If you’re heading down to Ocracoke in March you’re going to have to do a little extra packing for the trip. Otherwise you’ll spend part of your visit shivering in your shorts and flops or sweating in those long pants. March is the crazy weather month on Ocracoke. The day I’m writing this in early March started out nice and warm in the mid sixties. I opened the shop in flip flops and helped Robert unwrap some kayaks outside. When I stopped at the house for lunch I switched to a jacket and boots and now the temp in the afternoon is around forty, a drop of about 20 degrees. Throw in a 20mph North Wind and its like I’m on a completely different island from a few hours ago.
In early spring on the Outer Banks you need to be prepared for cold or wind and sometimes both. A shell type jacket is a must. Everyone preaches layering and this island is no exception. Even if you’re just heading down to Ocracoke for a quick day trip from up the beach make sure you stuff your jacket in the car. While it’s rarely too cold and windy to walk around the village, on occasion it can be quite unpleasant without long sleeves and a jacket. Of course the opposite is true as well. Never leave home without a pair of shorts and some flip flops!
The other issue to deal with in the early Spring is the ferry. We live on an island. You have to take a boat to get here. The vast majority of you will be coming down Hwy12 and taking the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke. The ferry’s ability to operate is greatly impacted by the weather. The good news is that the days of showing up at the ferry terminal only to find out that the ferry is not running are pretty much a thing of the past. Modern technology puts a ton of info at your fingertips. First of all the Ferry Division loves to tweet. Their twitter account is @ncdot_ferry. They tweet any changes in the ferry schedule, cancellations, mechanical problems, etc. They’ll also include the impacted ferry terminal’s local phone number so you can get more info. Another great additions are the message boards at the Whalebone entrance to the National Seashore and in Ocracoke Village. They flash messages about the road and ferry.
If you’re planning on surfing in March it’s also a good idea to have some options. A good strong SW wind will warm our water up pretty quick but you’ll need some type of suit. It’s a safe bet to bring a full suit and spring suit. I’ve surfed in March in a Spring Suit but the water normally will require a long top and bottom.
Having given the previous warnings I still have to say March is one of my favorite months on the island. The surf and fishing can be good and the wild swings in the weather make the good days even more appreciated. The island comes back to life in March, with shops and restaurants shaking off the dust and opening back up. Give us a call at the shop if you want a short term or current forecast or if you know what’s open for business on the island.