Putting the RV on the Boat to Ocracoke

March 21, 2018

The RV Takes a Ferry Ride

The second we learned that you could put your RV on a ferry we knew we had to do that at the first opportunity that presented itself. That turned out to be when we headed to Ocracoke in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Ocracoke is an island with no bridges. So the only way to get on or off is by boat. Or air, I guess.

North Carolina has a bunch of different ferries you can take to get to the Outer Banks. We took the Swan Quarter Ferry, and it took about 2 1/2 hours.

Swan Quarter ferry terminal in North Carolina.

Waiting for the ferry to arrive at Swan Quarter Terminal in North Carolina.

Waiting for the ferry to arrive at Swan Quarter Terminal in North Carolina.

Unlike some ferries, you’re allowed to stay in your RV on this one. While we rolled along, Kevin took a nap, and I read a book and watched the water go by with my feet up.

RV on a ferry from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke North Carolina.

I’m on a boat!

The cost for our 34 ft. RV and tow car was $45. And the ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras is free. This ferry may be the most affordable we’ve seen.

Here’s a little video of us taking our RV on a ferry for the first time:

Ocracoke Campground, Cape Hatteras National Seashore

There are some private campgrounds on Ocracoke, but we stayed at the National Park Service campground. In early June there seemed to be plenty of open sites. There are no services, so it’s dry camping and no electricity.

Ocracoke campground.

We found a site that backed right up to the dunes. We walked right behind the RV, climbed over the dunes, and that was the beach.

Ocracoke Campground run by the National Park Service.

Site C7 at Ocracoke Campground.

One of the reasons we liked Ocracoke so much is that it wasn’t at all crowded. At the campground beach, there were usually only a half dozen people or so hanging out there. It’s almost like having a private beach. It might get busier further into the summer, but early June was perfect. The weather would probably be just as lovely in May.

Beach and dunes at Ocracoke Campground.

Gently used beach at Ocracoke Campground.

Beach at Ocracoke Campground.

Restricted beach at Ocracoke Campground.

If you followed the link above to learn more about this NPS campground we want you to know that you read that information correctly. The showers are not heated. At certain times that may be refreshing, bracing, or full of nope depending on when you stay. The shower stalls are also open to the campground with a door between you and the other campers, a door with a big gap at the top and bottom. It’s not ideal.

Sunset at Ocracoke Campground.

The campground is about 3 1/2 miles to the little village. There’s a wide, flat, paved bike path that runs all the way to town. It’s an easy ride and biking around Ocracoke is a much better choice than trying to park a car.

Exploring Ocracoke

The village of Ocracoke is adorable. The easiest way to take it all in is by bicycle. That gives you a chance to stop and check out anything that catches your fancy.

Metal goat in Ocracoke.

You’ll want to stop by the light station. In fact, you’ll want to stop by all the light stations in the Outer Banks. The iconic white and black paint against the blue sky makes for beautiful photos.

Ocracoke Light Station.

Picturesque Ocracoke Light Station.

Roll around and see all the cute beach cottages. The economy of Ocracoke is dependent entirely on tourism, so most of the structures you see will be rentals.

Stop by Springer’s Point Nature Preserve and walk the nature trail. Apparently, it was a favorite hangout of Blackbeard, the Pirate! There is no parking lot, but there is a bike rack. The first part of the trail is in the shade as it meanders through the woods and then it opens up to the Pimlico Sound with some lovely views. Bring bug spray – there are mosquitos when it’s warm.

Jim Stephenson Nature Trail on Ocracoke Island North Carolina.

Beautiful old live oak trees.

Raccoon wood carving.

Strange holes made in tree.

View of the Pimlico Sound, Ocracoke.

Bird house.

Wander down some random roads, and you’ll find the town’s burial grounds.

Simpson Cemetery Ocracoke.

Old grave on Ocracoke.

Eating Vegan in Ocracoke

Ocracoke is a tiny village and doesn’t have many vegan options. But there are more than you might expect. Make sure to stock up on staples before you head there, especially anything unusual.

That said, The Community Store had a few surprising finds. The product mix it carries is closer to that of a health food store. There was also another market that was more similar to a standard grocery store.

The Community Store Ocracoke.

Dajio Restaurant

We popped into Dajio Restaurant even though the Happy Cow review wasn’t stellar. We shared a roasted vegetable salad, and each had the veggie tacos. We enjoyed the food, especially the salad.

Dajio roasted vegetable salad.

Dajio veggie tacos in Ocracoke.

Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar

We spent one afternoon working at the Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar. They had non-dairy milk options and free wifi. It’s also a cute space in what looks like an old house. And they have rooms for rent.

Working at Magic Bean Coffee Bazaar in Ocracoke.

Together Again

You know what else happened in Ocracoke? We met back up with Paul and Lorena of The Motorhome Experiment! Check out their videos of taking the ferry to Ocracoke from a different terminal and then our antics on the island.

Have you ever put your RV on a ferry? We’d love to hear about your experience! Let us know all about it in the comments below.

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Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.

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