Is Ocracoke Open? A Guide to the Island’s Current Status

Ocracoke Island, a beautiful spot in the Outer Banks, is a world of its own with a laid-back attitude, abundant wildlife and alluring beaches. But this year, things look a bit different. The year 2020 has been a tough one, and COVID-19 has forced many businesses to shut down and cease operations. As a result, people might be wondering — is Ocracoke open for visitors or not? The answer may not be straightforward, but a little bit of digging reveals what you need to know about this stunning destination.

A remote island off the coast of North Carolina, Ocracoke has always been known for its pristine beaches, rolling dunes and rich history. But with the pandemic continuing to affect everyone, visiting the place can be a little tricky. Amid social-distancing protocols and restrictive rules, access to the island might be limited, and the amenities and conveniences that were once available to visitors might not be in operation. Nonetheless, the question remains: is Ocracoke open for travelers wanting to take a moment to disconnect and refresh?

If you’re an avid traveler, chances are you’re already aware of the precautions necessary to keep yourself and others safe. The good news is that Ocracoke Island is not entirely closed off to visitors. Many businesses are still operational, and the island’s officials have taken several measures to ensure guests can still enjoy the island’s charm while abiding by the safety protocols. So while it may not be the same as before, Ocracoke is still open and has its unique allure for those willing to venture out and have a much-needed change of scenery.

Transportation to Ocracoke

Getting to Ocracoke Island can be a bit tricky due to its remote location. The only way to access the island is by boat or plane, so it’s important to plan your transportation in advance to ensure a smooth trip.

If you’re driving, the first step is to make your way to Hatteras Island. From there, you’ll need to take a ferry to Ocracoke. The ferry ride takes approximately 60 minutes and operates year-round, with more frequent service during peak tourist season (May-September). It’s important to note that ferry schedules and availability can be affected by weather conditions, so it’s always a good idea to check the North Carolina Department of Transportation website for current information.

  • Drive to Hatteras Island
  • Catch the ferry to Ocracoke
  • Check ferry schedules on NCDOT website

For those flying in, there are several small airports in the surrounding area that provide access to Ocracoke. The closest airport is the Ocracoke Island Airport, which is a small, public airport located on the island itself. Other nearby airports include the Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo and the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern.

Once you’re on the island, there are several options for getting around. Many visitors choose to rent a bike or golf cart to explore the quaint streets and scenic beaches. There are also car rental companies available, but keep in mind that the island is small and parking can be limited, particularly during peak season.

Type of Transportation Pros Cons
Ferry Scenic ride, affordable Weather-dependent, limited schedules
Plane Fast, convenient Expensive, limited availability
Bike/Golf Cart Fun, easy to navigate Can be tiring, limited storage space
Car Rental Convenient, familiar Expensive, limited parking

In summary, getting to Ocracoke Island requires a bit of planning and patience, but the trip is well worth it for the lush natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere of this off-the-beaten-path destination.

Ocracoke Lodging Options

Located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke Island is a popular tourist destination due to its pristine beaches and charming villages. As such, there are many lodging options available to visitors, ranging from quaint bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels. In this article, we’ll explore the various lodging options on Ocracoke Island.

Bed and Breakfasts

  • The Castle Bed and Breakfast: A historic property located in the heart of Ocracoke Village, The Castle Bed and Breakfast offers guests comfortable rooms with modern amenities and access to a private pool.
  • Pamlico House Bed and Breakfast: Situated in a quiet neighborhood just a short walk from shops and restaurants, Pamlico House Bed and Breakfast offers five guest rooms decorated with antiques and fine linens.
  • Cove Bed and Breakfast: Nestled amid lush gardens and offering views of Silver Lake Harbor, Cove Bed and Breakfast features six comfortable rooms and a delicious homemade breakfast served each morning.

Rental Homes

For those looking for a bit more space and privacy, rental homes are a popular option on Ocracoke Island. From cozy cottages to large beach houses, there is a rental home to suit every taste and budget. Rental homes offer fully equipped kitchens and easy access to the beach.

