The Ocracoke Harbor is easily the busiest quarter mile stretch of Ocracoke Island. Consisting of a small, lagoon-like section of saltwater, and lined by a semi-circle of docks, restaurants, shops, marinas and motels, visitors will find that any and all of the activities on Ocracoke Island can most certainly be found harbor front.
There may not be any major amusement parks or shopping malls on Ocracoke Island, but kids seem to have no problem staying entertained. On your next Ocracoke Island vacation, be sure and visit these fun, educational and altogether engaging kid-friendly Ocracoke activities and destinations.
Educational Sites and Attractions
Make a day at the beach a learning experience with these Ocracoke Island educational attractions and sites that are inherently fun for all ages.
Blackbeard Museum at Teach's Hole - This entertaining museum is designed for kids, with a world of pirate memorabilia which extends from the coastal exhibits to the well-stocked gift shop. Admission to the museum is around $4 per person, while the engaging gift shop is wide open for all Ocracoke Island visitors.
Ocracoke Preservation Museum - Kids will get a kick out of the collection of original Ocracoke exhibits at this small, centrally located museum near Silver Lake Harbor. The museum also hosts front porch talks for visitors of all ages.
Ocracoke Island Visitor Center - The Visitors Center is a great resource for all things Ocracoke Island, from area attractions to beach activities, and kids will have fun perusing the toys and children's books in the gift shop. Take a stroll behind the museum where a shallow soundside beach, perfect for young visitors who want to splash around, can be found.
National Park Service Ocracoke Station - The National Park Service (NPS) has a range of programs throughout the Cape Hatteras National Seashore that are designed for kids and adults alike. From special shelling and fishing trips to tips on Outer Banks crabbing, kids can learn a lot about the North Carolina barrier island coastline while having a blast.
Ocracoke Pony Pen - Visitors can meet the famed descendants of 16th century shipwrecks up close and personal with a stop by the Ocracoke Pony Pen. Located just a few miles south of the Hatteras Ferry Terminal, this NPS managed site also features parking and access to an oceanside beach.
Springer's Point Nature Preserve - The Springer's Point Preserve in the heart of Ocracoke Village is a beautiful 161 acre introduction to the unique soundside environment. A nature trail winds through the maritime forest to the Pamlico Sound and back, and the soundside beach is a perfect splashing destination for young children.
There's plenty of fun things to discover on a sunny day on Ocracoke Island, and active kids will love these perfectly accessible outdoor activities.
Swimming - Ocracoke Island has a seasonally lifeguarded beach that's located a few miles north from the town borders. The shoreline throughout Ocracoke Island is generally nice and shallow, making it easy for visitors to wade out while still touching the ocean floor. Families should not swim near the inlets, which have notoriously strong currents. The soundside is also a great destination for Ocracoke's youngest visitors, and public access can be found by the Visitors Center, at Springer's Point Nature Preserve and along NC Highway 12.
Kite Flying - The wide open beaches of Ocracoke Island are perfect for flying kites. Visitors will find plenty of kites for sale at local souvenir shops and the specialty store Kitty Hawk Kites, which is located adjacent to Silver Lake Harbor.
Shelling - The Ocracoke Beaches are world famous for shelling, so find a stretch of beach and start scanning the shoreline for whelks, clams, scallops, olive shells and sand dollars. Portsmouth Island ATVs also offers guided shelling tours of neighboring Portsmouth Island, which is a fun half-day trip for kids and adults alike.
Biking - A bicycle is the preferred mode of transportation on Ocracoke Island, and rentals are found throughout the village. Families with small children should stick to the residential streets that veer away from NC Highway 12 as much as possible to avoid excess traffic. Popular biking destinations in Ocracoke Village include the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and Springer's Point Preserve.
Stand-up Paddleboarding - SUP is gaining traction as one of the coolest new sports on the Outer Banks, and SUP equipment and rentals can be found at local surf shops as well as seasonal watersports rental stands along Silver Lake Harbor. Though easy to learn, this sport is best enjoyed by older kids.
Kayaking - The Pamlico Sound is perfect for kayaking, and families can stop by Kitty Hawk Kites or Ride the Wind Surf and Kayak to schedule a guided eco-tour or sunset tour through the open waters. Kayak rentals are also available at both of these shops, as well as at a number of seasonally open kiosks along NC Highway 12.
Parasailing - Swing by the Ocracoke Parasail Inc. Company in Ocracoke Village for a high flying adventure over the island that parents and kids won't soon forget. Single and tandem rides are available, and kids should be accompanied by an adult.
Sandcastle Contests - The beaches are perfect for building a sandcastle or two, and Ocracoke Island celebrates this time-honored tradition by hosting a sandcastle building event every year on the 4th of July. The sandcastle is open to adults and kids alike with advanced registration, but is worth a look for spectators as well, due to the annual variety of impressively detailed structures.
Spend a rainy afternoon or a day away from the beach by checking out these other kid-friendly attractions and activities.
Candy and Sweets - Stop by Sweet Tooth in Ocracoke Village to sample fudge, chocolates, jelly beans, and a wide and ever-changing array of treats that will satisfy any sugar craving.
Deepwater Theater - The Deepwater Theater on School Road features regular summertime performances by Molasses Creek, a high energy bluegrass band that will have everyone's toes tapping. The 8:00 p.m. shows are appropriate for kids and adults alike, and are generally held 2-3 times a week in the summer months.
Ocracoke Library - Enjoy a quiet hour or two of reading at the Ocracoke Library, which is connected to the small Ocracoke School. The library is well-stocked with children's books which can be enjoyed on site, or borrowed with a Hyde County library card.
Jewelry Making and Crafts - Head to the Glass Bead and Java Junction for a creative morning or afternoon of making jewelry from a selection of thousands of beads. Kids will love designing their own personalized souvenir, while adults will love the large selection of coffee drinks.
Shopping - Kids will adore the cool surf shops, gift stores, and souvenir shops along Ocracoke Island that boast plenty of pirate-themed toys and games, as well as books, apparel, and other Ocracoke treasures.