Ocracoke Things To Do
Looking for something to do on Ocracoke Island? You won’t have trouble finding fun here.
From a historic ghost walk to a fishing trip to a kayak tour, there are numerous recreational opportunities available that will help you get to know this island and its people a little better. And most of Ocracoke Island’s attractions are of the best variety: free! Or at least they’re very inexpensive. Although we don’t have traditional taxi service, we do have a pedal-oriented taxi service that will do tours, special events, romantic evenings, airport pickups and even barhopping. They can be reached at (252) 588-2149.
In general, attractions and recreation here are simple and unfettered, with few of the usual commercial trappings of a tourist site. There are no go-cart tracks, mini-golf courses, waterslides or movie theaters. On Ocracoke, the island itself provides the entertainment. And, it seems that when people are here, they just don’t need as much stimulation. Quiet walks on the beach (Cape Hatteras National Seashore), fishing and clamming, looking for shells, building a sandcastle, strolling around the village, sitting on the porch swing, observing nature or chasing ghost crabs in the moonlight: These are the simple activities on Ocracoke Island. For a little extra entertainment, walk or bike to the Ocracoke Campground on the new paved bike trail, stroll over to the Ocracoke Lighthouse (the oldest in North Carolina and still operating) and the Preservation Museum, or go out and visit the ponies and take a little hike. You get the idea.
Remember Irvin Garrish Highway is also known as Highway N.C. 12.
- 990 Irvin Garrish
- (252) 921-0216
Driving into Ocracoke Village from the Hatteras Ferry, a lineup of brightly colored golf carts is sure to catch your eye. Stop in to rent an electric or gas cart from this friendly, local family. They will deliver your cart to your rental house or hotel, or if you’re just on Ocracoke for the day, they’ll let you park and scoot off into the village, with the fresh air on your cheeks. If you are flying into the tiny Ocracoke airstrip, they’ll pick you up and get you set up with a cart for your time on the island and deliver you back when it’s time to go. Community Carts’ great customer service has earned them lots of repeat business, so reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are always welcome as well.
- 660 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-1311
NC-licensed Ann Ehringhaus offers therapeutic massage including Chinese acupressure, Rosen Method Emotional Bodywork and Reiki and has studied many other modalities. Ann did most of her bodywork studies in Berkeley, CA, and Chapel Hill, NC. She also holds degrees in Ministry and Counseling. She acknowledges bodywork as a great pathway for relaxation as well as for personal healing and change. She has offered bodywork since 1990 on Ocracoke and also has an office at The Wellness Alliance in Carrboro, NC. Please call ahead for appointments.
- 216 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-0090
Ocracoke Island Golf Carts, with the red bulls eye logo, offers a perfect way to get the most out of your stay on the island. Park the family travel vehicle and switch to a small, economical and easy to drive electric golf cart. Touring, shopping and dining out become less of a hassle with the small footprint of the cart. Easy to access for all ages and fun at a slower pace, the open air design brings a more personal quality to your experience on Ocracoke. Island Golf Carts are easy to find near both entrances to the village and with parking areas for day trippers to leave the gas guzzlers behind. Rental can be done on site at either the satellite location next door to Howards Pub or at the main office located across from The Anchorage Inn and Marina. Reservations are always the better choice during the summer busy season. They have a large fleet of 2-, 4- and 6-passenger golf carts for rent with hourly, daily and weekly rates. Remember: Golf carts are for use only in the village, not on the bike path, highway or beach.
- 486 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-6311
See another side of Ocracoke Island — take a kayak ecotour with Ride the Wind. They offer guided sunrise, midday, sunset and full moon tours for up to 10 people and provide all necessary equipment and training. You should bring watershoes, water, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellant, sunscreen and a camera. These tours are very popular, so it’s a good idea to make reservations in advance. By the way, you can also rent all types of kayaks here.
- 486 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-6311
How do you introduce surfing and ocean safety to kids and do it in a way that is fun and safe? Ride the Wind’s answer is to make sure you keep the groups small and spend as much time teaching safety as you do surfing. Since 2000, they’ve taught thousands of kids to surf based on that simple idea. These three-day camps are held Tuesdays through Thursdays from late May to early August from 9 a.m. to noon and are designed for ages 9-17. Or, they’ll arrange special camps for your group. All instructors are trained in ocean safety, first aid and CPR, and they use sunset softboards and NSP epoxy boards to minimize the chance of injury. Come join the fun!
