Donations are accepted and encouraged.

Here are some special events for the summer:
Paint your own wild Colonial Spanish Mustang! The Corolla Wild Horse Fund sponsors horse painting for kids every Tuesday and Thursday, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Paint, brushes and smocks are provided, and kids of all ages can join in the fun. Artists can choose from large wooden horses attached to posts that stay up all week for visitors to admire or smaller wooden horse cut-outs to go and paint later. All proceeds benefit the wild horses.

On Fridays, weather permitting, a gentled Colonial Spanish Mustang is ready to meet and greet your family at the Wild Horse Museum from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Corolla Wild Horse Fund staff and trained volunteers provide fascinating information about the history of wild horses and how YOU can help save this heritage breed. Petting is encouraged!

Take the Trip of a Lifetime to see the wild horses, riding with the experts in charge of the actual management and care of the wild herd. All funds raised go right back into the care and protection of the wild horses. Prices are $20 for children and $45 for adults. Please call for reservations or book your trip at www.corollawildhorses.com

On Wednesdays, at their second location at Scarborough Faire Shopping Village in Duck, ride a gentled Colonial Spanish Mustang around the ring while raising awareness and funds to help this critically endangered breed. Rides are offered from 2 to 5 p.m. in conjunction with other Faire Days festivities including live music and kids crafts.

While a lot of the fun programming happens during the summer, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund is open all year, so please stop by to visit and become a member.

Corolla Wild Horse Tours

1210 Ocean Trail
(252) 207-0511

Corolla Wild Horse Tours has been guiding tours to Corolla’s horse country — the four-wheel-drive-only beaches north of Corolla — since 1996. With these experienced and knowledgeable guides, you can sit back and enjoy a comfortable, family-oriented tour. This company uses 15-passenger open-air safari-style trucks that are safe for any age, including kids in car seats. Along the trip, your guide will tell you about the history of Corolla and the horses as well as point out all the wonders of nature. The guides have been certified by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and have a reputation of being quite entertaining. The two-hour tours, which cover about 25 miles of off-road area, run all day long until sunset.

Hummer Adventure Tours

610 Clubhouse Drive
Shoppes at Currituck Club
(252) 489-4878

See the wild horses of the Outer Banks and whip through beach, dune and forest trails with Humvee Adventure Tours. The 13-passenger, open-air Humvee has been upgraded and customized to offer the safest and most comfortable ride possible. With the recent purchase of land in 2014, Humvee Adventure Tours can now venture into three distinct ecosystems that are teeming with an abundance of wildlife, providing an exciting ride through a maritime forest and high sand and dune trails with views of the protected marshlands. Inaccessible by most off-road vehicles, the Humvee can take you where no other vehicle can. You’ll see wild horses (money back guarantee!), and you will also explore some of the most beautiful, wild beach environments on the East Coast.

Island Revolution Surf Co. and Skatepark

1159 Austin Street
Corolla Light Town Center
(252) 453-9484

Shop here for surf and skate threads, equipment and accessories. Island Revolution has a full line of surfboards and skateboards. They also have accessories and clothing for men and women from O’Neill, Billabong, Dakine, Analog, RVCA, Volcom, Roxy, Reef and Sanuk, plus a great selection of killer shades from Arnette, Dragon, Von Zipper, Electric and more. They also offer boards from Rusty, JS Industries, Victoria and others! Ask about surf and kiteboarding lessons, and check out surf videos on their plasma TVs while you shop. You can purchase passes to the concrete skatepark here, and in the summer skate clinics are available for $30 for a 90-minute session from 10:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in season. Plus you can skate for free on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. See Recreation for more about the Corolla Skatepark and surf lessons.

Just For the Beach Rentals

1006 S. Virginia Dare Trail
MP 9 on the Beach Road
Kill Devil Hills
(252) 441-9480
501 Old Stoney Rd
(252) 453-9388
(252) 441-6048
Toll Free
(866) 629-7368

Want to plan your own kayak tour? Just for the Beach Rentals has kayaks available for rent, the sit-on-top style, for single, double or triple paddlers. Or, if you want to leave your car behind, you can make like a local and pedal around town on one of their comfortable beach cruisers (bikes are available for all ages). Didn’t realize there would be great tennis courts in the area? If you didn’t pack your racket, you can rent one at Just for the Beach. Beach volleyball sets are also available as well as beach chairs and umbrellas. And, if getting in the water is more your thing, they also rent surfboards known as soft-tops, which are ideal for beginning surfers. Surfboard rentals are $20 a day or $60 a week. They also have body and skim boards for rent for $10 a day or $20 a week. Standup paddleboards are the most recent addition to their offerings and rent for $50 a day or $150 a week. Just for the Beach can deliver everything to you.

