Vacationers can stay in Corolla for a night or more at a hotel or generally for a week or more at a vacation rental home or condo.

To get to Corolla, visitors will want to head to the Outer Banks via the Wright Memorial Bridge in Currituck County, and head north on NC Highway 12, past the towns of Duck and Southern Shores.

Corolla is roughly 20 miles away from the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Carova 4x4 Beach and neighborhood

Carova / 4WD Beaches History and Landscape

The 4WD or Carova region of the Currituck Beaches begin where the paved road ends, at the northern borders of the incorporated town of Corolla.

The region was originally sought after by developers who wanted to continue the paved NC Highway 12, and make the landscape similar to that of neighboring Corolla. However, the establishment of the Currituck Banks Reserve on the northern Corolla borders, which covers the width of the island, put a halt to these plans. As a result, only vehicles with 4WD access can reach these beaches.

Even so, development did continue in the Carova area in the 1980s and 1990s, slowly at first, and then with a small but noticeable boom in the 2000s. Because there are limited zoning restrictions for residences in the 4WD area, Carova is actually home to some of the largest houses in the Outer Banks, which includes rental homes with 18, 20 or even 25 bedrooms.

Other than homes, however, there is no commercial development allowed, and ergo no businesses, restaurants, shops or services of any kind.

Carova is home to nearly 120 wild horses, which are believed to be the descendants of 16th Century Spanish Shipwrecks. The horses roam freely in the 4WD area along the beaches, in the two large parcels of protected land (the Currituck Banks Preserve and the National Currituck Wildlife Refuge) and even in the small residential communities.

Corolla Wild Horses

Activities to Enjoy in Carova / 4WD Beaches

Because of the lack of commercial development in the 4WD / Carova area, all popular activities in this region revolve around the great outdoors.

Visitors to Carova enjoy the following activities, in addition to plenty of time dedicated to just lounging on the beach.

  • Wild Horse Tours, including Corolla Wild Horse Tours, Wild Horse Adventure Tours, Back Country Safari Tours, and Bob's Corolla Wild Horse Tours
  • Hiking along the rugged paths and elevated boardwalk at the Currituck Banks Reserve
  • Hunting, fishing, and hiking in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bird watching in the reserve and refuge
  • Surfing
  • Surf fishing
  • Currituck Sound watersports and boating
  • Shelling
  • Clamming and crabbing along the soundside islands
  • At-home amenities, including private pools, game rooms, hot tubs, and theater rooms

Carova 4x4 Beach and neighborhood

Visiting Carova / 4WD Beaches

Visitors MUST have a 4WD vehicle to access the Carova / 4WD Beaches. Visitors will want to head north on NC Highway 12, through the town of Corolla, until the road ends at a 4WD sand ramp that leads to the beach.

There are roughly 11 miles of beaches to explore before the island is closed off at the Virginia State Line and the border of Virginia's False Cape State Park.

Visitors can stay at vacation rental homes in the region which are rented on a weekly basis. There are no condos, hotels, or motels in the 4WD area, and camping is not allowed.

Corolla NC

Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla NC


The Farmer's Daughter

Gray’s Outer Banks Lifestyle Clothing Company offers the absolute best in Outer Banks T-shirts and Sweatshirts including Champion, Under Armour with "Outer Banks” and Gear! We carry quality fashions and accessories for the whole family by all your favorite brands including Tommy Bahama, Tribal, ESCAPE, Billabong, Quiksilver, Jack O’Neill, RVCA, Olukai, Cobian, Spartina, Scout, Brighton.


Whether you’re shopping for apparel, shoes & accessories, gifts & toys or OBX and Big Duck souvenirs, Gray’s offers the best brands and quality for a beach lifestyle at any of our 4 locations! From sportswear to beachwear and everything in between, Gray’s will outfit your entire family. You can also find great beach accessories at Gray’s, such as Costa sunglasses, Olukai sandals and Sun Bum sunscreen and hair products. Be sure to shop Gray’s signature Big Duck found on t-shirts, sweatshirts and gift items!


Established in 1948 by Walter and Stelle Gray, Gray’s began as a single store on the beach road in Nags Head, a land mark that has been beautifully transformed into Seagreen Art Gallery. Visitors to the original Gray’s may remember that the family home was located above the store and that Walter Gray had a passion for Big Band music that was often playing on the store speakers, giving shoppers a little swing in their step.


Modern-day Gray’s is still family owned and operated by their children Ronnie and Julie Gray, who carry on a legacy of superior customer service and traditional values. Ronnie’s wife Susan is also an important part of the business. “It really was always a family operating as a business rather than a business being run by a family,” explains Ronnie Gray. “When our visitors come in, they are greeted by a warm hello and a ‘Welcome to Gray’s.’ We try to welcome them as if they’re entering our own home”

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