This past weekend, Josh and I decided to take a much-needed mini vacation to Ocracoke Island. All of a sudden it seemed that everywhere we turned people were talking about the bliss on this tiny island, and with vacations limited with a 5 month old in tote, we figured the 4 hour drive was something we could handle.
For those of you that do not know, Ocracoke is a tiny island accessible only by ferry. The entire island is only a few miles long. After arriving, the first part of the drive takes you past Ocracoke's beach. These beaches are completely undeveloped and natural. To add to their appeal, anyone can drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle right on to the beach to make for a very easy day. After about 10 miles, you arrive at "the village," which is about a mile or so of small motels, bed and breakfasts, restaurants, and shops. Because the island is so small, most people get around via bike or golf cart. Ocracoke is nicknamed "Ocra-coma" because it is so relaxing to be there you almost feel like you are in a coma!
Needless to say, with a 5 month old, we were not relaxed to the point of comatose state, but I was very pleasantly surprised with Ocracoke. I completely felt like I was on vacation while I was there. Being such a small place, there were ample restaurants to explore (I love eating/drinking my way through a vacation) and a few really cute shops as well. The beach was beautiful and even my beach-allergic husband had to admit that it was enjoyable and relaxing. That being said, two days in Ocracoke was plenty for me! I don't know if I could spend an entire week there (I think Nags Head/Duck/Carolla are probably more appropriate for that), but for a quick get-away it is perfect!
If you want to plan a trip to Ocracoke, here are my recommendations:
1. Bring a 4-wheel drive vehicle...an absolute necessity! We saw people with grills, cornhole boards, and anything else you might need packed into their vehicle. Seriously, how could you not love the beach when more beer is just a quick drive away?!?
2. Bring or rent bikes. We couldn't really do this because of the aforementioned 5 month old, but it seemed like the ideal way to get around.
3. Bask in the simplicity of your accomodations. We stayed at the Pony Island Motel, mainly because it was the only place we could find vacancy. Our suite was very outdated (it listed cable tv as an ammenity to give you an idea), but it was clean, had a private balcony, and had a nice homey feel. In exploring the island, we did see a couple properties that looked a little more upscale (Ocracoke Harbor Inn and The Castle on Silver Lake Bed and Breakfast), but there is certainly no Ritz on this island...oh well, life goes on.
4. Plan to eat out. Ocracoke has some really good restaurants (the Back Porch was our favorite), so splurge on some good wine and good food and save eating in for when you're at home!