A trip to Ocracoke Island was the plan of the day, but the How to and Why of Ocracoke Island was still a bit unknown. We certainly weren’t quite sure what to do, or where to go but we got on Highway 12 and headed South, to Hatteras Inlet, as we knew we would see signs to get us started on a trip to Ocracoke Island. Did I start this tale all off backwards? Well that is how I felt getting set up to go to Ocracoke Island! We had met up with a few people I had been conversing with online and they advised we get to Ocracoke Island and that it was so beautiful. The locals advised: get to Ocracoke Island on a Tuesday, not a Wednesday and get there early AM, and beyond that, there was no other information. I listened to their advice and headed for a trip to Ocracoke Island. I was wondering what we would do at Ocracoke Island and why would I take a Ferry? I also wondered if I could just ride on the Ocracoke Ferry or if I needed a car? Could we bring our bikes? Loaded with questions and not many answers, I got my kids up at the crack of dawn, and headed South, on Highway 12 to find signs to the Ocracoke Island Ferry. We were headed to a trip to Ocracoke Island and I knew very little about our days’ agenda, just that we were headed for a famous Vento Adventure, where I pack the kids off and we go. We were ready to spend the day on Ocracoke Island, seeking allergen-free food, beverages, a golf cart rental and of course the magnificent Ocracoke Lighthouse. This is my tale of the How To and Why of Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks.
As you know we were staying on Hatteras Island in AVON one of the seven villages. Travel to Ocracoke Island is only possible via FERRY so you gotta, and you have to take your car. Next year, as I was told, you might be able to just load your bicycle and self, but for now, cars only. Why is this? Well, once you get there, the town is about 15 minutes away, all there is before the town are sand dunes and ocean, with not much else. In order to get from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island you take the Ferry, and you take your car to the ferry, and when you get to Ocracoke you can drive to the Village.
A Trip To Ocracoke Island
I found it fascinating that I could take my SUV, my family and self to Ocracoke Island on the last running, FREE Ferry in the United States that transports cars. People were buzzing about this all over the Ferry, that it was almost unimaginable that you could put your car on the ferry and not pay for this great almost 1 hour ride over and 1 hour ride back. Literally, if you did nothing else and did not want to see Ocracoke Island, take the Ferry over and back just to say, “I did it!” I did it for the bucket list. The How To is as easy as the why of Ocracoke Island, in fact the Why: Ocracoke Ferry is the most popular ferry of the ferries that are managed by North Carolina Ferry System. Did you know that at one point in time the ONLY access to this island was via private charter or tug boat?
How To Get To Ocracoke Island
This video is how to get your car on the ferry at Hatteras Inlet and how to it looks on the other side at Ocracoke Island.
Get to the Ferry AS early as you can, the lines build, and you can see the marked lines if the lanes are empty, this place rocks the traffic of Hatteras Island on Wednesdays- through the Weekend. Why? After spending the weekend at the beach(if you just arrived) you might decided a little reprieve from the beach is in order, hence, the line begins with those that have had too much fun in the sun and want a little FREE Adventure.
You might hear people complaining about the priority pass, well let me tell you, it did not affect us and there are not enough of those passes out there to really put a damper on anyone’s adventure. Finally I might add in, if someone does have a priority pass, they totally deserve it. If you had to use the Ferry system to connect to Hatteras Island in order to gain things you needed on a regular basis and take that Ferry Trek EVERY-TIME, they totally should have priority, because without them, the Island would not be the same, so hats off! GET to the ferry early enough and you won’t have to contend with lines and waiting, it is a vacation, relax and let life happen!
In the OBX(Outer Banks) it seems that most people don’t get moving until well after 9 AM, therefore if you get up and go, you will beat the traffic at the inlet. When we returned later that day(after 1PM) the lines were extreme and while there were ferries running every half hour, they can only pack so many cars on the ferry at a time.
When you drive into Hatteras Inlet you will see lines that show you where to drive to catch the ferry. You follow the lanes that are not ‘coned’ off with orange cones and you become on of many in the line for the Ferry. You are parking behind other cars, unless of course you are first in line! While you are in line for the ferry, your car should be off and I would suggest putting your windows down to get the breeze through as there is a very welcoming breeze at the inlet. If you need to use the restroom there is one available right there and you just go up a few steps and you will find it. There are also some great people inside to talk to about your soon to be taken FERRY ride. I talked to them, they calmed my nerves a little bit as I had no idea what to expect.