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“Welcome to Bug City, USA”

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Ocracoke Campground
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
41 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Welcome to Bug City, USA”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 July 2012

Let me start by saying it's only $23 per night to stay here. So I was thinking, "Hey great price, I can reserve a spot, close to town, I'm excited." It is a nice campground, lots of spots, they all have a good amount of space. They are all in close proximity to the restrooms/showers - but you will get bit en route to the bathroom. Also to the beach... Pretty much everywhere you go within the grounds you WILL GET BIT BY MOSQUITOS. I stayed there with my cousin for one night and counted 27 bites on my upper half + some on my legs. UNREAL. We used tons of Deep Woods Off but it didn't make a difference. We were OK in the tent (sprayed a biiiiig fog of Off in there) but it was very very hot. Of course the weather is not the campground's fault, just part of being there in the middle of summer.

The beach is very nice,convenient access from pretty much anywhere. The showers are cold but that is really not a big deal, after all the park service's website tells you that so you shouldn't be surprised. What was a surprise is that you have to pull a string and hold the shower on while you are trying to get yourself cleaned. It's very frustrating trying to shower one handed. Also, if you plan on showering at night you will need some kind of light because the showers have zero lights. The bathrooms are OK - a few stalls and two sinks in the ladies side, pretty clean. There are quiet hours in the campground from 9pm - 7am so it's nice to know it will be peaceful when trying to sleep. You can have fires on the beach, just need to get a free permit from the park ranger when you check in. Also the rangers cruise around on bicycles all night just making sure all is well I suppose.

It's a really short ride into Ocracoke, we spent most of our time in town going to different shops and sucking up the A/C! I would probably not stay here again just because of the mosquitos. It was very uncomfortable getting bit CONSTANTLY. The campground is just so so so so so BUGGY. When we checked out we figured out why - there is a creek RIGHT BEHIND the campground! Ugh, West Nile virus pit.

Room Tip: Don't bring a tent - stay in a camper.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Jen J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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61 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
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English first
United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2012

Overall we had a positive experience. Ye be warned, there are tons of mosquitos. We went in early june and there was excellent weather. The campground is simple, flat and devoid of trees. We had a site on the back side of the beach dunes. This made it quick to get to the beach but you get people walking through your site to get to the beach. The mosquitos attacked us wherever we did not have bug spray applied. They even bit through clothing! I would recommend a site with no brush or bushes so you get the maximum amount of breeze to keep the mosquitos away. When the wind is not blowing the mosquitos are worse than normal. The wind is usually blowing and can make it difficult for tents and bug nets if you do not have long stakes. The showers do not have heated water but it feels great after a day on the beach. You must be careful if you get off the trails because there are native cactuses that grow throughout and they will go through a flip-flop. About half the people had dogs and of those about half do not keep them on leashes on the beach. Plenty of beach space though and you can park along the main road and walk to the beach along the 13 mile length of the island. There was not any bugs or mosquitos on the beach, just an occasional ghost crab will pop out of there burrows on the beach. You are not allowed to have campfires in the campground but you can have campfires on the beach 2 miles away(towards town) at the lifeguard beach. There are grills at each site that you can use to cook with charcoal. There is a 3 mile bike path from the campground to the town of Ocracoke. Town is nice and has a decent general store for things that you forget. Many shops and restaurants do not have public bathrooms but porta-potties. This is because Ocracoke does not have public sewers. There are nice public and air conditioned bathrooms nears the ferry landing in town.

Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
6 Thank OhhYeah345621
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 June 2012

This place had some very strong positives and very strong negatives. I'm unsure if we'd return, but here is how it went for us.

My wife and I tent camped here June 8-10. We stayed in campsite D-29 (D is the no-generator section). We arrived about 1pm on a Friday, and all the front row sites were already taken. We noticed a bunch of people leaving on Saturday morning, so maybe they'd stayed the whole week? We ended up forgetting to pack some of our food, but there was a general store in town with everything.

Also we ate at Howard's pub, and their beer selection was really good. Get the blackened Mahi-Mahi sandwich if you try this place out.