Kitty Hawk Kites -- Monteray Plaza

819 Ocean Trail, Monteray Plaza
(252) 453-3685 x877

This Kitty Hawk Kites location offers guided kayak eco-tours beginning at Corolla Light. You can book tours by calling the toll free number. Be sure to make advance reservations because they are usually booked solid in season. You can also rent kayaks here. There's also a climbing wall that is a great challenge for young and old! This location also sells a wide variety of kites, toys and souvenirs and sportswear including Columbia, TEVA, Crocs, Vibram and custom Outer Banks T-shirts and accessories. Additional recreation including Segway tours, Jet ski rentals, parasailing, hang gliding and kiteboarding can be found at the numerous Kitty Hawk Kites locations found throughout the Outer Banks.

Kitty Hawk Kites -- TimBuck II Shopping Village

785L Sunset Boulevard, TimBuck II Shopping Village
(252) 453-8845

Kitty Hawk Kites in TimBuck II offers guided kayak eco-tours beginning at Corolla Light. You can book tours by calling the toll-free number; be sure to make reservations because they're usually booked solid in season. You can also rent kayaks from Kitty Hawk Kites at the Monteray Plaza store. Additional recreation including Segway tours, Jet ski rentals, parasailing, hang gliding and kiteboarding can be found at the numerous Kitty Hawk Kites locations found throughout the Outer Banks.

Kitty Hawk Surf Co.

785L Sunset Boulevard
TimBuck II Shopping Village
(252) 453-4999
1213 Duck Road
Wee Winks Square
(252) 261-8787

This store is your one-stop shop for surf, skim, kayak and SUP gear. They carry the latest sportswear and surf brands like Billabong, Quiksilver, Roxy and Volcom for both men and women. They also have a huge selection of popular T-shirts and sweatshirts including OBX, Peace Frogs and Old Guys Rule. Plus, there’s also a nice selection of Zap skimboards, Hobie and WIlderness Systems kayaks, Naish, Surftech, Jimmy Lewis and Yolo SUPs if you want to do more than look the part! 

Ocean Atlantic Rentals

Corolla Light Town Center
One block south of the Lighthouse
(252) 453-2440
1149 Duck Road
(252) 261-4346
2001 S. Croatan Highway
The Bypass, MP 9.75
Kill Devil Hills
(252) 441-7823
40809 N.C. Highway 12
(252) 995-5868

If you want to rent kayaks to do some exploring on your own, Ocean Atlantic Rentals will bring them to you. You can rent kayaks for exploring the sound or riding the ocean waves.

And, when visiting many areas of the Outer Banks, you’ll need your car from time to time to get to the grocery store or between shopping centers. Otherwise, ditch the car and pedal everywhere you go. They rent single-speed beach cruisers, kids’ and BMX bikes, Kiddie Kart trailers and trikes for the little ones, plus you can get helmets and gear for the entire family. Pick up your bikes here or have them delivered to your door. 

And if that’s not enough, Ocean Atlantic Rentals also has all the equipment you need for surfing, bodyboarding or skimboarding. They even have swim fins, which are great for bodyboarding. If the water is chilly when you’re here, they rent wetsuits to keep you warm while you tackle the waves. Ocean Atlantic Rentals delivers this type of gear too!

This is also a full-service rental company for any big item you might not have wanted to cart from home such as cribs, strollers, beach chairs, umbrellas and more. In addition to delivering your beach items to your vacation cottage, Ocean Atlantic Rentals now offers a daily setup and breakdown service for your beach chairs and umbrellas while at your oceanfront rental cottage. Their service includes free delivery and pickup to your beach cottage plus full service, daily setup and breakdown of your chairs and umbrellas (which stay at your cottage during the rental period). They can even text message you when your items are ready to use! 

