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Historic Corolla NC

Historic Corolla NC

The development boom of the 1980s was one of the biggest ever experienced in North Carolina. The boom initiated growth in many industries. It particularly led to Corolla becoming a major tourist destination. Historic Corolla experiences a population surge of up to the thousands during vacation season. It is sparsely populated for most of the year and is listed as an unincorporated community. The town is in Currituck county along the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

During the summer, Corolla attracts beach and wildlife enthusiasts. It is home to herds of wild horses known as Banker horses. The horses are kept at an animal sanctuary north of the community area. There are many attractions in the area.


The original name of the historic Corolla Village was Jones Hill, after an early settler. It was also referred to as Currituck Beach or Whalehead. In 1895, the town got its first post office. It was named Corolla, from the botanic term that refers to flower petals.

Early settlers were mainly fishermen and hunters. They would sometimes salvage from shipwrecks which were common in the Outer Banks.

An investment group from Virginia was started by investors in the region. Their mission was to buy undeveloped land in Currituck’s Northern Outer Banks. This investment spearheaded many later developments that made Corolla what it is today.

The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education

The center is in Currituck Heritage Park. It offers wildlife classes for vacationers.

Banker Horses

The Banker horse is a wild horse breed found on North Carolina’s barrier islands. The breed is small and tough, with a generally tame nature. They have roots tracing to Spanish horses of the 1800s. Locals speculate that they may have become wild after surviving shipwrecks. Some suggest they were abandoned by exploratory expeditions on the islands.

The horses feed on marsh grasses. They drink water from temporary freshwater pools around the islands. They are taken care of by the National Park Service and the state of North Carolina. The responsible institutions check for diseases and protect the habitat. They also make use of birth control to prevent overpopulation and inbreeding.

Some of the wild horses are domesticated. They are trained for trail riding, driving and mounted patrols.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The beach lighthouse offers a 220-step climb to a height of 158 feet (48m) for the most serene bird’s eye view. It has a total of one million bricks and a thickness of 5 feet 8 inches (1.73m) at the base and 3 feet (0.91m) at the parapet. The Currituck Beach lighthouse is the last major lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.

Whalehead Club

The Whalehead allows exploration of a fascinating time in the history of the Outer Banks. The design gives the Nouveau-style mansion a lavish feel.

“In 1920, Edward Collings Knight Jr and his wife bought the property. Mr Knight was heir to a fortune of sugar, steamships and railroads. They named the house after its location just outside Corolla village,” Wikipedia

The mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was restored to its original glory in 1992. Tours are available all year round.

Beaches of Corolla

Corolla is best known for its beaches, with a total of 15 public beaches for vacationers. Depending on what you are looking for, six of the beaches have lifeguards while 2 of them have showers. The beach breakdown is as follows:

· Corolla Village Road – Bathhouse, parking and showers

· Yaupon Lane – Bathhouse, parking and showers

· Bonito Street – Parking

· Shad Street – Parking

· Sailfish Walkway – Parking

· Sturgeon Walkway –Parking

Accommodation Options

Vacation rentals in Corolla are located all around the village. There are over 200 great rental options in Historic Corolla, NC. The residences include pet-friendly choices to private beaches and pools access. Some of the vacation rentals have fantastic sites, with wild horse viewing.

Other Places Around

There are many fascinating places to visit while in the Outer Banks. Here is a list of the time required to drive out to other attractions around Corolla. The times may vary with a ten-minute leeway during the summer due to heavy traffic.

Duck: 25 minutes

Southern Shores: 35 minutes

Kill Devil Hills: 45 minutes

Kitty Hawk: 40 minutes

Nags Head: 50 minutes

Oregon Inlet: I hour 20 minutes

Hatteras Village: 2 hours 15 minutes

Have a Taste for the Historic in Eastern North Carolina?

Then you don't want to miss out on our complete list of historic sites and other attractions here:  The Historic Albemarle Trail.

ENC Explorer
Author: ENC Explorer

After getting accepted to ECU, I started looking for things to do in and around Greenville, NC. However, my searches kept taking me to places in South Carolina! There must be things to do around ECU, so I started asking other students. They kept telling me to graduate and move away! This inspired me to begin exploring eastern North Carolina and build this website as a showcase of the places to go, sights to see, and things to do all over eastern NC. I have fallen in love with this region and started taking up roots here. After graduating, I didn't move away - I bought a house here and continue to explore eastern North Carolina.

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