Hotels and Inns

Ocracoke Island has a selection of hotels and inns for those who prefer a more traditional lodging option. From budget-friendly to upscale, there are many hotels and inns to choose from. Many of the island’s hotels and inns are conveniently located near shops, restaurants, and other attractions.


For those who love the great outdoors, Ocracoke Island has several campgrounds offering tent and RV camping options. The campgrounds offer amenities such as showers, laundry facilities, and fire pits. They are also located near the beaches and other outdoor activities.

Name Location Features
Ocracoke Campground Located in the heart of Ocracoke Village Tent and RV sites available, hot showers, laundry facilities
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Campgrounds Located throughout the island Tent and RV sites available, hot showers, laundry facilities, beach access
Teeter’s Campground Located on the north end of Ocracoke Island Tent and RV sites available, hot showers, laundry facilities, bike rentals

Whether you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast or a secluded camping spot, Ocracoke Island has a wide variety of lodging options to choose from.

Ocracoke Beaches

Ocracoke is a barrier island located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The island is known for its pristine beaches and stunning natural beauty. Ocracoke Island has miles of unspoiled and uncrowded beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing.

If you’re looking to relax and unwind, the beaches on Ocracoke Island are the perfect destination. Here are some of the top beaches to visit:

Top Beaches to Visit on Ocracoke Island

  • Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach: This beach is a popular destination for families and surfers. It has lifeguards on duty during the summer months and offers restrooms, showers, and a picnic area.
  • Springer’s Point: This beach is a hidden gem on Ocracoke Island. It’s a secluded spot that’s perfect for a peaceful stroll along the beach.
  • Teach’s Hole: This beach is located at the end of a long dirt road and offers a secluded and peaceful getaway from the crowds of other beaches.

Beach Safety Tips

When visiting any beach, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind when visiting Ocracoke beaches:

  • Always swim near a lifeguard.
  • Stay hydrated and bring plenty of water with you.
  • Don’t swim alone.
  • Be aware of rip currents and know how to escape them.

Ocracoke Beach Access

Beach access on Ocracoke Island is limited due to the natural landscape of the island. There are several public access points on the island, but many of these are unpaved and require a 4-wheel drive vehicle to reach.

Beach Access Point Location
Beach Access Ramp 59 Near the Pony Pens on Ocracoke Island
Beach Access Ramp 67 Off of Hwy 12 before the Pony Pens
Beach Access Ramp 70 Off of Hwy 12 just south of Ocracoke airport

It’s important to note that some of the beach access points may be closed due to weather or flooding. It’s a good idea to check with local authorities before heading out to the beach to make sure that your planned access point is open.

Ocracoke Restaurants

One of the things that make Ocracoke Island unique is its selection of top-notch restaurants. Travelers looking for great food will not be disappointed as Ocracoke boasts several restaurants that cater to all types of taste buds.

The island’s restaurants are known for their fresh local seafood and southern-style cooking. These restaurants range from casual seaside cafes to elegant fine dining establishments, all with a unique twist on coastal cuisine. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Sundae Drive: This locally owned and operated food truck serves delicious burgers, hot dogs, and fries. Their homemade ice cream is a perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.
  • The Flying Melon: A popular restaurant with both locals and tourists, The Flying Melon offers a wide variety of seafood dishes and southern-style favorites, such as fried chicken and biscuits. Their outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying the island’s beautiful weather while dining.
  • Eduardo’s Taco Stand: For a quick bite, head on over to Eduardo’s. They serve up delicious tacos with fresh ingredients, perfect for those craving something lighter than seafood or southern comfort food.

It’s worth noting that the island’s restaurants may have different hours of operation due to COVID-19. Some restaurants may require reservations or even pre-orders for takeout to abide by social distancing guidelines. Make sure to check online or call ahead before heading out to dine.

