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“Beware of storms!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ocracoke Campground

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Ocracoke Campground
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Beware of storms!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 September 2012

We stayed at this campground during the weekend before the labor day weekend. Our site was in the B loop, on the dune side.

Overall, the nicest thing about this campground is its proximity to the beach. You can walk to the beach within 5 minutes.

Surprisingly, we did not have a bug problem. We had minimal bug spray on the kids, but we did not see any bugs swarming.

The part I would caution the visitors about is the strong possibility of rains and storms at Ocracoke. We faced a horrible storm during the night of the 24 th August, with storm clouds and incessant lightning directly rolling on to the campground from the ocean. The winds were so strong that our tent soon toppled over, we had to abondon the tent and hunt for a hotel room in the stormy night. The lights had gone off on the entire island, but we finally found a room at Island Inn (a big thanks). The next day we saw how the entire campground had gotten flooded. This must be the reason why mosquitoes breed in this campground. We were also told that rains were quite frequent for past two weeks, so I suggest visitors take that into account if camping in August.
We saw our neighbors had slept in their cars or sought shelter at a public shelter near the gas station. I don't recommend this campground for families with small kids due to possibility of strong rains and storms at Ocrocaoke in summer.

The island itself is a beautiful place to visit and spend a few days. Even the boat trip from Swan Quarter is relaxing.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
Helpful?
3 Thank Kinarawasi
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)
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English first
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2012

If you've read all the reviews so far, I know what you're thinking: Oh, I can probably handle the mosquitoes. It can't be that bad, this place sounds so pretty! That's what we thought. So we came prepared. 4 Clip on OFF Bug things with the fans, Citronella candles, a 10x10 mosquito tent, 5 big bug sticks that smoke, That horrible cancer causing 98% DEET as well as 40% Deet Spray, a mosquito face mask and an extra large OFF bug proof T-shirt. Nothing can prepare you for the horror. My husbad and I wanted to cook on the camping stove in our mosquito tent. But because the black waves of mosquitoes blanketed the air we had all the bug prevention things active and going. I had on the awful 98% DEET that flavored everything we touched and all the smells of the bugspray was making me feel sick. We were both nausiated and knew we had to wash the DEET off our skin before we went into some kind of chemical shock. So we sprinted for the showers. The mosquitoes were literally bitting me while while I was in the shower. I've never experienced anything like this. It was so horrid to be continuously attacked I started crying, and I'm not a terribly wussy person! My husband and I sprinted back to the tent and zipped ourselves in. We were safe in the tent and went to sleep without eating, I awoke often and because it was a big beautiful full moon, the weekend of the Blue Moon actually, you could see very well at night. On the windows of the tents I could see every half-inch a mosquito. They covered our tent at every window, door. Thank goodness there were no holes in our tent. I should also mention that after setting up the tent, I sprayed down the entire outside, including mesh windows, with the 40% DEET. Do not even think about making a run for the bathrooms in the middle of the night. You would be much better off using a water bottle in the tent, I'm serious. And if you think you'll just pop outside and go next to your tent--you're suicidal. Not only will all the bugs fly in when you un-zip the tent for just a few seconds, and eat you all through the night, but they will swarm you while you're outside. The next morning, the white sheets we were sleeping on were covered in bloody spots where we had smashed bugs during the night. That's right--I said blood stained sheets people.

When we first arrived at the campsite it was pretty much full, this was labor day weekend. The next day, the family next to us packed up and left. They slept in their car because the bugs were getting them in their tent. And all our other neighbors were packing up to leave early too. We drove into town in the hopes of getting a hotel and saving our trip. We got a great priced room at the Jolly Roger and loved the place. Ocracoke really is a fabulous place and for the long dramatic mosquito warning--that really is the only negative thing about the place. The beaches and water are stunning. The people smart, friendly, efficient, warm and welcoming. The food all over the island is great and the prices aren't as expensive as we would have thought. We loved the place! I'm giving the campground a good rating even thought we couldn't even stay there because I'm betting in the winter the place is perfect. Once all the mosquitoes are dead--the hell that it is was for us will most likely be a wonderful campground. It is my option that this campground is not safe or suitable for people to use during the wet summer months. But during dry, cooler months--I really think that is when this campground gets to be a very special place. It's so beautiful and remote, we can't wait to come back and visit this winter.

Room Tip: Never camp here during wet summer months. Dry cool months, this would be a lovely place to camp.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Mary Elizabeth B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
amandatee88
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2012

We visited Oregon inlet, Frisco, cape point (cape Hatteras) camp sites and this was definitely the best site in south OBX.

