Carova is an unincorporated community in Currituck County and the northernmost of the Outer Banks communities. It’s name derived from the combination of the first syllables of Carolina and Virginia since the coastal community lies just south of the North Carolina-Virginia state line. Carova Beach can only be accessed by boat or by four-wheel drive vehicle. There are no paved roads connecting Carova to the town of Corolla, North Carolina. To reach Carova, four-wheel drive vehicles must drive north along the beach from Corolla, as access from Virginia is limited to pedestrians and bicyclists. Today there is a permanent fence along the state borderline from ocean to sound to keep vehicles from crossing and to keep the wild horses from migrating to the Virginia side of the border.
Wild horses and other wildlife roam freely on the beaches of Carova. There is an enforced law on the beach that states that no one is to get within 50 feet (15 m) of the horses. Carova is considered a commercial-free zone: there are no restaurants, shops, or other attractions that often accompany beach communities. There are approximately 740 beach homes, majority of which are weekly rentals. Currently with the only one Fire/EMS station, this unique area continues to develop and attract more visitors every year.
If you consider investing in Carova property, you should be aware of two main issues: accessibility and flooding. Flooding is a continual problem that worsens with each bad storm in Carova Beach, where summer tourist traffic is heavy on roads that are little more than uneven sand paths through the dunes. Sandfiddler Road and Sandpiper Road, the two primary routes through the community, become nearly impassable after heavy rains, when large potholes fill with water. During hurricanes and tropical storms the community can become temporarily inaccessible due to the high water and storm surge.
Although some residents of Carova are opposed to a paved road being built to the community, the Currituck County Commission is in favor of constructing a paved road to Carova. They say a road is essential for the county to continue providing services like garbage collection, housing inspections, and emergency response. A road to connect Carova to the rest of Currituck County would have to cut through the 8,316 acre Currituck National Wildlife Refuge that stretches for 11 miles along the Currituck Banks between Corolla and Carova and any effort to build a road through the refuge would likely face stiff opposition from environmentalists.