Ceaselessly Requested Questions

Skilled Outer Banks vacationers attest {that a} native ferry trip both to or from the barrier island shorelines is a large a part of the enjoyable, and a soothing 2.25 hour cruise throughout the Pamlico Sound is definitely a welcome diversion for a lot of road-weary vacationers.

The North Carolina Division of Transportation’s (NCDOT) ferry operations had humble roots, courting again to the primary privately run ferry which was owned by Capt. Tillet, and made runs throughout Oregon Inlet for Hatteras Island guests who had been coming from the Northern Outer Banks seashores.

This set-up consisted of a tug-boat and barge that would shuttle a small handful of automobiles to the opposite facet of the inlet, and noticing its usefulness to each locals and guests, the NCDOT stepped in and started subsidizing the enterprise from 1934 – 1950. Capt. Tillet’s ferry service was finally offered to the state in 1950, and had made an impression within the course of. The NCDOT quickly realized {that a} extra superior ferry service could be a blessing to numerous coastal areas, together with hard-to-get-to North Carolina locales, like Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands.

At present, the NCDOT has seven completely different routes spanning the shoreline, 24 ferries in operation, and over 400 employees. Of these seven routes, three are targeting the southern Outer Banks, together with the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry, the Swan Quarter ferry, and the Cedar Island ferry.

Together with the Swan Quarter ferry, the Cedar Island ferry arrives and departs from Ocracoke Island. Situated 20 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean, it is no shock that these two ferries are additionally the longest ferries within the NCDOT’s routes, (at 2.25 and a pair of.5 hours respectively.)

The Outer Banks terminal on Ocracoke for each the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries is fairly laborious to overlook. To entry it, vacationers merely should drive alongside NC Freeway 12 till they run out of highway. On the very finish of Freeway 12, and situated on the jap nook of Ocracoke Harbor, lies the big ferry terminal with 6 lanes to stack autos, a check-in station, a Guests Heart, and even a close-by soundside seashore.

All guests to Ocracoke Harbor will discover the ferries churning out and in of the Ocracoke Harbor, because the ferries that service each the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter routes are among the many largest in NCDOT’s fleet.

Primarily, the NCDOT operates three courses of ferries: the Hatteras Class, which is the smallest and is usually used for brief runs just like the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry route, the River Class which is barely bigger, and the Sound Class. The Sound Class ferries weigh round 300 tons and might accommodate 50 autos and 300 passengers, and all the ferries that service the Cedar Island / Ocracoke route are of the Sound Class selection.

This makes them a formidable web site simply sitting on the docks, however after boarding, guests will likely be much more enthralled after they step out of the automobile and have a look round.

The vast majority of ferries that service the Cedar Island / Ocracoke route have two outside decks. One on the “second” degree, above the parked autos, and a smaller one on the very high degree, which options unbelievable Pamlico Sound views. Guests are additionally welcome to walk across the first degree, and head to each to the back and front of the boat, to observe the water churn beneath because the ferry makes its’ sluggish progress throughout the sound.

On wet or humid days, the ferries function intensive air-conditioned inside lounges, additionally situated on the second degree, which have a mix of bus-like bench seating and tables which are perfect for enjoying playing cards or board video games. Among the newer ferries even have flat display screen TVs all through the lounge, and all ferries have merchandising machines with snacks and drinks, sizzling espresso out there for buy, and restrooms situated throughout the lounge and / or on the primary degree.

Cedar Island Ferry

As talked about, the journey is roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes, (though that is topic to vary in tough climate situations), and is principally a straight, 22 mile shot throughout the sound. Vacationers will have the ability to get a distant have a look at each Ocracoke Village and Cedar Island, however for the remainder of the journey, the one surroundings is open water and the occasional passing trawler or shrimping boat. Regardless of the supposed lack of surroundings, many vacationers discover the journey merely enthralling, with crabs and small fish seen slightly below the waters’ floor on a transparent day, and cormorants, pelicans, and loads of seagulls flocking across the boat nearly any time of yr. The perfect time to journey, nevertheless, is within the night round sundown, because the ferries provide an other-worldly view of the solar dipping into the Pamlico Sound.

The Cedar Island web site of this route is much like Ocracoke’s ferry terminal in that it has lanes for automobiles to park, a check-in station, and a Guests Heart with merchandising machines, restrooms, space data and even a small reward store.

Nevertheless, the Cedar Island space is totally distinctive, and has a handful of different facilities that guests ought to contemplate exploring whereas ready for his or her ship to come back in.

