How To Avoid The Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks: Updated with Pro Tips

how to avoid the traffic outer banks

Back in 2014 we released a blog article on how to avoid the traffic on you drive to the Outer Banks. After seeing how many people that article helped and reading everyone’s responses and tips, we’ve decided to update it. Anyone who has driven to the Outer Banks on a Saturday knows how bad the traffic can be during peak season.  We’ve had reports saying the traffic was backed up 20 miles behind the Wright Memorial Bridge. READ MORE

How to Avoid the Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks – Updated

In 2014, we released this article because summer traffic to the Outer Banks was a topic we knew could use a little insider information on how to avoid this traffic. The article was well received and many people responded with their own tips and tricks. 3 years later avoiding traffic on the drive to the Outer Banks is still a subject that is valuable to our visitors so we decided to update this article with some of the wonderful tips provided by our readers.

Anyone who has driven to the Outer Banks on a Saturday knows how bad the traffic can be during peak season.  Every year we hear reports saying the traffic was backed up 20 miles behind the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Everyone knows where the problem is.  It’s the intersection in Kitty Hawk that takes you north onto highway 12 into Southern Shores.  Traffic there bottlenecks and can add anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to your driving time. For guests who are staying south of this intersection there is a better way. If you’re staying in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Nags Head with Outer Banks Blue here we have some time saving tips for you.  During the peak vacation season, do not come across the Wright Memorial Bridge to get to the Outer Banks over the Wright Memorial Bridge during peak vacation season!

As most veteran vacationers to the Outer Banks know, traveling to the Outer Banks from the north and driving across the bridge will add around 3 hours to your driving time due to traffic. Google maps may say the stretch from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, the middle ground for our Kitty Hawk to Nags Head guests, will take you 2 hours and 57 minutes but in reality it will take you 5 to 7 hours.

Those of you who usually drive by, or near Richmond and then take Highway 64 to Chesapeake, instead take Richmond, VA to Edenton, NC.  Yes Google maps will say the drive is 4 hours, which is 1 hour and 3 minutes longer, but when you consider the traffic it is actually a time saver.  Most who are trying to arrive on the Outer Banks by crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge are averaging a 6 hours drive from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, but if you take the Edenton route you may cut as much as 2 hours off your drive.  You may still encounter some traffic once your arrive on the Outer Banks, but as everyone knows the traffic south of the Kitty Hawk-Southern Shores traffic light is rather light by comparison.

Not only is this route a time saver but it is also full of smaller roads through the countryside which may be a nice change of scenery from your average drive down the interstate.

Another alternative to these routes is to take I-95 South to US-64 East by Rocky Mount, NC. This path shows on Google Maps as being 16 minutes longer than the Edenton route, but it is mostly freeway and has a lot more gas stations and food to stop at along the way.

Even those of you who must travel through Chesapeake, due to where you live, can take advantage of this tip when coming to the Outer Banks on a Saturday during peak season. The problem where traffic occurs typically begins somewhere between the Virginia-North Carolina state line and Highway 158-Highway 168 intersection.  With there being an additional hour and 14 minutes to go the Edenton route you will still save time when considering traffic.

You can use Google maps link to map out this route.  Simply adjust the start location with your home and the end location with your Outer Banks Blue vacation rental address.

A big tip to beat a lot of traffic is what day you check in on. Typically, most people vacationing on the Outer Banks choose to rent from Saturday to Saturday. If you switch up your check in day to a Friday or Sunday Check in traffic will be much less.

If you are crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge no later than 9:00 am then you are usually in the clear. Most days traffic doesn’t tend to get congested until around 10 am. I know 9:00 am sounds early, especially if your rental won’t be ready until 4:00 pm, but it’s more enjoyable to find something to do on the Outer Banks rather than sit in traffic for hours.

If you arrive to the Outer Banks before your Outer Banks vacation rental is ready try grabbing a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. The beach is full of great local cuisine that we recommend everyone try (Top 8 Favorite Place To Get Breakfast on the Outer Banks). One of the best early arrival tips we can give you is to plan like you will arrive early. Pack swim suits and beach chairs to be easily accessible. If there is still time to kill until you can check into your rental you will be able to get to the beach gear easily and have a beach day until you can unpack the rest of your luggage.

We hope these tips can help you on your next trip to the Outer Banks. If you have any tips that we’ve left out we would love to hear them in the comments!

Goodbye Summer: Memory Monday September 1, 2014.

Goodbye Summer

Today’s Memory Monday brings a bit of mixed emotions as we mark the unofficial end of summer today.   While we have great memories of Summer 2014, we also are going to miss the warm weather, calm seas, and fun outdoor activities that summer provides.

Today’s Outer Banks Blue Realty Memory Monday brings us a picture of one of those summer memories a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic!

Another beautiful day starting on the OBX!

Janet Adkins of Danville, Virginia who stayed with us at the property “Looking Glass” in Nags Head brings us this great photo.   Nothing like an Outer Banks sunrise!

