People relax on the beach and swim in the surf of the lifeguarded beach on Ocracoke Island.

© Liz Albro Photography/Getty Images/iStock

Ocracoke Beach

Outer Banks

Dolphins are commonly spotted on Ocracoke's gorgeous, undeveloped 16-mile stretch of sandy beach. Swimmers should be aware of rip currents. Find parking and toilet facilities at this access point on the right-hand side of Irvin Garrish Hwy when traveling north out of town.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Outer Banks attractions

1. Ocracoke Lighthouse

1.81 MILES

Built in 1823, this is the oldest lighthouse still operating in North Carolina, though it cannot be climbed. The walls are 5ft thick and the non-rotating…

2. David Williams House Museum

1.86 MILES

Built at the turn of the 20th century, this was the home of Captain David Williams and his family and is a good example of how those in Ocracoke lived 100…

3. Ocracoke Pony Pen

5.43 MILES

From the National Park Service's observation deck, you can catch views of Ocracoke's formerly 'wild' ponies, which have been penned in here since the late…

4. Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

15.62 MILES

Exhibits about shipwrecks, piracy and salvaged cargo are highlights at this maritime museum at the end of the road. There have been more than 2000…

5. Frisco Native America Museum

20.57 MILES

Showcasing historic artifacts about the original inhabitants of the Outer Banks. Collectors' items come from all over the USA and include everything from…

6. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

25.94 MILES

Extending some 70 miles from south of Nags Head to the south end of Ocracoke Island, this fragile necklace of islands remains blissfully free from…

7. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

26.05 MILES

At 193ft (or 198ft to the lighting rod), this striking black-and-white-striped edifice is one of North Carolina's most iconic images. The first version of…