Seasoned visitors to Ocracoke Island love to soak in its rich heritage and culture which dates back to the 1500s, and features some legendary and longstanding residents. Some of the most popular Ocracoke locals are the Wild Ponies, which are protected in a secluded 180 acre area enclosure on the soundside of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but can still be enjoyed by anyone passing through the island on NC Highway 12.
Dive into a wealth of coastal artifacts, folklore, and legendary figures with a visit to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Operating as one of three maritime museums along coastal NC, this distinctive site is known for its unique ship-worthy exterior, its vast collection of exhibits that span centuries, and its close ties with the Southern Outer Banks’ most famous resident, Blackbeard the Pirate.
The museum is most famous for its artifacts from Blackbeard’s “Queen Anne’s Revenge,” which ran aground near Beaufort in 1718, and visitors are welcome to see the collection of ancient relics that once belonged to the infamous Edward Teach himself. There’s also plenty more to discover outside the pirate realm, including exhibits dedicated to the local lighthouse and lifesaving stations, the boating and seafood industry, the original natives and early residents, and much more. There’s also a boat building center located on-site - the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center - which teaches boat building skills to students of all ages, as well as a host of special events held throughout the year which range from educational programs to special outings just for kids. With a wide world of legendary history to uncover, the North Carolina Maritime Museum is a must for any Beaufort explorer.