Find Treasure on the Corolla Outer Banks and Currituck Mainland

By Leah Wingenroth | Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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Restless adventurers, relax! Around here you don’t have to look far to find the treasures that will satisfy your need for exciting new adventures and experiences. Currituck County and Corolla are jam-packed with hidden gems and historical artifacts ready for you to discover.

Treasuring Northern Outer Banks History

Historic Corolla Park is undoubtedly a treasure trove of Currituck culture and legacy. Situated at the center of Corolla, the park features stunning green space teeming with activities of all kinds. It is home to four noteworthy attractions that piece together the captivating story of Currituck and Corolla history. Located on the south end of the park, Whalehead is a meticulously restored, 21,000-square-foot, 1920s-era soundfront mansion turned museum that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s open for tours to admire its Art Nouveau decor and to learn its fascinating connection to Outer Banks history. Tour tickets are available to purchase on site.

If you’re in the mood for a climb, venture up 220 steps to the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. From there, you’ll get a panoramic view of the Outer Banks from the sound to the sea. The Currituck Beach Lighthouse still houses its original lens from 1875, serving as a true beacon of northern Outer Banks history. Tickets to climb are available to purchase on site.

Currituck Maritime Museum is relatively new to the park, but the coastal artifacts that make up its exhibits and displays are far from new. Included in the exhibits are restored boats, decoys, photographs and other nautical relics that bring to life the storied maritime history of the Currituck coast. This museum is free to visit.

Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is another free attraction. The educational facility explores the wildlife of coastal North Carolina through various exhibits and hands-on activities.

Once you’ve discovered the attractions Historic Corolla Park has to offer, be sure to stick around and enjoy the park setting. It’s one of the best places on the Outer Banks to watch a breathtaking sunset over Currituck Sound.

Natural and nautical history isn’t all there is to uncover in Historic Corolla and Currituck. The summer months are busy with events, festivals and more. Whalehead and Historic Corolla Park host the Under the Oaks Arts Festival for two days every June. Aside from the perfect soundfront setting, you’ll also find local artists, musicians and vendors excited to entertain guests all day long. Historic Corolla Park is also the site of a Fourth of July celebration and fireworks display. Head to the park by 5 p.m. to take advantage of the free parking, live entertainment and food before the brilliant fireworks show starts at dusk. Every Wednesday from June through September, visit the park for Corolla Cork and Craft, an afternoon spent celebrating local art, beverages and cuisine. At the heart of Corolla Cork and Craft are the breweries, wineries, artists, musicians and chefs that call this island home. Get tucked into all that makes the northern Outer Banks special and enjoy a beverage while you do it!

Just north of Historic Corolla Park is Historic Corolla Village, one of the few remaining northern Outer Banks villages of yore. It’s emblematic of a simpler time, with unpaved roads and well-preserved historic buildings that have been transformed into quaint shops and places to visit. One such place is the Corolla Wild Horse Fund’s Corolla Wild Horse Museum, where you can find information and exhibits about the Corolla wild horses along with memorabilia and souvenirs. All proceeds from the museum’s gift shop go directly to wild horse conservation and protection.  

Where Local Legends Roam

The Corolla wild horses are a herd of nearly 100 wild Spanish mustangs (also called Banker ponies) whose lineage traces back 500 years to these very same beaches. They are living relics of an Outer Banks that we never knew, and witnessing them in the wild is an unforgettable experience. You can see the wild horses with one of the many guided horse tours available in the 4WD-only areas of the northernmost Outer Banks and appreciate their beauty from a safe distance. Thankfully, there are many folks here who have dedicated their lives to ensuring the horses’ safety and vitality. Part of this promise requires educating the public about why it’s important to stay at least 50 feet away from the horses and to never, ever feed them; even carrots and apples can kill them.

Other Outer Banks Activity Treasures

• Visit H2OBX Waterpark. One of the Outer Banks’ top family attractions, H2OBX is the go-to spot to swim and splash without the salt, wind and pesky critters you find on the beach.

• Take a kayak or SUP tour to discover all the nooks and crannies of the Currituck coastline.

• Go Parasailing or enjoy watersports.

• Hit the greens at one of the seven golf courses throughout Currituck County, one on the Outer Banks near Corolla and six on the mainland.

• Check out wine bars, beer gardens, breweries and distilleries. On the mainland, visit Sanctuary Vineyards for wine tastings, vineyard tours and live music events; Weeping Radish Brewery for authentic German beer and sausages; and Buffalo City Distillery for handcrafted whiskey and vodka and events. On the Outer Banks there’s Wild Goose Wine Bar, Off the Wall Tap House, Whalehead Brewery, Northern Outer Banks Brewing Company and Corolla Beer Garden.

• A trip to the northern beaches simply isn’t complete without exploring as many food and shopping options as possible. Situated on the edge of the Currituck Sound, TimBuck II offers more than 60 shops and eateries full of new favorite dishes and souvenirs to discover. Other all-inclusive shopping, dining and recreation experiences can be found at the Corolla Light Town Center and Monterey Plaza.

On a visit to the Corolla beaches and Currituck Outer Banks, the challenge won’t be the treasure hunt – it’ll be narrowing down all the gems and curios to choose from! No matter your itinerary, you’re sure to make some memories you’ll cherish forever, and that’s the greatest treasure of them all.

Welcome Center
(252) 435-2947
106 Caratoke Highway Moyock, NC 27958

Visitor Center
(252) 453-9612
500 Hunt Club Drive Corolla, NC 27927