30 BEST Things To Do In Corolla, NC

Corolla, with its coastal allure, quaint village charm, and the mystique of its wild horse inhabitants, beckons you to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of North Carolina.

As you wander through the enchanting streets of Old Corolla Village, you’ll be captivated by its delightful array of shops and dining destinations.

Visit the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, an iconic red brick beacon that stands proudly amidst the area’s natural beauty. Climb to the top and from its summit, you’ll be treated to sweeping panoramic views that encompass the entirety of Corolla.

A gem nestled in the northernmost reaches of the Outer Banks, there are plenty of things to do in Corolla no matter the visitor. Enjoying this small OBX town is rewarding whether you have a day or a week!

the Best Things to Do in Corolla, NC

1. Climb up the Stairs of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse  


If you ever find yourself on the remote Outer Banks, you’ll undoubtedly be captivated by a striking sight on Corolla Village Road. That is the magnificent 162-foot red-bricked marvel known as the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, one of the most stunning lighthouses in the OBX.

This iconic American treasure proudly retains its original first-order Fresnel lens. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this lighthouse remains functional in today’s tech-driven world. Every 20 seconds, it lights up, serving as a reliable guide to all the sea captains, visible up to 18 nautical miles away.

 If you’re keen to explore this historic marvel, a 220-step climb will reward you with a breathtaking view from the top. The adventure doesn’t stop there – after studying the lighthouse, the adjacent beach offers a sandy paradise for all to enjoy.

2. Stroll Down the Boardwalk of Currituck Banks Reserve

Currituck Banks Reserve

The Currituck Banks Reserve, north of Corolla, stands as an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts seeking an uninterrupted encounter with the wilderness.

As you set upon the boardwalk leading to the 965-acre reserve, you’ll find yourself immersed in a captivating maritime evergreen forest, tidal flats, ocean beach, dunes, swamp forest, grasslands, freshwater marsh and brackish marsh. Along this journey, you’ll come upon hidden natural treasures like live oaks loblolly pines, bayberry, holly, wax myrtle, and much more.

Beyond the exceptional flora, the marsh habitat holds its allure, particularly for birders and wildlife aficionados. Visitors can not only look but also stay for a while and try their hand at premier fishing, hunting, birdwatching, hiking, photography and the chance to discover the untouched barrier islands of the Northern Outer Banks.

3. Step Back in time at the Whalehead Club

Whalehead Club
  • Address: 1100 Club Rd, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Saturday- Sunday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: Ages: 0-5, free, Ages: 6-12, $5, Ages: 13-54, $7, Ages: 55+, $5 Active Military, $5

Nestled within the pages of history, the Whalehead Club emerges as a meticulously preserved gem of the 1920s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this mansion basks in its Art Nouveau-style splendor. Once a haven for the Knight family’s hunting escapades, today it opens its doors as a museum, inviting all to witness its opulence.

With a mustard yellow facade that commands attention, rich mahogany doors that whisper opulence, and a copper roof that speaks of refined taste, the Whalehead Club mirrors the essence of the era. Painstakingly restored in the early 90s, every touch lost to time has been lovingly reinstated.

Once you step inside, there’s plenty to do such as taking the grand tour of the mansion, enjoying the Currituck Sound paddle with kayaks in tow, or claiming the shadow of an evergreen Live Oak as your picnic spot for the day.

4. Ride Alongside Wild Horses

Wild Horses on the Beach in Corolla on the North Carolina Outer

Wild horses, the most beautiful and popular residents of Corolla, are slightly hard to spot, so you’d have to book a date with adventure tours if you want to see them in their natural habitat, but we promise it’s one of the best things you can do in the Outer Banks!

These tours take you to safari-style adventures on a hummer so you can grab your cameras, and then enjoy the most exhilarating ride of your life where you’d be able to capture in your memory and your cameras the Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs in all their rare, regal, and wild, beauty.

5. Learn about the History of Wild Horses Roaming the Beaches of the Outer Banks

Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs
Wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs In Outer Banks

If the wild horses of the Outer Banks have piqued your interest and you’re fascinated by the sight of them running on the beaches, roaming Corolla’s open pastures, and co-existing with the locals, it’s time you head over to the Wild Horse Museum.

