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Visit Ocracoke Island

Updated on September 18, 2014

Enjoy Beautiful Beaches and Ocracoke Lighthouse

A wonderful day trip from the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a visit to the enchanting Ocracoke Island.

The island has miles of unspoiled beaches that are maintained by the National Park Service. The scenery is spectacular.

The village of Ocracoke itself is equally enchanting, from the oldest working lighthouse in North Carolina to the shops of the quaint town built around Silver Lake you will find plenty to enjoy on the island.

There is a wide variety of activities available on the island. Bicycles are everywhere and can be rented for your use for the day. Also popular are the kayaks and fishing boats.

Whether your pleasure is the more active sports or just enjoying the beautiful scenery, Ocracoke has something to offer everyone.

I hope you enjoy these photos from my day on Ocracoke!

Trip to Ocracoke starts with Ferry Ride

leave from Hatteras Village

Ocracoke is only accessible by private plane, private boat, or one of the state run ferries. We started our tip to the island by driving aboard the ferry leaving Hatteras Village.

The ferry ride is very well organized and ferries leave every half hour. The ride takes about 45 minutes and you can stay in your car or get out and enjoy the scenery during the trip. There is also an air-conditioned passenger lounge for those who want to escape the heat.

Ocracoke island is a small community of only about 800 year-round residents who work hard to preserve the island's culture and history. Until the 1950's the islands residents were pretty isolated and received their only contact from the mainland from the daily mail boat. The ferry service didn't start to the island until 1957.

The history of the island is rich in lore about the sea, with many stories about pirates and legends of lost treasures.

Today the island has been transformed from a quaint, isolated fishing village to a wonderful vacation spot. In 2007 this remote island was named the #1 Beach in America by the infamous beach aficionado, Stephen Leatherman.

I found the island to be very beautiful, the beaches spectacular and of course, I love the lighthouse. The village itself got rather congested at lunch time, but I noted that this congestion only lasted about 2 hours and then it all calmed down again.

When you visit the Outer Banks, put Ocracoke Islandon your must see list!

Sand Dunes at Ocracoke - beautiful sand dunes

As you travel along Highway 12 from the ferry you notice the beautiful scenery at Ocracoke. On the Atlantic side of the Island beautiful sand dunes are seen all along the highway. We stopped several times so I could photograph this beautiful scenery.

Sea Oats on Ocracoke

Sea Oats on Ocracoke
Sea Oats on Ocracoke

View of Pamlico Sound

On the Pamlico Sound side of the island the scenery is different, yet also very beautiful.

This photo shows the marshes along the coast facing the Pamlico Sound.

Visiting Ocracoke Lighthouse - North Carolina's oldest lighthouse

The lighthouse is accessible by a boardwalk that runs alongside it. You can just go inside the lighthouse on certain days of the month, otherwise you can view the lighthouse from the boardwalk.

On the day the I visited there was a park ranger by the lighthouse that answered questions about the lighthouse.

Ocracoke Lighthouse is North Carolina's oldest operating lighthouse. The first lighthouse was built on Ocracoke inlet in 1798 but when the inlet shifted this lighthouse became ineffective.

The present lighthouse was built in 1823 and it stands 75 feet tall and shines 14 miles out to sea.

Mini Ocracoke Lighthouse

If you are a collector of lighthouses, this mini lighthouse of Ocracoke will be a wonderful addition to your collection.

Closeup View of Lantern

This lighthouse is considered a harbor lighthouse and emits a constant fixed beam.

Ocracoke Lighthouse from Across Silver Lake

Silver Lake seems to be the center of life in Ocracoke. On one side it is surrounded by small shops and restaurants. With an entrance to the Pamlico Sound the lakeside harbor serves the fisherman in the area. They have a place to dock and pick up supplies and passengers.

In this photo you see the lighthouse across the lake.

Things to do on Ocracoke Island - click on photo to see caption

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Boating is a popular pastime. Even the dogs enjoy it!!Learn about history on Ocracoke.You can rent boats and kayaks.Bicycles are everywhere. Here a family is enjoying the island by bicyle.There are plenty of good places to eat. This is the cafe that where we ate lunch. They had a great crab cake sandwich!Parasailing is another activity on the island.
Boating is a popular pastime. Even the dogs enjoy it!!
Boating is a popular pastime. Even the dogs enjoy it!!
Learn about history on Ocracoke.
Learn about history on Ocracoke.
You can rent boats and kayaks.
You can rent boats and kayaks.
Bicycles are everywhere. Here a family is enjoying the island by bicyle.
Bicycles are everywhere. Here a family is enjoying the island by bicyle.
There are plenty of good places to eat. This is the cafe that where we ate lunch. They had a great crab cake sandwich!
There are plenty of good places to eat. This is the cafe that where we ate lunch. They had a great crab cake sandwich!
Parasailing is another activity on the island.
Parasailing is another activity on the island.

The Beaches of Ocracoke - voted #1 in US

The beaches are what bring many people to Ocracoke. There are 16 miles of gorgeous beaches that are virtually unspoiled.

These beaches have been named the #1 Beach in America in 2007 and Conde Naste Traveler magazine recognized them as the #5 beach in the world!!

Island Scenery

Island Scenery
Island Scenery

Ocracoke Island - where is this remote island

Spend some time in Paradise:
Ocracoke Island, NC

get directions

Lighthouses of the Outer Banks - North Carolina lighthouses

This postcard can be purchased at
This postcard can be purchased at | Source

© 2009 Mary Beth Granger


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