Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

It takes effort to get to Ocracoke Island.  From Kitty Hawk it is a drive of about 70 miles to get to the ferry.  After the no-cost ferry ride it is a further drive of 13 miles to get to the town of Ocracoke.  For us there are four main attractions on Ocracoke:  The Ocracoke Light, Howard’s Pub, the wildlife, and the beautiful beaches.  In some areas 4-wheel drive vehicles are allowed to drive on the beach.  Many people take advantage of that opportunity.  

First on our agenda when we arrived on the island was a stop at Howard’s Pub, to slake our thirst and get some lunch.  They have a nice selection of beer in bottles and on draft, as well as a full bar and non-alcoholic beverages.  The food is good.  It is a very good place to get locally caught fish.  The day we were there we had a choice of five different fish of the day.  The decor inside is rather crazy - many sports team pennants and old license plates that commemorate Howard’s Pub.  One could spend hours looking at all those things.

The next stop on our agenda was to get our annual photo taken at the light house.  This year a very nice couple volunteered to take the photo for us, and they did a great job.  We were able to do the same for them.

Our first beach stop was at ramp 72, a place where you can drive your vehicle onto the beach. It is a sand road that had a couple of places that were a little challenging for our all-wheel drive vehicle, so unless you have a good off-road vehicle, this road is not a good idea.

While we were walking on the beach we noticed an area that was closed.  It turned out to be an area with sea turtles nests.  There was a much smaller nesting area where we stopped at mile post 77.  We were a little surprised to find mile markers on the beach, but with such long beaches it helps to have location markers.

We saw shore birds like the Sanderling in this photo, in addition to the usual gulls.  It is also possible to find some shells on the beach, for those who enjoy collecting them.  We also saw a lot of ghost crab holes, many of which were very large.  That’s Harry’s foot next to one of them.  These are much larger than the crabs we see in the populated areas.

Another wonderful find was a wetland about a mile before the ferry, where we saw at least a dozen Great Egrets, and one White Ibis.  On one visit to the Ocracoke light we encountered a Nutria, an animal that is raised for its fur (this one had apparently escaped into the wild).

The final fun on the island is the large number of Laughing Gulls that hang out, in hopes of being fed, by the line of cars waiting for the ferry.  They are always good for a little entertainment.       

                                                                           Laughing Gulls

Original post July 28, 2011

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com