First, the positives:

-The beach. This place is right by the beach, and you can hear the surf crashing on the shore from all the sites. The shore line is very gradual, so you have to wade a long way out to get up to your waist. Good for wake-boarding or taking small children since the gradual dropoff means there are no substantial waves here. This is bad if you plan to surf--you'll have to go elsewhere for that. There were a bunch of people fishing, so watch out for lines in the water if you go for a walk.

They actually only had a 0.5 mile section of the beach opened directly in front of the campsite. Everything else was fenced off for a bird protection area. This was kindof a bummer since we wanted to walk all the way to the end of the island (3 miles).

-The stars. Wow, I've never seen so many stars at night before. Didn't realize how much light pollution there was in Raleigh--could see so much more stuff out there, and it was really neat.

-The Weather. Upper 70's, low 80's, constant breeze, Sunny. The weather was great the entire time we were here. We picked up a kite in town and flew it most of the time we were here. Once you get the kite up, you can steak it down and come back hours later without having it leave the sky. Really awesome.

The negatives

-The mosquitos. So I'd read the reviews on here before we went, so I knew what I was getting into. We bought a mosquito netting for our tailgating canopy, had 3 citronella candles and 2 spray cans of deep woods off. It didn't matter at all, the bugs were so horrible and we got eaten up as soon as we stepped out of the car. Waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night is likewise a miserable experience due to the fact that a ton of bugs get in the tent, even if you only unzip it for 5-10 seconds and quickly get in/out. Even with the constant ocean breeze, this place was still a mosquito hell. This was really the worst aspect of this place. You'll get eaten alive unless you're on the beach, so plan to spend 99% of your time out there, and not at the campsite.

-Facilities. This didn't bother me so much as it really bothered my wife. The showers were open to the world (there was a door, but above/below was wide-open). Also, there was only cold water, and it was extremely high pressure so you get blasted and freeze at the same time (very bad for sunburn). It seems like they could easily put in some solar powered water heaters for a hot water option. After my wife (a combat vet who was deployed for 2 years) got out of the shower, her first words were "I've had better showers in Iraq". Unlike the bug situation, this is something they have the power to improve.

-Privacy. There isn't really any here due to the site configuration. The facilities are in the middle of the inner ring of campsites, so you basically have to walk through somebody else's site to shower/go to the bathroom/get water for cleaning/cooking.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Frank S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2012

Went camping on Ocracoke Island the second weekend of June 2012, the weather was awesome and the beach is nice. Be a aware that even if you reserve a particular area in the Ocracoke Campground it is first-come first-serve. The bathrooms are adequate, nice for a campground. There are no campfires allowed on the campsite, if you do want to have a campfire you have to go about a mile or so down the road. Access to the campsite is great - very easy to find once you cross the ferry. The town starts about 2 or so miles down the road, Howard's Pub is the first place you get to. There is minimal privacy at the campsite, and, if you bring anything at all, BRING BUG SPRAY! The mosquitos are horrible, esp at dusk & dawn. The beach is just on the other side of the dunes, easy < 2 minute walk.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank leighmur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canmore
Level Contributor
38 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2012

Tent camped here for a few days. As campgrounds go, you need to have your eyes wide open before coming here. Be aware that the campground is on a grassy flat next to the sand dunes, meaning there's no shade, no privacy, no windbreaks (and it's windy here) and if it rains, water puddles up very fast and doesn't drain, forming numerous ponds including possibly where your tent is situated. Note that the sites backing onto the dunes drain better, and the ones in D loop by the bushes drain poorly. The wind makes keeping BBQs and gas cookstoves working a problem. There are showers, but they are COLD (no hot water at all) and the shower stalls offer very little privacy. There's no place for grey water disposal. Lots of bugs including mosquitos and other things that bite; make a windbreak and the bugs will love you. Cactus in the grass makes the "barefoot in the sand" idea a poor one. Park staff are very helpful and friendly. Still, it's the only campground on the island, so if you want to camp, this is it. It's a shame they didn't put the campground in the forest across the highway.

