Ocracoke is an island in North Carolina, situated off the beaten track. The pristine beaches and quirky architecture here are undeniably charming and the reward for venturing to Ocracoke is not having to share the site with tons of other tourists.
The beaches and coastlines are a highlight of Oracoke island. Ocracoke Village Beach is a little slice of paradise, and equally, South Point beach is a popular spot for shelling, fishing, and walking.
The best time to visit Ocracoke is during the summer months when temperatures are at their highest.
The island of Ocracoke is 16 miles long and is a barrier island that makes up part of the Outer Banks. The most popular way to visit this quaint little island is by car, however it can also be reached by private boat. Even if you go by car, you will still have to hop on the Hatteras Ferry, which is free and regular, and the journey will take you around an hour. Once on the island, it should be just a short 20-minute drive your Ocracoke Island vacation home.
When it comes to Ocracoke vacation rentals, the island is dominated with private rental homes and just a few hotels in the village, some which come with private pools and small balconies.
As such a small island, there is not a great deal in terms of major attractions, but it will be hard to find a more relaxing spot in North Carolina. Fishing is a very popular activity, and can be achieved both on the beach and by charter. Many local boats are available for the day, and with some you don’t even have to make a reservation in advance.
The beaches, like the island’s wildlife, are protected and are a joy to behold, with golden sands stretching for miles along the coast. Vacation homes near the beach are a popular option for family and friends, as you only have to step out of your front door and you will be just a short walk from the sand and surf. From the north end to South Point, there is 16 miles of natural beaches to make the most of, with no big developments in sight.
The sound side of the island has also largely been left untouched, with marshes, wetlands and estuaries making it a great place to spot wildlife such as birds, fish and turtles. Over 400 species of bird have now been spotted on Ocracoke, and you may even be lucky and spot bottle-nosed dolphins leaping out from the waves.
If you are interested in learning a little bit more about the town itself, a great way to do this is via a free audio tour by the Ocracoke Navigator. Alternatively, you could just take a walk around the charming streets, and admire the wide selection of vacation rentals that have found their way into such a small town. Another way to get around town is by bike or golf cart, both can be hired in town are a great fun, especially if your house rental is a little further out.
During golden hour, the best place to head is to Ocracoke Lighthouse, North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse in operation, and the second oldest in the states. Although it may not be the most impressive of the Outer Banks lighthouses, its beacon can still be spotted up to 14 miles into the Pamlico Sound and Atlantic Ocean. If you can’t get to the lighthouse at sunset, try to watch the sunset over the harbor, as the colors behind the masks of boats is a sight to behold.
For those that want to hit the waves, you can kayak or surf on the waters for the Pamlico Sound, the largest lagoon in the North American east coast. A few of the local shops have equipment to rent, and if you are a beginner you can also take part in private or group surfing lessons.