Nothing beats an ice-cold beverage while relaxing on the beach. Nothing is worse than reaching for an icy drink and finding your cans swimming. Coolers are essential for family days on the sand. A good modern cooler will keep food and drinks fresh for days. In addition to beverages, fishermen rely coolers to keep bait fresh, and hopefully the catch of the day. Walk onto any beach or pier in North or South Carolina and you’ll see a plethora of cooler models and sizes. Cooler technology has advanced rapidly in modern years. Top-end hard-sided coolers can keep ice frozen for a week. Soft coolers are easier for one person to carry onto a beach, but can still keep food cool for days. Cooler materials and price points vary wildly, so we put together this guide with our recommendations for your coastal vacation.
Carova is an outdoor lover's oasis, but on a rainy day, Carova vacationers can make a quick trip down the beach to Corolla and Duck to explore all the fun indoor activities and sites that the Outer Banks has to offer.
Museums and Historic Sites
Rain or shine, these enlightening historic sites which are located just miles away from the Carova beaches will keep family members of all ages entertained and fully engaged.
Corolla Wild Horse Museum - The Wild Horse Museum is the place to go to learn about the 80+ wild mustangs that call the Carova beaches home. Chat with local staff, who are wild horse experts, and pick up a few unique souvenirs at the on-site Mustang Store gift shop. (On sunny days, the museum also offers guides tours of the 4WD Carova beach region.)
The Whalehead in Historic Corolla - Step back in time with a tour through the Whalehead in Historic Corolla, an opulent art-deco masterpiece that was once the famed vacation home of the wealthy Knight family in the 1920s. Perfectly preserved, a tour of the home uncovers all aspects of the property, from the storage rooms and servants' quarters, to the decadent parlor and dining areas.
Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Museum Gift Shop - The Currituck Beach gift shop, which is housed within the original Lighthouse Keepers' Quarters, features a wealth of books, toys, souvenirs, and information on this historic Outer Banks site. The lighthouse also features seasonal climbs, rain or shine, for a small fee. (Climbs are cancelled, however, in the event of imminent area thunderstorms.)
Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education - Discover the multiple facets of the Outer Banks ecosystem, from the local waterfowl to the under-the-sea critters, at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. With an 8,000 gallon aquarium, a wealth of local exhibits, and regular programs and multi-media presentations designed for kids and adults alike, this museum that's adjacent to Historic Corolla Park will fascinate visitors of all ages. Best of all, admission is free.
Spend a day away from the 4WD region, and discover the entertaining indoor activities that the Northern Outer Banks has to offer.
Spas - Pamper yourself with a spa day at one of the many luxurious facilities in Corolla and Duck. Local spas like Lotus Day Spa and Boutique, Outer Banks Massage Therapy, and Eden Spa and Salon can offer a world of treatments to tired vacationers, from simple Swedish massages to a full day of specialized and decadent services.
Tennis - The Corolla Light Sports Center and the Pine Island Racquet and Fitness Center both feature indoor tennis courts for guests who want to stay active regardless of the weather.
Movie Theaters - The Corolla Movie Bistro is the place to go for "dinner and a movie," as the complex features a recently remodeled movie and sports lounge, as well as a full lunch and dinner menu. For a more standard movie experience, head about 30-40 minutes south to the massive R/C Theater in Kill Devil Hills.
Crafts - Create your own jewelry at the Garden of Beadin' in nearby Kill Devil Hills, which boasts 1,000s of beads for sale, or have your own "painting party" at Corolla's Local Color. Kids will also adore Corolla's own Stonies Ice Cream & Fun, which hosts a number of artistic projects, from creating hand-painted ceramics to crafting fish print T-shirts, in addition to offering a wide selection of ice cream flavors.
Braids and Body Art - "Life on a Sandbar & Hair Wraps" and "Beach Braids," both in Corolla, feature new braided do's for kids and adults alike in a rainbow of different colors and styles. Additional stylish services at both establishments include cool beaded hair additions, as well as temporary henna tattoos.
Art Galleries - There are a half dozen art galleries in Corolla, and at least twice that number in Neighboring Duck. With a focus on the Outer Banks wildlife, seascape, and overall environment, art aficionados and Outer Banks lovers alike will find the local galleries, and the regional artists they represent, simply inspiring.
Shopping, Dining and Fun at Home
Explore the shopping centers and restaurants of neighboring Corolla, or simply find ample ways to have fun at a Carova vacation rental. In the Northern Outer Banks, there are always plenty of rainy day options.
Corolla Shops - Corolla has a wealth of beach stores, grocery stores, and small plazas, but avid shoppers will want to head to the town's three main shopping centers, Scarborough Lane Shoppes, Timbuck II Shopping Village, and Corolla Light Town Center. These three larger plazas feature a variety of boutiques, gift shops, galleries, surf shops, and other unique stores.
Duck Shops - Duck is famous for its cluster of shopping centers, The Waterfront Shops, Scarborough Faire, and the Osprey Landing Shopping Center, which are all found within a mile radius of each other. Load up on one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts against a backdrop of maritime woods and the picturesque Currituck Sound.
Corolla Restaurants - From pizza and burgers to upscale farm-to-table cuisine, Corolla's wide selection of nearly 70 restaurants can effortlessly cater to all palettes. Settle in for a Happy Hour seafood special and a cold brew, or plan a romantic waterfront luncheon, and toast a rainy day with a sampling of the Outer Banks' renowned dining scene.
Game Rooms and Theater Rooms - The majority of Carova's larger vacation rental homes feature game rooms, media rooms, theater rooms, or all of the above. Start a family pool or foosball tournament, or enjoy a movie theater-quality experience, without ever stepping out the door.
Cooking Adventures - Many of the larger vacation rental homes in Carova feature grand kitchens with dual ovens, dual fridges, and plenty of counter space for multiple chefs. Stop by a local produce market, fish market, or wine store in Corolla to plan the perfect family feast.
Relax and enjoy the view - Head to a hammock on a covered deck, or enjoy a soak in a shaded, covered hot tub. The shoreline in Carova is always beautiful, rain or shine, and a covered deck provides the perfect vantage point to enjoy the view.