Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Ocracoke has been rated as high as #2 by Dr. Beach for Top Ten Beaches and has become increasingly more popular as a vacation destination.

One of the many reasons for the praise is because of the 13 miles of pristine seashore. The beach is protected by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. No development, whether it be commercial or residential, is allowed on the shoreline. Visitors have unparalleled views and wide-open spaces to fish, tan, relax, walk, or drive.

Along the 13-mile stretch of shoreline, there are designated areas for public parking and to drive on the beach. The closest public parking area to the village (about a half mile away) has restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. The other public lots just have parking.

If you have a four-wheel drive and are interested in driving on the beach, you will need to purchase a permit. You can purchase a pass either at the National Park Service building across from the Swan Quarter/Cedar Island ferry terminal or online at

Many who vacation on Ocracoke prefer to pack a cooler, food, chairs, and umbrella and spend the entire day at the beach. You’ll quickly see why Ocracoke was ranked #2 for the best beaches.