Early Bird Ferry



The early bird catches the worm….or the ferry to Ocracoke in this case.

The NC Ferry System has moved to its summer schedule, which will now include 32 round-trips from Hatteras to Ocracoke Island each day. NCDOT is encouraging visitors wanting to explore Ocracoke Island to hit the ferry lines as early as possible to avoid the long peak-time ferry lines that can have visitors waiting in line for hours to board the ferry.

“We’ve always suggest visitors try to avoid the peak times of the day when traveling between Hatteras and Ocracoke,” said Ferry Division Communications Officer Tim Hess. “This year, we’re coming right out and saying it: The best way to get out of the ferry lines is to travel early, travel late, or travel between Friday and Monday. We have years of data to back that up.”

After years of research, NCDOT discovered that ferries departing Hatteras prior to 9am and ferries departing Ocracoke prior to 2pm have little to no wait for cars waiting to board the ferry. In general, visitors wanting to head over to Ocracoke Island will start packing into the Hatteras ferry lines around 10am. On Ocracoke's side, lines will start to stack up around 3pm with visitors ready to head back to Hatteras Island.

“People still want to go to Ocracoke, and they should go to Ocracoke,” said Ferry Divistion Director Ed Goodwin. “By adjusting their schedule just a little, they can spend less time in a ferry line and more time in Ocracoke. And that’s what vacation should be about”

We want all of our visitors to be able to spend as much time as possible exploring Ocracoke and less time waiting in the ferry line. By leaving just little bit earlier, visitors will be able to do just that.

For more information on the NC Ferries, please visit the following links:





You can also follow the NC Ferry Division on Twitter @NCDOT_Ferry. 

For ferry reservations, please call 1-800-BY-Ferry.

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