Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Ocracoke Island is lush with an abundance of nature sure to please the senses. The miles of pristine beaches and the clean, salt-scented ocean air will provide limitless amounts of serenity, solitude and peace of mind. A wide variety of bird life and beach vegetation highlights the incredible views that the ocean and soundfront marsh provide. Great swimming and fishing opportunities (gulf stream, surf, and sound) are yours to enjoy due to a close proximity to the Gulf Stream and subsequent warm southern waters. The Ocracoke vacation package is further enhanced with plenty of water sports and a colorful history and is a great location for achieving quality family time. If peace, rest, and relaxation is what you seek, Ocracoke’s warm, southern hospitality and slow, laid-back pace will help you get that perfect island vacation.
Located near a sheltered, harbor known as Silver Lake, is where you will find the village of Ocracoke. Also in close proximity is another smaller residential area that is built around several man-made canals by the name of Oyster Creek. The village of Ocracoke sits at the widest point of the island and acquires it protection from the Atlantic Ocean with the help of a salt marsh and sand dunes. Many buildings on the island have been constructed on pilings to keep them off the ground, as the average height of the island is less than five feet above the sea level and can result in numerous flooding issues during hurricanes and big storms. If you wish to see a historical treasure, The Ocracoke Lighthouse, is situated near Silver Lake and is one of North America’s oldest lighthouses.
Tourism plays a huge role in the economy of Ocracoke Island. In the winter months, there are fewer than eight hundred people who reside on the island with only a few businesses remaining open during the colder months. During the in season months of spring, summer and fall, thousands of tourists converge on the island to live in weekly rental houses, hotels and campgrounds, and many come across the ferry from Hatteras Island just for a day trip or an overnight visit. When tourist season arrives, a multitude of bars, restaurants, shops, stores and more will open their doors to welcome visitors to Ocracoke Island. The unique and distinctive quality of Ocracoke Island is that there are no chains or franchises in sight. Every single business is independently owned and operated by the residents which is rare to find in such a popular vacation spot.
Indeed, Ocracoke has become popular enough to be named America’s Best Beach for 2007 by “Dr. Beach,” a moniker of Dr. Stephen Leatherman, who is a professor of coastal ecology at Florida International University and compiles an annual list of Best Beaches. Ocracoke earned previous honors of the #2 and #3 spots in 2005 and 2006, respectively.
Commercial and chartered sport fishing make up an important part of Ocracoke’s economy. With vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, as well as easy access to the Pamlico Sound, there is a large variety of fishing options for a fisherman to choose from, including Sound fish, tuna, drum and more.
In the colder, off-season months, construction companies and a few other businesses help support the smaller population until spring comes again. The island has a permanent population of only a few hundred residents. When the tourists go home, many Ocracoke Island residents use the off-season month as their opportunity for vacation, as they tend to rack up work weeks that can see 60-80 hours in a single week!