Ocracoke Island is essentially a sandbar that is 12 miles long. At its southern tip, which is wooded, you'll find Ocracoke Village (pop. 800) with hotels, shops, and restaurants. The only practical way to get to the island is by boat, but there's a paved road all the way up and down the island. Car ferries link Ocracoke Island to Hatteras Island on the north end to and Cedar Island on the south end (Cedar Island a 40 minute drive from Morehead City). There's a third ferry line linking Ocracoke to a place called Swan Quarter (pop. 324) — a 60 minute drive from "little" Washington, NC.
Above left is a first view of Ocracoke when you are arriving on the ferry from Cedar Island (pop. 350). The whole island is basically at sea level. Above right is a much closer view, taken as the ferry approaches Ocracoke's harbor, which is known as Silver Lake.
Ocracoke suffered extensive damage from flooding a few years ago when a hurricane blew through. This article leads me to believe that most of the damage has been repaired.