Corolla, at the far northern end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is a great choice for a family-oriented beach vacation. Not much more than a big sand bar, parts of the Outer Banks have seen their share of beach erosion. But erosion has not been a problem (so far) in the Corolla area. The beaches are wide and flat, perfect for sitting in the sun, or for running, walking, bicycling, etc.
The surf varied each day depending on weather conditions. On this day, it was calm enough for small children to wade. On two days during our one-week stay, the water was too rough for swimming and was closed by lifeguards who patrolled the beach.
One of the characteristic features of North Carolina’s barrier islands is the sea oats which grow on the shore-side dunes. One should never walk on these fragile plants, which are very beneficial because their roots help stabilize the dunes. In fact, it is best to not walk on any dunes at all, and to use the boardwalks instead.
But enough with lounging on the beach. If you want to get your heart rate up, go climb a lighthouse!
Currituck Beach Light Station dates from 1875. Approximately one million bricks were used in its construction. The walls are 5 feet thick at the base, and the top reaches 160 feet in height.
For a $10 entrance fee (no credit cards accepted), visitors can climb the 220 stairs to the viewing platform. Fortunately, it’s not a race, and you can stop to view interpretive posters on several levels.
Once at the top, the views extend in all directions to the ocean and sound.
After all that exercise, it was time for dinner. The Paper Canoe, located on the outskirts of the town of Duck, is a great choice. If you want a somewhat more serene experience than the family-packed dining room, opt to dine in the intimate bar, which has several window tables with great views. Our table was the one on the right!
After dinner, we drove into the town of Duck and enjoyed some time on the boardwalk. It was a bit cloudy, but no rain.
And one big payoff of those clouds was this gorgeous sunset reflecting on the waters of Currituck Sound.
We had a great time. We hope that if you haven’t already, you get the chance to experience North Carolina’s Outer Banks for yourself!