The reefs, bars, and sand dunes found just off the shores of North Carolina are called the Outer Banks. Some Outer Bank communities, such as Carova Beach, have not been developed, and thus boast vibrant wilderness. The region has many wildlife refuges and preserves, including the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, which is within walking distance of Carova Beach. This makes the Carova Beach area an ideal place for observing animals like birds and wild horses. There are even beaches where loggerhead turtles come out to lay their eggs. Book a stay at a Carova Beach vacation rental today. Many properties are raised on stilts to withstand the high tides, and other accommodations feature cozy decks or large windows with oceanfront views. With that said, here are the most unforgettable places to stay in the Carova Beach area.

1. Carova Beach

Found in the outermost of the Outer Banks at the edge of North Carolina, Carova Beach is still a delightfully wild place. Feral horses roam the beach and the unpaved roads can only be navigated by four wheel drive vehicles. Because of this, Carova Beach can’t be beat if you’re here for some peace and quiet, with only the sounds of the surf and the calls of seabirds. Swim, soak up the sun, search for shells, brave the waves with your boogie board.

2. Currituck

This community is in the Inner Banks and is even closer to the border than Moyock. You can take the ferry to Knotts Island or stay in town and visit the famous Currituck County Courthouse and Jail. The courthouse looks magisterial, but the jail, one of the oldest in the state, is scary. The kids’ll love it.

3. Maple

This middle-sized town stands across the sound from Carova Beach. If you want to fish, buy your bait from E & S Bait. Visit Maple Park for its baseball field, playground, and picnic area, and take a morning jog on one of its walkways.

4. Barco

Another town found on the mainland, Barco’s vacation rentals are within sight of the sound and close to the North River Game Land. Birdwatchers can come here to catch glimpses of many species of waterfowl, wading birds, and songbirds who either stay year round or stop to rest on their way somewhere else.

5. Corolla

Corolla is famous for the quality of its many restaurants as well as its beach and wildlife. If Carova Beach is at the top of the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, Corolla is at the bottom of it. You’ll find the feral horses here, but the town is more built-up than Carova Beach and is the home of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. If you climb to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Outer Banks. Restaurants in Corolla include the Salt Water Grill, which serves not only seafood but chicken, pork and beef. Find Asian fare at Buddhalicious. Sundogs not only has fantastic nachos and dips, but karaoke and live music.

6. Knotts Island

Found just across its eponymous bay, this island, which is actually a peninsula, is famous for its peach festival. This celebration lasts for three days at the end of June, and features crafts, lots of food, live music, and an exhibit of vintage cars. There are also wine tastings for you and the significant other, and vineyards and orchards where the whole family can pick their own fruit. Knotts Island is near wildlife preserves like the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, False Cape State Park and Northwest River Marsh Game Land.

7. Aydlett

Found on the edge of Currituck Sound, this little community stands between the Currituck Banks Game Land and the North River Game Land. This is the place to go for vacation rentals, for there are literally hundreds of them in or near the town. They range from four bedroom houses with built-in garages, to Victorian homes with verandas, to pastel colored bungalows raised on stilts to guard against the high tide.

8. Poplar Branch

This community is home to the Baum Site, an ancient Algonkin burial site excavated in the 1970s. It’s also the home of Diggers Diner, which can be easily seen because it has an upside down car out front. More of a cafe than a restaurant, Diggers specializes in good American fare such as burgers and fries. Digger’s Dungeon toy store is right next door.

9. Grandy

Grandy, found on the mainland south of Poplar Branch, is the home of the famous Weeping Radish Farm and Brewery. It offers tours, microbrews and hearty German food. Family duffers will appreciate Grandy’s Carolina Club golf course and the town’s many boat ramps, docks and slips. Charter a boat to sail up and down Currituck Sound for a sunset cruise or fishing expedition.

10. Shawboro

This town is the site of several historical homes, including Culong and Shaw House. It’s found more inland than the other places mentioned, but it’s still close to the northern edge of the North River Game Land. Like Aydlett, this sleepy burg offers an abundance of vacation rentals.

11. Moyock

Moyock is on the mainland, very close to the Virginia border. Golfers in the family can play a round or two at the Eagle Creek Golf Club then have lunch with the family at the grill. You might also want to visit the Sakura Hibachi and Sushi Car or Giordano’s Pizza House. Powell’s Roadside Markets sells fresh fruits and veggies, but, the fudge is truly sensational.