Ocracoke Shopping

Ocracoke shops are distinctive and full of character.

You’ll often find the owners themselves tending their shops, reinforcing the unique vision that is found in each one. Many Ocracoke shops feature handcrafted local artwork. The best thing to do is to set out on foot or on a bicycle and just explore. Surprises will await you around every corner of Ocracoke village. Some of the shops are tucked back off the road, so keep your eyes open for a special find. For the necessities, there are tackle shops, a hardware store and several community grocery stores. Gas is available on the north end of Ocracoke village on Irvin Garrish Highway.

One of the most charming aspects of Ocracoke Island shopping is that so many of the shops are located in older island homes that have been converted for their new lives as retail establishments. Down this lane and around the corner is an art studio. Meander up a ways and at the end of the driveway is a cool gift store. A short amble up the street brings you to a great book store. This is the pace and fun of Ocracoke shopping.

Down Creek Gallery

260 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
(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.

Mermaid's Folly

259 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
(252) 928-7247

Mermaid’s Folly is an airy, friendly, sunlit Outer Banks shop that stocks affordable and tasteful casual clothing for dress up or dress down. This fun shop boasts the largest selection on Ocracoke of well-designed, excellent-quality unisex T-shirts. While you're there be sure to shop the women’s fine casual clothing, graceful comfortable dresses, sarongs, carefree ladies-cut tees, flowing skirts and soft pants. Then accessorize from their colorful selection of beaded jewelry, scarves, totes and handbags. Men can browse the madras and Hawaiian shirt collection or find summer shorts. Check out the “beat the summer sun” hats and caps for men, women and kids. 


Ocracoke Preservation Society and Museum

49 Water Plant Road, Ocracoke
(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, 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.

Ride the Wind Surf Shop

486 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
(252) 928-6311

Ride the Wind is a complete watersports center offering the gear you need for surfing and kayaking (see Things to Do for tour and rental information). The surf shop offers the island's best selection of swimwear and beach apparel and sunglasses for men and women in all the popular name brands. They also rent and sell surfboards, standup paddleboards and kayaks.

Tradewinds Tackle

1094 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke
(252) 928-5491

There’s no question that Ocracoke is an angler’s paradise. When you’re ready to sink a line, head here for a complete line of bait and tackle for inshore, offshore and surf fishing. They also offer current fishing reports and equipment for other activities such as clamming and crabbing as well as visitor information. Follow recent catches on their Facebook page. They’re open daily spring through fall.