Ranked the second-best beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2020, Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and operated by the National Park Service. Even in peak season, there’s plenty of room. Plus, there are lifeguards on duty during the day (between Memorial Day and Labor Day), ample parking, restrooms, outdoor showers, water fountains, a wheelchair-friendly beach access ramp, and a boardwalk to the beach. Need rental gear for the beach? Check out Beach Outfitters.

There are ramps along Highway 12 that provide off-road vehicle access to the drivable sections of the beach. To drive on the beach, you will need to get either a 10-day or annual permit here.

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National Park Service
Undeveloped beaches. Wild ponies. A historic lighthouse. It’s all here for you to explore and enjoy thanks to the care and protection of the National Park Service.
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Ocracoke Banker Ponies
On a 188-acre plot of land, behind a wooden fence, lives the herd of Ocracoke Banker Ponies, descendants of Spanish mustangs turned wild ponies that survived a shipwreck hundreds of years ago offshore.
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Ocracoke Lighthouse
The oldest lighthouse still in operation in North Carolina and the second oldest in the nation. Hand-built in 1823 and boasting 5-foot-thick brick walls at the base, this is a piece of history that is cherished by locals, Outer Bankers, North Carolinians, and lighthouse aficionados, alike.
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