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Ocracoke Attractions

Most of Ocracoke Island’s attractions are of the best variety: free! Or at least they’re very inexpensive.

Ocracoke’s attractions are simple and unfettered, with few of the usual commercial trappings of a tourist site. There are no go-cart tracks, mini-golf courses, waterslides or movie theaters. On Ocracoke, the island itself is an attraction. When people are here, they just don’t need as much stimulation. Quiet walks on the beach (Cape Hatteras National Seashore), fishing and clamming, looking for shells, building a sandcastle, strolling around the village, sitting on the porch swing, observing nature or chasing ghost crabs in the moonlight: These are the simple attractions on Ocracoke Island. For a little extra entertainment, bike over to the Ocracoke Lighthouse (the oldest in North Carolina and still operating) and the Preservation Museum, or go out and visit the ponies and take a little hike. You get the idea.

For a little help with your exploration of Ocracoke Island’s attractions and history, pick up a copy of the Ocracoke Self-Guided Walking Tour Book. Enjoy the history, culture and attractions of the island as you explore the different sections of the village. You can buy the book online here; see the link to the right.

Down Creek Gallery

260 Irvin Garrish Highway
(252) 928-4400

Down Creek Gallery is located in the heart of the village on the waterfront and represents more than 100 regional and North Carolina artists. This venue has a wide variety of fine art and photography, jewelry, pottery, unique glass works, metal, wood, mixed media and much more. Email or call the gallery throughout the year for more information.

Molasses Creek's Deepwater Theater and Music Hall

82 School Road
(252) 928-3411

Molasses Creek’s Deepwater Theater and Music Hall is the home venue of Molasses Creek, Ocracoke Island’s hometown band that’s built an international following with its blend of soulful singing and songwriting, blazing instrumentals and occasionally wacky sense of humor. From June through September, Molasses Creek plays here on Thursday evenings. There’s also a weekly show on Wednesday night, Ocrafolk Opry, featuring a panoply of island musicians and storytellers. Detailed schedules and information about other special events are posted online, at the entrance to the theater and around the village. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and shows begin at 8. Ticket prices are around $15 for adults and $7 for children. Credit cards are accepted; some advance ticket sales are available online.

Ocracoke Preservation Society and Museum

49 Water Plant Road
(252) 928-7375

For a peek into Ocracoke’s past, visit Ocracoke Preservation Society’s Museum. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving the island’s history and cultural heritage and to protecting its environment. Housed in the turn-of-the-century home of Coast Guard Capt. David Williams (see the Walking Tour section of the Ocracoke Island Walking Tour & Guidebook), the museum lets visitors glimpse island life in the early to mid-1900s. Many of the architectural elements are intact, and a bedroom, living room and kitchen are decorated with period furnishings donated by island families. The museum has photographs, artifacts and exhibits that pertain to island life and culture. A favorite is a video on the Ocracoke brogue. The museum also houses special rotating exhibits and a gift shop. Upstairs is a small research library that can be used by appointment. In the yard of the museum you can find outdoor exhibits including an old-style cistern and the traditional fishing boat, Blanche, circa 1934. During the summer, OPS hosts free porch talks and museum tours that feature a variety of islanders sharing their knowledge of Ocracoke Island stories and history. They also offer a mid-week Create-a-Craft program for kids. This interactive program is fun, informative and the children leave with a handmade island souvenir. Stop at the OPS gift shop for a schedule of these events. It’s free to visit the museum, though donations are encouraged. It’s open from the end of March through the first week of December.