People walking on the beach

About Ocracoke

Welcome. To Ocracoke Island.

Long walks where it’s just you and sandpipers. Chartered boats to secret fishing spots and Blackbeard’s favorite hiding place. Bike rides for ice creams and great Mexican seafood. A day trip full of kite surfing, or a week full of taking it easy and the freedom to do as you please.

Discover Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. The cure for the common beach.

Sketched into the southern tip of the Outer Banks, Ocracoke has a raw, untamed pirate spirit, but it’s so beautiful it can easily lull you with its sun-soaked charms. The feeling starts from the sea, rolling inward. The island, though relatively small, initially looks expansive due to its miles and miles of pristine beaches, all owned by the National Park Service. Ocracoke twinkles like a bright lure for a summer day trip from other, nearby Outer Banks destinations, and it glides lazily and romantically along for couples looking for a sail, a sea kayak excursion, or a walk to the Ocracoke Lighthouse.

Ocracoke’s name is actually derived from a mispronunciation.

It’s thought a small tribe of Native Americans known as the Woccocock were its first residents. Most believe the long line of early explorers, adventurers, would-be settlers, and colonists all shared a mispronunciation of “Woccocock” that became today’s “Ocracoke.”

The island began to really take shape in the 18th century as a fishing village, surrounded by rich farming lands. Eventually, it gained notoriety as the favorite haunt of a man named Edward Teach—otherwise known as Blackbeard the Pirate. It was just off Ocracoke that he met his end at the hands of British Captain Robert Maynard. Fall events on the island still honor that history.

Ocracoke emerges as a true North Carolina beach destination.

Once ferries were installed in the 1950s, and a full water system in the 1970s, Ocracoke Island began to assert itself as a travel destination. Today’s island is a haven for water adventurers who have a bit of the pirate’s twinkle in their eyes, just as it’s a peaceful, safe, relaxing spot to soak in raw Mother Nature. Here, you’re just as likely to share a beach with friends all day as you are to make just a bit of room for rare migratory birds nesting or turtles hatching. From the Pony Pen to Springer’s Point and its collection of live oaks and native oyster beds, you’re enveloped by natural beauty.

The fishing village offers the right amount of shops, restaurants, chartered fishing opportunities, and surfing and biking rentals to keep most vacationers blissfully occupied throughout the vacation season. Music, good cold drinks, just-caught seafood, and a lot of laughter—this is Ocracoke Island.

Stop by the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center.

Located on the edge of Ocracoke Village, and adjacent to the ferry lanes for the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferry landings, the Visitor Center offers a wide range of helpful info. Grab pamphlets, use the facilities, and discover the island with the help of a friendly employee.