Monday, April 29, 2013

4/21 Ocracoke Island and Campground

I know this is a bit confusing, but the name Ocracoke can refer to the long barrier island accessed only by ferries on each end, the town at the south end of the island, and the campground owned by the national park.  There is also an Ocracoke lighthouse!

The ferry arrived at the northern end of the island, and the drive to the campground went past some of the sandy area where the island was so narrow that there were no trees or plants, so the sand continually drifted across the road.  It would not take much for the ocean to completely wash across this area.

Where the island is wider, there are trees and dune plants established, so the road is less covered with sand. 

I really liked this campground because it was just behind the protective dunes and just a few feet from the ocean and beach.  There were only about 10% of the sites occupied because it was very early in the season, and in fact, I arrived on the first day the campground was open. 


This photo shows what looks a little bit like a rocky beach.  In reality, the wind is so strong here that it has blown the sand away from each shell or rock on the beach, so each is sitting on a little pedestal.  I should have taken a closeup of these little hills each shell sat on.

Can you see how big these waves were?  The wind was never below 18 MPH the whole three days I spent there.  I arrived late one day and stayed inside almost all of the next because of the wind and rain and really, really cold weather!  In fact, the second day, I had to move my campsite because my motorhome was parked sideways to the wind and it was blowing up underneath, rattling something loudly.  As heavy as my vehicle is, it rocked all night, making it hard to sleep.  I moved to a space where I could face the wind, and there was a lot less rocking and rolling all night.

Here is the tiny town of Ocracoke.  I drove there the second full day on the island and parked in the only lot big enough for my rig.  It was sunny this day but still very windy.  In any case, I rode my bike to the lighthouse and a tiny grocery store where I bought some split peas to make soup.  This is the dock for the ferry that goes south to Cedar Island and the national park visitor center.  Glad I didn't have to take that ferry because it is 2.5 hours long and goes through even rougher water than the one to Hatteras does!

The Ocracoke Lighthouse is a lot smaller than the other lighthouses on the Outer Banks, and it was not open for climbing, unfortunately.

I really enjoyed this island and campground.  When I planned this trip, I had no idea that late April would be so early in the season here.  Mostly, the whole place was deserted.  I plan to come back another time, but a few weeks later into the season, maybe in late May, in hopes of warmer weather and less wind and rain.  The town had a lot of interesting looking shops that were mostly closed that I could explore another day.  And if it were not so cold and rainy, I would certainly enjoy the beach more. 

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