Corolla; A whole new world

Have you been to Corolla? If you’re new to the Outer Banks, you may not have even considered this northern town. After all, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills are the most popular places to be. These towns are brimming with excitement, activities and history. And, if you’re never been to the Outer Banks before or you’ve never been to Corolla, you might be worried there’s not enough to do.

However, Corolla has its own kind of charm, only on a smaller scale. Letâ??s take a look at everything there is to do, sites to see, and places to eat in Corolla.

Food

We’ll start by talking about where to buy food. Corolla has two major grocery stores, Food Lion and Harris Teeter, so there is no need to travel out of the area to buy your groceries.

The farmer’s market features locally grown fruits & veggies, along with homemade pies, cobblers, preserves, marinades and even unusual wines. It also has the Outer Banks only â??open airâ?? fish market.

Restaurants

Corolla has all the regular places to grab a quick bite or coffee; Duck Donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts, even a Starbucks. Of course, they also have some things that are truly unique to Corolla as well.

The Oceanfront Grille is the only oceanfront restaurant on the entire Outer Banks not attached to a hotel or pier. The food is exquisite, and you’ll have a fine time with fine dining. But it doesn’t end there.

Mike and Diana’s Grill Room is one of the best steak houses on the Outer Banks. In the mood for lighter fare?  Metropolis is a tapas bar. Lighthouse Bagels offers so much more than just bagels, like freshly made to order breakfast sandwiches.   Pizza, take-out steamer pots, and much more is all here and ready for you to enjoy. There are even a couple of sports bars so fans wonâ??t miss a single game.

Water Sports

Water sports in Corolla feature parasailing, paddle boats, kayaking, SUPs, and jet skis.

 On the beach side, there’s surfing. Corolla is rated one of the best places to learn to surf. The local surf shops can provide everything you need from boards, wetsuits, and personal lessons. Best of all, you can rent the gear instead of buying it. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and decide if you like the sport. 

Charter boats for inshore fishing or fun can be rented with and without captains. There’s even a public boat dock and ramp for your use, if you bring your own boat or jet skis.

Other Activities

Corolla has a lot more to do than watersports.

Who doesnâ??t love mini golf?  Corolla features both a traditional mini golf experiences and one of the few grass miniature golf courses left in the country.

The outdoor movie is unique on the Outer Banks; and dinner is served during the movie so they’ll be no debate if you should eat before or after.

The Ropes Adventure Course, similar to the one in Nags Head is coming soon. It might even be open as early as 2016 . If your kids are into cars but aren’t old enough to drive, Corolla offers both go karts and bumper cars.  There’s also the skate park for all your skateboarding family and friends.  There’s even a rock climbing wall for all ages and abilities. The wild horse museum is geared towards children and visitors even get to paint their own ‘horse’.  On certain days, a mustang makes an appearance for petting.

Shopping

Did someone say shopping? Corolla has a wide variety of boutique stores, from clothing and jewelry to art to items that are just downright eclectic. They also have a surprising number of spas, craft shops, beach buggy rentals, an old time picture place, and even a Kitty Hawk Kites.

History

The entire Outer Banks is rich in history and Corolla is no exception. Starting with â??Whalehead in Historic Corollaâ??, (formerly known as The Whalehead Club)  a restored 1920’s hunt club which was originally built as one man’s loving testament to his wife.  The spacious grounds and self-guided tours are delightful and informative. Festivals, plays, art shows and wine tasting events are scheduled on regularly.  Fireworks on July 4th and Tree Lightings at Christmas are annual events that you wonâ??t want to miss.

The Currituck Lighthouse is another big historical draw. This lighthouse is the only unpainted brick lighthouse in the country and the last one built prior to the modern age. Though not as tall or as famous as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the view from the top is spectacular and really worth the climb. Upon your descent, you’ll be greeted by an ice cream cart providing a refreshing treat, if youâ??re so inclined. 

Wildlife

The Outer Banks has no shortage of wildlife. While it’s true the southern beaches have the dolphin tours, the northern beaches have the wild horses.

Wild horse tours take you into the ‘untamed’ part of the Outer Banks, the part where the road ends and the adventure begins. The Outer Banks Wild Horses are descendants of shipwrecked Spanish War Horses from over 500 years ago. They roam free beyond the road, and are often spotted in people’s yards eating their sweet cultivated grass.  You might even get to see a foal or a pair of males fighting over a female during mating season. Horses aren’t the only animals you can see; foxes, an assortment of birds and even wild pigs have been spotted in this area. 

Also be sure to check out the Wildlife Education Center. This government run center is free and also the perfect thing to do on rainy day. Kids will enjoy looking at the stuffed animals and the aquarium is liberally stocked with local sound fish. Adults will appreciate the antique duck decoy exhibits and learning about the history of the area. Classes are held throughout the year and include everything from journaling to â??plein airâ?? painting, to adventures on a boat. These classes fill up fast, so it’s best to get there early.

The Beach

I’ve saved the best for last; the beach. Corolla has miles of pristine beaches stretching out as far as the eye can see. The waves are a little gentler in Corolla, and on most fair weather days, the beach is a little wider. Shipwrecks, like the one of the Metropolis, lay right out in the open, ready to have its picture snapped. Leashed dogs are also welcome here. And if you’re staying close to the 4 wheel drive area, you might even see a stray horse or pod of dolphins. 

Corolla is a world unto itself. Whiles it’s true this world is smaller than the world of the towns to the south, it’s reminiscent of the Outer Banks twenty years ago. Once you reach the world of Corolla, you’ll never want to leave.

And you don’t have toâ?¦

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