Ocracoke Island, located on the Outer-banks of North Carolina, is an isolated community with less than 800 year-round residents. During the summer months the town’s population grows by thousands. The island it self is only 9sq miles large and most of it is protected undeveloped coast line. So it makes sense that locals and tourists navigate the small town primarily by bike. Every shop, restaurant and pub has rows of beach cruisers stacked out front. If you don’t take your own cruiser you can always rent one at the Slushy Stand.
PICTURES AND HISTORY OF OCRACOKE BELOW…..
At the Jolly Roger Pub and Marina you can enjoy fresh caught seafood while sitting right on the edge of the harbor. While I’ve heard of people getting DUI’s on bikes and Donkey’s and such, a deputy sheriff from Ocracoke assured me that their main focus was on the motorized vehicles and the safely of the cyclists.
Pirates used the island as campsite in the early 1700’s even after the infamous Blackbeard was killed there in a naval battle in 1718. In the mid and late 1700’s Ocracoke Island quickly became a settlement for smaller schooner pilots transporting sought after goods headed to the ports on the North Carolina mainland because larger ocean going ships couldn’t navigate into the shallow waters of the Pamlico Sound.
It takes between 45 min and 2.5 hours to get to the town by ferry, depending on which mainland ferry port you leave from. The town is located at the southern end of the island around one of the most beautiful natural harbors in the country.
The lighthouse was built in 1823 and is one of the oldest lighthouses still in active service in the U.S. The steady beam can be seen up to 14 miles out and is the most recognized symbols of the community of Ocracoke. During the Civil War, the fourth-order lens was destroyed by the Confederates. A new lens was installed by the Union forces in 1864. Originally and oil burning light, the lighthouse was electrified in the early part of the 1900’s. The light house also served as traveling library. Cases of books were circulated every six months to light stations along the coast.
Carolina Tailwinds leads this six day bicycle tour of the best of North Carolina’s coast, including Ocracoke Island, “the Pearl of the Outer Banks.” Enjoy bicycling on flat terrain, ferry rides, the best local seafood, and charming waterfront inns.
There you have it; your moment of zen.