Ocracoke Island has long been considered one of the most remote, isolated islands on the Outer Banks. Unlike the other rival, Portsmouth Island, Ocracoke is beautifully alone yet still home to creature comforts to make a weekend away a possible feat. Ocracoke can only be reached by three public ferries (two of which are toll ferries) or boat or private plane. It seems the 500 or so year-round inhabitants do indeed live a million miles away from it all.
While the gorgeous Ocracoke Island might see an influx of tourists during vacation season, fall to winter is the absolute perfect time to feel a million miles away. This charming island has no bridges connecting to the mainland, so you're truly out there amongst the wild Atlantic Ocean.
The year-round population is around 500, with only a handful of businesses staying open during the off season. NC 12, a paved, single two-lane road is one of the only main roads that runs through the island. While the village is centered around shops, bars, restaurants and the Ocracoke Light (the iconic white lighthouse) outside of the main village and even on the beaches you'll find a remote, peaceful landscape that's hard to come by anywhere else in North Carolina.
Even on certain lucky days beneath the blazing summer sun you can have the beach all to yourself.
If you own a boat, it's also a great place to travel for a day trip. Dock right near the shore and hop in or swim to your very own private beach. Unlike those who visit by ferry, traveling by boat allows you to access some of the most untouched land on the island.
The village is located around a sheltered harbor called Silver Lake, which is also perfect for catching a breathtaking sunset.
Aside from remote views and a peaceful landscape, the island is home to plenty of history. Since the 1700s, Ocracoke dominated as a pirate haven, and even for the most infamous of them all - Blackbeard. You can visit Springer's Point Nature Preserve, one of Blackbeard's favorite hang out spots.
The following centuries saw an influx of fisherman working in the industry, and today fishing continues to be a steady economy (besides tourism). The Ocracoke Historic District, Light Station, and Salter-Battle Hunting and Fishing Lodge are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. History buffs can also visit Fort Ocracoke, used during the American Civil War. It's located between Beacon Island and Ocracoke Inlet, two miles southwest of the village.
For just 9.6 miles, there are places to stop and there are also places to forget the world exists.
Ocracoke is also home to a gorgeous expanse of marsh tides. Inland, you'll find thickets of intertwining trees. There's something for everyone here. From the ones seeking private solitude or one who wants to grab the freshest seafood and a cocktail, catch a band, then count millions of stars in the sky.
Perhaps one of the best parts about Ocracoke is that while it is indeed one of the most isolated islands on the Outer Banks, it's also a place with rich culture, history, sights to see and things to do. As the "Pearl of the Outer Banks" it doesn't get much better than a trip here, especially during the coming off-season months!
If you haven’t visited Ocracoke, you’re truly missing one of the best hidden gems along the Outer Banks. The coming months are the perfect time to have a beach, and possibly a village, all to yourself. Have you visited here before?