The museum touches on the historic and cultural significance of the Spanish Mustangs with its interactive exhibits and various displays. The Museum is a must-visit attraction for equestrians and history buffs alike.  

6. Retail Therapy at TimBuck II Shopping Village

TimBuck II Shopping Village
Image courtesy of Timbuck II
  • Address: 785 Sunset Blvd, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday -Sunday: 10:00 am -10:00 pm

Corolla boasts abundant wildlife and natural beauty, but it also has a lot to offer when it comes to modern entertainment. Named after its creators, TimBuck II is a village that offers a wonderful shopping, dining, and entertainment experience. Not to mention, all the amenities make it the perfect place to spend the whole day with friends and family.

From indulgent shopping to an array of dining options, and ensuring the young ones create cherished memories, TimBuck II offers an all-encompassing experience that caters to diverse interests.

7. Create and Capture Memories at Miss Kitty’s Old-Time Photos and Gifts

Miss Kitty’s Old-Time Photos and Gifts
  • Address: 794 Sunset Blvd suite k, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Saturday- Monday: Closed

There’s a studio in TimBuck II Shopping Village that deserves a separate mention, mostly because many tourists head over to the shopping village just for Miss Kitty’s Old Time Photos and Gifts.

Here, you can dress up as a creature of a mythical era such as the Old South, Wild West, Victorian Era, Civil War, Pirates, etc., and then take silly and goofy pictures in your costumes with your friends and family to cement the memories forever. This affordable entertainment guarantees fun times for everyone. 

8. Play Games at the Corolla Adventure Park

Corolla Adventure Park
Image courtesy of Corolla Adventure Park / Things to Do in Corolla, NC
  • Address: 1215 Ponton Ln, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Wednesday -Saturday: 10:00 am – 3:30 pm, Sunday -Tuesday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket prices, check here.

For a whimsical day with friends and family, head over to Corolla Adventure Park and test your physical boundaries with some fun-filled challenging games. This jungle gym offers an obstacle course for climbers of all skill levels.

But the thrills don’t stop there, the axe throwing, zip lining, a nature trail, and a treasure trove of other heart-pounding adventures await. When it’s time to recharge and refuel, head over to the outdoor bar for some snacks and beverages.

9. Get In the Water with North Beach Watersports

North Beach Watersports
Image courtesy of North Beach Watersports
  • Address: 1066 Ocean Trail, Corolla (GPS)
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket prices, click here.

To be in Corolla and not experience the joys of water adventures is near sacrilege. Located behind the Corolla Inn, North Beach Watersports allows everyone to dive into the world of water sports on the Outer Banks. You can experience the thrill of parasailing, jet skiing, kayaks, pontoon boats, tubing, stand-up paddleboards, and so many other options.

10. Play Golf at The Currituck Club

The Currituck Club
Image courtesy of The Currituck Club
  • Address: 620 Currituck Clubhouse Dr, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: For booking and reservations, click here.

For a taste of the luxurious and posh side of Corolla, head over to the Currituck Club, a premier gated community in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The club spans over 500 acres and hosts an array of exquisite homes.

Yet, its valid claim to fame is the world-class semi-private golf course designed by the legendary Reese Jones. With 18 holes, impeccably bent grass greens, rolling dunes, wildlife sightings, coastal flora and vistas of the Currituck Sound, it’s every golfer’s paradise.

Plus, indulge in an array of amenities including a Fitness Center, pools, tennis and pickleball courts, basketball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, in-season Trolley, the renowned beach valet and more. 

11. Learn to Hang Glide at Kitty Hawk Kites

Kitty Hawk Kites
Image courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites
  • Address: Monterey Plaza 819 Ocean Trail, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Tuesday, Thursday – Sunday: 9:30 am – 8:00 pm, Wednesday: 8:30am – 8:00 pm
  • Cost of Admission: For ticket information, click here.

Those who step into Kitty Hawk Kites often return with several things crossed off their bucket list. When in Corolla, one should never miss the opportunity of checking out the place that has given more hand gliding lessons to the world than any other Hang Gliding schools globally since 1974. It’s not just a school, it’s a legacy.

