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.
- 471 Irvin Garrish Hwy - Next to Oinks BBQ Stand
- (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.
- 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 your car and explore the village in a small, economical and easy to drive electric golf cart. Sightseeing, shopping and dining out become less of a hassle with the small footprint and easy parking. Easy to access for all ages and fun at a slower pace, the open air design brings a more personal experience on Ocracoke. Island Golf Carts are easy to find near the NPS parking lot at the south end of the village with parking areas to leave the gas guzzlers behind. Rental can be done on-site at the office located across from The Anchorage Inn and Marina, or you can call them for pick-up and delivery. Reservations are always the better choice during the busy summer season. They have a large fleet of 4-, 6- and 8-passenger 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. You can also rent all types of kayaks here. New to this year, they are offering paddle board yoga excursions. Find out schedule and make reservations at the shop.
- 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 at Stillwater Spa & Wellness on Ocracoke Island. Local NC Licensed massage therapists offer spa treatments (facials, body scrubs, body wraps) and a variety of massage modalities including deep tissue, Swedish, Reiki, lymphatic, prenatal, craniosacral, shiatsu, sports, trigger point, lomi lomi, hot stone and more. Local owner and licensed massage therapist, Laura Hardy, handcrafts all spa products using organic, all-natural ingredients. Spa packages are available, and products can be purchased in the spa. Stillwater Spa is able to accommodate groups and has four treatment rooms. It is open by appointment only, so call ahead or email to book.
- 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. New this year is yogassage, a combination of self-massage techniques on foam rollers and balls and yoga practice. Yogassage helps the student reconnect to their bodies and learn to help release tension and pain areas themselves.
- 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.
- 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. Free delivery and pick-up is available for all orders more than $75 (Ocracoke Island delivery only). Orders less than $75 incur a $10 delivery charge. Advance orders allow the convenience of delivery and pick-up from your rental house.
Coastal Helicopters, LLC
- 158 Ocean View Road
- (252) 475-HELI (4354)
Coastal Helicopters offers flights and air tours along the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks. The air conditioned Robinson R-44 helicopter gives three passengers a smooth ride along the ocean with the chance to see shipwrecks and sea life. They operate out of Manteo Airport, and custom charters are also available. See Ocracoke from an entirely new perspective!
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.
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.
Free Workout Classes
- 999 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke Community Center
- (252) 928-7291
Aerobics, Tabata, 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. and Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. from April until October. Classes offered in the winter months start 30 minutes later. 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 $15 ($5 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.
Island Guide Services
- (252) 928-2504, (252) 921-0127
Licensed guides Kenneth Tillett and Earl Gaskins both have more than two decades of experience, hunting expertise and local knowledge. Tillett’s great-grandfather, Charlie McWilliams, and Gaskins’ grandfather, Thurston Gaskill, both led parties for the Green Island Hunting Club. Island Guide Services continues the tradition, offering stake and pit blinds, decoys and transport.
Island Path Massage and Personal Path Retreats
- 59 Creek Road
- (252) 475-0869
“Have Table Will Travel” is the motto of licensed massage therapist Ken DeBarth. After 30 years of practice as a primary care and emergency medicine physician assistant, Ken decided to attend the Cayce/Reilly School of Massotherapy in Virginia. He now offers relaxation and therapeutic massage at his massage studio located at the Thurston House Bed and Breakfast or at your rental accommodation. His lifetime of experience with health and healing and his calm and reassuring manner enable him to offer you a memorable massage experience.
In addition to massage, he and his wife, Ruth Fordon, a life coach and former psychotherapist, are available for consultation and/or for designing Personal Path Retreats that focus on health issues and the challenges of life transitions.
July 4th Celebration
There is no better way to celebrate Independence Day than a day at the beach! Ocracoke has created a family-oriented, fun-filled day with lots of activities for all ages. The day kicks off with a flag-raising ceremony at the school’s circle and the annual Sand Sculpture Contest. Other activities include lighthouse tours, pirate sightings, a vintage car show on the Pony Island Motel lawn and history talks. The annual afternoon street parade featuring floats and entertainment brings everyone to the street. Hear local live music in the evening to finish off a day of freedom celebration. Most events are sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.
Kitty Hawk Kites
- 294 Irvin Garrish Highway, Community Square Shops
- (252) 928-4563
Kayaking and paddleboarding on Ocracoke are must do activities. Kitty Hawk Kites offers kayak and SUP rentals for the whole family, including single and tandem sit-ins and sit-on-top kayaks. Each rental comes with everything you’ll need to have fun and be safe, including paddles, PFDs and padded seats for extra comfort in the kayaks.
Mad Mag’s Ghost Stories
- (252) 928-6300
Invite a local legend into your cottage for a full hour of haunting tales! Acclaimed professional storyteller Lou Ann Homan has been steeping herself in island lore and will captivate and delight your family and friends with an evening of storytelling in your cottage or home. Ghost and pirate tales are a specialty and are appropriate for all ages. Cost is $150.