15+ Fun Things to Do in Ocracoke Island, NC

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, is a tiny settlement at the southernmost point of the Outer Banks. This little 16-mile stretch of the island provides a range of fun beach activities as well as an interesting historical background, and the stunning panoramas, great cafes, and breathtaking beaches are unrivaled.

Ocracoke Island was an important stop in the busy economic route of the early 1700s. Because large ships could not navigate the shallow Pamlico Sound, experienced sailors were compelled to live on the island and transport freight to mainland ports. The island’s perilous waters attracted pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard. Even after he died in 1718, additional pirates used the area as a temporary base.

Ocracoke Island saw growth and prosperity throughout the next two centuries. During the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, it was a critical point of entry into Pamlico Sound, and during World War II, it served as a secret training facility for the United States Navy’s advanced amphibious division.

Throughout it all, Ocracoke Island has remained attractive, and even though tourism is now its principal source of money, the village remains tranquil.

15+ Fun Things to Do in Ocracoke Island, NC


Ocracoke Island has no roads, therefore the only way to get there is via boat or small plane, with ferries being the most common form of transportation. Three major boats depart daily for Ocracoke. The first ferry leaves from Cedar Island, the second from Swan Quarters, and the last from Cape Hatteras. All ferries may transport both people and automobiles.


There is always something fascinating to discover on Ocracoke Island, from the beautiful beachfront businesses and restaurants to the fantastic outdoor activities, and we created this list to make your vacation as delightful as possible. This is a complete guide to things to do on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.


360 Lighthouse Road, Ocracoke, NC 27960

The Ocracoke Lighthouse is one of five lighthouses in the Outer Banks. This 75-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1823 to aid seafarers navigate the Pamlico Sound.

The gorgeous white brick lighthouse is a famous tourist attraction on Ocracoke, drawing hundreds of visitors each year. Guests are welcome to see the lighthouse’s base and environs. However, due to safety concerns, no one is authorized to climb the lighthouse. Include the lighthouse on your list of things to do on Ocracoke Island, NC.


Ocracoke, NC 27960

Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach has km of beautiful sandy beaches that are easily accessible from Ocracoke Village. From Memorial Day to Labour Day, Lifeguarded Beach is Ocracoke’s only beach with a full-time lifeguard on duty. It is recognized as one of the Outer Banks’ top beaches due to its size, ample parking, accessibility, and beach activities.

Beach driving is one of the most popular activities on Ocracoke Beach. Permits are required for driving on the beach and may be obtained from the National Park Service. Day and seasonal licenses are available for purchase. Please bear in mind that only four-wheel drive or off-road vehicles should be driven on sand.


Address: 104 Loop Rd, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Springer’s Point is a beautiful 132-acre wildlife preserve on Ocracoke Island. The island features a maritime forest, hiking trails, a red cedar forest, meadows, salt marshes, fish, and a variety of other species.

Because there is no parking at Springer’s Point Preserve, the best option is to park near the Ocracoke Lighthouse and walk. Teach’s Hole is a spot in the water near Springer’s Point where the famed pirate Blackbeard is said to have died in his final encounter with the British Royal Navy.


Ocracoke, North Carolina 27960

Ocracoke has a few wild ponies, comparable to Corolla’s wild horses. The horses in Corolla, on the other hand, are completely free to roam, but those on Ocracoke are housed in a large (180-acre) cage for their protection. They also have paddocks, stables, and scheduled feeding times within the pen.

Everyone is invited to visit the ponies, take photos, and say hi. However, only members of the National Park Service have access to the enclosure.


Ocracoke, NC 27960, 234 British Cemetery Rd

During World War II, British ships searched the coast of North Carolina for German submarines. The British ship was torpedoed, killing 37 British Royal Navy sailors. The bones of four of these men washed up on the seashore of Ocracoke during the next several days and were buried together in this location.

Anyone is welcome to pay their respects and learn about the event’s history at the cemetery. Every year, the National Park Service, the United States Coast Guard, and the Royal Navy hold a memorial service to honor the servicemen who died.


34 School Road, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Books to Be Red is a tiny bookshop and trinket store in Ocracoke Village. The shop sells a variety of children’s books, souvenirs, handmade gifts, and other products.


216 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Getting about Ocracoke is much easier if you own a car since, while the island is small, it is spread out enough that you cannot walk. It is now feasible to take your car aboard the boat. To make your journey simple and hassle-free, hire a golf cart from Ocracoke Island Golf Carts.

Ocracoke Island Golf Carts rent four and six-passenger open-air golf carts by the hour, day, weekend, and even weekly.


Unnamed Road, Ocracoke, North Carolina 27960

The Hammock Hills Nature Track is a 34-mile walking trail with diverse terrain and breathtaking views. The trek will take you through a pine forest and offer spectacular views of the Pamlico Sound and salt marshes. The Hammock Hills Nature Trail is an easy, family-friendly hike. We welcome dogs on leashes.