They also have the most extensive collection of toys, wind art, and flags on the beach. What’s more, they offer endless recreational activities including Tandem Hang Gliding, Ultralight Hang Gliding Instruction, guided Kayak Eco-Tours, Parasailing, Rock Wall Climbing, Dolphin Tours, Sail Boat Cruises, Aero Tours, Surfing, etc. 

12. Boat Charter

colorful outer banks fishing boats
colorful outer banks fishing boats

Are you a fan of a serene fishing experience or do you thrive during offshore adventures? Whatever the case may be, the Outer Banks provide the perfect space for all fishing enthusiasts to try their favorite hobby because its waters are teeming with all kinds of fish.

You can charter boats at Corolla from one of the many fishing charters and have one of the finest fishing experiences of your life.

13. Learn about the Coastal History at the Currituck Maritime Museum

Currituck Maritime Museum
Image courtesy of Currituck Maritime Museum
  • Address: 1101 Corolla Light, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm, Saturday -Sunday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: Free Admission

The Currituck Maritime Museum honors the region’s maritime heritage with exhibits showcasing the coastal lifestyle, historic shipwrecks, and local fishing traditions. The theme of the museum revolves around boats with displays of historic vessels and their significance in shaping Corolla’s coastal heritage.

It’s a must-visit for those seeking a deeper connection to the area’s maritime legacy.

14. Watch Unique Wildlife at Currituck National Wildlife Refuge

  • Address: Corolla, NC (GPS)

The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge remains an untouched and pristine wilderness in the truest sense. Not a road, trail, or boardwalk disrupts its natural integrity. Encompassing 4,570 acres of wetlands and beaches, this protected expanse thrives with captivating wildlife. Birdwatching, however, takes the spotlight, with terns, gulls, piping plovers, snow geese and other rare bird species gracing this haven.

Photographers, nature enthusiasts, and animal lovers frequent the refuge for a chance to catch sight of a hatching turtle, a stallion or a great blue heron.

15. Spend Time with The Ghost Crabs

On the beachside village of Corolla, when tourists and visitors are lounging on the beach, the sight of moving sand from their peripheral vision often spooks them, it’s nothing other than the famous ghost crabs of Corolla.

These crabs are translucent and detest the scorching heat of the sun during the summers, so they’d dig themselves four feet under the sand to avoid direct exposure.  

16. Discover Untouched Lands on Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary and Center

Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary and Center
Image courtesy of Michael Fogleman via Audubon North Carolina
  • Address: 300 Audubon Dr, Corolla (GPS)

Dedicated in honor of Donal C. O’Brien, Jr., Audubon‘s renowned board chair, the sanctuary safeguards Currituck Sound marshes, bottomlands, sandy areas, and maritime forests. A treasure trove of untouched land on the northeastern Outer Banks, it covers 2,600 acres of marsh, upland forests, sandy shores, and the historical charm of the region.

Nestled at the confluence of land and freshwater, straddling varying climates, Pine Island boasts eight unique habitats, including the rare maritime shrub swamp found in just three global locations.

The sanctuary’s most popular activities include walking the 2.5-mile nature trail and kayaking trips, both allowing visitors to explore these uncharted lands. To preserve its ecosystems, and wildlife, and minimize disruption, the public cannot access the sanctuary without a reservation.

17. Unwind at Corolla Beer & Wine Garden

Corolla Beer & Wine Garden
Image courtesy of Corolla Beer & Wine Garden
  • Address: 1148 Ocean Trail, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Corolla Beer & Wine Garden offers a charming haven for beer and wine enthusiasts. Nestled in Corolla, it’s a delightful fusion of flavors and relaxation. With a curated selection of beers and wines, it’s a place to unwind. The garden’s inviting ambiance, coupled with live music, elevates the experience.

You can bring your lunch and dinner as you pair it with beer and wine from the Garden. Whether it’s a casual afternoon or a lively evening, Corolla Beer & Wine Garden promises a memorable retreat for those seeking a taste of local indulgence and exotic flavors.

18. Explore the Local Art at The Corolla Village Market

The Kind Cup Corolla Village Market
Image courtesy of The Kind Cup Coffee Shop
  • Address: 1129 Corolla Village Rd, Corolla (GPS)

Step into the charming realm of Corolla Village Market, an artist co-op dreamed up by five local women, aimed at spotlighting Outer Banks creatives and makers. Inside this captivating space, dozens of local artists, makers, and creators proudly display their crafts. From local art to coffee, goods, and handicrafts, a diverse array of treasures awaits.