Behind the Guests Heart, and on both facet of the ferry visitors lanes, friends will discover a small handful of rustic trails that lead out to the Pamlico Sound. This stretch of mainland shoreline has remarkably huge seashores and bigger, virtually ocean-like waves, along with small handfuls of shells and ghost crabs that patrol the seashore. For guests who’ve a couple of further minutes to spare, a fast stroll alongside the Cedar Island seashores is properly well worth the time, because it provides vacationers an opportunity to admire the Pamlico Sound from a completely new perspective.

Cedar Island Ferry passenger lounge (outside)

There are a handful of comfort shops and deal with retailers within the 20 mile stretch between Cedar Island and the following largest metropolis, Beaufort, (which is value a go to itself), however not a lot else, so vacationers are suggested to top off on any needed provides properly earlier than they head onto NC Freeway 12 in the direction of the ferry docks.

Reservations, charges, and departure instances

The Cedar Island Ferry has set departure instances from each Ocracoke and Cedar Island that change with the season. Within the winter months, the Cedar Island ferry typically has 3-Four runs from each terminals, and within the summertime, this will increase to six to account for the elevated visitors to and from the Outer Banks.

Although instances might fluctuate yearly, typically the primary ferry to depart Cedar Island departs at 7:00 a.m. with the final ferry departing at 4:00 p.m. On Ocracoke, the primary ferry departs at 7:30 a.m., and the final ferry leaves at 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. The ferries run each day of the yr, together with holidays, and solely deviate from their schedules for excessive climate situations or different emergency situations, (equivalent to highway closures on Ocracoke or Hatteras Islands.) For a present ferry schedule for all routes, click on right here.

As a result of restricted house and the typical 2 hour interval between departure instances, superior reservations are extremely beneficial. Fortunately, ferry reservations are simple to make, and vacationers can merely reserve on-line, or by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY.

Cedar Island Ferry passenger lounge

Charges are constant all through the season, however fluctuate relying on the kind of automobile. For instance, a bike owner pays a lot lower than a truck with an prolonged camper or a automobile towing a ship. Bigger autos ought to positively reserve properly upfront, nevertheless walkers or cyclists typically don’t have any downside hopping on and catching a trip.

When you’re made your reservation, make sure and be on the ferry terminal at the least 30 minutes earlier than your departure time to check-in, or else your reservation will likely be cancelled. This can be a needed NCDOT rule, as as a result of capability and dimension of the ferries, it typically take about 20 minutes to load all of the autos on board.

When you have not made a reservation, the ferries normally have a “ready listing” line, and if any spots develop into out there, these autos can drive on board on a primary come, first serve foundation. Although normally at the least a spot or two opens up for nearly each trip, vacationers are nonetheless inspired to not take their probabilities, and easily arrive with a reservation in hand. As soon as you’ve got arrived, the check-in attendant will give you a boarding ticket. Maintain on to this, as you may have to current it to a second attendant earlier than driving on board.

As well as, you may want a sound driver’s license to check-in, and motorists ought to be ready for random inspections carried out by the US Division of Homeland Safety. Although very uncommon, these inspections or inquiries are often carried out to make sure vacationers’ security, and ferry customers ought to merely concentrate on the chance.

Cedar Island Ferry passenger deck chairs

Ideas and tips for travelling aboard the Cedar Island ferry

  • If in any respect doable, attempt to catch a day or night crossing for among the best sunsets you may see in your Outer Banks trip. With miles of open water in each route, vacationers will discover themselves canopied with pink and purples skies, and unbelievable front-row sundown views, particularly from the ferry’s scenic high deck.
  • Carry alongside some board video games and compensate for household time. The ferry lounge has tables and cubicles arrange in order that vacationers can escape a board sport or deck of playing cards and luxuriate in somewhat leisure with the sound views within the background.
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions. The NCDOT workers are skilled to cope with widespread vacationer questions and are completely satisfied to help in any means they will.
  • Be certain and convey further drinks and snacks alongside, or choose some up on the Guests Heart at both terminal. Vacationers are suggested, nevertheless, that alcoholic drinks are usually not allowed on the ferry, and smoking can be not allowed on any part of the ferry, together with inside your automobile.
  • Vacationers who’re staying south of Ocracoke might want to catch a second ferry, the Hatteras / Ocracoke ferry, to entry Hatteras Island and the northern Outer Banks seashores. Fortunately, this ferry is free, lasts simply 40 minutes, and departs each half hour or hour (relying on the season) from 5:00 a.m. till midnight.

