Corolla Travel Guide

You may have heard about the sophisticated beach destinations that await on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, but until you see the stunning sunsets, dine in the restaurants, and stroll on the beach, you won’t understand the hype. Corolla, North Carolina deserves its fantastic reputation; this destination has taken the beach vacation to a whole new level. With the help of, you can find the perfect beachfront villa to complete your dream trip.

What to Do in Corolla

corolla beach vacation

The Main Attraction in Corolla: The Beach

Every good Corolla travel guide will start with the incredible beaches. Located at the tip of the Outer Banks, Corolla isn’t known for its nightlife or big stores, but instead has a reputation for its unspoiled, uncrowded, simply gorgeous beaches. Only in the 1980s with a development boom did Corolla even enter the map of the Outer Banks for travelers. Before then it was a local secret; but now, the secret is out.

If you’re looking for nightlife, Corolla isn’t the place for you. This quiet beach town is focused on life’s simple pleasures. You will see people walking their dogs on the beach as early as the sun comes up, enjoying a good novel while sunbathing during the day, and watching colors of the sunset dance on the water in the evenings. There’s also some swimming, and the casual toss of a Frisbee if you need a little entertainment.

The Adventurous Side of Corolla

This town on the Outer Banks isn’t known for its recreation, yet it does still have plenty to offer adventurous travelers. If you’re planning a family vacation, you might be able to tempt your kids with the idea of jet ski rentals, kayak tours, surfing lessons, and chartering a fishing boat. This is a local pastime, so even if you’ve never cast a line before, give fishing a chance in Corolla.

There is one more activity that the average Corolla travel guide might neglect to mention. The Outer Banks is known for its wild horses, and seeing them run on the beach is something you’ll never forget. From Corolla it is possible to join a wild horse finding trip, where you will set out with a guide who has the local knowledge to help you find these fascinating creatures.

The Sophisticated Side of Corolla

While many families plan a trip to Corolla year after year, this spot is perfect for a romantic getaway. Here you will find civilized pleasures, from golf and spas to fine dining and upscale shopping. What you won’t find is anything too rowdy, but if you want to plan a trip where you can hear each other speak and not dance the night away, Corolla is for you.

If you can tear yourself away from the miles and miles of beaches or the cozy beachfront vacation rental, climb the local lighthouse. Views from here are especially impressive at sunset. For a romantic twist on an old activity, hire a fishing charter just for the two of you. Pack along a gourmet picnic and bottle of wine, and you will have a perfect romantic day for two in the Outer Banks.

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What to See in Corolla

A thorough Corolla travel guide will go beyond beaches, recreation, and dining to reveal more ways for visitors to scratch beneath the surface of this destination. There are a couple attractions that are worth a look including the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the Center for Wildlife Education at the Currituck Heritage Park, and old Corolla village for historic charm.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Corolla

corolla shopping

Unique Shopping in Corolla

One thing that travelers should take from a Corolla travel guide is that this town is still very much independently owned and operated. You won’t find any of the large chain stores here, and both the residents and visitors like it this way. That doesn’t mean you will have a lack of choice for shopping — stores here are abundant, and you will find unique items that you won’t see anywhere else.

There are a number of shopping centers that contain multiple stores. Some of the most popular are The Shoppes at the Currituck Club, Monterey Plaza, and Corolla Light Town Center. You will also find a range of boutiques and gift shops if you visit the old Corolla village area. This spot is not only great for shopping, but provides another perspective to the beach town.

Sophisticated Dining in Corolla

One of the greatest pleasures of travel is dining out. It provides worry-free time to spend with family and friends and is a chance to sample local delicacies. Restaurants in Corolla take this responsibility very seriously, and they deliver fantastic cuisine. Whether you want a quick bite or a long, lingering meal, you will impressed by the quality of cooking and service in Corolla. Expect creativity and an individual perspective when you sit down at a table in Corolla. The seafood here is fantastically fresh, and might just change your thoughts about eating fish in general. It will definitely be hard to narrow down your options, but some of the top choices in Corolla are Mike Dianna’s Grill Room, Outer Banks Seafood Company, and the Fin & Claw Sea Grill.

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When to Visit Corolla

The most popular time to visit Corolla is during the summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The year-round population at this Outer Banks destination is very small; only approximately 500. During the summer, the population can swell to thousands. If you want to travel during the peak summer period, be sure to make your reservations in advance both for vacation rentals and restaurants.

The fall season is also popular. During these months, you won’t have to deal with the summer crowds and the beaches are blissfully empty. Many restaurants and stores stay open during this period as well. The winter and spring seasons will appeal to those travelers who are looking for an isolated experience, but be aware that many restaurants and stores will not be open. A few restaurants do remain open all year long, but your choice will be significantly less than during the summer.

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What to Bring to Corolla

While Corolla’s restaurants definitely have a sophisticated twist, the ambiance remains pretty casual. There is no need for fancy clothes or high heels; just a pair of long pants for men and a sundress for women will do. All you will need to pack are your beach basics including a bathing suit, flip flops, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Your packing list will change depending on the season and type of trip you have in mind. If you’re planning a romantic vacation, bring along some candles, your favorite DVDs, or anything else that will make a quiet night at home feel special. For a family trip, remember some entertainment for the kids. During the fall season you will want to bring light sweaters or jackets for chilly evenings on the beach.

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Local Services in Corolla

It is essential for a Corolla travel guide to remind visitors that not all stores and restaurants will be open all year long. During the summer season, you won’t have any trouble finding all of your necessities and more. The same is generally true during the early fall season, when visitors are still arriving to enjoy the beach with less crowds. During the winter and spring though, many restaurants are closed and stores keep irregular hours. If you’re planning on traveling during this period, it is best to plan ahead when it comes to stocking the kitchen of your rental and other purchases.

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What to Know About Corolla

Every traveler has his or her own idea of what makes a dream vacation. Corolla is all about beautiful sunsets, lingering meals with a loved one, and ocean views from a private hot tub. While the isolated location at the tip of the Outer Banks may keep some travelers away, those who choose to go the distance are rewarded by unspoiled scenery, incredible beaches, and a dining scene that will lure you back year after year.

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Getting to Corolla

Corolla is located on the northernmost tip of the Outer Banks. Most visitors arrive by car on the winding, two-lane highway from the mainland. During the summer, you can expect to experience traffic during peak times on this two-lane highway. Other options include landing a small plane on a local airstrip or arriving by boat. Most visitors wind up taking the drive to the Outer Banks. The isolated location is a reason to extend your vacation to longer than one week.

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Why Corolla Vacation Rentals?

Miles of unspoiled beaches are what make Corolla special. Do you want to be stuck in some impersonal hotel or staying in one of the spectacular beachfront vacation rentals? In a private rental, you can enjoy the sunset every night from the deck of your balcony. You can listen to the waves crashing outside of your window when you fall asleep. This relaxed destination is all about taking things a touch slower, and a vacation rental is the perfect environment to achieve that.

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