Ocracoke: An Afternoon In a Sleepy Beach Town

I never intended to take so many days off from blogging…but that warm, salty air had its way with me, and here we are.

Most days at OBX, we either laid out at the pool at the house or walked over to the beach, but yesterday we took a serious adventure.


[via VisitOB.com]

We started in Nags Head, where we were staying, and ventured to Ocracoke, at the bottom of the map.

It doesn’t look that far (it’s about 90 miles), but it was a serious trek.

We went through the candy cane forest and the swirly, whirly gumdrops to get there.

It’s a fishing village with miles and miles of undeveloped beach, and which used to be home to pirates in the 18th century. During the Civil War, there was briefly a Confederate fort.

The trip is a 60ish-mile drive from Nags Head to Hatteras, which includes crossing from the biggest OBX island to a smaller island called Pea Island, to get to Hatteras and board the ferry.

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A CAR FERRY. My mind is blown.

I knew they were a thing, but I’d never driven my car onto a boat, and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around how thousands of tons of metal wasn’t going to sink the boat.

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We arrived at the ferry around 12 – with everyone else on the OBX – so we had a long wait for a ferry. There were a few shops there, so I killed some time wandering and snapping a few pictures.

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And offering to take random people’s pictures so they’d take pictures of me and my friends.

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YOU GUYS. Cars on a boat. This is weird, right??

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This is honestly one of the most genuine photos of me you’ll ever see. On a boat? At the beach? There is nothing wrong with life.

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I mean, seriously.

We left Nags Head around 10:45, got to Hatteras around 12ish and got on the ferry around 1:30. It’s a 40-minute ferry, so it was after 2 when we got to Ocracoke, and nearly 3 by the time we got to somewhere where we could have lunch.

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So we HOUSED these 50-cent oysters at Topless Oyster.

Half of our group went off to explore the island, but we’d seen a decent amount driving around and looking for a place that was open for lunch. (That wasn’t easy. We’d heard Back Porch was great, but they weren’t open for lunch.

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After our long adventure, all I wanted was to lay on the beach and take a nap. (Beach naps are my favorite hobby.)

Goal, accomplished.

I also was able to get in the water because it was way warmer here than it was in Nags Head! I heard on the radio this morning on my way out that it was about 55 in Nags Head; 70 in Avon (which is north of Ocracoke, so it had to be at least that warm there.)

It was a long trek – and I hadn’t quite realized how long it was before we got in the car – but it was worth it for an incredibly relaxing afternoon on the sleepiest of sleepy islands.

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And then, it was back on the ferry. My car was about three feet from the end of the boat…which was weird.


See? Terrifying. I yanked the crap out of the emergency brake. I didn’t trust that mesh fence for a second.

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Once I was satisfied the car wasn’t going anywhere, I enjoyed the relaxing ride.

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And amazing sunsets.

I’m glad I had no idea how long it was going to take, because I would have missed out on this fun adventure. It was the complete antithesis of everything New York. I’d go nuts there for more than a few days, but it was a wonderful afternoon.

Do you sightsee on beach trips or just sleep on the beach? For beach trips, I’d rather spend the majority of time relaxing on the beach, but I like a day or two of adventure like this…so long as it also includes beach time.

As for now…I’m back in D.C., chilling on Anne’s couch before we head up to Annapolis for the Zooma Half on Saturday! Any of you doing it?? It’s going to be a hot one.

11 comments on “Ocracoke: An Afternoon In a Sleepy Beach Town

  1. Cathryn

    I’m tickled that this was your first car ferry – in Europe, they’re so common, especially in the UK when they are the main way of getting anywhere that serves decent coffee! This looks like an amazing trip though – you look SO chilled out!

  2. Valerie

    Too funny–we used to take the ferry from Long Island to Connecticut all the time! We had family in Trumbull so it made more sense to cut across the sound than go through the city. I’m so jealous you went to Ocracoke! It’s been on my to do list for ages.

  3. Jen

    Good luck at Annapolis!! I grew up in Washington State where cars on ferries are a thing and some people actually commute via ferry. But honestly I still feel a bit nervous driving my car onto a ferry… I’m just *sure* it’s going to pull out right as I start driving on!!

    1. Theodora

      @Jen: Oh god, that didn’t even concern me, although with my car being last on the ferry, I really did think it was going to slip right off. I was more afraid of the thousands of tons of cars on the ferry sinking it.

  4. Ash bear

    That’s hilarious that this was your first car ferry experience. Between West Coast travel and island travel in my youth there have been plenty of car ferries. We’ll for sure have more here in Europe too!

  5. Chrissy

    I live in New Brunswick (Canada) just above Maine and we have lots of car ferries and they’re free! Residents would rather have them than bridges.
    Looks like you had a nice relaxing week.

  6. Kiersten

    I love how excited you are about a ferry. I drove up on an island, so ferries were a very regular part of life. Everything had to be planned around the ferry.

  7. Andrea

    Aww…the NC beaches…I grew up there. I’m glad you had a good time. Ocracoke is one of my favorite places in the world!


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