Home » 2004 Spring Break on Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island, NC

Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 10:00am by Lolo
72 miles and 2 hours from our last stop - 2 night stay


Ocracoke Island turned out to be a perfect choice for us. Although we were not camping under the palmettos as we did on previous Spring Breaks on Hunting Island, our campsite did butt up right against the dunes of the National Seashore, and at night while drifting all to sleep we could listen to the sounds of the surf. An uncrowded campground in a great natural setting was just what we were looking for.

The second criteria that is really important to us is having a new place to explore, and if this can be done by bike, all the better. And, if you can throw quaintness into the mix, I’m even happier, and Ocracoke Village was oozing with quaintness. The Village was located about 4 ½ miles down the road from the campground, just enough to get in a little exercise before exploring. Herb decided to do it as a run while the boys and I rode our bikes.

Our first stop was the Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823 when the islanders decided that a more permanent structure was needed to mark Ocracoke Inlet. Its predecessor was a moored lightship that kept being driven ashore by bad weather—not a very good quality in a lighthouse. The lighthouse was picturesque, but unfortunately visitors were no longer permitted to climb its tower, so we had to satisfy ourselves with taking its picture.

We then rode our bikes through the lovely little village with its quaint shops and historic homes. After leaving the main street of the village, we stumbled upon a quiet sandy lane named Howard Street. Although it was just a stone’s throw away from the bustle of the main drag, it felt like we had gone back about a century in time. It was so quiet and serene with stately old oak trees draped over white picket fences, beautiful historic homes and even some old family cemeteries. I’m so glad we found this street, because it would have been very easy to spend the whole day in the village and not even know that it existed.

On our way back to the campground, we stopped in a store called the Pirate’s Chest that catered to another one of Ocracoke’s claims to fame—pirates. That’s right, Ocracoke was once a place where pirates hung out between plunderings. In fact, Ocracoke Inlet was one of Blackbeard’s favorite hide-outs. He was killed there in 1718 after a fierce fight with the British Navy. To commemorate that event, I bought the boys bought some socks with skulls and crossbones all over them.

Back at our campsite, Andrew ran laps around the campground—remember it was his track career that messed up our vacation in the first place, so he’d better run. Later that evening, we had a very nice dinner out on our picnic table along the edge of the dunes. Ocracoke had truly been a wonderful choice for us and one that I hope we will return to someday soon.


Ocracoke Island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a chain of barrier islands which stretches 75 miles along the Outer Banks from Nags Head to Ocracoke. Ocracoke Island, the southernmost end of the chain, is 16 miles long and an average of ½ mile wide. It is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by Pamlico Sound. The entire island is owned by the National Park Service, with the exception of the small village of Ocracoke (population 800) at the southern tip of the island.

Some attractions and things to do on the island include:
• Swim or fish along the 16 miles of pristine beaches
• Explore the historic village of Ocracoke with its quaint shops, restaurants, and historic homes
• Bike or stroll along Howard Street a quiet sandy lane bordered by historic homes, white picket fences, live oak trees, and small family cemeteries
• Visit Ocracoke Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse in North Carolina
• Learn about the island’s colorful pirate past – Ocracoke Inlet was one of Blackbeard’s favorite hide-outs

To reach Ocracoke Island from the north, just take the 40-minute ride across Pamlico Sound on one of the free North Carolina ferries. These ferries depart from Hatteras village every 30 minutes starting at 5 am.

Ocracoke Island location map in "high definition"

Javascript is required to view this map.