One of my friends has been going to Corolla in the Outer Banks with his family for a long time, but they stopped doing the family beach trip a few years ago. He missed going down there with a group of people larger than just his wife and their two kids, so he suggested to the rest of the group of us who religiously did Saturday night virtual game night for the first two years of the pandemic that we get a house together and do a beach trip this summer. Surprisingly enough it actually came together and happened this past week.
There were a total of 8 adults and 5 kids ranging from ages 6 to 9. We had a 6 bedroom, 4 and half bath house. So it worked out for every family to have a dedicated bathroom plus a half bath in the room the kids slept in. There were some let’s say cleanliness issues with the house, but as far as the set-up it worked really well at least as far as I was concerned, and it was the most well stocked rental kitchen I have ever seen.
It was on the sound side of Corolla with the closest beach access about a half mile away. That was completely fine for my morning sunrise beach walks, but when we dragged all our stuff and the kids down to the beach we drove and parked. That worked out fine until the last day we were there when the beach access we had been using was flooded out. There were crazy thunderstorms on Wednesday night that caused crazy flooding around Corolla including the house next door that was lying just enough lower than ours that water was three quarters of the way up the tires on their cars. The entire block from the parking lot to the boardwalk where we had been accessing the beach was under knee high water that didn’t recede before we left. It was gloomy and occasionally drizzly on Friday so we never went to the beach to hang out there, though I still did my walk. When we tried to go back Saturday it was still under water so we made a quick pivot to another beach access, but some people had problems finding that access and parking since we hadn’t planned it ahead of time and not everyone had phones on them, but eventually we all made it there.
I’ve never been to the Outer Banks, but I was not expecting that the water would potentially be cold this time of year. Apparently it’s very dependent on how the jet stream is moving. A few days before we got there it was apparently quite warm, but that brought in a jelly fish swarm. By the day we got there the water was only about 60 degrees, which was freezing, but at least drove the jelly fish away. It was quite hot outside, so the water didn’t feel too bad as long as you didn’t stay in too long and after you got over the initial shock getting in. It’s been a long time since I’ve really played in the water at the beach, so that was kind of fun. It did get warmer as the week went on and by Saturday we were starting to see jelly fish pop back up again, so I wasn’t sorry to miss out on that.
Mostly I just went to the beach while we were there, but we did take a trip to the Corolla lighthouse and walked around the little historic village which didn’t have that much to offer but now I can say I’ve been. Friday since it was gross out we decided to play mini-golf. My husband and I have been to a specific chain of pirate mini-golf in several locations and we thought the one in Corolla was part of that chain. It was not. It was part of a different chain of pirate mini-golf, and it was lame. I am terrible at mini-golf even though I love it, and I was getting lots of ones and twos. At the other chain we’ve been to they always have two different courses you can play, so we had anticipated playing both. This one only had one, so we were going to stop and play at the real grass mini-golf course, but we were there an hour too early. However, it turns out most of the rest our friends were going to go to that course later after it opened, so we all went together. That course was hard, and was not made any easier by the fact that it started raining on us halfway through. We persevered though.
Much of my non-beach time was spent doing this ridiculous Lego minifigures faces puzzle that was crazy hard, but just easy enough to keep you going. There were probably 4 of us that worked at it pretty diligently and a couple of other people who would pop a piece in here and there and it took us six days and approximately one billion hours to put it together. We did have a good time doing it though and joking about how awful it was. You should go read the reviews on Amazon. They contain real gems like 5 stars, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever bought on Amazon.
My husband also set up a screen and projector one night so we could do a movie night outside in and around the pool. The kids watched from the pool while the adults decided we preferred deck chairs. We watched Lightyear, which was meh, but it was a fun activity and the kids enjoyed it.
This was my first time in the Outer Banks ever, so I can’t compare Corolla to any other part. However, I have a feeling it would not be my preferred place to go. The fact that you have to basically drive almost an hour south past it to get to a bridge to cross the sound and then drive back up on a two lane busy road that is super trafficy does not make me think that it’s better that some of the more southern parts you would already be very close to once you got across that bridge. Also, it seemed too crowded for the amount of stuff that was there. I surprisingly never felt that way at the beach, but like we couldn’t get all the groceries we needed for like 3 days because the shelves were decimated by everyone arriving on the weekend and wanting to buy food. And there doesn’t seem like very many restaurants for the number of people that are there. We ordered pizza at 5 pm on Sunday night and still had a two hour wait. Luckily we planned to cook most of our meals since I think eating out for dinner every night like my husband and I normally do when we go on beach vacations by ourselves would not have worked out unless we wanted to eat dinner at like 4:00. I’m not sure how it would be in any other part of the Outer Banks, but probably not worse anyways.
So long story short, the trip was a lot of fun. It was super nice to get away for the week and really take a break from all the stuff I normally worry about. I think we all traveled together well, and I would totally love to do it again, though maybe at a different beach if I can convince my friend to abandon the place he’s been going his whole life.