When we told people that we planned on traveling up the eastern seaboard this spring, we were told by many that the Outer Banks were a must see. Having never been to the East coast, I didn't know what the Outer Banks were. FYI, they are not the ATM vestibules at Wells Fargo Banks. Who knew?! The Outer Banks, OBX to the locals, are a thin broken strand of islands that bend out into the Atlantic and shelter mainland North Carolina and the off shore sounds.
We took a two and a half hour ferry ride from Cedar Island, nicknamed Skeeter Island, because, well, I think you can figure that out. When it was time to board the ferry, we thought there was no way all of the cars lined up would fit on one ferry. Well, we were wrong. We weren't worried about not getting on because we had reservations. ($30 for our size)The person that figures out where to put each car, truck, RV, etc. must be the World Champion of the game Tetras. He filled every nook and cranny of that ferry, and we all got across Pamlico Sound safely. Paul and I sat in the truck with Fiona, and read our books. It was an unsettling feeling to have the truck moving, but we weren't driving. A lot of the passengers got out of their cars, and hung out in the lounge on the top deck. Others napped in their cars. We had a good laugh, when the lady in the car next to us woke up to see her husband asleep at the wheel. She screamed, "You're asleep! Richard!" before she realized he wasn't actually driving.
We arrived at Ocracoke Campground in The Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It was the first day the park was open for the season. We were the second campers to check in, so we had our pick of sites. There were dunes between the campsites and the ocean, so you couldn't see the water, but you could hear it. It was a short walk over the dune to the beach. When we arrived, it was pretty warm and humid, so as soon as we got everything set up, we jumped into the Atlantic to cool off.
Since we were only four miles from town, and there was a bike path along the highway, we rode our bikes in to check out the town. The last time we talked to our son, he asked if we had done any sight seeing. Since most of our out of camp excursions are usually bars and restaurants, we decided to stop in the local museum…after lunch and drinks at a nice bar on the water. Hey, we aren't into doing the tourist thing!
When we first made reservations to visit the Outer Banks, Ocracoke was the only campground that you could reserve in advance. The other three were on a first come basis. I'm not going to take a ferry to an island to find out the campground is full. We found out that they recently changed the policy and you can now reserve two of the other campgrounds, Frisco, on Hatteras Island and Oregon Inlet, on Nags Head. We originally were going to stay in Ocracoke for nine nights, but since we could plan other stops, we decided to only stay 4 nights, and break up the other five nights on Hatteras and Nags Head.
We had to take a ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras. It was only an hour, and free. We got there early, but because they had a priority lane for locals, and because of our size, we were last to get on. I still can't believe how many vehicles they can fit on these ferries! There was even room for at least two more cars behind us.
Hatteras Island was a little more populated than Ocracoke, probably because you can drive to it from the North, without taking a ferry.
Frisco Campground, on Hatteras Island was situated on a small hill. You could choose a campsite up against the dunes, closer to the beach, or one that was higher up, with a view of the water.We chose the view. It was a peaceful place to camp.
There were no bars within bike riding distance, so we actually went to another museum. I forgot to take any photos, no really, we went! It was a Native American Museum. I expected it to be about the Native Americans that lived on the Outer Banks, but it was a mishmash of anything Native American.
As we were leaving Hatteras Island, we stopped to see the lighthouse. Okay, I'll admit we only drove by it because the only sewer dump station happened to be right past it. I told you, we aren't typical tourists!
We needed to stop for groceries, and there was a shopping center on our way off the island. We pull in and there is a restaurant called Dirty Dick's Crab House. I'm sorry, but I couldn't bring myself to eat at a place called "Dirty Dicks"! Then to top it off, across from DD's was a store called Try My Nuts. Whaaaat??
The last two nights we stayed at the Oregon Inlet Campground, on Nags Head Island. It was an okay place to stay. Again, there were dunes between the campsites and the water. What's up with the dunes on beaches on the East coast? We don't have them in California. Well, maybe in Pismo Beach.
All three of the campgrounds we stayed at, on the Outer Banks were National Parks. Like most National Parks, there with were no hook-ups. That means we didn't have electric, water or sewer. We tried to cook everything on the stove, BBQ, or in the oven, so we didn't need to run the generator. In nine days, we only ran the generator twice. Once for me to blow-dry my hair, and another to bake a potato in the microwave. The solar panels charged the batteries for everything else. We used the 12volt system to charge our devises, and I had cell service, so I was connected to the outside world. The lack of television for nine days wasn't a big deal. It's the longest either of us have gone without TV. We didn't miss it. In the evenings, we played dominoes and card games.