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Top Activities to Do with Kids on Ocracoke

Ocracoke, known as the Pearl of the Outer Banks, is a picturesque island and hidden gem that caters to those seeking a truly relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. With its stunning beaches, rich historical sites, and an enticing array of activities, Ocracoke Island has all the makings of a memorable family vacation destination.  Ocracoke offers a charming, laid-back atmosphere that’s perfect for families with kids of all ages. In this guide, we’ll explore the myriad of activities and attractions that make Ocracoke Island an excellent choice for your next family adventure.

Ocracoke Beach

Is Ocracoke Island Perfect for Kids?


Without a doubt, Ocracoke Island is a perfect destination for kids. Situated within the tranquil Outer Banks of North Carolina, this charming island offers a wide array of family-friendly attractions and activities. What makes it so ideal for families with children? To begin with, Ocracoke’s beaches are a haven for young ones. The shallow, calm waters and gently sloping shores provide an ideal setting for children to play in the waves and build sandcastles. Be sure to review our beach safety guide as well.

Moreover, Ocracoke maintains a serene and relaxed atmosphere, setting it apart from more bustling tourist destinations. Families can savor quality time together without the usual hustle and bustle, allowing for a genuine connection with nature and the opportunity to explore the island’s beauty. The island is also steeped in history, offering educational and entertaining experiences for kids. Excursions to landmarks like the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and Springer’s Point Nature Preserve provide children with a chance to learn about the island’s past while enjoying these historical sites.

Ocracoke’s local community is renowned for its warm hospitality, ensuring that families feel welcome and at ease during their stay. From family-friendly restaurants to welcoming shops and activities catering to visitors of all ages, Ocracoke is a place where families can truly feel at home. Furthermore, the island boasts numerous outdoor adventures perfect for kids, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and nature hikes. These activities promote physical activity and a deeper connection with the island’s natural beauty.


Are Ocracoke beaches family-friendly?


Ocracoke’s beaches are a haven for families, offering a safe and enjoyable environment for kids of all ages. To ensure you have a fantastic time, here’s a list of things to bring and activities you can enjoy on Ocracoke’s family-friendly beaches:

Things to Bring:
  • Beach Gear: Pack essentials like beach towels, beach chairs, umbrellas, and a beach blanket for a comfortable day in the sun.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are crucial to protect your family from the sun’s rays.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated by bringing plenty of water, and pack some snacks for a beachside picnic.
  • Beach Toys: Buckets, shovels, frisbees, beach balls, and inflatable floaties can provide endless fun for the kids.
  • Cooler: Keep your beverages and snacks cool in a portable cooler.
  • Swimwear and Rash Guards: Ensure everyone has appropriate swimwear, and consider rash guards for added sun protection.
  • Shells Collecting Supplies: Ocracoke’s shores are renowned for their seashells so bring bags or containers for collecting treasures.
  • Binoculars: If your family enjoys birdwatching, bring binoculars to observe the diverse birdlife on the island.
Things You Can Do:
  • Building Sandcastles: Let your kids’ creativity run wild by building intricate sandcastles and sculptures on the soft, sandy shores.
  • Beachcombing: Explore the beach for seashells and unique beach treasures. Make it a scavenger hunt for added excitement.
  • Swimming: The shallow, calm waters of Ocracoke’s beaches are perfect for swimming, especially for young children.
  • Picnicking: Enjoy a family picnic by the water. Pack your favorite snacks and sandwiches for a delightful beachfront meal or take a grill for an evening dinner by the sea. 
  • Bodyboarding and Surfing: If conditions allow, older kids can try their hand at bodyboarding or even surfing. If you would like to learn surfing, Ride the Wind Surf Shop offers lessons during the summer. 
  • Beach Games: Play beach volleyball, paddleball, or beach soccer. These games are great for family bonding and exercise. These items can be rented and delivered to your house by Ocracoke Beach Outfitters
  • Bird Watching: Ocracoke Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise, offering a diverse range of avian species that thrive in its unique coastal environment. The island’s strategic location along the Atlantic Flyway makes it a crucial stopover for migratory birds during their annual journeys. Birdwatchers can expect to see a wide variety of feathered friends on the beach including the sanderling, willet, and black skimmer.
  • Stargazing: In the evening, bring a blanket and lie on the beach to gaze at the stars. Ocracoke’s remote location offers excellent stargazing opportunities. Make sure to check the hours the beach is open. 
  • Sunrise Viewing: Witness breathtaking sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a memorable experience for the whole family.
  • Bonfires: Bonfires are permitted with a permit from the NPS. It’s a cozy and memorable way to end the day.

Ocracoke Island’s family-friendly beaches provide a wealth of opportunities for relaxation and fun. With the right preparations and a sense of adventure, your family can create cherished memories while enjoying the natural beauty of this hidden gem in the Outer Banks.

Sand Castle

Top Seven Things to Do Around the Village

The charming village of Ocracoke, nestled on Ocracoke Island in North Carolina, is a fantastic destination for families with kids. While the island itself offers a wide array of family-friendly activities, the village is a hub of excitement and culture. Here are some delightful things to do with kids in the village of Ocracoke:

1. Springer’s Point


Springer’s Point Nature Preserve on Ocracoke Island is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Nestled on the western end of the island, this pristine coastal sanctuary seamlessly combines natural beauty with historical significance, offering a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. 

As you enter Springer’s Point, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a lush maritime forest featuring majestic live oaks, cedars, and wax myrtles. This dense canopy creates a serene oasis where you can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the diverse avian species that call this habitat home, adding a touch of enchantment to your visit.

