Because I come from a family where we competed over everything – even going so far as to compete over who had the biggest french fry at McDonald’s and cheating in this contest by fusing two fries together into a mega frankenfry – it seemed appropriate to have two of the beaches we visited, those at Ocracoke and Frisco, go head to head. Before we get to the competition, here’s what we experienced at the two beaches.
Having completed the annual s’more roast, Buxton clearly had no more to offer us. It was time to head south.
Amazingly, we had not gone to the island of Ocracoke, which is just south of Hatteras island, since 2007. Uncoincidentally, no one in the family had young children who could melt down catastrophically in 2007. Now that the kids were older, we thought they could handle a day trip with minimal temper tantrums. As long ago as our last visit to Ocracoke had been, we still remembered that we had to get to the ferry station early to avoid waiting in a long line.
About fifty minutes later, we finally got on the ferry. It was McKenna’s first ferry ride, and she was excited.
Fortunately, after the magic of the ferry faded for the young children after only 15 minutes, they had Crossy Road on their iPads to fill the void.
First on our list of things to see at Ocracoke was the lighthouse. The original Ocracoke lighthouse was the oldest of all of the Outer Banks lighthouses; maybe that’s why the inside was closed to the public. Mercifully, we wouldn’t be able to climb the stairs of this lighthouse with children the way I did at the Hatteras lighthouse.
Then we went to the center of the village on Ocracoke for a lunch on the harbor.
The Slushy Stand, a great ice cream place in the island, was only a third of a mile from the restaurant where we had lunch. Unfortunately, one member of the group was almost overwhelmed by the five minute walk over level terrain on an 82 degree day.
The beach at Ocracoke is fantastic, with a fairly deep (but shark free) tide pool between the shore and a shallow sand bar.
It was a little cool on the beach, though, because of one giant cloud that seemed to hover just over the beach and nowhere else.
Ocracoke’s tidepool is deep enough for kids to play in while not having the “negatives” of swimming in the ocean, like “riptides” and “sharks.”
Controversy erupted on the beach when Tabby used the digging shovel to mark off some amoeba-shaped area that was “hers.” In Tabby’s mind, no one else could use the part of the beach in the sand she had marked off. She was kind of like a European explorer, back when the Americas were discovered, who claimed all the land along a river, plus all of the land along other rivers that fed into that river, plus land along all of the creeks that fed into all of those rivers.
After resolving conflicting claims to the beach, the girls changed into dry clothes at the changing station. McKenna also used the bathroom at the station, which was a latrine – just a seat over a hole. Upon coming out, she delivered a loud critique of the bathroom, warning the dozen strangers around us that the bathroom was “ridiculous” because the pee went “to the bottom of the house.”
After McKenna overcame that trauma, we headed back to the ferry, stopping one last time to see the Ocracoke ponies.
Time for that exciting return trip on the ferry.
The next day, we went back to Frisco’s beach, which, like Ocracoke, also features a tidepool but was only a short drive away. No ferry lines for us this time, which meant we could make it to the beach without having to resort to Crossy Road entertainment.
Similar to Ocracoke, Frisco has a great pool in between the shore and a shallow sandbar.
Tragically, I had forgotten the selfie stick for the trip to Ocracoke. So many opportunities for narcisissm had been missed that I felt like I had to use the day at Frisco to make up for lost time.
Don’t think that just because the ocean water was so clear you could see the sharks from five miles away that dad was going to drop his guard…
The Frisco tidepool was not nearly as deep or wide as the one at Ocracoke, so it wasn’t as good for swimming.
There’s something about the beach that makes kids 5,611,781 times more likely to engage in manual labor than at home.
You know what would be perfect for showing how deep that hole is…
So here is the final tally for the beach competition:
- Tidepool that I can swim in but sharks can’t – Edge: Ocracoke
- Freedom from Tabby’s land claims – Edge: Frisco
- Wildlife to see that isn’t sharks – Edge: Ocracoke
- Crossy Road playing time – Edge: Ocracoke
- Toilets that are not “ridiculous” – Edge: Frisco
- No 1/3 of a mile death marches – Edge: Frisco
- Opportunity for kids to somehow get two tons of sand in my car – Push