I was very worried about the bugs per other reviews, but we stayed in the B loop and D loop (closer to the dunes) and didn't have much of a problem. We used some spray with Deet and were fine, nothing else was necessary.

We stayed the first night at B3 site and it was in our opinion the best site there because it was surrounded by small shrubby trees so there was some privacy, there was a little tree roofed "room" to hang out in and there was semi direct beach access (you had to walk through one low bush, but this was ok, because it meant that no one else saw it so they didn't walk through your camp (which happens at other dune sites because of the more direct beach access).

This site is apparently, the lowest place in the park since when we woke up after the "tornado" that came through (we had to end up sleeping in our car for safety), our entire camp was under approx. 8" of water.

So, this is a great site, if the forecast is for dry weather:)

Our second night, we moved to the much drier D3 site. There were a couple shrubs and it was much more of a "beachy" site.

During the summer season, you can only have a beach fire at the day use which is exactly 2 miles down a straight road from the site. You can definitely walk it if needed on the beach or the road (there is a bike path on the road).

The town is approx. 3 miles away and is very quaint. We went into town and rented a Carolina skiff from the Restless Native company for 4 hours and had a wonderful time exploring.

Overall, I was very pleased with the entire experience. The showers are a little cool, which isn't a problem in the summer in my opinion, they weren't freezing.

The beach was absolutely gorgeous, white sand and great surf. there are some turtle nesting grounds nearby, but we're in their space, so can't blame them.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank amandatee88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Beavercreek, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 August 2012

I checked these reviews before going on vacation to Ocracoke and decided that we would stay at either beachcomber or Teeters campground because they had better reviews than this campground, but let me say I was sooooo very suprised. This is the most picturesque site in Ocracoke, we were very happy with the accomodations and staff. We stayed in D13, there were bugs, mosquitos, ants, noseeums, flies and "sand spurs", but even with taking all of that into account, we were quite pleased. We knew that there would be bugs, its August, we have bugs in our backyard in August. We took necessary precautions and ended up having a great time. The one thing that we didnt count on was the sand spurs, these little monsters actually ended up in our tent and whenever you stepped on them, you would yell in pain.... I would recommend mats outside of your tent and not walking inside your tent with shoes on. Also if you have a screened in shade tent, make sure it has a bottom so that you wont have to contend with the small biting ants crawling up your legs and biting.... The beach is so close!!!! We could come and go as we pleased... its like having your own little slice of the beach just for yourself.... We came to the beach in the evening (we thought we'd chance it with the mosquitos) and we took a stroll along the water. We saw people with flashlights and thought we'd see what was going on, they flashed the flashlights and we say hundreds of crabs coming ashore. That was really cool for the kids (10 and 15). They were trying to catch the crabs and having a great time, we didnt even know about all the crabs in the evening. Looking up into the night sky was awesome, the milky way shines so bright. If you go to Ocracoke, make sure that you go out of your tent (middle of the night) to see this wonderful sight. We will definitely come back to this campground... cant imagine not! Take a chance, bring your bug spray, at $23 a night, you dont have much to lose.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Scott B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cresson, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2012

