You have probably never heard of Carova Beach, as this is one of the most off-the-beaten path locations in the United States. The lack of paved roads, makes it such a remote and secluded spot that many people do not consider it as the perfect summer destination. Do not make the same mistake, though! You will be greeted by an untouched, rugged scenery of white sandy beach and crystal clear blue waters! Keep reading as today we have prepared the ultimate guide to Carova Beach – North Carolina’s most secluded gem!
Location of Carova Beach
As the northernmost edge of North Carolina, Carova Beach is a small community, which seems to be thousands miles away from the hustle and bustle of the large city. Despite often been referred to as a town, this is a little spot consisting of just a number of houses spread across a few neighborhoods. Carova Beach is also part of one of the most popular tourist destinations in North Carolina – Outer Banks, yet this particular location has remained completely overlooked by tourists, hence, you will be guaranteed jaw-dropping untouched scenery as far as your eyes can see! Be prepared for a real adventure as Carova Beach is certainly North Carolina’s secluded gem.
Getting to Carova Beach
If you have decided to pay a visit to Carova Beach, you need to be ready for a challenge. This little piece of heaven is so remote and secluded that there are no paved roads or highways that you can follow. As you need to drive along the actual sandy beach, only 4×4 vehicles are allowed. Keep in mind that there are no taxi or bus services available at Carova Beach and the only access to the beach is via NC Highway 12.
The nearest major air hubs are Norfolk International Airport, Williamsburg International Airport and Albert J. Ellis Airport. All of them are between 110 to 160 miles from the beach. The closest largest town, on the other hand, is the small village of Corolla, which is approximately 10 miles away from Carova Beach. There are two main factors to consider before heading on your dream holiday to Carova Beach. First, do not forget hat you need to have a 4×4 car, so if you will be traveling internationally make sure to book a suitable rental car. Second, keep in mind that driving in the sand can be extremely difficult. The speed limit is between 15 and 25 miles per hour and you need to consider more time when planning your arrival time.
Last but not least, you should know that while you do not need a driving permit, you would need to request a parking permit if you will be paying a visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
When to Visit
Many people would advise to visit Carova Beach during the summer months when the temperatures are relatively high. We have a slightly different suggestion for you, though. As North Carolina’s secluded gem, Carova Beach is a spot to recharge, unwind and fully immerse yourself into the tranquility, peace and quiet. In order to be able to enjoy a completely relax and laid-back holiday, however, you better plan a visit during the less popular season. That is the reason, why we strongly recommend planning your stay for April and May or September and October. The temperatures are still warm enough to enjoy the beach, rental prices are lower and you might even feel like you have found a remote heaven on Earth, where you seem to be the only person.
Staying Overnight at Carova Beach
It is impossible to visit Carova Beach just for a day, as you will not be able to fully experience and enjoy the stunning ocean views and the remoteness and tranquility of this place! That is why, you should plan at least an extended weekend getaway. Situated along the beachfront you will be able to find numerous beautiful rental homes. All of them are just a few steps away from the soft sand and the refreshing waters of the ocean.
If you are planning a romantic vacation, we would advise checking the fantastic private houses available on AirBnb. Those of you who are looking for a more luxurious and comfortable accommodation, on the other hand, can book a deluxe room at the Hampton Inn & Suites Outer Banks or The Black Stallion. They both have swimming pools available for their guests, but would you really prefer the pool than the fantastic ocean just a few steps away?
Adventure lovers might be disappointed to know that camping is not permitted along Carova Beach. Within close proximity, however, you can find the Outer Banks West / Currituck Sound KOA campsite. Regardless if you are traveling with an RV, looking for a small cabin or would like a tent spot, this is the place for you. While you are not going to have direct access to Carova Beach, the Outer Banks are just a 30-minute-drive. A nice added bonus is that the campgrounds have various amenities and activities that guests can freely use and enjoy!
Where to Eat
You might have already presumed so, but there are no grocery stores or restaurants at Carova Beach. This is such an off-the-beaten-path location, that you should prepare in advance. If you have decided to stay in a rental house, you will certainly have a fully equipped kitchen to use. So plan your meals and get any food and drinks beforehand. If you prefer to eat out, you need to have in mind that you will have to drive to the small town of Corolla, where the options are also fairly limited.