Room Tip: Be very careful with site selection if rain is in the forecast.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank RyderDA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
eastcoaster77
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 August 2011

I recommend camping at the NPS Ocracoke Campground. We had reserved a site for 7 people (yes...1 over the 6 person limit...) and no one said anything. The gate attendant was very nice and let us pick our spot. We picked one at the back near the bushes so we had a more private spot, but many camping spots are out in the open. We camped in a tent with regular sized stakes and had no problem. Here is a trick for camping on sand. I've camped directly on the beach before, and I suggest you fill up some shopping bags with sand. Instant weights. Just put those in the corners of the tent, and you'll be fine. It actually wasn't windy when we were camping. There were a lot of mosquitos at night, so bring some Deep Woods. That should do it. We also had tiki torches, but you can't have a fire. There were a lot of horse flies too, so be careful. Each site has a picnic table and grill. There are 3 bathrooms/bathouses. I was impressed that they were cleaned every day. The cold showers were very refreshing after a hot day on the beach. There's no shade anywhere, so bring an umbrella or canopy. It was reasonably quiet. I'd say it's good for families or a group of friends (we were people in our mid 20s-early 30s). Being on the beach at night is BEAUTIFUL! The campground is about a 10 minute drive from the Village and very easy to access. All things considered, I definitely recommend camping here. It's a great value, easy beach access (just over a dune), and everyone was nice and friendly. We'll be back!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank eastcoaster77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2011

We spent three nights tent camping in the "D loop" next to the large dune separating the campground from the beach. We were there in late July 2011, and had read the other reviews prior to our visit there, so we were mostly prepared. The attendant at the gate was terse and unhelpful, but perhaps she'd just had a rough, hot, day.

The campground remained about 1/2 full during most of our stay. It is popular with families with young kids, and RV campers with their generators, but after 10PM it quieted down considerably.

The mosquitoes can be bad when the air is calm, but tend to disperse when the sea breeze is strong - which it was most of the time during our stay. But the horse flies (ankle biters!) were a constant, and were even seen in lesser numbers at the beach. Ants? Well, you'll find them most everywhere, and this campground is no exception - though thankfully fire ants do not seem to have found their way to Ocracoke yet. Our gazebo with mosquito netting kept the flying insects at bay, and our camp was quite livable.

Every camp site has a picnic table and a grill. Fire danger ruled out using the grill with anything but charcoal. There are few provisions for tent stakes, the soil is sandy, and the plants are sparse and prickly. Take long tent stakes with plenty of rope and extra stakes to prevent them from pulling out in stiff winds.

Use extreme caution when walking barefoot in the camp or on the dunes! There are numerous plants with sharp thorny stickers that will embed in your feet. The bottoms of our flipflops became covered with them! We discovered that there are small prickly cacti indigenous to the region as well!

There is a paved bicycle trail paralleling the highway leading all the way from the entrance of the campground into Ocracoke village. We never used our car during our whole stay, preferring to bike into town for dinner or touring. The highway is not a broad as it is on Hatteras Island, and the shoulders less conducive for biking. But the traffic is much lighter due to there being no bridges onto the island, so biking on the shoulder was still relatively safe. Check your bike tires for thorns! Also, we learned that horse flies (unlike mosquitoes) can keep pace with a bike... so you might want to apply some repellent when riding or walking.

The showers were luke warm, and actually quite a refreshing temperature in the 90+ heat during our stay. The showers and bathrooms are rustic but functional, and reasonably clean.

Contrary to what we'd heard, cell phone coverage is generally available near the village, and weakly at the campground itself.

I have concentrated on the negatives, since avoiding, or at least mitigating against them will help you have a more enjoyable stay. Ocracoke Island itself, and its vast, beautiful, clean, undeveloped, and unpopulated beaches are well worth the minor inconveniences. The shoreline and ocean are pure magic! And this campground is in the middle of it all.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank NCCarCamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ocracoke Campground

Property: Ocracoke Campground
Address: 4352 Irvin Garrish Hwy, Ocracoke, NC 27960
Region: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Coast > Outer Banks > Ocracoke
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Speciality Lodging in Ocracoke
Number of rooms: 131
Also Known As:
Ocracoke Campground Hotel Ocracoke

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