For a enjoyable begin to an Outer Banks journey, contemplate making a grand arrival through the Cedar Island ferry. This mild, 2.25 hour trip is usually simply the factor vacationers have to get them out of travelling mode, and into trip mode. It is also a implausible technique to uncover secretive and smaller elements of the southern Outer Banks shoreline, in addition to a gas-saver for vacationers travelling from the southern or western elements of the county.

Cedar Island Ferry

No matter your causes, nevertheless, you are certain to discover a sluggish, lazy trip aboard the Cedar Island ferry properly well worth the journey. A implausible vantage level for beautiful sunsets, and one among Ocracoke’s solely lifelines to the mainland, the Cedar Island ferry is an Outer Banks establishment that is enjoyable, enjoyable, and gives a world of unbelievable views.

Cedar Island Ferry

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

What’s the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is a public vehicular ferry that gives service from Cedar Island on the mainland of North Carolina to Ocracoke Island. It’s run by the North Carolina Division of Transportation, and is one among three ferries that service remoted Ocracoke Island.

Who runs the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is managed and run by the North Carolina Division of Transportation (NCDOT) Ferry Division.

The place is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry crosses the Pamlico Sound, and its terminals are situated in Cedar Island on the N.C. mainland, and on the sting of Ocracoke Village on Silver Lake.

How a lot is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The price to trip the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry varies by automobile / passenger sort. Passengers are charged $1 per crossing, whereas normal automobiles and vehicles lower than 20 ft are charged $15 per crossing, and bigger autos are charged $30 to $45 per crossing.

How lengthy is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry trip?

The overall crossing time for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry from both terminal is 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Are there motels close to the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

There are motels near each terminals of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, which incorporates one subsequent to the ferry docks in Cedar Island, and several other which can be situated inside a mile of the Ocracoke docks in Ocracoke village.

What are the sights close to the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The Cedar Island ferry terminal is near the Cape Lookout Nationwide Seashore, Harkers Island, and different landmarks of the Down East neighborhood. The Ocracoke Island ferry terminal is on the sting of Ocracoke Island, and is near the Ocracoke Lighthouse, numerous retailers and eating places, and the famed Ocracoke seashores.

Can you are taking pets on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Pets are allowed on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, and canine can exit the automobile and discover the principle deck as soon as on board, supplied they’re on a leash always. House owners will wish to watch out within the heat summer time months, because the decks could also be too sizzling for canine’ paws.

Are you able to stroll onboard the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Passengers are permitted on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, at a cost of $1 per crossing. A passenger lounge is situated on every of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island ferries.

Are you able to trip a motorcycle on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Cyclists are welcome on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, and are charged $Three per crossing.

Can you are taking a automobile on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

All autos which can be legally allowed on the highway are permitted on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry. Fares fluctuate for autos primarily based on sort, (motorbike, automobile, ATV, and so forth.), in addition to size.

Can the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry accommodate massive autos?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry can accommodate massive autos, equivalent to RVs or vehicles with trailers, nevertheless the fare is predicated on size, and is progressively greater for longer autos.

Must you make a reservation for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

It’s extremely beneficial that each one vacationers make a reservation for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, as house is proscribed, and the ferries solely run a couple of instances per day.

What occurs if you happen to don’t make a reservation for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Vacationers who don’t have a reservation for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry will likely be directed to a stand-by lane, and will likely be allowed on the following out there ferry on a primary come, first serve foundation, after vacationers who’ve present reservations. 

How do you make reservations for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Vacationers could make reservations for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry by calling 1-800-BY-FERRY, or through the North Carolina Division of Transportation’s web site at https://ferry.ncdot.gov/.

Do you want a ticket to board the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Vacationers ought to make a reservation to board the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry. As soon as they verify in for his or her scheduled departure, they are going to be given a ticket to show of their automobile, which is required to board the ferry.

What are the busiest days for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Saturdays and Sundays are typically the busiest days for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, resulting from weekly vacationers heading to Ocracoke Island.

When is the most effective time of day to go on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Typically talking, the earliest ferries that depart at 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m. are the least crowded for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, however this could fluctuate primarily based on the day and season.

Are there restrooms on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

There are public restrooms on board the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry.

Are you able to smoke on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Smoking isn’t allowed anyplace on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, which incorporates passenger lounges, exterior decks, and inside private autos.

