Free Things to Do in Corolla, NC
Looking for the best FREE things to do in Corolla, NC? This list features a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities for vacationers of all ages and interests!
Wild Horses of Corolla
One of the biggest attractions when visiting Corolla (or the Outer Banks, in general) are the wild horses that roam the beaches of Carova. The herd of wild Spanish Mustangs lives amongst the scrub bushes and live oak trees behind the line of dunes, but frequent the beach as much as they want to. No separate licensing is required to drive a 4x4 on the beaches of Carova so you're more than free to spend the day piloting your own wild horse tour and enjoying the northernmost beaches of the Outer Banks. Please be respectful and remember it's illegal to approach, feed, or touch the horses.
Corolla Wild Horse Fund Museum
Before you head out on your own horse sightseeing tour, you may want to consider stopping by the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Museum. This is an excellent free activity and opportunity to learn more about the history of the "Banker" herd. There are touch exhibits for the kids, a wall-sized map of the range, video displays, and a staff of experts to answer any questions you may have. There are additional activities for children during the summer months for a nominal fee. Don't forget to swing by the gift shop for any keepsakes you need... proceeds go to help their efforts to preserve and protect the horses.
Currituck Heritage Park
Located just past milepost 11, Currituck Heritage Park is an epicenter for free activities and historical significance in Currituck County. The park is situated on over 40 acres of land and includes historical/educational sites like the Whalehead Club, Currituck Beach Lighthouse, and the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. The park is host to numerous festivals throughout the year and has plenty of space for your own engagements (click here for the park's F.A.Q.s and event policies). There are picnic tables throughout, a public boat ramp, free parking, and restrooms. The park is one of the most popular destinations in Corolla for crabbing and fishing... but remember you'll need a license for these!
Free Annual Events in Corolla
No matter when you visit Corolla, it always seems like there is a free activity or festival going on during the week. As mentioned earlier, many of the free annual Corolla events take place in the Currituck Heritage Park.
Whalehead Wednesday Wine Festival: On Wednesdays from June through September, head on out to the Whalehead Club for the Whalehead Wednesday Wine Festival. Each night from 3pm-7pm you can enjoy food, drink, and music in the air! Children and non-drinkers are admitted for free. There is a nominal charge for wine sampling and food sold by independent vendors, but this is a great free activity to get out and about for the evening enjoying the sights and sounds.
Fourth of July Fireworks: Every year on July 4th there is a grand fireworks display in Currituck Heritage Park. The show normally starts after 9pm around dusk, but you may want to show up earlier to enjoy free live music and local vendors. There are also normally several games and activities going on as well. Bring your blankets, coolers, and beach chairs for a night to remember. No outside alcohol allowed.
Under the Oaks Art Festival: Come out and bask in the beautiful works of local artists! This annual art festival normally takes place during late June, and features dozens of local artists who've created their works with a variety of media. Local food concessions and musicians are usually on hand as well for your enjoyment. This event is also on the lawn of the Whalehead Club.
The Whalehead Club
The Whalehead Club is one of the most recognizable icons of Corolla and the Outer Banks. It was built as a private hunting retreat for the wealthy during the early 1920s and officially entered into the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980. The building has an extremely rich history and remarkable mix of uses over the years, including serving as a private residence, WWII barracks, and even a schoolhouse. You can walk the grounds and take in all the beautiful architecture and attention to detail. Tours are offered inside for a small fee.
Historic Corolla Village
Take a step back in time without spending a dime! A short stroll from the Whalehead Club are additional structures from the Historic Corolla Village. You'll find a mix of restored residences, small shops, and historical stops. Take your time wandering the unpaved roads and relax while you stroll amongst the beautiful trees. Notable stops include the Corolla Wild Horse Fund Museum, The Corolla Schoolhouse, The Island Bookstore, Spry Creek, and Old Corolla Trading Co.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
While not free to climb, the Currituck Beach Lighthouse is an unmistakable landmark of the Outer Banks and makes for a great sightseeing stop and photo op! The lighthouse is 162 feet tall (making it the second tallest on the Outer Banks), has 220 steps inside, estimated to have 1 million bricks, and was first erected in 1875. The grounds are very beautiful, and offer semi-shaded walks on cobblestone paths. Don't miss this chance to see a piece of OBX history!
Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is what I consider to be the crown jewel for free activities in Corolla. The center is over 5,000 square feet and features many different exhibits. There is also an auditorium that features a rotation of various educational films. Did you know the Outer Banks was once one of the most sought after largemouth bass fishing destinations in the country? I sure didn't! You'll learn that and a whole lot more about the ecosystem of the Outer Banks and its rich history of wildlife and outdoor sports. The wealth of information here is not to be missed and all of it is free for your enjoyment.
The second reason why the center really is amazing are the various free programs they put on throughout the summer. If you want to learn the basics of fishing, crabbing, archery, they have that. If you want to take a kayak tour, learn to tie a fly, discover dragonflies, create fish art, learn wildlife photography techniques, and more... you can! It's all waiting for you. Click here to access the calendar of events and make sure you register to save your spot.
Village Realty VIP Program
Looking for other ways to save money while on your Outer Banks vacation? When you stay with Village Realty, you're always very important to us. Check out our Village Realty VIP offers that are exclusive to our guests. You can save on over 100 activities up and down the Outer Banks. Remember, this is for Village Realty guests only so if you don't have an existing reservation you should start searching for the perfect OBX beach house today!
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