Visiting Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

I just got back from a week in North Carolina… a warm week…   When I was young, I was taught it was more polite to say it was ‘warm’ instead of ‘hot’… but come on… it’s hot in North Carolina in the summer!
01 01 lighthouse Fortunately for me, I had a lot to distract me from the heat… for the second part of the week we were inland where I helped our friends decorate for their daughter’s outdoor wedding and reception…

I have several posts coming up featuring that wedding and decorations… amazing, beautiful and all on a budget!

But for the first part of the week we went to the Outer Banks. 

So today, I’m going to show you a glimpse of a skinny island that makes up part of the Outer Banks, NC. boat house 1This was the first time I’ve been to the Outer Banks, and I found the land formation that make up the banks to be quite intriguing.

There is this skinny long strip of land with a few connections by bridges that divide the rest of the mainland of North Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean. Do you know what that type of body of water is called? (I’m sure if you live by the coast you know, but for my ‘landlubber’ readers, here’s a little lesson…) It’s not a gulf, it’s not a causeway, it’s not a river… it’s a sound. Maybe you all knew that already,?? I didn’t pay attention in geography like I should have so I may have missed it.

Here’s a Google Earth pic of the Outer Banks:

One of the things the Outer Banks are famous for is that it is the location of Kitty Hawk, you know the place where the Wright Brothers took their first flight… I’m not sure why they chose this spot, but it sure was a pretty place to see, and from the sky for the first time, it must have been an amazing view for them. Anyway, Kitty Hawk is on the north end of the banks and Ocracoke is down on the south end.

So we stayed on the banks for a couple of days and enjoyed the sandy beaches and waves on the bold water side of the island, just a little north of Hatteras.

When it was time to head inland, instead of driving up the whole way to access the mainland by bridge, we opted to drive down to Hatteras and pick up the ferry that took us to Ocracoke Island, and from Ocracoke, we would take another ferry that would take us all the way to the mainland. ferry lineThe ferry ride to Ocracoke is free, I guess it’s part of the state highway system. ferryOnce parked on the Ferry, you can get out of your car and walk around and enjoy the 15 minute boat ride to the island. parking lot bazzarWe were there on July 4th so it was super fun to see everything ‘decked’ out for the holiday, including this fun community square area. lemonadeAfter we refreshed ourselves from the heat with some fresh squeezed lemonade, house store with bikeswe had so much fun renting scooters and riding around the little town for a few hours to see all the sights, before we caught the next ferry to the mainland. dune buggy, golf cart, cars, and moreOn Ocracoke, you must share the road with pedestrians, cars, trucks, scooters, bikes, golf carts and even dune buggies. inside restuarantWe got a great tip from the lemonade guy and had a yummy lunch in a most welcome ‘air-conditioned’ restaurant. Whew! It was warm riding around on that scooter with a helmet on. water towerTime to leave Ocracoke… red and white harbor houseThe ferry ride going to the mainland is $15 and the ride is about 3 hours long.

Someday I’d like to live by the ocean, or at least for the summers… I think it’s funny how drawn I am to the ocean, but I live in ‘Our House’ in the middle of the United States, just about as far from any coast as possible… This is just where life has put me thus far, but maybe there’s change ahead…

Ocracoke Island was a fun relaxing place to visit and like every island I’ve ever been on, it’s vastly different from the mainland. If you’re looking for a wonderfully relaxing island vacation, I’d recommend checking out Ocracoke or the Outer Banks, NC.



For more reading,

Click here to see the other neighborhoods I’ve written about my experiences while there.

Click here to see the gorgeous outdoor wedding and click here for evening reception we were in North Carolina for!


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Reader Interactions


  1. Kim @ Sand & Sisal says

    I just HAD to click on this post! I was on my little sister’s blog (HomeStoriesAtoZ)and saw this! We just returned from Hatteras this week. We go a few times a year since we live just 2 hrs north in Va.Beach. We didn’t make it down to Ocracoke this time, but will next time for sure. I just wrote a post about our vacay in Avon today. So nice to meet you!

  2. Judy says

    Oh my, Ocracoke is one of my most favorite places. The Outer Banks in general just leave me breathless, but Ocracoke…ahhhhhhhhhh! So fun to read about it through someone else’s eyes. I am also landlocked, but the ocean calls to me.


  3. Sandy says

    I love Ocracoke, have been many times! Glad you enjoyed the area, we are about 1 hr from Cedar Island and don’t get down there enough!

  4. Liz says

    What a fun look at this area. I’ve never been to that part of N.C. Thanks for taking us on your travels with you!

  5. Lindsey says

    The outer banks is where everyone in our south eastern Virginia town vacations! We are already coastal tidewater but it’s nothing like the OBX! Ocracoke is really a neat place. Love looking at all these pics. Makes me want to be on vacation right now! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  6. Princess Kate says

    Thank you so much for sharing you pictures. I can’t wait to see the wedding shots. We have been vacationing down in the Outer banks for years now and absolutely love it. We took the ferry a few years ago to Ocracoke and feel in love with the town. Glad you had a wonderful trip.

  7. Princess Kate says

    We have been vacationing in the Outer Banks for several years now and absolutely love it. We normally stay more north (Corrolla, Whalehead, etc.). A few years ago we went down south and rode the ferry to Ocracoke and feel in love. It truly is a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Angie says

    How ironic! I have never been to Ocracoke, but I just sold a vintage etching of the lighthouse from the first photo in my Etsy shop. I actually took it to the UPS store today! Thank you so much for sharing your visit. North Carolina is one of my favorite places to visit with my family! I am now happily following your blog~hope you will stop over for a visit at my place! Angie

  9. Donnamae says

    Looks like a great place to vacation…when it’s cooler! Have to put that on the list of places to visit! 😉

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