The town of Corolla (properly pronounced Cor-RAH-lah), is a small town on the Outer Banks full of history. Now known for it’s wild horses, 4 x 4 beaches, and amazing vacation homes, this historic OBX town was once a quaint village that was unrecognizable to what it is today!

Beginnings of Corolla
Vintage photo of the Currituck Lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina.
Currituck Lighthouse via Whalehead in Historic Corolla Facebook

Native American tribes called Currituck home. The barrier island of what is now Corolla was used for fishing and hunting. Europeans began settling in the area and resided on the mainland in the late 1600’s.

By the mid-1800’s, there were several communities on the island. The Currituck beach lighthouse was set to be built in 1873. The lighthouse was lit on December 1st, 1875 and the U.S. Lifesaving Service was in full effect.

Wild Horses
Wild horses roaming the beaches of Corolla.

Corolla has been home to wild horses for over 500 years! The horses can be dated back to the voyage of the colony known now as the Lost Colony. The expedition was led by Sir Richard Grenville in 1587. With so much equipment being brought to the new world, ships had to lighten their load in order to stay afloat in the shallow, Carolina waters. Livestock, including the Spanish mustangs, had to be sacrificed. It is thought that the horses that currently roam the beaches in this town are direct descendants of the voyage of 1587!

The Whalehead Club
Vintage film photo of the historic Whalehead Club in Corolla, North Carolina.
Whalehead Club // Image via Pinterest

Corolla maintained its long reputation as a hunting and fishing community. In 1922, what is now known as the Whalehead Club, was built by Edward and Marie-Louise LeBel Knight. The home provided work opportunities for the towns residents as caretakers and hunting guides for the Knight’s and their guests.

During World War II, the Whale Head Club was leased to the United States Coast Guard to aid in patrol of German U boats. As a result of the war being over, the population of Corolla dwindled significantly. In the 1950s, the population became so low the school closed and the church remained empty. By the 1970s, only 15 people lived in the village.

Corolla Today
Historic Corolla Village

The number of year-round residents in Corolla is about 500 people. During the summer, the population can be more than 50,000 a week! People are attracted to this quaint town because of its beauty, vast beaches, and rich history! Rest, relaxation, and amazing food can be found all over this OBX beach town.

Buffalo shrimp wrap at Corolla Cantina
The Juice Jar, located in Corolla Village
Lovie’s Salon and Spa in Corolla Village
Pups love Corolla too!
The Juice Jar, located in Corolla Village

Plan your next Outer Banks vacation! Visit the amazing, historical, and beautiful town of Corolla. With over 120 properties located in Corolla, Resort Realty has a vacation home that is sure to suit you and your family! Visit our website, browse the properties, and book your stay online! You can also call us at 1-800-458-3830 and one of our amazing vacation reservation specialists will be happy to assist you!