South of Nags Head

Ocracoke Travel Blog

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Waiting to board the ferry at Hatteras

To wind up our trip we had planned to drive the length of the Outer Banks, taking a two-hour ferry ride from Ocracoke Island back to the mainland.  This is a time-consuming venture, but turned out to be the best part.  Once you get south of Nags Head, the surrounding quickly transform into the remote, rugged environment I had in originally envisioned and this redeemed the Outer Banks completely.

 

We started off around 9AM to beat the traffic through Nags Head, and after that we encountered but a handful of vehicles.  We wanted to check out all of the classic lighthouses while heading south, but since we hadn’t really planned things out beforehand there turned out to be a major wrinkle.

Departing Hatteras on the ferry
  The ferry ride from Ocracoke departs every three hours and we estimated that catching the 2PM ferry would get us back home around 9PM.  I had to catch a 5:45AM flight the next morning for a business trip, so we really didn’t want to miss that ride!

 

Thus we only got to stop at Bodie Island Lighthouse for a few minutes, but it was fantastic.  Again I’ll write that up as a separate review.  The single roadway rolls along through a few small villages and miles of beautiful sand dunes with occasional glimpses of the ocean on one side and marsh lands on the opposite.  This was very relaxing, even though we kept one eye on the clock.  Fortunately Jeff had told us we could call ahead and make a reservation for the Ocracoke Ferry to ensure a space on the 2PM departure, which we did and provided some peace of mind, despite being required to show up there no later than 1:30 to pay up ($15 is the standard charge for a vehicle with people) – you lose the guarantee otherwise.

Heading to Ocracoke on the ferry from Hatteras

 

So our remaining time was further trimmed, but we arrived at the free ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke just in time to catch the next ferry (these depart every half hour and takes about 40 minutes).  Arriving at Ocracoke, we drove the roughly 13 miles from where the ferry drops you off to Ocracoke Village at the opposite end.  There is pretty much nothing else on the island, just a single campground about the center of the island (which seemed very inviting!).  There were quite a few people about however, most driving to some secluded spot for beach time, but quite a few striking out on bikes to similarly achieve an isolated stretch of sand.

 

After making Ocracoke village and confirming our ferry reservation, we enjoyed lunch at a ramshackle bar called the Pelican.

Docking at Ocracoke (coming in from Hatteras)
  This place reminded Kim and I of Foxy’s on the Caribbean island Jost Van Dyke!  We both had a strong desire to return and were remiss that our tight schedule left no time to explore.  I was especially disappointed to see the sign for the British Cemetery described by Brett (Brett4321) in his excellent blog around the Banks, knowing we had no time to visit.

 

But it was back to the dock and soon we were returning back to the continent.  A wee bit of travel was still on hand, however, because after landing on Cedar Island, we drove into Beaufort for dinner.  This is a really sweet waterfront town where Blackbeard hung out.

A couple of the beach houses we will NOT be renting when we return to OCracoke!
  Very old and very pretty.  Kim actually comes here once in a blue moon and wanted to take us to Clawson’s to try their renowned seafood bisque, which I will describe in a separate review.  We walked along the waterfront for a few minutes, but soon climbed back into the car for the final push to home.

 

A great trip, but only  an introduction.  We resolved to come back for a better taste of this amazing place and I look forward to the day when I can expand on this blog!

brett4321 says:
Nice review! Thanks for the mention :)
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
vances says:
WOW --- you've been to Clawson's? I am impressed --- Beaufort is a pretty remote area!
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
jennjeff1 says:
Clawson’s seafood bisque is AWESOME!
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
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Waiting to board the ferry at Hatt…
Waiting to board the ferry at Hat…
Departing Hatteras on the ferry
Departing Hatteras on the ferry
Heading to Ocracoke on the ferry f…
Heading to Ocracoke on the ferry …
Docking at Ocracoke (coming in fro…
Docking at Ocracoke (coming in fr…
A couple of the beach houses we wi…
A couple of the beach houses we w…
yes, Im gullible for taking pictu…
yes, I'm gullible for taking pict…
The Outer Banks is a haven for fis…
The Outer Banks is a haven for fi…
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Waiting for the ferry to depart f…
The ferry going from Ocracoke to C…
The ferry going from Ocracoke to …
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Living the good life - Ocracoke, NC
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Ocracoke
photo by: brett4321