The campground is situated right behind the dunes of the beach. You really can't get any closer (the farthest site allows beach access within a leisurely 10 minute walk). I camped at site D-36 the first week of August. This site was very spacious but right by one of the 4 orange dumpsters. The side that D-36 was on is the side near the moist brush that the mosquitoes love. The opposite side is the side that the beach is on. That would be the preferable side. However, with grass underfoot, there are mosquitoes at every site.The metal dumpsters close securely by a sliding door, but obviously I recommend NOT leaving foods items lay out when not at camp. After a short beach excursion, I returned to find that some critter helped itself. It could have been a mouse or a bird. Who knows. That was my own fault. I picked a site at random due to a late night arrival. The beach is pristine, seashells are numerous and beautiful but nothing spectacular, and the atmosphere is laid back. Ah yes . . . the mosquitoes . . . well let me just say that they only come out from dusk to dawn but considering that that consists of half of your trip, you are definitely going to want to thoroughly prepare for them. There is no doubt that this is the worst part of this campground but it really doesn't have to ruin your trip if you just make proper preparations. Before you leave I suggest that you soak your tent down with Sawyer Permethrin spray. It is the only thing that truly repels them. Also, soak down your camp chairs, the grass, picnic table, canopy, and everything else you can with permethrin. At $10 a bottle, the spray is not cheap and doesn't cover much but if you choose not to do this, you will probably be eaten alive while you are occupied with setting up camp and unable to swat them quickly. I read the reviews before I left and reviews of mosquito control products online and came prepared with an arsenal and tested their effectiveness. I started with 6 tabletop citronella candles, 2 tiki torches with cedar oil, and two 4 ft tall citronella candles burning for 1 hour at sunset. These were completely ineffective, as the ocean breeze blew the effective ingredients away immediately. Then I coated myself with Deep Woods OFF (40% DEET). I just wanted to test it because I was sure that it would work (it did not work). Application of 100% DEET lotion to exposed skin surfaces was about 70% effective on those skin surfaces, but bites were still received through clothing. Coating long pants, shirt, socks, and hat with Sawyer permethrin spray and coating exposed skin surfaces with 100% DEET achieved 99% effectiveness. The material should be very lightweight if you don't want to have a heatstroke in the 95+ degree heat. The effects of the permethrin spray in the vicinity must provide a force field type effect. You can reuse the treated clothing up to 40+ days (!) according to manufacturer as long as it is hand washed. The 100% DEET needs reapplied every 8 hours (daily). Honestly though, the horror of the mosquitoes was not that big of an issue even without the chemical cocktail. If you just pay attention you can feel them land and smash them before they bite, but during tent setup you should have a set of clothing prepared to protect you, at least. The showers are warmest in the mornings and are about 70 degrees F. At night, they are maybe 65. I would not consider this a cold shower, but rather a refreshing shower. There are knots on the shower pull that can be tied around the hooks for continuous water flow. Bring a flashlight with a rope to hang at night in the shower for visibility. A canopy or large umbrella is definitely recommended for relief from the sun and if you have a screen tent/room, definitely bring that also. The ferry from Hatteras to the island is currently free (two others charge a fee) but this is likely to change in the future. The village of Ocracoke is right up the road from the campsite and there are stores that have everything that you could possibly need, but beware that the prices are about double of what you would expect to pay for just about everything. Ice at the variety store is 2.50 for a small bag and $4 for a large bag and ice needs replaced very frequently in the heat of the sun. Trying to save a significant amount of money by bringing your own food is actually questionable since the price of keeping food cool runs about $10/day. The BBQs are obviously only good for food that you would typically cook on a grill. Don't think that you will be able to use a skillet on it to cook eggs or make mountain pies with a great amount of success. It did not work for me, so be sure to bring typical bbq foods if you plan to go this route unless you are feeling very adventurous. Fires are also apparently no longer allowed anywhere on the beach. Gas prices on the island are marked up by about 70 cents also. I suggest that you fill up your gas tank as full as possible before you start getting to the islands and bridges that connect to the Outer Banks. There is no shortage of activities here to keep your family occupied. The rangers are a good source of information and there are booklets outside most of the stores (in little boxes) that have coupons and ads for activities and restaurants. There are tiny little frogs that live in a neon green construction cone outside the ranger station at night. They are worth checking out also. Of all the beaches I've been at, this beach had the fewest shore birds but there were a few present. Please keep in mind that these are mostly just the negatives and things to prepare for. The beach itself is a model beach and the area is beautiful. If the campground experience sounds like too much for you, there are plenty of hotels and motels on the island but they will set you back upwards of $130/night. At $23 per night, you really can't beat this value if you have the proper equipment and fortitude for camping on the beach. Generally, I would recommend this experience for 20-50 somethings age-wise without very young children or individuals with infirmities or medical conditions. Very young children (under 5) had a difficult time with the shower facilities. There is a tiny but real chance of contracting West Nile Virus due to the prolific mosquito population that transmit the virus. Immune compromised individuals will want to steer clear. The tiny cacti in the sand are not a really major issue. I found a few on my shoes but they pull off easily and are similar to burrs (burdock). Stay on the paths and away from the orange flowers and you probably won't even encounter any of them.

Room Tip: Choose a seaside spot away from the brush
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Robert52444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glens Falls, New York
Level Contributor
135 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2012

In fact, I hesitate sharing how wonderful this Island is, in fear that the secret will get out! I can't think of a better way to spend a couple of nights than in a tent this close to such a gorgeous "pearl" of a beach. A couple of tips: 1) YES, it is very, very buggy...bring everything you can find at the store to fight the bugs and some 'afterbite' as well, you will get bitten 2) Get there early to find a spot closest to the beach. We were there over the fourth of July and arrived mid afternoon and were lucky to grab the last tent site that was relatively close- we were very happy. I can imagine it might be a different experience all together if you get a spot further away. 3) This is not a "posh" experience, but rather a wonderfully simple one. Have fun and don't take it too seriously. Some of our favorite moments were laughing our butts off in the cold shower together. All in all, we loved staying here and met some lovely people as well. We will go back!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank RachaelLeigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
41 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
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
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      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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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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