Readers report their favorite campgrounds and experiences from the Outer Banks of North Carolina; one of the best places to go truck camping on the East Coast. That is, if you survive the ferry ride.
Perhaps the scariest truck camping experience we have ever had actually happened at sea. After the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Truck Camper Rally, we caravanned with a half-dozen fellow truck campers to the Outer Banks. This was an after-rally tradition that Angela and I greatly enjoyed.
On this particular year, our goal was Ocracoke Island. To reach Ocracoke, we had to take a ferry ride with our truck camper rigs on board. You can imagine loading six truck camper rigs on a ferry and then venturing out into the ocean. What could go wrong?
Well, the skies had grown dark and threatening on our way south. As we drove onto the second ferry, the wind began to pickup, and the seas started to churn.
A few miles out, that ferry was seriously rocking. As the ferry chugged forward, increasingly large waves broke on the sides spraying salt water across the rigs in spectacular fashion. We never really felt like we were in serious danger, but this was no pleasure cruise.
When we arrived in Ocracoke, we traveled to the National Park Service Ocracoke Campground. Since we were off-season, the place was nearly empty, save for a few brave tenters and a smattering of other RVs. Without prior reservations, we were able to camp in consecutive campsites.
The grey stormy skies remained for the remainder of our short stay, and the temperatures dropped. In mid-April, the Outer Banks can be spring perfect, or perfectly miserable. At least there were no mosquitoes, or no-see-ums.
As a group, we enjoyed dinner one night at Howard’s Pub and Raw Bar just a few miles down the road. During the day, we parked our rigs adjacent to the Ocracoke Island Visitor Center and walked the small town.
Exploring the streets, houses, and shops with our friends was by far the highlight of that trip.
During a different year, Angela and I went truck camping on the Outer Banks by ourselves and visited the Wright Brothers National Memorial. As an entrepreneur and enthusiast of history and aviation, the talk presented by the Park Rangers was deeply inspiring. If you are anywhere in the vicinity, I would highly recommend at least two to three hours at the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Angela and I loved it.
Above: The second year with the Northstar, the ferry ride was much calmer
From experience, you will likely need bug repellant, sun screen, and a high tolerance for unusually incessant wind in the Outer Banks. It’s the only place where our water heater pilot light was blown out by the wind, and we’re not the only ones who have had that experience. Why do you think the Wright Brothers went to Kitty Hawk? Hint: it wasn’t the Spring Break babes.