10 Great Reasons Why You Need To Visit Ocracoke Island

Visit Ocracoke Island

Many people consider the Outer Banks to be one long continuous stretch of land off the North Carolina coast. However, nothing could be further from the truth, in fact, the OBX is made up of a series of barrier islands, divided by inlets, and surrounded by brackish sounds and the Atlantic Ocean. Ocracoke is one such island that was created by the shifting currents and winds of the Atlantic coast. Today, we visit Ocracoke and explore her beauty and charm. So take up a southerly direction, hop on the ferry and come visit historic Ocracoke Island with us for the day. Here are ten great reasons you need to visit Ocracoke Island during your Outer Banks Vacation.

Getting There 

Getting There

Before we get into the ten reasons you need to visit Ocracoke, we need to give you a little information on how to get to Ocracoke Island. No matter where you are spending your Outer Banks vacation, we're sure your OBX vacation rental will be within easy day-trip distance to Ocracoke.  

By Sea

From all points on the OBX, you'll head south on NC Highway 12 and ultimately end up at the Hatteras Island Ferry Terminal in the historic village of Hatteras. Since Ocracoke doesn't have bridge access, you'll have to take a ferry to Ocracoke. Cars are allowed on Ocracoke. It's recommended that you get to the ferry terminal early as there are no reservations. It is also a good practice to watch the weather and call ahead, as shifting winds and tides sometimes cause delays. In the busy summer season you should plan on a short wait at the ferry terminal, however, the trip is well worth the short wait. 

The ferry trip to Ocracoke is about 60 minutes long and there is no fee to take the ferry from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island. 

By Air

Of course, if you have an airplane or know someone who does, you can fly to Ocracoke's small airport, which is managed by the National Park Service.  The runway is 3,000 feet long and well maintained. Be aware there are very limited services on at the airport. If you do fly you'll be pleasantly surprised to find you're within walking distance of the town. 


10 Great Reasons to Visit Ocracoke Island

Well, now that we have gotten you to the island here are some of the things you can expect and will love about your visit to Ocracoke Island.  

1-You Don't Need A Car

A day on Ocracoke Island is one you can enjoy without a car. The island itself is easy to get around and very pedestrian friendly. Small shops and eateries are only a few steps away from each other. Of course, a wonderful way, and perhaps the easiest way to get around the island is by bike. Of course, the ferry accommodates cyclist, so if you want to bring your own bike that isn't a problem. If you don't want to bring your bike you can rent one at The Slushy Stand. If cycling is not your cup of tea, there is also the option to rent a golf cart for the day and ride around the island effortlessly. 

2-Beautiful BeachesBike

Ocracoke has amazing beaches! With only 900 or so full-time residents, the beaches are less crowded and have a more secluded feel than those found on the rest of the Outer Banks. Shell hunting is a favorite pastime and one that you'll enjoy while walking the beautiful sun-drenched beaches of Ocracoke. With lots of great wave action and fewer beachgoers, the beaches here are sure to be a fan favorite. Remember that pets must be kept on a leash year round, and unlike many of the other beaches on the OBX there are no lifeguards on duty. 

3-Great Local Food

The southern tip of the island is where you're going to find Ocracoke Village, and this is where the foodies will want to head. With a large variety of restaurants to choose from, you'll have no problem finding something to satisfy everyone in the family. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't try to steer you towards the great local seafood. 

4-Wonderful Shopping

Once you have fueled up with delicious local calories, take some time to meander along the village's streets and explore the many unique and interesting shops. Artisans, metalwork, local crafts, and pottery are just a few of the treasures you'll find in the local shops. 

5-History and Museums

From Blackbeard to World War II there is loads of history that occurred on Ocracoke Island. Make sure to take some time and stop by the Ocracoke Preservation Museum and learn all about the island life, history, and culture.  Don't forget that Blackbeard himself roamed these waters...with Ocracoke playing a pivotal role in his pirating exploits.

6-Ocracoke Light StationLighthouse

While the Ocracoke Light Station is not the most imposing lighthouse on the Outer Banks, and maybe not the most famous, it is the second oldest continuously operational lighthouse in the United States. A visit is well worth your time. Just picture what is must have been like all those years ago on this remote island. 

7-Wildlife Paradise

If you like birdwatching, or maybe just enjoy being on a part of the OBX that moves a little slower and allows just a little bit more room for mother nature then you're going to love Ocracoke Island. With a landscape dominated by salt marshes, marine estuaries, and lovely dunes...there is no shortage of wildlife to see and enjoy. Make sure to pack the camera and binoculars for a day on Ocracoke Island. 

8-British Cemetery 

Many people who visit the OBX (particularly Ocracoke) are unaware of the history of the area during World War II. During the War, residents of the Outer Banks and Ocracoke were all too aware of how close the war was to home. With hundreds of ships sunk by patrolling U-Boats right off the coast, it was not uncommon, and in fact, at times almost a daily occurrence to witness allied ships being torpedoed by the German submarines. This cemetery is sacred British soil. The sailors buried in this quiet cemetery are from the HMS Bedfordshire, which was torpedoed in May of 1942. Today, a British flag continuously flies over this sacred ground, as a stark reminder of the tragedy and cost of war. 

9-Amazing Fishing

Fishing is one of the most popular sports in the world and Ocracoke Island is a fisherman's paradise. Whether you want to take a charter boat out for the day, or are looking to do some surf casting while the kids play on the beach, Ocracoke will not disappoint. The waters off of Ocracoke are teaming with all the fish you have come to love catching along the Outer Banks. Don't forget you will need a North Carolina Fishing license to fish on Ocracoke Island.  

10-Ferry Ride

The ride to Ocracoke is half the fun of the day on the island. Of course, the ferry is not the fastest ship on the water, but you'll be glad it is a slow gentle ride. Take in the beautiful scenery and note the ever-changing colors of the water, the shifting sandbars and the local wildlife. Make sure to pull out the binoculars to truly take in all the wildlife during the ferry crossing. Think of the ferry ride as a free water tour. 

 It is true. To get to Ocracoke one must drive a few miles and take the ferry. If this all seems too daunting or complicated, don't let it. A day on Ocracoke is a simple and easy way to explore a unique part of the Outer Banks culture, history, and people. With so many great Outer Banks vacation rentals to choose from, all within a reasonable distance of Ocracoke Island, it would be a shame to miss this once in a lifetime experience...known as Ocracoke Island. 

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