THE WILD HORSES OF CAROVA BEACH
ON THE NORTHERN TIP OF THE OUTER BANKS
This a must see for everyone, mingle with wild Mustangs as you enjoy the day at this magnificent beach.
They are located in the most Northern part of the Outer Banks named, Carova. Carova has no paved roads. You need to have a vehicle with four-wheel drive to get up there.
The speed limit is 25mph. Make sure to drive cautiously, especially if a horse is nearby. You can take a tour to see them, or maybe you will get lucky to see one while you’re up there, but don’t get within 50 feet of the horses or feed them. They are protected by law.
Commonly called, Banker Horses are presumed to have descended from Spanish horses. They are a small breed of feral horse. They are very much wild and don’t have the same behavior as domesticated horses, but they pretty much keep to themselves.
It is possible that they arrived on the Outer Banks in the 16th century after surviving shipwrecks or being abandoned on the island by one of the exploratory expeditions (for hidden treasure) led by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllion or Sir Richard Grenville. It’s kind of a mystery!
WHAT DO THE WILD HORSES EAT?
According to the Corolla Wind Horse Fund, they eat marsh grass, which is what is prevalent in the area, along with other natural plants. It is illegal to feed them anything. Apples, carrots, or any food cannot be found in their natural habit, so it can make them sick. They can actually die from eating these foods, so be careful to not leave any food on the beach when you leave.
Fishing is part of the history of Corolla and the Currituck Banks dating back to the original native tribes and first settlers. Everything the Outer Banks fishing enthusiast needs is readily available in Corolla from fishing equipment rentals and bait and tackle outlets to Outer Banks fishing charters in the ocean and sound.
All saltwater anglers are required to buy the N.C. Coastal Recreational Fishing License. The Outer Banks fishing license can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis or combined with other licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission.
Children younger than 16 do not need a license. For-hire vessels and ocean fishing piers have the option to purchase a blanket license that covers all their fishing patrons, so you may not need the license to fish on a certain pier or charter boat; be sure to ask.
Outer Banks fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.ncwildlife.orgor by calling (888) 248-6834 or at many of the local tackle shops.
If part of your Corolla fishing plans involve fishing in the northern Currituck Sound, you’ll need a Freshwater Fishing License. Licenses are available at tackle shops, Wal-Mart, K-mart and at the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education at Currituck Heritage Park in Corolla, or they can be purchased at www.ncwildlife.org.
Arguably the Outer Banks’ last frontier, Carova is renowned for its miles of privacy, including clean white beaches, a scattering of rental homes, and wild mustangs that roam freely from the ocean to Carova’s small residential neighborhoods.
Carova’s seclusion is easy to explain, as there are no paved roads leading to this vacation spot, just miles of sand tracks that border the Atlantic Ocean. Vacationers who love the beach and don’t need all the extra fuss flock to the area in small crowds, soaking up private stretches of beaches, and enjoying the peace and quiet.
There are no hotels or motels in Carova. Visitors to Carova stay at vacation rental homes (4×4 access only, mind you). Homes are generally rented on a weekly basis, with last minute partials sometimes accepted, and are offered by VRBO RENTALS
For Carova day-trippers without 4WD access, guided tours are available seasonally to ride along the beaches and look for wild mustangs. Seasonal Jeep tours and rentals are also available.
Carova from the air
The ocean temperature stays consistently warm throughout the summer months and into the fall season, so body boarding, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and ocean kayaking are certainly worth a try during your beach vacation. Many vacationers keep their camera ready for wild horse sightings, and the Carova wild mustangs can often be seen wandering along the oceanfront. Take plenty of pictures.
Because Carova is literally off the beaten path, it’s important to stock up on your beach essentials before you check into your vacation home. Neighboring Corolla features several chain grocery stores for food and beach supplies, and there are even several grocery delivery services that cater to the 4WD areas for vacationers who want to truly relax.
Corolla is a village on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, between Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Historic Corolla Park is home to Currituck Beach Lighthouse, with sea views and history exhibits. Nearby, the Whalehead Club is a restored 1920s hunting retreat with original art-nouveau decor. North, the vast Currituck National Wildlife Refuge shelters shorebirds. Wild horses roam Corolla and Carova beaches.
The Town of Duck, North Carolina, is a thriving coastal community. We respect and value our delicate yet dynamic barrier island environment – clean waters and beaches, maritime forests, wetlands, and dunescapes. With an eclectic mix of independent businesses and the Duck Town Park and Boardwalk, Duck Village is a source of pride and the heart of Duck. Whether you are a resident, a first-time visitor, or someone who feels that Duck is your home away from home, we welcome you to explore the Town of Duck.