Restaurant Cuisine Price Range
The Oyster Company Seafood $$$$ (expensive)
DAJIO Restaurant Eclectic $$$ (moderately expensive)
Howard’s Pub & Raw Bar American, Seafood $$ (affordable)

The island has a plethora of options, so be sure to explore and find your new favorite restaurant. From casual eateries to romantic dinners, Ocracoke Island’s restaurants have it all.

Ocracoke activities

Ocracoke Island is a beautiful destination that attracts thousands of visitors every year. The island is home to many exciting activities that you can enjoy during your stay. Here are some of the top things to do in Ocracoke:

  • Beaches: Ocracoke has some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast. You can explore the miles of sandy shorelines and soak up the sun, go for a swim, or surf. Some of the popular beaches include Ocracoke Lifeguard Beach, Ocracoke Beach Access, and Springer’s Point Nature Preserve.
  • Fishing: Fishing is a popular activity on the island, with many charter boats and private rentals available. You can take a guided tour to catch some of the local fish species like red drum, flounder, and speckled trout.
  • Water sports: If you’re up for some adventure, you can try kayaking, paddleboarding, or windsurfing. The calm waters around the island are perfect for these activities, and you can explore the sound side of Ocracoke while enjoying the scenery.

Ocracoke also has many events and festivals throughout the year that are worth checking out. The Ocracoke Island Waterfowl Festival in December, the British Cemetery Ceremony in May, and the Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree in October are some of the popular annual events.

Restaurants and Eateries

When it comes to dining, Ocracoke has a wide variety of options to choose from. From seafood shacks to fine dining restaurants, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the popular places to eat:

  • The Flying Melon: This restaurant offers fresh seafood, farm-to-table ingredients, and delicious homemade desserts in a casual atmosphere.
  • Howard’s Pub and Raw Bar: A laid-back spot that serves burgers, fries, and fresh seafood platters. You can also enjoy a drink at the outdoor tiki bar.
  • Silver Lake Restaurant: Located in the heart of the village, this restaurant offers Southern-style dishes, fresh seafood, and waterfront dining.

Shopping in Ocracoke

While the island is known for its beaches and outdoor activities, there are also many local shops and art galleries worth exploring. Some of the popular shopping spots include:

  • Village Craftsmen: This shop offers local crafts, pottery, jewelry, and textiles, all made by Ocracoke artisans.
  • The Island Artworks: An art gallery that showcases the work of local artists, including paintings, prints, and photography.
  • The Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar: This coffee shop also sells unique gifts, jewelry, and imports from around the world.

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

If you’re a fan of historic landmarks, you won’t want to miss the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse. This iconic structure was built in 1823 and continues to serve as a guide to ships passing through the area. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the island and the surrounding waters.

Location Hours Contact Information
Ocracoke Island April – November: Daily, 9 am – 5 pm 252-928-4531

Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for climbing steep stairs. The lighthouse is closed during inclement weather, so it’s best to call ahead for up-to-date information.

Ocracoke History

Ocracoke Island is a small, remote barrier island situated on the coast of North Carolina. The island has a rich and interesting history that dates back to the early 1700s. The island was first discovered by English explorers in 1663, and it quickly became an important center for maritime trade and commerce.

Over the years, Ocracoke has been home to pirates, Native Americans, and European settlers, all of whom left their mark on the island’s culture and history. Today, Ocracoke is one of the state’s top tourist destinations, known for its pristine beaches, quaint villages, and historic sites.

Notable Events in Ocracoke History

  • In 1718, the infamous pirate Blackbeard was killed off the coast of Ocracoke Island in a fierce battle with Royal Navy forces.
  • In 1942, a German U-boat sank a British freighter just a few miles off the coast of Ocracoke, marking the only confirmed U-boat attack on American soil during World War II.
  • In 1999, Hurricane Floyd caused extensive damage to the island, leading to the evacuation of residents and the closure of major tourist attractions.

