The only way to get to Ocracoke is by ferry. We had a morning reservation for the first ferry of the day on April 30, so we camped one night at Cedar Island. There are two RV parks there, one of which is right next to the ferry dock. We didn’t stay there because the reviews on Campendium said the road inside the campground was in poor condition. We realized the lack of bad reviews forthe campground we chose, were likely because it is pretty small and most people stay at the other. It was fine for a night. If we return, we will likely opt for the campground near the ferry, but make sure we are as far as possible from the riding stables because of the smell.
We were expecting to be on the large ferry pictured below, rather than the smaller one. The RV was literally about 2 inches from the outer wall of the passenger lounge area. Driving on and off was pretty nerve-racking, but we had no issues. Later we would learn that we were lucky to have been able to cross. There have been issues lately with ferries running aground or otherwise breaking down.
The national seashore campground is about 4 miles from the center of town. The sites have no water or electricity, but there is a place to fill your tanks and generators are allowed. There are restrooms with showers, but no hot water. We recently purchased a small, lightweight, quiet generator, and are accustomed to quick hot showers in our RV, so it was no problem for us.
We arrived at the campground to find that we were unable to maneuver the RV into our reserved site. At that point, we had camped at nearly 100 different campsites over the past couple of years and this was the first time we could not get into our carefully selected site. There was a 2 – 3 -inch drop-off from the cement pad to the ground which could damage tires if we drove off. The angle into the site was too sharp. Worst of all, the camp host was directly across, with a huge storage trailer extending to the limit of their campsite, preventing us from having another couple of feet to drive over. With very weak internet, we managed to go online and find another site. After we set up, the camp host stopped by and pointed out that we couldn’t use a generator in that particular loop. We had to go online again, find another site, hitch up and move again. It was a long day!
Ocracoke Island is 13 miles long, but the village of Ocracoke itself is just 4 square miles. The island has less than 1000 year-round residents. Most of the houses are vacation homes and most of those are available for rent. Some areas reminded us of Mackinac Island only with cars and golf carts. Fishing is one of the main attractions. It was off-season when we were there, but on weekends, the charter boats were pretty active. We stopped at Smacnally’s, in the Marina, where you can get diinner and/or drinks and watch the daily catch come in. We saw some fish over 50 lbs being weighed, photographed and then cut up.
We rode our bikes from the campground to town, a couple of times, and explored the area that way. The museum and lighthouse weren’t open. We also drove to the north end of the island and stopped to see the Ocracoke horses, which used to roam free on the island. Overall, we really enjoyed the island. We probably would not go there during the summer, when the campground is full and the island is crowded.