The Outer Banks is filled with picturesque beach towns, but the lesser-known Ocracoke Island, NC is a hidden gem for someone who prioritizes relaxation on their vacation. If this sounds like you, check out our round-up of information on Ocracoke Island below to determine if this destination is right for you!
What is Ocracoke Island, NC known for?
Slow, relaxed, and carefree are just a few ways to describe what life is like on Ocracoke Island, NC. Located at the Southernmost tip of the Outer Banks, the island is full of history, with structures dating back to the 1700s. Additionally, there is a British Cemetery that is the final resting place for soldiers lost in WWII when a British boat sunk offshore by a German submarine.
What is there to do on Ocracoke Island, NC?
When you aren’t relaxing at home, head into Ocracoke Village for a bite to eat and shop at some of the town’s unique boutiques. While small in size, there are several highly regarded restaurants like Helios’ Hideaway, Eduardo’s, and Taqueria 504Suazo’s that will give the chef in your family a much deserved break from cooking.
Like other towns in the Outer Banks the island is inhabited by rare wildlife from Spanish Mustangs, migrating birds, and turtles which you can view from the nature trails and guided walks provided by the National Park Service.
Does Ocracoke Island, NC have a beach?
Yes! Ocracoke Island’s secluded beaches are just what you’d expect for a carefree beach day.
If posting up and digging your feet in the sand isn’t enough, take your dog for a walk on the pet-friendly beaches, cast a line along the surf (make sure you have an NC fishing permit first!), or drive a 4×4 along the shore (permits also required).
How do you get to Ocracoke Island, NC?
Ocracoke Island is accessible by boat or private plane only. Depending on where you are coming from, there are various ferry options available.
If you’re coming from the North, the Hatteras Ferry along NC-12 is free and takes about one hour. This route is perfect for anyone that is visiting other towns in the Outer Banks on their trip!
If you’re coming from the mainland, the Cedar Island Ferry (2 hours, 10 minutes) from the Southwest and the Swan Quarter Ferry (2 hours, 40 minutes) from the Northwest are tolled options that will get you to the island quicker than driving up to Nags Head and down NC-12. All three options allow you to bring your car.
Do you need a car on Ocracoke Island, NC?
Cars are not necessary on Ocracoke Island, but they are allowed. If you are taking the Hatteras Ferry, cars are recommended as you will need to drive past 13 miles of open dunes on your way into the village once you arrive on the island. Once in the village, most attractions can be accessed by bike or on foot.
What airports are close to Ocracoke Island, NC?
Norfolk International Airport is the closest to Ocracoke Island and offers the most non-stop flights to a variety of US cities. Flying into ORF will also give you the most scenic drive to the island.
- Norfolk International Airport ORF (4.25 hour drive/ferry)
- Pitt-Greenville Airport PGV (4.5 hour drive/ferry)
- Albert J. Ellis Airport OAJ (4.75 hour drive/ferry)
Driving Directions to Ocracoke Island, NC:
- From Norfolk, VA (4 hours)
- Take VA-168 S for 16 miles, continue onto NC-168 S for 18 miles
- Continue onto US-158 E for 44 miles
- Turn left onto Cape Hatteras National Park Road for 5 miles
- Continue onto NC-12 S for 53 miles
- Take the NC-12 ferry to Ocracoke Island, NC
- Follow NC-12 for 13 miles into Downtown Ocracoke
- From Jacksonville, NC (4.5 hours)
- Take NC-24 E for 32 miles
- Take US-70 E for 34 miles
- Continue onto NC-12 N for 12 miles
- Take the Cedar Island-Ocracoke Ferry to Ocracoke Island, NC
Where to Stay in Ocracoke Island, NC?
Wrightsville Beach, NC is home to dozens of oceanfront rentals that will make you feel relaxed from the moment you walk in!
- Couples Hideaway
- One bedroom, one bath home that sleeps 2
- Cozy tiny home
- Screen porch and lower deck
- Ocracoke Cabana
- One bedroom, one bath home that sleeps 2
- Pool access
- Communal charcoal grill
- Family Getaway
- Six bedroom, seven bath home that sleeps 12
- Private screen porch off master bedroom
- Sky deck with views
If you’re craving a quiet and relaxing beach vacation, look no further than Ocracoke Island, NC! If you know anyone heading to the island soon, be sure to share this article with them to make sure they make the most out of their trip.