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 Islands Information

Place: Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

Vacation Getaway to Ocracoke Island   by Shari Hearn

You want a beach vacation, but you don't want the crowds. You want seclusion, but you don't want to be totally alone. You want to be able to do nothing, but you want the option to keep busy. Sounds like you want a place like Ocracoke Island, North Carolina.

Oh, not familiar with Ocracoke Island? It's part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, and is one of the few places on the East Coast where the sun sets over the water year-round. Oh, and Blackbeard once set up camp here. If you're traveling by plane, it's 100 miles from the Norfolk, VA airport and 200 miles from the Raleigh-Durham, NC airport. Its 16 miles of sun-swept wilderness beaches is accessible only by ferry, private boat, or by air.

For those who want seclusion, you'll find it on Ocracoke Island, as some claim you can find a deserted stretch of beach almost any time of year. And, when you feel like socializing, you can head over to the quaint village of Ocracoke for food, drink, a massage, or just shopping.

If viewing wildlife is your passion, the nearly 12 continuous miles of dunes and marsh lands of the island are untouched, and are home to birds, deer, rabbits, muskrats and other wild animals. Many people also come to Ocracoke for the fishing. Fishermen and anglers are allowed to drive on the beach, with surf fishing being truly great here.

Besides doing nothing on a secluded beach, observing the wildlife or fishing, there are other attractions on Ocracoke Island as well, such as visiting the 1823 Ocracoke Lighthouse, the British Cemetery or the Banker Ponies, which some suspect are descendants of the ponies which came with the Raleigh expeditions.

Accommodations on Ocracoke Island include:

Edwards of Ocracoke, located in the heart of Ocracoke Village. Choose from 8 motel rooms, 3 efficiencies, 6 cottage apartments and 2 private cottages. Rates start at $48 in the Spring and Fall and $60 and $69 in the summer and peak seasons (peak season is June 1 to August 20). They offer weekly rental rates as well. Call 252-928-4801 for more information.

Another place for lodging is the Anchorage Inn & Marina, a 35-room, four-story hotel overlooking Ocracoke's scenic harbor, offering sunset views as the sun sinks into the waters of the Pamlico Sound. Choose from smoking or non-smoking rooms, with pet-friendly rooms on the first floor. Off season rates are from $79.00 a night to $209.00 a night. In-season rates are from $125.00 a night to $239.00 a night. For more information call 252-928-1101.

If you'd like to stay in Ocracoke's oldest hotel, head on over to Blackbeard's Lodge, formerly Wahab Village Inn and built in 1936. Blackbeard's Inn offers thirty-eight reasonably priced rooms and apartments, some with whirlpool baths. You can also rent bikes there to cycle around the island. Winter rates begin at $48, while in-season rates begin at $85 (more for just one night in high season). Call 1-800-892-5314 for reservations.

For those planning a destination wedding, or just plain eloping, Ocracoke Island is the perfect spot for romance. If you wish to have your wedding on the beach or grounds of the Ocracoke Lighthouse, you do require a Special Use Permit. The current, nonrefundable fee for such a permit is $100. Call the Special Use Coordinator at 252-473-2111, ext. 121 for more information.

And, for all you dog lovers out there, the beaches on Ocracoke are dog-friendly, providing your dog is on a six-foot lead.

About the Author

Shari Hearn is a writer and creator of Destination Weddings website and Vacation Getaways blog.