Several hundreds of years ago, a shipwreck just offshore left a herd of Spanish mustangs stranded on Ocracoke Island. Their descendants still thrive here today. These ponies are a rare breed, though, with a different number of vertebrae and ribs as well as a distinct shape, posture, color, size, and weight that sets them apart from other horses.

Once living wild on the island, the Ocracoke Banker Ponies have been penned for their protection and cared for by the National Park Service since 1959. They have 188 acres of sound-side beach and marsh to explore but prefer to hang around their paddocks and stables, especially at feeding time. Visit them at the Ocracoke Pony Pens located off Highway 12.

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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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Springer’s Point Nature Preserve
A tranquil maritime forest with abundant wildlife, centuries-old live oaks, and traces of historic structures. It’s also the beach where Blackbeard and his crew met their fate at the hands of the British Navy.
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Hammock Hills Nature Trail
Marsh views, old dunes, and a diverse collection of plants and wildlife. Bring your four-legged friends for an easy hike through some of the highest wooded points on the island.
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