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Nags Head vs Corolla Side-by-Side Comparison

If you have never traveled to North Carolina's Outer Banks and are trying to determine which town to visit, you may have a difficult time deciding.

Two of the more popular towns along the barrier islands are Corolla and Nags Head - each are overflowing with travelers during the peak season.

Corolla NC vs Duck NC Outer Banks

Which leads us to the great debate - which Outer Banks town should you visit? The goal of this article is help make the decision a little easier for you and your party of close family and friends.

Best Attractions and Activities in Nags Head

  • Bodie Island Lighthouse
  • Nags Head Woods
  • Jockey's Ridge State Park
  • Kitty Hawk Kites
  • First Flight Adventure Park
  • Jennette's Pier
  • Outer Banks Fishing Pier

Great Restaurants in Nags Head

  • Blue Moon Beach Grill
  • Tale of the Whale
  • Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe
  • Sam & Omies
  • Fish Heads Bar Grill
  • Tortugas Lie

Notable Attractions and Activities in Corolla

  • Wild Horses on the 4x4 beach
  • The Whalehead Club
  • Currituck Beach Lighthouse
  • Outer Banks Center Wildlife Education
  • Corolla Adventure Ropes Course

Great Restaurants in Corolla

  • Uncle Ike's Sandbar & Grill
  • Mama Easley's
  • Urban Kitchen
  • The Paper Canoe

When I'm comparing two things I sometimes find it helpful to put together a pros and cons list... so that's what I've done below! Hopefully this will help you decide which Outer Banks town to visit.

Best beaches? Corolla's beaches are less crowded for sure. Nags Head has better waves if you're into body boarding or surfing. Both beaches are about the same in regards to width. Nags Head is better for finding seashells and fishing.

Which town has the most public beach accesses with parking? Nags Head does, and it's not even close. There are a few public beach accesses in Corolla but only a couple that have parking. For the most part you need to vacation in Corolla if you want to visit one of the beaches.

Most rental homes to choose from? Corolla has a wide-array of vacation rental homes, many of which are less than 20 years old.

Where can you see wild horses running free on the beach? Corolla! You can see the horses for free and for a fee... choose your adventure!

Which is the most affordable? There are budget-friendly rental homes and condos to choose from in Nags Head. Best advice is to book your stay early!

Largest sand dune on the East Coast? This one goes to Nags Head! If you're driving along the bypass it's tough to miss Jockey's Ridge State Park on the soundside.

Best place to learn how to hang glide? Jockey's Ridge State Park is arguably the best place in all of these United States to learn how to hang glide.

Most secluded and least commercialized? Has to be Corolla. That's not to say there aren't shops, restaurants, etc, there are just fewer than Nags Head.

Best wooded trails? Because no every one wants to go to the beach all day, every day of their vacation. This is a tie for sure. Both Nags Head Woods and Currituck Banks Reserve offer canopy covered trails and well-kept paths that invite you to wander.

Closest to mainland North Carolina and less of a drive from your home? Nags Head is much easier to get in and out of.

In all honesty, you cannot go wrong with either option, they're both a top-notch location for a week-long getaway!

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