Fun Facts about Ocracoke

  • Ocracoke Islands is roughly 13 miles long, but the village of Ocracoke itself is just 4 square miles in area, and is located on the southern edge of the island.
  • Ocracoke is bordered to the west by the Pamlico Sound and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Ocracoke is located approximately 20-25 miles off the mainland coast of North Carolina, (across the Pamlico Sound.)
  • To get to Ocracoke Islands, visitors must take a North Carolina state-run ferry. Visitors can arrive from the south via the Hatteras Island / Ocracoke ferry, or from the north via the Swanquarter or Cedar Island ferry.
  • The Hatteras ferry is about a 60 minute trip across the sound, while the Cedar Island and Sawn Quarter ferries are 2.25-2.5 hour crossings that depart from the mainland.
  • There are less than 1,000 year-round residents in Ocracoke. In the summer, this population swells to thousands of day-trippers and vacationers.
  • The town-wide speed limit through Ocracoke Islands is 25 mph. Vacationers who stay in the region often cruise through the area on foot, on a bicycle, or in recent years, on a golf cart.
  • The region has been occupied for hundreds of years, and a number of current residents are proud descendants of these original settlers, known locally as "Ocockers."
  • Because the island is separated from the rest of the country, a unique dialect was formed which is known as the "Ocracoke Brogue." This dialect has been studied by North Carolina State University linguists, and is thought to be one the closest dialects to authentic 1700s and 1800s English.
  • Ocracoke has a popular harbor which has been a hot spot for commerce since the 1700s.
  • The famous Blackbeard the Pirate considered Ocracoke Harbor and the island in general as one of his favorite hunting grounds for looting merchant ships.
  • Blackbeard met his end just off the Ocracoke Harbor. Current museums and street or business names that reference "Edward Teach" honor his former, formidable presence.
  • The Ocracoke Beaches are considered some of the best Outer Banks beaches for shelling, fishing, and overall seclusion.
  • In 2007, renowned beach expert, Dr. Beach, named the Lifeguarded Beach in Ocracoke Islands as the #1 Best Beach in America. The region has since been retired from the annual "Best Beaches" list.
  • There are no recorded alligators in the sound, but the region is home to thousands of migrating birds, deer, reptiles, and the famed Ocracoke Banker horses, or Ocracoke Wild Ponies.
  • The Ocracoke Wild Ponies can still be spotted and admired at the Ocracoke Pony Pen, and are thought to be descendants of 16th century Spanish mustangs.
  • Ocracoke has become a respite of sorts for visiting and local writers, artists and other creative adventurers. As a result, the region boasts one of the highest concentrations of art galleries on the Outer Banks.
  • With an eclectic collection of restaurants, galleries, and shops, Ocracoke Islands is considered one of the most unique destinations along North Carolina's Outer Banks.

 

Kitty Hawk Kites

Kitty Hawk Kites

Experience more adventure, fun, and style with Kitty Hawk Kites. For over 40 years – and with locations from Corolla to Ocracoke – Kitty Hawk Kites is proud to provide the most unique shopping experience with unmatched quality and service, as well as the most dynamic adventure offerings on the Outer Banks.

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Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse may not be the most imposing of the Outer Banks lighthouses, but as North Carolina's oldest lighthouse in operation, (and the second oldest in the United States), it is certainly one of the most beloved. At just 65' ft. tall, it is by far the smallest lighthouse on the Outer Banks, but it still towers over the 4 square miles of Ocracoke Village, and its beacon can be spotted up to 14 miles into the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocracoke Harbor

Ocracoke Harbor

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.

Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding

Spring and fall visitors will notice the popularity of kiteboarding on the Outer Banks the moment they ride down a stretch of soundfront highway. In the off-season months, it's not unusual to spot dozens if not hundreds of multi-colored kites lining the skies over the Outer Banks' miles of sound waters.