May 05, 2020

Why Vacation on the Outer Banks 4×4 Beaches?

Get Away From it All

Aerial Outer Banks

Why Vacation on the 4×4 Beaches?


✅Unlike any other OBX town – no paved roads, no shops and no restaurants!

✅Plenty of space and less people – easy to social distance!

✅Low light pollution – incredible stargazing!

✅See wild horses roaming in your front yard

✅Find tons of shells and beach glass

✅Very quiet and peaceful

Wild Horses

A Brief History of Carova Beach

In the 1500s, Spanish explorers, led by Lucas Vasquez de Allyon, came to modern-day Carova Beach and were forced to abandon their Spanish mustangs due to pugnacious natives. These wild Spanish mustangs still roam the 4×4 beaches today. By the 1660s, a small group of settlers began to inhabit the region. After a few centuries of stagnant population growth, Currituck finally experienced growth with the establishment of five Life Saving Stations: Wash Woods, Penny’s Hill, Poyner Hill, Seagull, and Whalehead which brought new inhabitants and servicemen to the area.

Fun Fact: The Twiddy family purchased the Wash Woods Lifesaving Station in 1988 and restored it!

The 1920s brought the first glimpse of a community with the construction of a schoolhouse, post office, and two churches. However, restrictions on hunting and fishing due to federal legislation and World War II caused the population to dwindle. In response, all five of the lifesaving stations closed. Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, Carova Beach was home to a small population of residents. It wasn’t until the development boom in the 1990s and 2000s that Carova began to be the vacation destination that it is today. Now, hundreds of vacation homes sparsely fill the stretch of 4×4 beaches known as Carova Beach.

4x4 Aerial

Landscape and Wildlife

Carova Beach begins as soon as Highway 12 ends. With no paved roads connecting Carova Beach to Corolla, all residents and visitors must access Carova Beach by four-wheel-drive vehicles. As you drive north up the beach, you pass the communities of Ocean Beach, Penny’s Hill, Seagull, Swan Beach, North Swan Beach, and, finally, Carova Beach. You will soon realize that there are no restaurants nor shops, just clusters of vacation homes. The absence of all commercial activity makes the 4×4 beaches such a unique vacation destination – the ultimate place to relax!


This uncomplicated area is made up of dense maritime forests, marshy soundside coves, and protected nature preserves. Home to the Corolla wild horses of Currituck County, the 4×4 beaches make the extraordinary possibility of catching a glimpse of these unique creatures practically commonplace whether on the beach or in the yard of your 4×4 vacation rental! There are fences at both the north and south end of Carova Beach that keep the wild horses contained and protected. Also, be on the lookout for seals, whales, and dolphins!

Where to Stay on the 4×4 Beaches?

One of the last and least developed areas of the Outer Banks, vacation rental homes on the 4×4 beaches range greatly in size, available amenities, and cost. This special area of the OBX is the perfect vacation spot for families looking to spend more time together, artists seeking inspiration and solitude, and for those seeking a more adventurous beach vacation. Twiddy & Company invites you to experience the hidden treasure of the Outer Banks…the untouched, wide-open rarity that is Carova Beach!

If you’re coming with just a few family members:

“Sea Blessing” (S21689T)

A four-bedroom semi-oceanfront home located in Swan Beach. Approximately 3.5 miles up the beach.

S21687T Exterior
S21687T Deck

If you’re coming with your extended family:

“Bayberry Cottage” (R11479)

An eight-bedroom oceanfront home located in Ocean Beach. Approximately 2.3 miles up the beach.

R11479 Exterior
R11479 Living Area

If you’re coming with multiple families and friends:

“Wild Horse” (T11870)

A 23-bedroom oceanfront home located in Swan Island Estates. Approximately 5.9 miles up the beach.

T11870 Aerial
T11870 Pool

Browse more vacation rentals on the 4×4 Beach here.

Tips and Tricks

Driving on the 4×4:

  • We strongly recommend 4×4 or AWD vehicles with at least 7.5 inches of ground clearance.
  • Bring a tire pressure gauge. Reduced tired pressure is critical to driving on the beach.
  • Check the tide prior to arrival; low tide is ideal for beach driving: Outer Banks Tide Chart.
  • Arrive before dark, as the beach is more difficult to navigate at night.
  • The speed limit is 25 mph unless posted otherwise (15 mph when within 300 feet of pedestrians or wild horses).
  • Avoid driving through the surf – salt water is extremely corrosive. Drive either on the hard-packed sand near the edge of the water or on the soft sand just east of the dune line.
  • All parked vehicles should be in the middle of the beach (east of the dune line and west of the hard-packed sand near the water’s edge).
  • A 4×4 Parking Pass is required if you are parking on the beach during certain times of the year. Visit the County Website for more information.


Fun things to do:


Twiddy & Company

Twiddy & Company

May 05, 2020



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