- 486 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-6311
Want to get out there and experience the thrill of sliding down the front edge of a rolling wave? Ride the Wind offers lessons to get you started on your surfing journey. Lessons are scheduled individually or for your group in one-hour blocks. Their instructors are all experienced surfers who live to “spread the gospel” of surfing, and all instructors are trained in ocean safety, life guarding, first aid and CPR. Make advance reservations!
- 72 Back Road
- (252) 588-0267
Relax and renew with Laura Hardy. A licensed massage therapist, Laura offers spa treatments (facials, body scrubs, body wraps) and a variety of massage modalities including deep tissue, Swedish, hot stones, Reiki, lymphatic, craniosacral, raindrop therapy and shiatsu. Spa packages are available. You can purchase many of the spa treatment products. Call ahead to be sure to get an appointment.
- 141 Sand Dollar Road, Angie's Gym
- (252) 921-0182
Local resident Amy Borland Hilton, RYT, teaches Hatha yoga classes year round at Angie’s Gym on Sanddollar Road (new location). All Levels of experience are welcome. She teaches how to incorporate alignment, breathing practices and meditation to deepen the connection to body, mind and spirit. Amy loves combining and sharing her passion of bodywork and yoga. Everyone is welcome to come reconnect to their whole self.
- 141 Sand Dollar Road
- (252) 928-2496
Angie’s Gym is a full-service fitness center with cardio and strength machines, free weights and an aerobics/dance studio where lots of classes are offered in dance, yoga, tai chi, turbo kick and PiYo. Angie’s Gym is located off the main highway near the Sand Dollar Motel. You will find rates for all kinds of membership options including fees for just daily use or for single class enrollment during your vacation on Ocracoke. This is a great way to offset all the calories gained at Ocracoke’s wonderful restaurants.
- 1053 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-6261
Beach Outfitters is part of Ocracoke Island Realty. They rent bikes, beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards and cottage items too cumbersome to pack, such as televisions, baby highchairs, grills and kitchen appliances.
Beach Ride Rentals
- 294 Irvin Garrish Highway, The Community Square
- (252) 928-0007, (252) 916-0133
While you’re visiting the Community Square, you will notice a small shop on the right-hand side of an old-fashioned building on the harbor. This small shop rents both pedal boats for cruisin’ the harbor, or if you yearn to drive the beach on Ocracoke, you can rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle here.
Bella Fiore Pottery
- 80 Back Road
- (252) 928-2826
Sarah Fiore’s working studio showcases her vividly colored pottery. Her works are microwave, oven and dishwasher safe, including plates, bowls, mugs, sushi sets and dishes, and all have handmade glazes. The gallery also stocks all-natural bath products, ceramic art, wooden sculpture, aromatic candles, handmade local jewelry and distinctive objets d’art. Think functional luxury.
Coastal Helicopters, LLC
- 158 Ocean View Road
- (252) 475-HELI ( 4354)
If you have ever wondered what Ocracoke Island looks like from above, this is your chance to get the bird’s eye view. With rates that can be prorated by the 10th of the hour, this is the ultimate way to shoot aerial photography and videography. Based out of the Manteo airport, air tours of the Outer Banks and custom charters to anywhere are available. The pilot is FAA Commercial certified.
Coyote—Marcy Brenner & Lou Castro
- (252) 256-2081
This performing songwriter duo has a loyal following on their home island and well beyond with their engaging presence and colorful music tinged with folk, rock, blues and jazz. As members of Molasses Creek, the internationally known folk band also from Ocracoke, they tour all over the States, and during the summer they appear weekly at Deepwater Theater with Molasses Creek (Thursdays) and the Ocrafolk Opry (Wednesdays). Look for them in the post-hurricane party scene in the Nicholas Sparks movie, Nights in Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane! You’ll find their CDs for sale all over the island (and even a documentary film inspired from one of their songs about Marcy’s cancer survival); get one to bring some of the island’s magic home with you. Marcy and Lou also specialize in music for weddings (ceremony, cocktail hour/reception) and special events.
Deep Blue Day Spa
- 260 O’Neal Drive
- (252) 921-0182
North Carolina-licensed massage therapist Amy Borland Hilton offers massage therapy and spa therapy services from her home to restore your mind, body and spirit. She is skilled in a variety of therapy styles including Swedish, Thai yoga bodywork, lymph drainage therapy, connective tissue, craniosacral, ocean stone and Yogassage. Spa services include a variety of facials including lymph drainage for age lines and puffiness. Her services are very popular, so it’s recommended that you make an appointment well in advance.
