For a free boat ride, drive onto the ferry at the south end of Hatteras Island. You’ll cross Hatteras Inlet and end up on the absolutely charming island of Ocracoke, where you’ll definitely want to spend a few hours or a whole day exploring the village shops, restaurants and historic sites (and pick up a copy of our sister paper, the Ocracoke Island newspaper, or click on the Ocracoke tab at the top of this page). The ferry ride is about an hour long. Once you get off the ferry onto Ocracoke Island, you’ll need transportation — your car or a bicycle — because it’s about 13 miles from the ferry dock to the village. But you can walk right over to the pristine beaches of Ocracoke directly from the ferry docks. The ferry is free. In the summer (May 24 to October 10), the ferry departs from Hatteras and Ocracoke at varying intervals from 5 a.m. until midnight. Give them a call or check the ferry schedule on ncdot.gov for exact times of departures. Call for off-season hours or go to the Information section of the Ocracoke site. This ride may not be free forever (the state may need the money someday), so be sure to enjoy it while it is!
End of N.C. Highway 12, Hatteras Village