The friendly folks of the coastal town of Corolla, North Carolina warmly welcome you. A tourist community of 500 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, this gorgeous area is home to herds of wild mustangs and a rich variety of wildlife that you and the kids can meet just minutes from your vacation rental. You can horseback ride on the beach, explore the flora and fauna from afar on a coastal boat tour, or paddle through serene lakes in a kayak. No visit to Corolla is complete without a feast of fresh crab cakes or platters of steamed shrimp. Book a stay at a Corolla vacation rental today and check out some of the most exciting family-friendly things to do while you’re in town.
1. Wild Horse Jeep Tours
The 12,000-acre wild horse sanctuary just north of Corolla protects the untamed Spanish mustangs thought to have arrived hundreds of years ago on the Outer Banks. Jump on board the four-wheel tour vehicle and let the knowledgeable guides take you and the kids on a thrilling 25-mile off-road adventure. This once-in-a-lifetime, close-up visit with these amazingly hearty creatures makes memories that last a lifetime.
2. Corolla Raceway
Let the kids burn off some excess energy at this family-based entertainment venue. The open-air go-kart racing track is ideal for the older kids, while the younger ones can have a blast in the bumper cars. A well-organized arcade provides plenty of diversions with redemption games, skee ball, basketball, and videos.
3. Currituck Beach
Spend some time making sandcastles or crafting fearsome animals in the soft sand at this unspoiled beach. Thanks to conditions that make waves appropriate for novice and intermediate surfers, this is an ideal beach for the kids to test their skills. Bring along a fishing rod, or just walk barefoot along the beach for a quiet and restful respite from your busy day of sightseeing.
4. Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Race the kids up the 220 steps of this brick lighthouse, one of many still operating in the area, and be rewarded at the top with breathtaking panoramic views of Currituck Sound, the Atlantic, and the Outer Banks. Catch your breath on the way down as you and the kids inspect the lighthouse exhibits that line the walls with the history of coastal lighthouses, keepers who live in them, and area shipwrecks.
5. Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary and Center
Older kids love taking the two-and-one-half hour tour down miles of secluded water trails. Engaging guides take everyone through the marsh maze while they entertain with stories of the natural history of the landscape. Bird life around Currituck and elsewhere in the Outer Banks is an important part of the ecology, and there’s plenty of it to see. In fact, Currituck is derived from the Native American word ‘Coratank’ which means ‘where the wild geese fly.’
6. Corolla Adventure Golf and Bumper Cars
Take the kids to this family-friendly fun park with three, nine-hole miniature golf courses that honor the history and heritage of the Outer Banks’ northernmost community. You can putt-putt your way past the Corolla lighthouse, the iconic Whalehead Club, a fishing village, and herds of wild horses. After a friendly game of golf, let the kids go head-to-head in bumper cars, then buy them a drink at the convenient snack bar.
7. Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve
Feel free to poke around the natural maritime habitat by foot on the two-mile Estuarine nature walk. Challenge the kids to identify the birds and mammals found on this shoreline, undeveloped intentionally so that visitors like you can always enjoy the pristine and unspoiled environment. Four-wheel drive vehicles are also a great way to explore the area, especially if your children are young.
8. Wild Horse Museum
Whoa, Nellie! Once again, you come into contact with the beloved Corolla animal residents at the Wild Horse Museum. There’s a ton of things to do for kids such as interactive exhibits, video displays that explain the historical significance of the horses, and an aerial map of the horses’ range. This museum is run entirely by volunteers, and all the proceeds from the gift shop are used to take care of the animals.
9. Back Country Safari Tours
Load up the kids in the Safari cruisers, sit back, and let naturalists and experienced guides take the family on an off-road exploration of the Outer Banks northern beaches, where the wild horses roam over the dunes and through the maritime forests. This particular breed, known as the Banker horse — as in ‘Outer Banks’ — has also been shaped by the wind, waves, storms, sand, and salt that sculpted these beautiful beaches.
10. Corolla Adventure Park
Challenge your kids to climb with courage or wave from the aerial zipline at this fun and exhilarating park, one-half mile north of the Currituck Lighthouse. Kids over four can climb 12 to 50 feet into the air on nine different obstacle circuits, or they can choose to tackle one of the other 60 confidence-building tasks.
11. Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
Expect a challenge when you and the kids visit this amazing refuge. Be sure to take a four-wheel drive or sign up for a tour as this protected habitat is difficult to access, and there are no established trails, making the trip a true family expedition. This refuge encompasses over 4,570 acres of wetlands, forests, and beaches, and protects the ecosystem of the coastal barrier island. Among live oak stands that are hundreds of years old, you can find wild horses, as well as thick woods, beaches, stands of loblolly pines, cattails, rushes, and giant cord grass. Best of all, the kids can see a number of reptiles and amphibians, from tree frogs to snakes, in addition to masked raccoons, bouncy rabbits, and soft-eyed deer. Tell the kids to keep their eyes peeled for the most thrilling sighting of all — the endangered loggerhead turtle who comes to visit for just a few hours each day.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Corolla, North Carolina vacation rentals on Tripping.com.