Fun Things to Do in Corolla, NC

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Currituck Beach Lighthouse peeks out above the trees. A visit to the lighthouse is one of many fun things to do in Corolla, NC.

Each summer, visitors flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for vacation. But many won’t make the trip to the northern part of the barrier island. In comparison to Kill Devil Hills or Nags Head, the village of Corolla, North Carolina, is a more quiet destination. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening and fun. There are plenty of activities and things to do in Corolla, from places to eat and shop. And there are special activities that you can not do just anywhere, like lighthouse climbing!

As a child, each year for our family vacation we loaded up in the minivan and traveled the nearly eight hours in order to spend a week in Corolla’s Whalehead area. It is a spot that is special and nostalgic for me. Even after all this time, the heart of the area remains.

When you compare Corolla to its other North Carolina’s Outer Banks counterparts, it is almost a world away. With somewhat less commercial development, Corolla maintains a feel that is closer to that of a Southern village. That isn’t to say it isn’t busy in the summer, but Corolla certainly embodies a more laid back feel.

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Outer Banks in the Fall Off-Season

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Visitors walking on the sand dunes at Jockey's RIdge State Park.

If the thought of having the Outer Banks beaches all to yourself without waking up at dawn appeals to you, you may want to consider visiting in the off-season. Visiting the Outer Banks in the fall is about enjoying the last gaps of pleasant weather and less about peeping colorful leaves. While the North Carolina beach region continues to become more popular year-round, you can still find some serenity and fewer crowds at the Outer Banks in the fall. But there are some compromises you may need to make with seasonal closures and weather.

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Outer Banks Dog-Friendly Vacation Guide

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The Outer Banks' Jockey's Ridge State Park is a dog-friendly attraction that's free to visit.

With miles of unspoiled beaches, historic sites, and parks, North Carolina’s Outer Banks is fun for the whole family — and that includes the ones with four legs! If your dog is anything like mine, he or she will love watching the sanderlings on the beach and getting a good sniff of those famously strong winds that lured the Wright Brothers a century ago. But there is more than just the beach as the Outer Banks is extremely dog-friendly! From the Outer Banks’ most dog-friendly restaurant to plenty of activities, here’s your guide for a vacation that is truly for the whole family!

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Post by . Originally published December 30, 2019. Last updated February 24, 2020.

Swept Away: Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Outer Banks

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Plants growing through the dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

While not technically a desert, the more than 400 acres of sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in North Carolina’s Outer Banks inspire awe. Nestled a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and just next to the Roanoke Sound in Nags Head, these are the tallest living sand dunes on the eastern coast. But there is more to Jockey’s Ridge than just sand that makes it an important Outer Banks attraction. With multiple ecosystems, it is a fascinating exploration of nature that many don’t frequently experience that’s an Outer Banks adventure.

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Post by . Originally published December 12, 2019. Last updated December 31, 2019.

North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

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North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island

If you are in the Outer Banks area and you’re looking for something to do, say, for a morning or an afternoon, you might want to consider the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. North Carolina has several state aquariums and one can be found down a quiet residential road, near an airport, on the edge of Roanoke Island. It’s a small aquarium but a very nice one with plenty of things to stop and enjoy depending on your level of interest and your schedule.
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A Visit to The Wright Brothers National Memorial

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View of the Wright Brothers Monument

I recently watched a film starring Clark Gable and Gene Tierney called Never Let Me Go. In the film, which takes place post-WWII as US/Russian relations are getting tense, Gable is an American soldier stationed in Russia who meets a Russian ballerina and falls in love. He meets an English soldier in a similar situation. The Englishman tells him a story of how he met his Russian wife. She was acting as a translator for him during a dinner with a group of Russian soldiers. During the dinner the Russian soldiers keep making toast after toast and everyone is getting very drunk. But what’s funny is the toasts that they’re making. “To the inventor of the ,” they say and then give a decidedly Russian name. This goes on for a number of important inventions, including the airplane. When the Englishman tries to correct them, he figures it’s more trouble than it’s worth to insult his hosts and simply drinks the vodka. Well I can tell you that they did not toast the Wright Brothers as the inventors of the airplane.
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A Visit to the Elizabethan Gardens

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The Elizabethan Gardens

Earlier this year I failed to make the time to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It would have been my first time to attend the world’s largest indoor flower show. Then I ended up visiting Winterthur on a raw and rainy day to see the Downton Abbey costume exhibit. It was also early enough in the year that not much was in bloom anyhow. But I made up for them both with my first visit to the Elizabethan Garden in Manteo, North Carolina.
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