Taking a historic ferry tour is one of the best way to explore the myriad historic attractions along the Outer Banks. Since 1947 the State has operated a ferry network providing a vital lifeline connecting residents of the outlying islands with the mainland. Today ferries routes navigate across five bodies of water.
The ferries carry passengers as well as their vehicles so you can quickly drive off to start your journey. From May to September the Ferry System also operates the Ocracoke Express, a popular passenger only ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke.
Millions of motorists spend their summers exploring the outer banks via a ferry trip. For routes and reservations search the ferry system web page on www.ncdot.gov. Here are some of the historic sites you’ll see along the way.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
More than four centuries ago English settlers bound for the New World arrived and established a community at Fort Raleigh. The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site preserves the legacy of those brave pioneers who would disappear into history as the Lost Colony.
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
This treacherous coastline has claimed seagoing vessels for centuries, and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum recounts shipwrecks from the sixteenth century to modern times. Recovered relics from the shipwrecks are on display.
Birthplace of Pepsi Museum
The soda fountain of the Pepsi Museum is the exact spot where pharmacist Caleb Bradham mixed and served the world’s first Pepsi in 1898. The Birthplace of Pepsi Museum displays artifacts about the inventor and the history of one of the world’s most popular soft drinks.
Historic Bath State Historic Site
Historic Bath near the Pamlico River became North Carolina’s first town in 1705. Bath also served for a time as North Carolina’s first port and temporary capital of the colony.
Today you will see three historic homes dating back to 1751 and the history of Bath in the former Bath High School building.
Battleship USS North Carolina
Since 1961 the Cape Fear River in Wilmington has been the permanent home of the Battleship North Carolina. The ship provided valuable service in the Pacific during World War II and it is the State’s official World War II memorial. It became one of the most decorated battleships of the War, engaging in every major Pacific naval battle.
Three National Historic Landmark buildings welcome visitors to Edenton, including the 1767 Old Chowan County Courthouse still in use today. The historic downtown area showcases more than 250 years of architectural styling in homes, factories and churches.
Tryon Palace was commissioned by Royal Governor William Tryon as the first permanent seat of government in 1770. The Palace housed sessions of the General Assembly until 1794. The original Palace was destroyed by fire. But Tryon Palace was rebuilt and the extensive gardens restored in 1959. The North Carolina History Center at the Palace traces history dating back to the formation of the coastline.
Historic Currituck Settlement
In the Historic Currituck Village you can shop along unpaved streets with stores in vintage historic buildings and stop by the Wild Horse Museum to learn about the famous equines that still populate the Outer Banks today. You’ll also want to visit the Whalehead Mansion and climb the distinctive red brick Currituck Lighthouse.