For the true enthusiasts, who have decided to hit Corolla for a fantastic lunch or dinner meal, however, we have listed the few places, worth stopping by. Sun Fish Grill, for example, offers a wide selection of fresh seafood specialties. From shrimp, oysters and scallops to traditional crabcakes, signature fish tacos and even unique veggie salads, you can find a bit of everything for every taste. If you are craving some ice cream, the Big Buck’s is the perfect place for you. Using the best locally sourced ingredients, the delicious ice cream is homemade and you will definitely want at least a few scoops of each flavor. Last but not least, if you are a beer lover, the best place to visit is the Off the Wall Tap House. You will literally find a beer wall with a huge variety of crafted beers, which are all coming from a tap. Start with a quick taste of all or jump straight to an entire pint – it is up to you!
Things to Do
Now that you have all the necessary information on planning your holiday at Carova Beach, we will also share some of the best things and activities to see and do in the area.
We bet that the first stop of your travel itinerary to Carova Beach would be the actual beach! We are not judging as this is certainly the place to start from. Stretching for approximately 11 miles and being 2 miles wide, the beach is the perfect spot to sunbath, lounge under an umbrella and just enjoy the warm sun rays. Carova Beach is also a fantastic spot if you are planning a family holiday, as your children will be able to freely play around and build sand castles. A few things that you need to have in mind is that there is no lifeguard on duty and as this is such a remote location, you will not find any facilities such as restrooms, picnic areas or concessions along the beachfront.
The next best thing after just relaxing on the beach, especially if you are an active type of person is trying the different water sports and activities. The water temperatures are warm for a large portion of the year, so you should certainly take a dip into the ocean. Besides swimming, visitors can try surfing, body boarding, paddle boarding and even kayaking during the more peaceful, quiet days when there are almost no waves. If you like fishing, you should also try your luck at Carova Beach. Bluefish are extremely common throughout the year, whereas, flounder, mackerel and sea trout are more seasonal and you can spot them only during spring and autumn. The only thing that you should have in mind is that you will need to get a fishing permit first. Make sure to check the different options as permits vary depending if you would like to cast straight from the beach into the Atlantic Ocean or if you are looking to try the fresh waters of Currituck Sound.
Spot and Admire the Wild Horses
Home to the popular Corolla wild horses, it would be a shame if you have been to Carova Beach without taking at least a quick glimpse of these incredible animals. It might be difficult to believe but the magnificent Spanish Mustangs have been some of the first residents of this area. There are various stories about their appearance on the beach more than 500 years ago, even still it all seems to be a mysterious occurrence and no one is sure what their actual roots are. Either way, we guarantee you that it would be a truly unique experience if you manage to spot them as they are roaming along the beach. As getting to see them can be a bit difficult, we would suggest booking an organized trip with Wild Horse Adventure Tours. You will be taken on a fantastic adventure across the area in search of the magnificent horses. The best part is that the professionals will ensure not only your safety but also the animal’s one and you will not be disturbing their natural habitat. Always remember that these are wild horses and you need to keep a safe distance and never try to approach them!
Currituck Beach Lighthouse
If one of the days during your stay at Carova Beach ends up being rainy and cold, you should consider paying a visit to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. With its unpainted brick exterior, this is definitely one of the most unusual lighthouses that you have ever seen. Do not get discouraged by the 220 steps and make the climb up to the top, as you will be able to admire some absolutely breathtaking panoramic views. Standing at the very top of the 162 feet tall lighthouses, you will be able to see the stunning blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as, the fantastic beachfront along the Outer Banks stretching all the way to the Northern edge with the state of Virginia.
Each fantastic beach needs to have an equally beautiful pier overlooking the peaceful waters of the ocean. Dating back to the 1930s, Jennette’s Pier is one of the main historic locations across the Outer Banks area. It is believed that this was the first pier across the entire state, however, it has been destroyed numerous times due to the strong storms coming from the Atlantic Ocean. Nowadays, the pier is 1000 feet long and is a great destination for a romantic sunset stroll. The NC Aquarium, which is also located on the pier, on the other hand, is a great family-friendly attraction with its marine exhibits.
Carova Beach is one of the most untouched, rugged locations across the United States and this is where its beauty comes from. Yes, there are a number of attractions that are worth visiting, however, Carova Beach needs to be experienced to its fullest by just immersing yourself into the peace and tranquility of this remote and secluded gem. Take a walk along the beach early in the morning before everyone else wakes up and get to experience one of the most of off-the-beaten-path locations you have ever been to!
Are you ready to pack your bags and head to North Carolina’s most secluded gem? What would be the first thing you would like to do at Carova Beach – dip your toes into the white sand or start looking for the wild Spanish Mustangs?