Housed in the historic “Parker House,” erected in the early 1900s, it’s a place that brims with character and history. Swing by during the Corolla Christmas Village event, order a warm cup of Kind Cup Coffee Shop’s finest, and check out the work of the local artists.

19. Get Braids and Mehndi Art at Beach Braids Hair Wraps & Henna

Beach Braids Hair Wraps & Henna
Image courtesy of Beach Braids Hair Wraps & Henna
  • Address: 791 Sunset Blvd, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday – Monday: Closed

Embarking on a North Carolina coastal village adventure calls for a hair makeover that echoes the sun-soaked beach vibes. Enter Beach Braids in Corolla, your ultimate destination for infusing your style with a dash of fun and creativity. Better yet, you can gather your family and friends for a group styling session, adorning your hair with the colours of summer while frolicking by the waves.

Beach Braids takes the lead in delivering exceptional hair wraps and henna tattoos, transforming your look by the shore. Elevate your style with vibrant hair wraps, chic cornrows, or captivating temporary tattoos.

Their offerings include natural henna and Jagua tattoos, all 100% plant-based, ranging from warm browns to captivating blues and blacks. A single visit to this shop and your locks will weave your beach narrative.

20. Acquire the Local Taste at Bluewater Seafood

Bluewater Seafood Market
Image courtesy of Bluewater Seafood Market
  • Address: 501 Old Stoney Rd, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, Sunday: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday: Closed

One of the best things to do in Corolla is enjoy fresh seafood! Coastal towns have a penchant for creating some of the most mouthwatering seafood dishes.

When you are craving some piping hot dinner prepared from scratch using only the freshest catch, head over to the Bluewater Seafood Market to discover culinary excellence in Corolla.

Their prawns, oysters, and crab cakes are highly recommended!

21. Corolla Civic Association Watersports Camp

Corolla Watersports
Image courtesy of Corolla Watersports / Things to Do in Corolla, NC

For young adventurers, Corolla Civic Association offers an exciting watersports camp that promises days filled with exploration and fun. Enroll kids in an engaging program that introduces them to activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, children learn valuable skills while enjoying the thrill of water-based adventures.

From mastering the art of balance on a paddleboard to discovering the wonders of marine life, the camp provides an enriching and enjoyable opportunity for kids to create lasting memories.

22. Relax at Corolla Beach

Corolla Beach

Corolla marks North Carolina Beaches’ northern end and ensures that the coastline stretch goes out with a bang, full of historical significance and natural wonders. Corolla Beach is one of the best beaches in the Outer Banks and is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Sandwiched between the ocean and the sound, you get a great mix of salty waves, or calm waters on either side. This means you really have your pick of water activities – try your hand at kayaking the sound, or grab a board and hang ten, or just relax with a book in hand!

23. Horseback Riding

The sand beaches of Corolla and the Outer Banks are notorious for wild horses, but you can also enjoy a memorable equestrian journey along the coastline with guided horseback riding adventures.

The feeling of flying past sandy shores and pristine beaches, immersing yourself in the rhythmic sound of hoofbeats mingling with the gentle crash of waves is truly magnificent. Guided by experienced riders, you’ll enjoy scenic views and gain insights into the area’s natural history and the importance of preserving its delicate ecosystems.

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, the experience of riding alongside the ocean is an extraordinary way to connect with Corolla’s coastal beauty.

24. Currituck Sound Sunset Cruise

Currituck Sound Sunset Cruise
Image courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites
  • Address: North Carolina (GPS)

Set out on a leisurely Currituck Sound Sunset Cruise for a serene and enchanting experience. As the sun begins its descent, board a vessel that glides across the tranquil waters, offering a front-row seat to one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles.

Watch in awe as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues, casting a warm glow over the sound’s shimmering surface. The cruise provides a serene escape, allowing you to unwind amidst the captivating beauty of Corolla’s waters and the mesmerizing interplay of light and color. 

