Beach driving Ocracoke Island

Beach Ride 4x4 Rentals offers Jeep Gladiator rentals 

Beach4x4 offers Jeep Wrangler rentals

Ocracoke Island North Carolina

voted one of the best beaches in America

Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke Island 

An adventure through the captivating landscapes of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, presents an unforgettable journey that combines the thrill of exploration with the serene beauty of nature. This tale unfolds with the decision to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle in Kill Devil Hills, setting the stage for a beach driving adventure that meanders through Cape Hatteras National Seashore and concludes on the enchanting shores of Ocracoke Island.

The adventure begins on a bright, sunny morning in Kill Devil Hills, a town steeped in history and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Outer Banks. Here, at OBX Jeep Rentals, enthusiasts and adventurers alike find their perfect companion for exploring the sandy trails and coastal byways. The air is filled with anticipation as keys are handed over, and the Jeep, a symbol of freedom and adventure, awaits.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore: A Journey Begins

With the Jeep loaded and the map laid out, the journey southward toward Cape Hatteras National Seashore begins. The drive itself is a mesmerizing experience, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east offering glimpses of its vastness and the Pamlico Sound to the west showcasing tranquil waters that mirror the sky. The Jeep, with its rugged capability, promises an adventure that's as boundless as the landscapes it traverses.

Entering Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a sense of awe takes over. This stretch of preserved coastline, known for its rich biodiversity and historical significance, offers more than just picturesque views. It's a gateway to adventure, where each turn reveals something new and each horizon beckons further exploration. The Jeep's tires crunch on the sand, a harmonious sound that blends with the ocean's roar, as the adventure delves deeper into the heart of the seashore.

The Lighthouses: Beacons of History

The journey through Cape Hatteras is punctuated by visits to its iconic lighthouses. These towering structures, each with its own story and unique charm, stand as sentinels over the landscape. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, with its distinctive spiral stripes, not only offers breathtaking views from its summit but also serves as a reminder of the area's maritime history and the enduring spirit of those who once navigated these treacherous waters.

Off-Road Excursions: Discovering Hidden Gems

The true essence of this adventure lies in the off-road excursions that lead to hidden gems scattered throughout the national seashore. With the Jeep's four-wheel drive engaged, the journey takes on a new dimension, offering access to secluded beaches, remote fishing spots, and views that are simply unattainable by any other means. Each stop is an opportunity to immerse in the natural beauty of the Outer Banks, whether it's watching wild horses roam freely or simply enjoying a moment of solitude on a deserted stretch of beach.

Ocracoke Island: The Final Destination

The final leg of the adventure leads to Ocracoke Island, a place where time seems to stand still, and the spirit of the Outer Banks is felt most profoundly. Accessible only by ferry—a journey made all the more special by the Jeep—the island welcomes adventurers with its quaint village, pristine beaches, and the historic Ocracoke Lighthouse. 

Introduction to Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island, a hidden gem nestled in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that beckons for more than just a day's visit. Its quaint villages, pristine beaches, and the warm hospitality of its residents make it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A Brief History

Ocracoke's rich history is woven with tales of pirates, maritime adventures, and a resilient community that has thrived in isolation. The island was a favorite haunt of the infamous pirate Blackbeard and played a significant role in American maritime history.

Unique Geography and Climate

With its unique geography, Ocracoke boasts a climate that is mild year-round, making it perfect for outdoor activities in every season. The island's untouched beaches, marshlands, and the Atlantic Ocean create a serene environment that is both invigorating and calming.

Where to Eat on Ocracoke Island

Coffee Shops

Start your day on Ocracoke with a visit to one of its charming coffee shops. The Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar and Ocracoke Coffee Co. are local favorites, offering a cozy ambiance and a variety of coffee blends that will energize you for the day ahead.

Local Restaurants

From fresh seafood to international cuisine, dining on Ocracoke Island is a treat. Dajio Restaurant offers a blend of local and exotic flavors, while Howard's Pub & Raw Bar is the go-to spot for a relaxed meal with friends and family.

Lodging Choices on Ocracoke Island

Cozy Bed and Breakfasts

Ocracoke Island is home to several cozy bed and breakfasts, each offering a unique experience. The Cove Bed and Breakfast and Oscar's House Bed and Breakfast provide comfortable accommodations and a hearty breakfast to start your day.

Charming Inns and Hotels

For those looking for a bit more luxury, the Blackbeard's Lodge and the Ocracoke Harbor Inn offer charming rooms with exceptional service, making your stay on the island truly memorable.

Popular Things to Do on Ocracoke Island

Outdoor Adventures

Ocracoke Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Kayaking, fishing, surfing, and bird watching are just a few of the activities that you can enjoy in the island's diverse ecosystems.

Cultural and Historical Sites

Visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse, one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the U.S., or the British Cemetery to delve into the island's rich history and culture.

Seasonal Events and Festivals

Ocracoke Island hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, from the Ocracoke Music Festival to the Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree, offering fun and entertainment for visitors of all ages.


What is the best time to visit Ocracoke Island?

Are there any pet-friendly accommodations on Ocracoke Island?

What are some must-try local dishes?

How do I get around the island without a car?

Are there any guided tours available on Ocracoke Island?

Memories of a Lifetime

As the sun sets on Ocracoke Island, casting a golden glow over the landscapes that have been explored, the adventure through the Outer Banks comes to a close. Returning to Kill Devil Hills feels like saying goodbye to a trusted companion, one that has made this journey of discovery possible. The memories of driving through Cape Hatteras National Seashore, visiting lighthouses, venturing off-road to uncover hidden gems, and finally, reaching the enchanting shores of Ocracoke Island, will forever be etched in the heart.

This adventure, made possible by renting a 4x4 goes beyond just a trip; it's an exploration of freedom, nature, and the indomitable spirit of the Outer Banks. The feeling of sand beneath the tires, the sound of the ocean alongside, and the sight of horizons that stretch endlessly. It's an invitation to explore, discover, and fall in love with the Outer Banks, one Jeep adventure at a time.

Ferry service to Ocracoke can change at any time due to shoaling, weather or mechanical issues. Visit daily for updates. Hatteras Ferry terminal: 252-996-6000. Ocracoke terminal: 252-996-6201. Motorists are urged to follow the NC Ferry routes on Twitter for daily updates on ALL of the ferry routes. Route-specific X (formerly Twitter) feeds are available: Hatteras-Ocracoke: @NCFerryHatteras and Cedar Island-Ocracoke-Swan Quarter @NCFerryPamSound

To view the NCDOT webcam for Ocracoke, click here.
To view the NCDOT webcam for Hatteras, click here.

Vehicle ferries on this route are free and board first-come; first-served.

Passenger Ferry service runs between Hatteras and Ocracoke’s Silver Lake Harbor from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Reservations highly recommended. Reserve online at If you have any questions or for more information, please call 252-996-6200 or 1-800-293-3779.

Two routes – Hatteras-Ocracoke and Ocracoke-Cedar Island – are officially part of the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway.

For real-time travel information, visit or follow NCDOT on social media.

Cape Hatteras ORV permit required

A beach driving/parking pass is included for Cape Hatteras & Ocracoke Island

Waterfront pub Ocracoke Island

SmacNally’s Waterfront Bar & Grill

Ocracoke Island HW 12 overwash

"Unfortunately, due to worsening conditions and another low pressure system expected to affect Ocracoke Island, NC12 on the north end of Ocracoke will remain closed for the next several days."   This is getting more common BUT if you take the passenger only Ocracoke Express ferry it drops you off right in the center of town. Bike and golf cart rentals are available but walking the charming village is also an option. For ferry reservations