Area Information

Discover Ocracoke Island

Vacations on Ocracoke Island are at sea level, 24 miles offshore, in the midst of a National Seashore widely recognized for its miles of pristine beaches. The village itself is small—only two square miles surrounding an 1823 lighthouse and Silver Lake harbor. The same families have lived on the island for generations and are proud of their rich history of seafaring and providing hospitality to those seeking the solitude and solace only a true island can inspire.


You can come to the island and spend a week—or a lifetime—finding deep satisfaction in one pursuit, like fishing, surfing, birding, swimming, beach-combing, star-gazing, or just relaxing. Or you can round out your primary interest with a wealth of activities and amenities such as sunset sails, spa treatments, historic ghost tours, wine tastings and moonlit kayaking. Great craft galleries, book stores, boutiques and seafood restaurants fill the village, which also boasts a nature preserve and two small museums, one highlighting local history, the other the history of piracy. Most people get around on bicycles (widely available for rent) or on foot.


There are no national chains, nor traffic lights, nor stores open 24 hours. Instead you will find genial locals, plenty of bare feet, a vibrant local music scene, a beloved coffee shop and a fishermen's cooperative offering seafood fresh from the boat. We look forward to seeing you around the village!

Driving on the sand is a fantastic way to explore Ocracoke’s beaches!

Ramps 72, 70, 67 and 63 are great access points along Hwy 12. Follow current signage and postings, as access can change seasonally. If you’d like to drive on the beach, you need an appropriate off-road vehicle and a PERMIT!


Driving on the Beach: To drive on the beach in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore all vehicles are required to obtain an ORV Permit. You can purchase permits online by going to the Cape Hatteras ORV Permit page at


There are two types of permits: 7-day permits/$50.00 or an annual permit/$120.00. Please note that annual permits are only valid for the current calendar year. In preparation for getting the permit, be sure you have your driver's license, vehicle registration form, and payment.


*And remember to AIR DOWN your ORV’s tires before heading out*

Prefer to park and walk to the beach? Or need a beach with a lifeguard?

There are some parking areas off Hwy 12 with walking access to the beach.


Lifeguard Beach is a great option with an easy-to-walk ramp, seasonal lifeguards, and a bath house.

Need Beach Supplies?

Ocracoke Beach Outfitters has beach umbrellas, chairs, and lots of other