25. Embark on Dolphin Watching Cruises

Dolphin Watching Cruises
Image courtesy of Kitty Hawk Kites

If you are seeking the kind of adventure that will have your heart pounding, then set sail on a dolphin-watching cruise in Corolla. Traverse the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound, encountering pods of playful dolphins in their natural habitat. Knowledgeable guides share fascinating insights into these marine creatures, enhancing your appreciation for their intelligence and behavior.

The cruise also provides opportunities to spot other sea life and birds, enriching your understanding of the local ecosystem while providing moments of sheer joy as dolphins leap and frolic alongside your vessel. 

26. Explore Historic Corolla Village

best things to do in corolla
Image courtesy of Visit Currituck / Things to Do in Corolla, NC

One of the best things to do in Corolla is step back in time and meander through the historic corridors of Corolla Village. Imbued with old-world charm, this quaint village offers a glimpse into the past. Discover well-preserved historic sites, charming boutiques, and delightful eateries that exude the area’s timeless appeal.

Engage with friendly locals who often share captivating tales of the village’s history, further enriching your experience. Whether it’s browsing unique crafts or savoring delectable cuisine, the ambiance of Historic Corolla Village invites you to relish a slice of heritage.

27. Visit the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education 

Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
Image courtesy of Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education 
  • Address: 1160 Village Lane, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Saturday – Sunday: Closed
  • Cost of Admission: Free admission

Dive into nature’s wonders at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. Opened in 2006, this impressive 22,000-square-foot center is a hub for all ages to explore North Carolina’s diverse wildlife and ecosystems. Wander through captivating exhibits illuminating local fauna and conservation efforts. Engage with interactive displays that unlock the magic of the Outer Banks’ delicate ecology.

Join programs and workshops to deepen your understanding of the region’s unique flora and fauna. Catch the “Life By Waters Rhythms” film for a celluloid journey through the area’s history. Vintage outboard motor enthusiasts will revel in the definitive display of classic motors – it’s a slice of motor heaven!

28. Experience Serenity with Currituck Sound Kayaking

things to do in corolla

Few experiences rival the thrill of paddling along the tranquil waters of Currituck Sound on a kayaking adventure. This immersive journey gives the visitors countless stories to share, as it envelops them in the serene beauty of the Sound’s unique ecosystems.

Amidst the experience, we can observe diverse birdlife and aquatic plants while navigating the waterways, embracing the panoramic views and drinking in the tranquillity kayaking offers. With its calm waters, the Sound provides an ideal setting for both beginners and experienced kayakers, allowing exploration at one’s own pace.

29. Get Competitive in Corolla Cornhole Tournaments

If the timing is right, you and your entire family can engage in a friendly competition at Corolla’s Cornhole Tournaments with 15 other teams. These tournaments happen every week during the summer and test the accuracy and skill of the player in this popular lawn game.

The different teams compete in tossing bean bags through the holes of a wooden board. These tournaments guarantee enjoyable evenings full of camaraderie, friendly banter, and the thrill of victory in a laid-back and entertaining atmosphere. Such grand entertainment comes at a very affordable rate too.

30. Grab a Book for the beach!

Island Bookstore Corolla
Image courtesy of The Island Bookstore / Things to Do in Corolla, NC
  • Address: 1130 Corolla Village Rd, Corolla (GPS)
  • Hours: Monday- Sunday: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

While the Island Bookstore may appear small and charming from the outside, don’t let their size deceive you. These quaint independent bookstores house vast collections and keep pace with the latest releases. They cater to readers of all genres, ensuring that no visitor leaves empty-handed.

Spread across two stories, the store is chock full of books and offers a cozy, inviting ambiance with subtle décor. This little bookstore leaves no genre untouched from cooking and magazines to fiction and fantasy.


This is just an idea of the best things to do in Corolla, but there are so many other regions to explore in the OBX!

Plan For Your Trip to the South!

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About Natasha

Natasha moved to North Carolina for college years ago (but she's not trying to age herself here). Her days were spent reading a book on the beach and enjoying a cold glass of sweet tea in between classes at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Upon graduation, she met her partner, Cameron, and they traveled the world together crossing 85 countries and seven continents. After, many years of international travel they settled down a bit and launched Lost in the Carolinas to share their experiences about and travel tips on South Carolina and North Carolina.

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