One of the most beloved destinations in the Outer Banks, Ocracoke Island features miles of peaceful beaches, quaint village shops, and scenic bike trails. It’s the perfect place for a day trip during your Outer Banks vacation! With no bridge connecting the island to the mainland, Ocracoke is best reached by ferry. The Hatteras Island ferry offers free rides for visitors and their vehicles throughout the year, and you can learn all the details about ferry rides below. As you plan your trip, be sure to have a copy of our free Vacation Guide on hand. It’s packed with dozens of recommendations on activities and attractions in the Outer Banks!

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7 Things You Should Know About the Hatteras Island Ferry

Ocracoke Island is only accessible by ferry, private boat, or plane. The Hatteras Island ferry is the best way to get to the island, and it’s completely free! Ferries depart from the Hatteras ferry landing, and rides take approximately one hour. Departure times vary by season, so be sure to check the ferry schedule before you go. Here are seven things to know about the Hatteras Island ferry:

1. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the summertime are the busiest days

Tuesday through Thursday is the busy time of the week for ferry operation. During these days, wait times can climb to up to two hours to cross over to Ocracoke Island.

2. Conversely, Saturdays through Mondays are typically less busy.

From Saturday to Monday, the wait for ferry rides tends to be shorter. If you have to travel on the busier days, plan to leave early in the morning (before 9:00 a.m.) to avoid long lines!

3. The Hatteras Island ferry typically loads 5-10 minutes before the scheduled departure.

Be sure to be near your vehicle around the loading time so you don’t miss the boat!

4. Certain rules apply.

Rules like no smoking, pets must remain on a leash, and no feeding the seagulls apply. Be sure to observe them or face a potential fine.

5. Have your driver’s license on hand.

You’ll need to have your driver’s license on hand as you prepare to board.

6. The last ferry from Ocracoke or Hatteras Island leaves at midnight.

Don’t miss your chance to get back where you need to be. Be ready to board on time!

7. Sunset and sunrise ferries provide the best views!

One of the most beautiful scenes in the Outer Banks, a ferry ride during sunrise or sunset is worth the trip itself.

Wondering Where to Stay in the Outer Banks?

When you’re on vacation in the Outer Banks, a day trip to Ocracoke Island is a great idea! Take the Hatteras Island ferry and spend the day soaking in the sun and enjoying the peacefulness of Ocracoke. If you’re looking for the best place to stay in the Outer Banks, look no further than Shoreline OBX. We offer some of the most beautiful and convenient Outer Banks vacation rentals for you and your family. There’s plenty of space to spread out and relax in our rentals, meaning your vacation goes smoothly! Browse our available rentals today and choose your favorite. We are eager to be your host, so contact us today to book your Outer Banks getaway!

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