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Overview

Part of North Carolina's Outer Banks and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island sits at the southernmost tip of this amazing string of barrier islands. Calling itself the Pearl of the Outer Banks for good reason, Ocracoke has 16 miles of stunning, undeveloped beaches. Only accessible by ferry, boat or private plane, the island centers on tiny Ocracoke Village, a funky fishing village turned tourist attraction and the absolute best place to eat seafood and sip a cold beer.

Home to only about 800 full-time residents, the island population swells in summer when the influx of tourists gives the town a festive air. ...

Part of North Carolina's Outer Banks and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island sits at the southernmost tip of this amazing string of barrier islands. Calling itself the Pearl of the Outer Banks for good reason, Ocracoke has 16 miles of stunning, undeveloped beaches. Only accessible by ferry, boat or private plane, the island centers on tiny Ocracoke Village, a funky fishing village turned tourist attraction and the absolute best place to eat seafood and sip a cold beer.

Home to only about 800 full-time residents, the island population swells in summer when the influx of tourists gives the town a festive air. Ocracoke is very low key (in a good way) so don't expect a lot of hustle and bustle from the locals. People come for the beaches, water sports, spectacular fishing and boating off the coast. The island's lighthouse, built in 1823, is the oldest one still operating in North Carolina. From Ocracoke, it's easy to ferry over to Hatteras Island and the heart of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summertime, from June to mid-September