The Outer Banks of North Carolina get less attention than the more well-known beach destinations along the shores of both it and South Carolina (another state to fall in love with), but it's no less beautiful. It is a bit remote but getting to Ocracoke Island isn't nearly as complicated as one would think and when visitors arrive, they're greeted with all the serenity and lazy beach atmosphere you would expect.
When you think of watching the sunset over the shoreline, spending the day walking around old lighthouses, or even strolling through sunflower fields, Ocracoke Island is what should come to mind. This secluded beach destination is a quiet retreat for families and even offers space for camping, and while it's not the loud and adrenaline-boosting beach atmosphere most look for during the summer, it's perfect for disconnecting.
Despite Its Secrecy, It Was Voted The Second-Best Beach In The US
In order to be one of the best beaches in the US, the competition consists of all the gorgeous beaches on the west coast, including those of California and Hawaii. With that being said, it's a pretty big deal that Ocracoke took the title of the second-best in the entire country.
This rating was based on those of beach experts, so it's a trust opinion. However, all beach-goers need to do is see this island for themselves to believe the sun, views, and atmosphere to believe it. Furthermore, this beach is known for always being a bit on the lonely side - which is a great thing for those looking to truly isolate themselves and soak in all that this small coastal town has to offer.
There Are Multiple Ways To Get There
Since the island is not part of the mainland, there are several ways to get there. The first two are by a private plane or boat service, which can get pricey, and considering the travel restrictions right now, might not even be an option. However, there is good news - the ferry to this island is actually free. Most of the island (90%) is owned by the National Park Service, so there's no chance of running into rowdy parties, rule-breaking, or rambunctious tourists.
There's A Campground For Beach Campers
For those who'd rather camp than rent, the campground is available. It can get a bit crowded during peak season so the best way to avoid being cramped is by calling ahead. Camping costs $28 per night, which is pretty good considering some of the more pricy accommodations around the Carolinas.
Both campers and tents are allowed to make this beach their temporary home, as long as all the rules and restrictions are followed. Again, it's best to check the Ocracoke Island guidelines prior to planning a camping trip. Also, these campgrounds do provide amazing views of the sunrise.
And Plenty Of Other Activities Besides Sunbathing
Permits are needed to go four-wheeling at the beach, but don't worry - there are six parking lots located along the main road of the island. There are well within a good walking distance to the beach and aren't insanely packed. For those who want to explore a bit without a vehicle, bike rentals are also available.
Besides getting a tan at the beach, some other things to see are the Ocracoke Lighthouse, built in 1823 (making it North Carolina's oldest), the Ocracoke ponies, and the Ocracoke Harbor, which is right in the center of town.
For those who want to bond with nature a bit further since this is a National Park, the Springer's Point Preserve is 120-acres and is also home to a maritime forest.