Ocracoke Island, located in the southern portion of the Outer Banks, is an island secluded from the mainland and accessible by boat or plane.
Part of the allure that attracts so many people to Ocracoke is that it is remote from the rest of the world, wild, and majestic. There are three avenues of travel to the island. First, the most common method is by ferry. The North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division offers three routes to Ocracoke – Swan Quarter, Cedar Island, and Hatteras. The two sound side ferries, Swan Quarter and Cedar Island (named after their departure ports) travel a little over 20 miles across the Pamlico Sound in larger-sized ferries.
They run a select number of trips per day, depending on the season. With a specific number of trips and maximum quota of vehicle spaces available, it is strongly recommended to make reservations in advance. The price to load your vehicle onto the ferry is $15/parking space.
The Hatteras ferry operates more frequently with ferry shuttles running as often as every 20 minutes in the summer time from early hours in the morning until midnight. This ferry ride is a little over one hour and operates on a first come, first served basis (no reservations). There is no toll for the Hatteras ferry. When traveling to Ocracoke, it is strongly recommended to follow the Ferry Twitter account (NCFerryPamSound) or to call your ferry terminal to make sure ferries are running on schedule. For a complete ferry schedule, please click the button above.
In addition to ferries, Ocracoke Island is accessible by private boat or plane. Boat dockage is available at a couple of public docks as well as a couple of lodging establishments. Ocracoke Island also features a small airstrip that permits private planes no greater than 8 seats or helicopters. If you prefer to make the trip to the island by plane and are in need of transportation, Outer Banks Air offers flights from all over North Carolina to Ocracoke. Please visit its web site for more information.
Once you arrive on Ocracoke Island, a vehicle is not necessary as there are several businesses that offer transportation. If you prefer a vehicle rental, Beach Ride Rentals offer both compact and four-wheel drive vehicles. The four-wheel-drive cars are perfect for driving on the beach!
If you prefer to scud around via a golf cart, Ocracoke Island Golf Carts and Wheelie Fun Cart Rentals offer 4-seater and 6-seater options. Their web sites contain rate information. If your travel plans coincide with peak season, it is recommended to make reservations in advance.
Bike rentals are also great for traveling around Ocracoke. If you would like to rent a bike during your stay, check out Beach Outfitters, Coast and Go, or the Slushy Stand. They’ll be able to help you and add an incredible experience to your Ocracoke vacation.