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Ocracoke Island is one of the barrier islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The 16 mi (26 km) of unspoiled beaches and salty ocean breezes offer great opportunities for solitude, serenity, and peace of mind. The expansive vista of ocean and soundfront marsh provides a closeness to nature highlighted with her variety of beach vegetation and bird life. The proximity to the Gulf Stream, and consequent warm southern waters, make for perfect swimming and excellent fishing (gulf stream, surf, and sound). There are also water sports and a colorful history to explore.



Rated the #1 beach in America for 2007, the island of Ocracoke abounds in natural pleasures. Ocracoke offers a great medium for quality family time. The slow pace and warm, southern hospitality round out a perfect island vacation; one that insures peace, rest and relaxation.

Get in


The island is only accessible by ferry, boat or private plane. The free Hatteras ferry is a 40-minute ride that runs roughly every 30 minutes in the summer. There are two other ferry routes: Cedar Island, 2 hr 15 min, which runs from the southwest, and the Swan Quarter 2 hr 30 min, which runs from west of Ocracoke. $15 for a passenger car call for reservations +1-800-byferry Ocracoke Ferry information is available online[dead link].

By ferry


By private plane

  • 5 Ocracoke Island Airport. Flight planning facility available. Airport is close enough to walk to the beach. Howard's Pub monitors UNICOM and will pick you up. Ocracoke Island Airport (Q7076647) on Wikidata Ocracoke Island Airport on Wikipedia

Get around


You can best get around Ocracoke' charming village on foot or by bicycle. There are several places in the village to rent a bike or scooter. Parking spots are rare in town, so it's best not to try to drive around town. Just leave your car in one place and walk the rest of the way. There are sidewalks in the village but they are narrow.

  • 1 Ocracoke Beach Outfitters, 804 Irvin Garrish Hwy (next door to Native Seafood), +1 252-921-0311, toll-free: +1 877 741 6645. Sa–Tu 9AM–5PM, W–F 9AM–1PM. Rentals of bikes for adults and children, linens, baby equipment, beach gear and other convenience items. Adult bikes can be outfitted with child trailers and baby seats. Youth helmets are available at no additional charge. Free delivery and pick-up is available for all orders over $75 (Ocracoke Island delivery only). Orders under $75 incur a $15 delivery charge.
  • 2 Ocracoke Island Golf Carts, 216 Irving Garrish Hwy (intersection of Irving Garrish Hwy and British Cemetery Rd), +1 252 928-0090. Rent a golf cart and cruise the quiet tree lined streets. Carts can be driven anywhere in the village of Ocracoke.

Golf carts are a great way for getting around the village (especially given the narrow streets, 20 mph speed limit, and often scarce parking). They may only be used within the village, i.e. no further than Howard's Pub. Getting to the beach will still likely require a car, or a shuttle, if your lodging provides one. It is possible to take your cart to the end of the village and walk to the nearest pedestrian access point (Ramp 70, next to the airstrip), but those with a lot of beach gear or small children will likely want to make alternate arrangements.


  • 1 Ocracoke Light Station, Lighthouse Road (just off Lighthouse Road). North Carolina's oldest lighthouse still in operation. Easy to bike or walk to, not open for climbing. Ocracoke Light (Q4286368) on Wikidata Ocracoke Light on Wikipedia


  • Watersports are also a popular outdoor recreation. Surfing, kite boarding, kayaking

Sport fishing and surf fishing. Boating. Beach combing. Sunbathing. Swimming. Read a book. Have a nap in a hammock. Well, in Ocracoke you really don't have to do anything but relax.


  • 1 Ocracoke Variety Store, 950 Irvin Garrish Highway, +1 252 928 4911. 7AM-7PM. As the only grocery store on Ocracoke Island, this is the place to pick up fresh-cut meats, fresh produce, frozen foods, gourmet cheeses, dairy products, bread, spices, sauces, vegan and gluten-free products – basically everything you need to prepare your own meals and snacks. The Variety Store offers grab-and-go sandwiches, prepared foods, plus coolers to pack your picnic in. They have a good selection of wine and craft beer as well.




  • Sweet tea is always good in the South anywhere you can find it. Sweet tea is iced tea with a lot of sugar. If you ask for iced tea or even just tea, you will probably receive sweet tea. If you want iced tea without sugar, ask for unsweet tea. If you want hot tea, ask for hot tea. If you find sweet tea to be too sweet and unsweet tea is too bland, ask for half-and-half to receive a mix of sweet and unsweet tea.




  • 4 NPS Ocracoke Campground, 4352 Irvin Garrish Highway (off of NC-12 a few miles east of the village of Ocracoke), +1 252 928 6671. Check-out: Noon. $28/night.
  • 5 Jerniman's, 990 Irvin Garrish Highway, +1 252 928 0308. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.

Stay safe

  • Pay attention to the road rules that apply everywhere. Bike on the right, walk on the left. There are no sidewalks, so there is traffic congestion on the busy one-lane Highway 12.
  • There is no crime recorded on the island except for a few stolen bicycles from your favorite late-night hangout.

Go next


Deepwater theater and Music Hall The Jolly Roger on silver lake, great music, great sunsets.

Routes through Ocracoke
Nags HeadHatteras ← ferry ←  N  S  → ferry → Cedar Island → Jct W

This city travel guide to Ocracoke is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.