Are you able to drink alcoholic drinks on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Alcoholic drinks (aka open containers) are usually not allowed on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry.

Are you able to fish off the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Passengers are usually not allowed to fish off the edges of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry.

What number of autos can the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry carry?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry can typically accommodate about 40-50 autos, nevertheless this quantity varies primarily based on automobile sort and size.

Are there merchandising machines on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

There are snack and beverage merchandising machines on board the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, that are situated within the passenger lounge. Extra merchandising machines are discovered on the two terminals in Cedar Island and Ocracoke village.

Is there meals onboard the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

There are merchandising machines with snacks and drinks on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, in addition to a number of eating places and comfort shops for extra substantial fare near the 2 ferry terminals.

Is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry air conditioned?

The passenger lounge of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is local weather managed, and is heated through the winter months, and air conditioned through the summer time months.

Is there a passenger lounge on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

There’s an expansive passenger lounge on every of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island ferries, which incorporates seating, a handful of tables, merchandising machines, and different requirements.

Is there web entry on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Restricted wi-fi web entry is offered on numerous the Ocracoke – Cedar Island ferries.

Are you able to get out of your autos on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

All passengers are welcome to get out of their automobile and discover on the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry, nevertheless, they have to wait till the ferry has departed the docks, and is in movement.

Are you able to feed seagulls off the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Feeding seagulls off the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is prohibited.

When does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry board?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry begins boarding roughly 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled departure time. All reservation holders have to be checked-in 30 minutes earlier than their departure.

What occurs if you happen to miss the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

Passengers who miss the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry will likely be directed to a stand-by line, the place they are going to be allowed on the following out there ferry, after passengers with present reservations.

How late does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry run?

From late September till late Could, the final ferry Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry departs each terminals at 4:30 p.m. From late Could till late September, the final ferry departs the Cedar Island terminal at 6:Three p.m., and departs the Ocracoke terminal at 9 p.m.

How early does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry begin operating?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry begins operating at 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., relying on the terminal, (Cedar Island or Ocracoke), in addition to the time of yr.

How typically does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry run?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry has three crossings per day within the low season months, (historically late September till Late Could), and 5 crossings per day through the summer time months.

Does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry run in storms or hurricanes?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry doesn’t run in hurricanes, tropical storms, or different extreme climate situations, resulting from security considerations.

At what wind speeds does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry cease operating?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry typically suspends operations at excessive wind speeds of roughly 30-35 mph sustained winds or extra.

The place are the docks for the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry?

The docks for the Cedar Island terminal of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry are situated on the northern fringe of Cedar Island, the place N.C. Freeway 12 ends. The docks for the Ocracoke terminal are situated on the sting of Ocracoke Village, near the Guests Heart and public day-use parking space.

How far is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry from Ocracoke village?

The Ocracoke terminal of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is situated inside Ocracoke village on the finish of N.C. Freeway 12, and is inside strolling distance of numerous space retailers, eating places, motels and lodging, marinas, and sights.

How far is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry from the Ocracoke seashores?

The Ocracoke terminal of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is roughly 3-Four miles away from the native seashores. An ORV ramp for 4WD autos can be discovered on the sting of Ocracoke village. (A seashore driving allow from the Nationwide Park Service is required to drive on the seashores of Ocracoke Island.)

How far is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry from the Ocracoke wild ponies?

The Ocracoke ferry terminal is roughly 7 miles away from the Ocracoke Pony Pen, which is the most effective vantage level to catch a glimpse of the wild Ocracoke ponies. 

How far is the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry from Hatteras Island?

The Ocracoke terminal of the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry is roughly 13 miles away from the Hatteras – Ocracoke vehicular ferry, which supplies transport to Hatteras Island through a free, hour-long shuttle throughout Hatteras Inlet.

Has the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry ever run aground?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry has run aground on a number of events, nevertheless current dredging operations in Ocracoke Inlet and the Pamlico Sound has resulted in a deeper and safer route for the ferries.

Does the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry function year-round?

The Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry does run yr spherical, nevertheless, the variety of crossings per day is diminished to a few crossings versus 5 within the off season months, which is usually from late September till late Could. 

Are you able to drive to Ocracoke Island?

The one technique to entry Ocracoke Island is by ferry. There are two ferries that depart from the mainland, (the Ocracoke – Cedar Island Ferry and the Swan Quarter Ferry), and a 3rd, free ferry that accesses Ocracoke through Hatteras Island.

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