Ocracoke, NC 27960, 49 Water Plant Rd

The Ocracoke Preservation Society is a non-profit museum that aims to preserve and share Ocracoke’s rich history. The museum has an excellent collection of historical antiquities, period furniture, artworks, rotating displays, and a gift shop.


Ocracoke, North Carolina 27960

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway is 138 miles long and includes 21 coastal villages, two ferry crossings, and some of the world’s best ocean views. It is rated as one of North Carolina’s most gorgeous roads.

The byway starts from Whalebone Junction in Nags Head and finishes in Beaufort, North Carolina, with Ocracoke Island about in the center.


259 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Mermaid’s Folly is an excellent place to shop if you’re looking for the perfect souvenir or beach-themed gift! They provide a wide range of sea-themed clothes, souvenirs, toys, and other goods.


538 Back Road, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Zillie’s is the place to go for all your beer and wine needs. They provide an extensive selection of wines, beers, and microbrews from all around the world, including some from North Carolina. There is also a great assortment of cheeses, deli meats, cigars, and small snacks for sale. Take your sweets to go or relax on the outside patio.


We can’t list them all, but here are some great options for drinks and food when visiting Ocracoke Island’s attractions.


305 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Dajio is a charming Southern-style cafe that offers unique culinary twists on classic dishes. They not only serve delicious food, but they also have live music and one of the most beautiful outdoor patios in town.

Melon Flying

181 Back Road, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Flying Melon is a family-friendly restaurant providing delicious Creole and Southern cuisine, including locally caught seafood. They feature an extensive wine selection and a warm atmosphere.

Sandwiches made with old salt

950 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Old-salt sandwiches are a must-try when visiting Ocracoke. They provide some of the best burgers in town, as well as shrimp burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and kids’ meals complete with a souvenir beach pail and animal crackers. They even supply meals for your dog, allowing the entire family to dine together.

Jason’s Dining Room

1110 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Jason’s Restaurant has been an institution on Ocracoke for many years. The restaurant, located on the north end of Ocracoke, is only open seasonally and serves delicious pizzas, seafood dishes, sandwiches, salads, wings, and more.

Jason’s Dining Area

Ocracoke, NC 27960 1110 Irvin Garrish Highway

Jason’s Restaurant has long been a local fixture on Ocracoke. The restaurant, located on Ocracoke’s north end, is only open seasonally and provides wonderful pizzas, seafood dishes, sandwiches, salads, wings, and other items.

Ocracoke Oyster Co.

621 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960

Visit Ocracoke Oyster Company for fresh, locally sourced oysters and other delicacies. Their fig wood smoker also produces traditional American BBQ. This is an excellent family-friendly institution with ample outside patio seating, lawn games, a full bar, and much more.


Looking to leave Ocracoke and explore the Outer Banks? Here are some must-see sights surrounding Ocracoke that should be on your list of things to do on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.

Portsmouth Town

Portsmouth Village, North Carolina

The Portsmouth hamlet, located on Portsmouth Island directly below Ocracoke, was formerly a fishing and marine village. The village is now a historical and archaeological monument, complete with a visitor center. Visitors are welcome to take a boat to the island and see the displays representing life for fishermen and their families many years ago. Camping is also permitted on the beaches of Portsmouth Village.

The Atlantic Museum’s Graveyard

59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras Island, NC 27943

The Graveyard of the Atlantic is a free museum dedicated to maritime shipwrecks that happened along the Outer Banks coastline. There are frequently new and interesting maritime history exhibitions, which include ships, trash, artifacts, and more. The museum also offers a fun treasure hunt for families and children, which ends with a gift.

The Atlantic Museum’s Graveyard is now closed for renovation. They are slated to open in the autumn of 2023.

Lighthouse on Cape Hatteras

Buxton, NC 27920, 46379 Lighthouse Rd

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the five lighthouses on the Outer Banks and one of the most popular and visited in the state. The lighthouse is the tallest in America, reaching 198 feet above ground and requiring 269 stairs to reach the summit. It is well known for its striking black and white stripe motif going down the sides.

Normally, tourists are welcome to ascend the countless stairs to the top of the lighthouse and see the beautiful view. The lighthouse, however, is now closed for repair and is not expected to reopen until 2023. Visitors can still visit the lighthouse and explore its surroundings.

Native American Museum & Natural History Centre in Frisco

53536 North Carolina Highway 12, Frisco, NC 27936

Native Americans and the country they knew long before Spanish and English settlers came had a significant impact on the Outer Banks’ history.

The Frisco Native American Museum is a non-profit organization that works to preserve the history and culture of the Outer Banks tribes. Visitors to the museum may see antiques, artifacts, pictures, and paintings, as well as engage in hands-on learning activities.

15+ Fun Things to Do in Ocracoke Island, NC


Ocracoke Island is unlike any other place in the world, even the nearby Outer Banks seashore villages. It is undoubtedly a haven of serenity, leisure, and wonder that captivates the hearts of all who visit the little island. You will not be disappointed whether you visit for a day or plan a full journey around Ocracoke. It is a sight to see.

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