Outer Banks Charter Fishing Adventures/Corolla Bait and Tackle

Thicket Lump Marina
1070 Ocean Trail
(252) 453-9500
603 Currituck Drive
The Shoppes at the Currituck Club
(252) 453-9690

Corolla Bait and Tackle offers two-hour sunset cruises where you take a relaxing cruise around the sound and see Monkey Island, birds and other wildlife. They also offer a pontoon-boat trip to the winery at Knott’s Island. You enjoy a short boat trip across the sound, participate in a wine tasting at the beautiful vineyards then motor back to Corolla. Be sure to bring binoculars, snacks and drinks. Want a little more action? Ask about the full range of fishing trips offered here; for more information see Fishing. Keith Cummings, owner of Corolla Bait and Tackle, also provides guided fishing opportunities. He’s a pro, and he loves sharing his fishing knowledge.

Outer Banks Jeep

3000 N. Croatan Highway
MP 5.5 on the Bypass
Kill Devil Hills
(252) 441-1146 x855

Much of the Outer Banks can be reached without ever leaving the pavement. But if you want to see the descendants of shipwrecked Spanish mustangs or visit the sparsely developed and substantially less populated northern beaches of Corolla and beyond, you’ll need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get there. Outer Banks Jeep, conveniently located at Outer Banks Chrysler Dodge Jeep at milepost 5.5 on The Bypass in Kill Devil Hills, offers everything necessary to be your off-road headquarters during your Outer Banks stay. Open 7 days a week during the in-season, they feature a variety of family-friendly 4-wheel drive Jeep Wranglers for exploring the unpaved areas of the Outer Banks. Leave the beaten path behind and try something new. Embark on your own Outer Banks nature adventure and see these beautiful barrier islands in an entirely new way. Whether your goal is to see the wild horses of Corolla, visit a home in Carova or simply enjoy a picnic lunch on a pristine beach, Outer Banks Jeeps has the vehicle to get you safely there and back again.

Outer Banks Restaurant Tours

Various Meeting Places in Kitty Hawk, Duck and Corolla
Kitty Hawk, Duck and Corolla
(252) 722-2229

Outer Banks Restaurant Tours provides walking and driving tours of restaurants in three locations on the Outer Banks. On each tour, chefs and owners greet you, talk to you about their background, their restaurant, their food and their passions and give you a behind-the-scenes look at their restaurant. You are treated to delectable samples of signature dishes, paired with wine, beer or a mixed drink. Along the way, you’re also likely to learn a little history about the Outer Banks and local food sourcing and get a few wine or beer tasting tips. The best thing about these tours is that for the price of one dinner out, you are able to sample the cuisine at multiple restaurants in one afternoon. What better way to find the best places to eat if you are a new visitor to the area? The Duck Walking Tour takes you on foot from one end of the quaint town to the other, sampling great food and strolling on the boardwalk where you’ll have gorgeous views of the Currituck sound. The Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills Driving Tour transports you in their company vehicle to the rock stars of the Outer Banks restaurant scene, and the Corolla Driving Tour features a short ride in their vehicles on the north end of Corolla where some surprising plates of delicious food await you. Even if you are a return visitor or if you are fortunate enough to live here, these restaurant tours allow you to revisit your old favorites and rediscover them in a whole new, more personal way. Outer Banks Restaurant Tours also offers a Brews and Bites Tour on Wednesdays and a Winery Tour on Thursdays. Back by popular demand in 2015 is a BBQ class: Secrets of a BBQ Master! Tours start the week of May 18, 2015, and run through the end of September 2015. Reservations are required.


1100 Club Road
Historic Corolla
(252) 453-9040

Whalehead is a historic house museum on the northern Outer Banks. The grand residence, dressed in bold yellow and striking copper, stands on a vast green lawn bordering the Currituck Sound. At first sight of the more than 21,000-square-foot Art Nouveau home, so out of place in the Outer Banks landscape, it’s immediately apparent that it has an intriguing past and a fascinating story to tell.

