The Corolla Outer Banks is the perfect place to make new family memories.Photo Credit : Courtesy of Currituck Outer Banks
Sponsored by Currituck Outer Banks
Sometimes a family just needs a beach. A place where parents chill in the sun with their toes in the sand, while cousins chase waves, and grandparents and grandchildren collect seashells and memories.
The Corolla Outer Banks offers all this, and more: herds of wild horses, a towering lighthouse, and four-wheel beach driving on miles of undeveloped shoreline.
Located about halfway between Maine and Florida at the northeast corner of North Carolina, this barrier island destination is an easy meeting point. It’s a detour off Interstate 95 or just 90 minutes from Norfolk, Virginia’s international airfield. Raleigh-Durham’s busier airport is about three hours away.
However you get there, you’ll remember the moment you reach the three-mile-long Wright Memorial Bridge. Across Currituck Sound lies a slice of paradise, where salt-tinged breezes sweep away daily life’s busyness and cares. In this laid-back coastal setting, cellphones are cast aside, and the focus becomes real people. Real life. Right now.
There are a handful of inns and hotels, but most vacationers opt for rentals. These range from modest cottages to mansions tucked into the dunes, with space for a dozen loved ones or more. Some families return to the same place year after year, but newcomers are always welcome. The time to book for summer is about six months ahead. In other words: now.
Once you arrive, life settles into an easy routine. Days start with steamy coffee or a brisk walk as the sun peeks up over Atlantic breakers. No need for detailed plans. One day might center on a guided tour to see the Corolla wild horses roaming Currituck’s four- wheel-drive beaches. These majestic descendants of Spanish mustangs have thrived here for more than 400 years. They’re federally protected, so photograph and admire them from at least 50 feet away.
Perhaps you’ll pedal miles of protected path on the Wright Brothers Bikeway. Or enjoy a splashy afternoon of watersports, from surfing to paddleboarding to kayaking on the calm waters of the Sound. Consider climbing the 1875 lighthouse. Or touring the Art Nouveau–style museum called Whalehead, a lavish hunting lodge built by a Northern industrialist and his wife. Of course, a powdery beach always awaits.
Some nights, you’ll want to grill dinner. Other evenings, try the local seafood catch. Independent restaurants offer fresh oysters on the half shell and boiled North Carolina shrimp and crab, served with crunchy hush puppies, corn, and coleslaw. There’s usually Atlantic yellowfin tuna and snapper on the menu, too.
Be sure to gather everyone for the fiery sunset show over Currituck Sound. Although it marks the end of a perfect beach day, tomorrow promises another.
Begin planning your getaway at visitcurrituck.com.