Down Creek Gallery
- 260 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-4400
If you are looking for local, North Carolina, regional and national art, check out Down Creek. Located in the heart of the village on the waterfront and representing more than 130 artists, you will find jewelry, pottery, art glass, metal, wood, mixed media, local painting, photography and much more. During the summer, the gallery hosts Expose Yourself to Art, bi-weekly receptions to meet the artist, showcasing local artisans and their work. The gallery was the winner of a Top Retailer of American Craft award several years ago from NICHE Magazine.
- 340 Irvin Garrish Highway
- (252) 928-3269
This rustic shop is filled to the brim with decoys and sportsman’s paraphernalia. The resident carver has been nationally recognized for his work and is a native who can tell you a salty tale or two. There are old and new decoys, lures, oars and other crafts and scrimshaw that are great for bringing a nostalgic seaside feeling to your home.
DWI Case Management and Treatment for Addictions
- (252) 261-4512
Jo Ann Hummers, EdD, LCAS, offers DWI assessment and treatment in person and case management (by phone, mail and/or e-mail) for an out-of-state resident who gets a DWI in North Carolina. She offers affordable and confidential assistance to comply with NC Division of Motor Vehicles regulations. Also available is counseling for smoking cessation, alcohol and other drug abuse/addiction or gambling addiction.
Ocracoke AA meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. at the upstairs room at the Fire Station on the Back Road on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Fish and Hunt Guide Service—Russell Williams
- (252) 588-0185
Williams is a licensed guide with more than 21 years of experience who has appeared in both Wildfowl and Carolina Adventure magazines. He transports hunters to curtain blinds or sink boxes, a type of blind developed on Pamlico Sound and legal only in Hyde and Dare counties. Reservations should be made before Thanksgiving, and packages including accommodations can be arranged.
Float With Grace—Massage Therapy
- (252) 996-0198
With more than 35 years of experience working in hospitals and with aquatics, licensed massage therapist Terrilynn “Grace” West offers a unique massage experience in water almost at body temperature ideally suited for therapy called Watsu. This is the gentlest deep massage ever created. All you need is a bathing suit for this indoor therapy pool and about one and a half hours. Grace will help you release long-held patterns of guarding, tension, holding and pain. Watsu is therapeutic for injuries, many stress-related aliments and effective for complete relaxation. Grace welcomes all ages from youth to seniors into the pool. She also offers a combination of water and table massage as well as just traditional table massage.
- 999 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke Community Center
Aerobics, toning and strength building classes for people of all levels and ages are offered weekday mornings at the Community Center. The classes are free and meet on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 a.m. from May until October and at 8 a.m. during the winter months. All equipment is supplied.
Halo Hair Studio
- 58 Creek Road
- (252) 308-2351
Need an emotional rescue for a bad hair day or just some pampering while vacationing? Call or stop by Halo Hair to make an appointment. Not your typical urban hair salon, Susie has created a charming local feel with her shop. If you are planning for a wedding on the island, she is also available to work with the wedding party as long as you call ahead. Guys are welcome too!
Hammock Hills Nature Trail
- 4281 Irvin Garrish Highway
Just across from the National Park Service’s Ocracoke Campground, the Hammock Hills Nature Trail is a 3/4-mile trail through the island’s maritime forest and salt marsh. It’s a great trail for nature lovers and bird watchers, and there are informative signposts along the way. The hike takes about 30 minutes. Parking is available for several cars, or one can walk or bike there on the paved biking trail that starts at South Point Road at the village line. Be sure to bring along insect repellent—the trail is also popular with mosquitoes!
Historic Ocracoke Tours and Tales—Ocracoke Ghost and History Walk
- 170 Howard Street, Village Craftsmen
- (252) 928-6300
Led by native islanders descended from pirates, these 90-minute, 1.5-mile walking tours are sure to entertain and educate. The tours explore either the Around Creek or Down Point areas of the island and cost $12 ($6 for children 6 to 12 years old; children younger than 6, free). Tours leave from the Village Craftsmen at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday nights. Limited to 24 people, reservations are strongly recommended. Group and special tours can be arranged. Call The Village Craftsmen for more information and off-season schedules.
- 89 British Cemetery Road
- (252) 928-3892
Island Artworks is a fun place to browse and shop. Owner/artist Kathleen O’Neal sells her own hand-crafted jewelry here along with blown glass, contemporary crafts, mosaics, photography, watercolors, pottery, woodworks, sculpture, garden accessories and many other works of art. Island artists are well represented.