On The Outer Banks Of North Carolina
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There are 3 main ferries that service Ocracoke. One is free from Hatteras Island, and is about 40 minutes. The other 2, which connect with mainland North Carolina, service Swan Quarter and Cedar Island. The Swan Quarter ferry is about 2.5 hours, while the Cedar Island ferry is about 2 1/4 hours. Both of these cost about $15 for a standard car without trailer. Please note that these rates may change and you should check the ncferry.org site to insure you are prepared to pay the toll. Reservations are strongly recommended.  
More information available at: The North Carolina Ferry Site

Now for the tricky part... Simply using one of the online map services to calculate directions may not provide you the easiest way to get to Ocracoke because they only use the marked roads (such as 12 from Hatteras, which while it is a ferry, is still a state road) and this means that you will have to drive all the way down the Outer Banks. This is an enjoyable drive that you should do at some time, but the quicker way might be through Swan Quarter or Cedar Island (or at least let you do less driving and more riding on the ferry!). So, you may want to get directions to Swan Quarter or Cedar Island instead (and then you can get on the ferry that takes you right to the heart of Ocracoke.) The ferry routes look like this:

Google maps link with Swan Quarter Ferry (by lat/long) as the destination
Google maps link with Cedar Island (by lat/long) as the destination
Google maps link with Ocracoke as the destination

As with all directions, verify the details on a map to make sure it is the best route for you.

If you want to fly in, here are some airports to choose from:

List of Airports
City
Airport Code
Directions to use
New Bern, NC
EWN
Cedar Island (69 mi), Swan Quarter (95 mi)
Greenville, NC
PGV
Swan Quarter (80 mi), Cedar Island (123 mi)
Jacksonville, NC
OAJ
Cedar Island (98 mi), Swan Quarter (142 mi)
Wilmington, NC
ILM
Cedar Island (137 mi), Swan Quarter (183 mi)
Raleigh/ Durham
RDU
Swan Quarter (180 mi), Cedar Island (197 mi)
Norfolk, VA
ORF
Ocracoke (169 mi)
Don't forget to add the Swan Quarter ferry trip (2.5 hrs) or the Cedar Island ferry (2.25 hrs) to your calculations. The trip with Ocracoke as the destination already includes the 45 minute ferry ride. Note that in some cases, it may be worth driving to Ocracoke through the Hatteras ferry (as the online directions suggest) because that ferry runs much more frequently than the other two. Even though the drive may be longer, it may be faster that way if you arrive at a time that ferries are not available for Swan Quarter or Cedar Island.

Or, if you happen to be an aviation enthusiast (with a small plane), you can land right in Ocracoke. There is a VERY small landing strip- 3000 ft- and not much else. No gas, no runway lights, unattended, not even a bathroom or a pay phone. It is literally just a landing strip.
More information available at: The Ocracoke Island Airport site


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