It seems like everyone writes and talks about how cool Ocracoke Island is. You read about the ferry ride over the water, away from the ticky-tack sameness of so many towns, and how it eases you into a different vibe. It’s like a Brigadoon experience where, at some point in that journey across the water, you pass through a veil into a magical land. Except it’s not magical, really. It’s just Ocracoke. But, then again, maybe we do want to go back to the magical description – at least close to it.
There are very few places left in America that have succeeded in welcoming thousands of tourists yet have kept their original soul. Most times, when you attract so many people who love what’s there, the there starts changing, merging into more of what the visitors want and in the process losing what attracted them in the first place.
But Ocracoke isn’t like that and, in fact, has thrived in this respect. The islanders have adapted in ingenious ways. Too many cars on the small island roads? Let’s rent golf carts and bikes that, btw, also slow down the pace! Need more retail space to accommodate interesting, locally owned shops? Let’s turn older homes on back roads throughout the village into shops! Need more rooms to accommodate visitors? Let’s refurbish existing hotels, create cozy B&Bs and elegant inns out of historic homes and use island houses as popular vacation rental homes . . . no high-rise chains here!
The locals, ever protective of the place they call home, have welcomed adaptation without losing the charm and character of their island. People who visit fairly easily fall under the spell of the place. They love the slow, Southern island life where you’re expected to be friendly, expected to wave to passers-by. When you run into faces you’ve already seen while you were out shopping, on the beach or at one of the restaurants, you smile and acknowledge them.
If this is now magical, let’s keep it as such and spread the word. Ocracokers would nod and smile knowingly.
Life on Ocracoke is simple and laid-back, but the islanders provide everything you’ll need for the perfect vacation, from comfortable places to rest your head to restaurants to fill your belly to ways to get out and explore the great outdoors.
10 years of Ocracoke vacations - plus bike and golf cart rentals!
Blue Heron Realty
(252) 928-7117 | 585 B Irvin Garrish Highway | blueheronvacations.com
Comfortable rooms and suites overlooking Silver Lake Harbor
Ocracoke Harbor Inn
(252) 928-5731 | 144 Silver Lake Road | ocracokeharborinn.com
Surf lessons, SUP rentals and kayak tours plus an impressive shop
Ride The Wind Surf Shop
(252) 928-6311 | 486 Irvin Garrish Highway | surfocracoke.com
Your one stop for beer, groceries, beach supplies and souvenirs
The Ocracoke Variety Store
(252) 928-4911 | 950 Irvin Garrish Highway
The spot for fun on Ocracoke
(252) 928-4441 | 1175 Irvin Garrish Highway | howardspub.com