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse

One of the most notable landmarks on Ocracoke Island is the Ocracoke Lighthouse. The lighthouse was first built in 1798 and has undergone several renovations and modifications over the years. Today, the lighthouse stands at 75 feet tall and is a popular tourist attraction, offering stunning views of the island and surrounding waters.

Ocracoke Island Population

Ocracoke Island has a small but thriving population of year-round residents, many of whom are descended from the island’s early settlers. The population swells each summer as tourists flood the island, but year-round residents are dedicated to preserving the island’s unique culture and history.

Year Population
1790 25
1850 443
1900 1,345
2010 948

Ocracoke Weather

If you’re planning a visit to Ocracoke, it’s important to be aware of the island’s weather patterns. Situated on the outer banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke experiences a subtropical climate with mild winters and hot summers. Here are some key aspects to keep in mind:

  • The average temperature in Ocracoke ranges from 55°F in winter to 86°F in summer. However, temperatures can reach 90°F or higher during heatwaves.
  • June to September is the peak tourist season in Ocracoke, with warm temperatures and sunny days encouraging beach-goers to flock to the island. But with increased crowds and higher prices, vising during the shoulder season (April-May or October-November) may be a better option.
  • Hurricane season runs from June to November and can bring heavy rain and strong winds to Ocracoke. Be sure to monitor weather reports and heed any evacuation orders that may be issued.

Weather Forecast

Looking for an accurate weather forecast for your Ocracoke trip? Check out the following resources:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Ocracoke depends on your preferences. If you enjoy warm weather and plenty of outdoor activities, plan a trip for June to August. If you prefer fewer crowds and more moderate temperatures, consider visiting in the shoulder season (April to May or October to November). Just be aware that some businesses and attractions may be closed during the off-season.

Ocracoke Tide Charts

Tides play a crucial role in Ocracoke, where the island’s beaches and waterways are integral to tourism. Check out the latest tide charts to help plan your beach activities.

Date High Tide Low Tide
Monday, July 12 2:23 AM 9:20 AM
Tuesday, July 13 3:12 AM 10:03 AM
Wednesday, July 14 4:00 AM 10:46AM

Remember that tide times are affected by lunar cycles, so these charts are only valid for a short period. Be sure to consult the most up-to-date resources before planning your beach activities around the tides.

Is Ocracoke Island open for business?

  1. Is Ocracoke Island open for tourists?
    Yes, Ocracoke Island is open for tourism but with some restrictions.
  2. What are the restrictions imposed while visiting Ocracoke Island?
    Visitors are required to wear masks in public areas and should maintain social distancing. Some businesses may also require advance booking for their services.
  3. Are the beaches in Ocracoke Island open for visitors?
    Yes, the beaches in Ocracoke Island are open for visitors with some restrictions to be followed. The National Park Service has provided guidelines for beachgoers to follow.
  4. Are the restaurants and shops in Ocracoke Island open?
    Yes, restaurants and shops in Ocracoke Island are open but with some modifications to their services and hours of operation.
  5. Are the parks and other outdoor attractions in Ocracoke Island open?
    Yes, state parks and other outdoor attractions in Ocracoke Island are open, but with some restrictions. Visitors are advised to check the guidelines before visiting.
  6. Are there any health and safety protocols enforced in Ocracoke Island?
    Yes, Ocracoke Island has enforced health and safety protocols, and visitors are encouraged to follow them to ensure their safety.
  7. Is there any quarantine rule upon visiting Ocracoke Island?
    No, there is no quarantine rule upon visiting Ocracoke Island, but visitors are encouraged to follow health protocols and monitor their health after their visit.

Closing Title: Thank you for visiting Ocracoke Island

We hope you find these FAQs about Ocracoke Island helpful. Despite these trying times, Ocracoke Island is still open and ready to welcome you. Remember to follow the health and safety protocols to ensure everyone’s safety and peace of mind. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen, swimsuit, and mask for your trip to Ocracoke Island! Thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you again!