Ocracoke Island – a remote paradise in North Carolina

Stef Zisovska

Ocracoke is an island located entirely within Hyde County, North Carolina. The population in 2010 was 948 and in 2014, 591.

This 16-miles long island can only be reached by boat, ferry or a small private plane. The difficulty to get there has kept the village very peaceful and even lonesome.


Ocracoke Photo Credit

Its sandy beaches are a perfect place for family vacations. You can find incredibly interesting traces of the island’s history in its small mysterious streets, enjoy the beautiful sunsets, or visit the Ocracoke lighthouse, which is the oldest operating light station in North Carolina. This hidden corner of the country is well worth visiting.


Ocracoke history is a fascinating one, just like most other remote islands. The island was occasionally visited by the Hatteras Indians who fished and hunted here.

Also, this area is known for Yaupon tea or the Black drink, made from yaupon that was used for ceremonial purposes by the Native American tribes from this region.

Ocracoke Island was also a pirate haven while it was still lonely and uninhabited. It was a favorite getaway place of Edward Teach, better known as the pirate Blackbeard.


Ocracoke Photo Credit

Ocracoke was mainly unknown and had few visitors until the end of World War II when the US Navy built a base on the island. Shortly after, the National Park Service gave protected status to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which helped bring in more inquisitive visitors.

Have a think before you take your children to the island, If you decide to take your kids you need to remember that in the end, it’s a remote fishing village, and it’s far removed from anything like Disney Land.


Swimming here is good for everyone. You can choose to swim in the Atlantic that can get somewhat chilly, or the warmer Pamlico Sound. Ocracoke Lighthouse built in 1823 is a great historic landmark you can visit here.


Pamlico Sound Sunset Photo Credit

Ocracoke is sometimes called the Pony Island because of the 500 ponies that freely living here. The story about these horses is really strange because no one knows how they ended up on the island.

Some myths say that they came from the Spanish shipwrecks and came onshore with survivors or swam. They caused a fair bit of environmental damage as they were eating too much vegetation which in turn led to beach erosion.

In 1960 the National Park Service fenced the horses into a 180-acre pasture which has become one of the biggest attraction on the island. An interesting fact about Ocracoke ponies is that they have 17 ribs instead of the usual 18.


Small enough to cross by foot, Ocracoke village is a perfect destination for a tranquil vacation. You can explore the island’s charming atmosphere, with its as craft shops, local artisans’ galleries, original homes, the Methodist Church, and the British Cemetery, and of course, don’t forget to visit the famous lighthouse.


Ocracoke Lighthouse Photo Credit

Explore this incredible island and give your holidays a different direction, away from the crowded beaches and loud bars. Breathe a different air and learn a different English dialect, often referred to as brogue.


Ocracoke Lighthouse Photo Credit

Enjoy the amazing island of Ocracoke and travel safe!


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