Yet, what truly sets Springer’s Point apart is its rich history, entwined with the legendary pirate Blackbeard himself. This nature preserve was once the home of Edward Teach, the notorious pirate captain known as Blackbeard. It is believed that he used this very spot to hide and careen his ships during the early 18th century. Visitors can explore the historic site where Blackbeard and his crew once roamed.

While wandering along the well-maintained trails, you’ll eventually reach a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking Pamlico Sound. This spot is perfect for a family picnic, birdwatching, or simply soaking in the natural beauty and historical significance of the area.

Springer’s Point Nature Preserve is a testament to the rich tapestry of Ocracoke’s history and ecology, offering a unique blend of adventure, intrigue, and tranquility that leaves an indelible mark on all who venture into its captivating depths.

2. The Ocracoke Lighthouse


The Ocracoke Lighthouse stands proudly as a symbol of both history and charm on Ocracoke Island, making it a must-visit destination for families and a perfect spot for memorable photographs. This iconic lighthouse, built in 1823, is North Carolina’s oldest operating lighthouse and is known for its distinctive white tower with a black horizontal stripe. Visiting the Ocracoke Lighthouse with your family is a captivating journey through time. The kids will not only marvel at the towering structure but also have the opportunity to learn about its storied past. While you can’t climb the Lighthouse it is open periodicially through the summer for viewing inside. It’s a family-friendly activity that provides both a historical perspective and a memorable bonding experience. Don’t forget to capture the moment with photos of your family against the backdrop of this historic lighthouse, creating lasting memories of your Ocracoke Island adventure.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

3. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, and Parasailing


Exploring the waters surrounding Ocracoke Island through kayaking, paddleboarding, and parasailing is an exhilarating and memorable experience that adds an extra layer of adventure to your visit. Kayaking and paddleboarding offer a serene way to connect with nature as you glide along calm estuaries and wind through picturesque salt marshes. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice, these activities are suitable for all skill levels, making them a fantastic choice for families Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented from Ride the Wind Surf Shop. For those seeking a thrilling aerial perspective, parasailing with Ocracoke Parasail is a heart-pounding adventure that provides breathtaking views of the island and the vast Atlantic Ocean.


Ocracoke Parasailing

4. Biking Around the Village


Bicycling around the village of Ocracoke is a delightful way to see the island’s unique charm and laid-back atmosphere. With its flat terrain, Ocracoke is a cyclist’s paradise, and exploring the village on two wheels is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. As you pedal through the village, you’ll discover charming gift shops, restaurants, and candy shops, all within easy reach. The leisurely pace of bicycling allows you to savor the island’s scenic beauty, from the rustic charm of historic buildings to the breathtaking vistas of Pamlico Sound. It’s a family-friendly activity that offers a genuine sense of connection with the local community and a chance to appreciate the unhurried island life.

5. Riding The Tram 


Riding the Ocracoke Tram is a delightful way to experience the unique charm of Ocracoke Island. This quaint tram service provides both transportation and a guided tour, making it an excellent choice for visitors looking to explore the island at a leisurely pace. The tram’s route takes you through the heart of the village, passing by historic landmarks, charming shops, and picturesque landscapes. It’s a family-friendly activity that offers a convenient way to get around while learning about the island’s rich heritage. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Ocracoke enthusiast, riding the Ocracoke Tram is a wonderful way to gain insights into the island’s character and make the most of your time on this enchanting piece of the Outer Banks. The tram is a free service and is anyone to use. 


Ocracoke Tram

6. Take a Stroll down Historic Howard Street


Exploring Howard Street in Ocracoke Village is a captivating journey through the island’s original charm. And when the sun begins to set, don’t miss the opportunity to join one of Ocracoke’s Ghost and History Tours that often start from this historic street. Led by engaging guides, these tours provide a spine-tingling glimpse into the island’s haunted past. Exploring Howard Street, both during the day and on a ghost tour by night, offers a well-rounded experience of Ocracoke’s vibrant present and intriguing history, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking spine-tingling stories on this enchanting island. The “Down Point Tour” features stories on the Lighthouse side of the island. The ‘Round Creek Tour features stories around Historic Howard Street. The Down Point Tour is led by Amy Howard, and the ‘Round Creek Tour is led by David Tweedie. Programs are offered most Tuesdays and Fridays from May 23 through September 29, and tickets can be purchased online when the season starts. 

Historic Howard Street

7. Ocracoke Preservation Society Kids Crafts

Kids Craft sessions at OPS! These small craft projects are perfect for children aged 3 and up, providing a creative outlet for young minds. Held every Wednesday throughout June to August, our 1:00 p.m. craft sessions are a fantastic way to spark imagination and keep kids engaged during the summer. The best part? No need to RSVP; just drop in and let your little ones explore their artistic talents in a fun and welcoming environment. Whether it’s painting, crafting, or creating something entirely unique, our Kids Craft sessions at OPS are sure to be a highlight of your family’s summer activities.

Vacationing in Ocracoke Island with Ocracoke Island Realty


Choosing to stay on Ocracoke Island with your family and vacationing through Ocracoke Island Realty offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the best of this coastal paradise. Ocracoke’s serene beaches, rich history, and vibrant community make it an ideal family destination, and we ensure that your stay is nothing short of exceptional. With a wide selection of vacation rentals, you can find the perfect accommodation to suit your family’s needs, from cozy homes to spacious homes with pools. Our local expertise means you’ll have access to insider knowledge, allowing you to explore hidden gems and make the most of your trip. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the pristine shores, adventure on the water, or immerse yourself in the island’s culture, we provide the perfect gateway to an unforgettable family vacation on this hidden gem in the Outer Banks.