Ocracoke Island off Hatteras

Just to the southwest of Hatteras Village is the small island of Ocracoke, which can only be reached by ferry (about a 30 minute ride), boat, or airplane. Ocracoke, which like Hatteras, is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and is about 15 miles long. It has just one village at the western tip. Ocracoke Village is built around the historic and picturesque Silver Lake, a harbor that is filled with sailboats in the summer and fishing boats in the winter. Although Ocracoke is close to Hatteras Island, it can feel worlds away and a is fun addition to a Hatteras Island vacation.

The village, which has a number of small, interesting shops and some very good restaurants, can be easily toured on foot or on rented bicycle or golf cart. There are several great visitor attractions on the island: the Ocracoke Lighthouse, the British Cemetery, the visitors' center at the National Park Service, and the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum.

Just off the highway between the ferry dock and the village, is the Pony Pen, the home of the famous Ocracoke ponies. They once roamed the island, but were penned in 1959 when the first highway was built. The herd averages 25 to 30 horses and is under the care of the National Park Service. Several of the ponies can be viewed from a platform at the pony pen.