4 Best Sights in Northern Beaches, The North Carolina Coast

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

Fodor's choice

The 1875 lighthouse was built from nearly 1 million bricks, which remain unpainted on the exterior. Except in high winds or thunderstorms, or during winter when the lighthouse is closed, you can climb 220 steps to the top of the northernmost lighthouse on the Outer Banks, taking in the view toward Virginia and south to Nags Head.

1101 Corolla Village Rd., Corolla, NC, 27927, USA
252-453–4939
Sight Details
Rate Includes: Lighthouse $10, grounds free, Closed Dec.--early Mar.

Historic Corolla Village

Fodor's choice

What was once an aging, isolated beach town is now a vibrant year-round community where the tiny chapel schoolhouse again educates children and restored buildings house art galleries, a coffee shop, a bookstore, a barbecue restaurant, and a nonprofit dedicated to the wild horses that wander the beach and surrounding maritime forest.

The road ends in Corolla—to access the beach north of here, you need a 4x4 vehicle.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Fodor's choice

One of the most popular photo sites on the Outer Banks, 5 miles south of Kitty Hawk, is the 60-foot granite airplane's tail that stands as a tribute to Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics from Ohio who took to the air here on December 17, 1903. A sculptured replica of their WrightFlyer and stone markers showing the exact points and distances soared help you experience the historic day humans first made powered flight—and the multiyear, trial-and-error process the perseverant brothers endured leading up to it. Informative talks by National Park Service rangers also help bring the event to life. The museum and visitor center, completely renovated in 2018, uses historical artifacts, reproductions, and displays to dive into the lives, legends, and flight process of the brothers.

1000 N. Croatan Hwy., Kill Devil Hills, NC, 27954, USA
252-473–2111
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $10 (free for National Park pass holders), Daily 9–5

Recommended Fodor's Video

Whalehead Club

This 21,000-square-foot monument to gracious living was built in the 1920s as the private residence of a northern couple attracted by the area's reputation for waterfowl hunting (the home was given its current name by the second owner). After having been abandoned, sold, and vandalized, it was renovated and opened for tours in 2002. Inside the ornamental art nouveau structure, a floral motif is evident in Tiffany lamps with flower detailing and mahogany woodwork carved with water lilies. The home is on 39 waterfront acres inside Currituck Heritage Park and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Even if you don't tour the mansion, it's worth a sunset visit to walk the waterfront yard and grounds.

1100 Club Rd., Corolla, NC, 27927, USA
252-453–9040
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $7, ghost tour $15, Closed weekends, Mon–Sat. 11–4