Once you’ve had time to gaze over the lush green live oaks and take in the beauty of the home’s exterior, step inside and take a jaunt back in time to an era reminiscent of prohibition and fights for women’s rights. Shortly after being wed, the original owners, Edward Collings Knight Jr. and Marie-Louise LeBel Knight, purchased a four-mile tract of land running from ocean to sound. While taking residence in the Lighthouse Hunt Club, they embarked on a building project that would take three years to complete. Just as visitors to our area today take pleasure in the opportunity to get away from it all, so did the Knights. While they kept a grand permanent residence near Newport, Rhode Island, the “cottage” at Corolla Island was their winter retreat. After a chilly day spent in the blinds hunting waterfowl, they could relax in the library by a roaring fire while partaking in a game, reading, listening to music or simply enjoying the gorgeous views from the room’s window-lined walls. Peeking into the library and spying the custom-made 1903 Steinway piano, you can just imagine Mrs. Knight sitting down to play a few melodies for her guests. Later, they would be treated to a marvelous duck dinner prepared for them by their beloved cook, Miss Rose, who was one of about a dozen servants who traveled to and from Corolla Island each year with the Knights.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Whalehead sat empty and abandoned for nearly 25 years until Currituck County bought the building with the intent of restoring it. Since 1999, the county has painstakingly restored the house to its original 1925 grandeur. The multi-million-dollar restoration began with the replacement of the copper roof. The exterior of the house and boathouse are again the original paint colors as are the interior walls. The interior has been completely restored, from the coffered ceilings down to the cork floors. Many of the original fixtures and details remain: The water lily motif carvings again stand out near the dining room ceiling, the duck head door handles are back in place, the Tiffany glass light fixtures shine again, the mahogany trim and woodwork has been refinished.

A team of researchers ensured restoration accuracy, and recent efforts have focused on filling the home with original and period pieces. Mrs. Knight’s Steinway piano, Mr. Knight’s iron safe and portrait, portraits, Perkinhammer china, Louis Majorelle furniture are just a few of the pieces that now grace Whalehead.

In 2008, the kitchen was furnished back to the 1920s, including the original Frigidaire refrigerator. Visitors can stand in the room and see the old tools used to prepare meals for the large household and guests entertained by the Knights. It offers a real appreciation for the stark differences between performing routine kitchen tasks then and now. There is a Hoosier cabinet in the corner, and the original kitchen table is once again in the center of the room under a pot rack.

Whalehead is open and offers tours year round Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Legacy tours are self-guided and available any time during regular hours. If you’ve already taken an audio tour, try one of the many specialty tours offered weekdays with advanced reservations. Moonlight Ghost Tour, Tippling at Twilight, Nuts & Bolts, Boat-ology and Behind the Velvet Ropes are just a few of the specialty tours they offer.
Got kids? Whalehead offers children’s activities too — Mystery of the Old House, a guided search and find or Let’s Talk Tiffany where they make their own stained glass and learn about Louis Comfort Tiffany. The Magic of Light teaches them to make a kaleidoscope and about reflection and other properties of light. Winnie the Pooh and Whalehead are the same age, so come celebrate and listen to a tale of that silly old bear!

Be sure to visit the Museum Gallery at Whalehead. It’s stocked with 1920s-inspired gifts and Whalehead souvenirs such as jewelry and ornaments made from the original copper roof plus books, postcards, memorabilia and educational toys and games for kids.

Whalehead sits on 39 acres of pristine soundfront property providing bike paths, a public boat ramp and areas for picnicking, fishing and crabbing and is located in Historic Corolla along with the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education and next to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. The grounds of Whalehead are perfect for a relaxing afternoon outdoors away from the beach and are available to rent for ceremonies and receptions as well as for corporate events and family reunions

Wild Horse Adventure Tours

610 Currituck Clubhouse Road
(252) 489-2020 x800

There was a time when you could look out your rental cottage window and see wild horses traveling in herds and maybe eating your grass. But, for the good of the horses, that is no longer so. The wild horses were relocated to the four-wheel-drive area north of Corolla, so you must have an off-road vehicle if you want to see them. Wild Horse Adventure Tours can be your guide! They have two ways to get you into horse country. First is an enclosed 4x4 mini coach with A/C driven by one of their seasoned guides, the second is in a custom open-top vehicle also driven by one of their guides.The guides at Wild Horse Adventure Tours know exactly where to look for the horses, they know how to drive in the sand and they know a lot about the history of the area, making for a much more enlightening trip on your part. They’ll also point out snakes, shore birds, plants and interesting natural aspects of this ocean-side environment. They run many scheduled trips per day and operate year round, so call to get all the details and make a reservation. Horse sightings are guaranteed or they will refund your money.