Also today we thank Jackie Tilitsky of Fredericksburg, Virginia who has stayed with her gang for a few years now at the “Klein Cottage” in Southern Shores.  She provides us a great Memory…a family reunion picture.   We love seeing families gather together on the Outer Banks and Jackie’s photo is a great one.  .

Everyone smile!!!

Thanks Jackie and Janet for wrapping up our summer memory Mondays with these wonderful pictures!

All the best from the beach!
By Tim Cafferty, President, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services

How to Avoid the Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks

Anyone who has driven to the Outer Banks on a Saturday knows how bad the traffic can be during peak season.  Just recently I heard a report saying the traffic was backed up 20 miles behind the Wright Memorial Bridge. Everyone knows where the problem is.  It’s the intersection in Kitty Hawk that takes you north onto highway 12 into Southern Shores.  Traffic there bottlenecks and can add anywhere from 2 to 5 hours to your driving time. For guests who are staying south of this intersection there is a better way. If you’re staying in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, or Nags Head with Outer Banks Blue here is a time saving tip for you.  Do not come to the Outer Banks over the Wright Memorial Bridge during peak vacation season!As most veteran vacationers to the Outer Banks know, traveling to the Outer Banks from the north and driving across the bridge will add around 3 hours to your driving time due to traffic.  Google maps may say the stretch from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, the middle ground for our Kitty Hawk to Nags Head guests, will take you 2 hours and 57 minutes but in reality it will take you 5 to 7 hours.Those of you who usually drive by, or near Richmond and then take Highway 64 to Chesapeake, instead take Richmond, VA to Edenton, NC.  Yes Google maps will say the drive is 4 hours, which is 1 hour and 3 minutes longer, but when you consider the traffic it is actually a time saver.  Most who are trying to arrive on the Outer Banks by crossing the Wright Memorial Bridge are averaging a 6 hours drive from Richmond to Kill Devil Hills, but if you take the Edenton route you may cut as much as 2 hours off your drive.  You may still encounter some traffic once your arrive on the Outer Banks, but as everyone knows the traffic south of the Kitty Hawk-Southern Shores traffic light is rather light by comparison.You can use Google maps link to map out this route.  Simply adjust the start location with your home and the end location with your Outer Banks Blue vacation rental address.Even those of you who must travel through Chesapeake, due to where you live, can take advantage of this tip when coming to the Outer Banks on a Saturday during peak season. The problem where traffic occurs typically begins somewhere between the Virginia-North Carolina state line and Highway 158-Highway 168 intersection.  With there being an additional hour and 14 minutes to go the Edenton route you will still save time when considering traffic.If you enjoyed this then check out Top 10 Tips for Driving to Outer Banks Vacation Rentals.

Pro Volleyball Hits The OBX!

Pro players spike the OBX!Saturday on the Outer Banks was a perfect day for beach volleyball, and the EVP tour had it’s share of players trying to win top prize money and claim the Outer Banks Championship title.

EVP Pro Volleyball players in Action at Jeannette’s Pier

The Outer Banks weather cooperated perfectly, with blue skies and sunshine and a breeze out of the north.  While it was very comfortable on the sidelines sitting in the sun, the players were still commenting on how hot it was getting on the court during play.  Jeannette’s Pier was a great venue to hold this event with the pier house shielding some of the northern winds, and it gave some of the pier goers a chance to watch some top level volleyball while they fished or walked around the venue.It took all day, the first games started at 8 am with nearly 20 nets set up lining their way down the beach.  By late afternoon, they were down to two teams of ladies and two teams of men playing for the title.While the Men’s Open Division had a handful of local teams trying to get on the podium, it was the 16 and under girls that came out in force.  This was their opportunity to play in a local tournament and it appeared that most of the younger girls coaches encouraged them to test their skills at this golden opportunity.  Thanks to the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau for bringing this event back to the Nags Head for the second year in a row, and a big kudos to all the men and women who traveled and competed in the event.  What a great reason to spend the day on the beach with friends and watch some great competition!Courtesy of Guest Blogger  Bill Koebernick

Wright Memorial Bridge Open to Traffic Again

This Wednesday morning brought good news for Outer Banks commuters as the west bound lanes of the Wright Memorial Bridge was re-opened to traffic this morning just in time for the morning commute!

Photo Courtesy of Sam Walker (Outer Banks Voice)

The west bound lanes of the Wright Memorial Bridge have been closed since September of 2013 for construction.   The Wagman construction company of York, Pennsylvania has been working on the span to smooth the surface.   Weather conditions had to be ideal to conduct the stripping of pavement on the bridge over the last 8 months.   Air temperatures had to be above 50 degrees, and wind speeds had to be 10 mph or less to allow the work to progress.   In spite of a record cold winter the project was finished 1 day before the contract deadline.Work will resume on the span in the fall, as this year’s work completed 2/3rds of the bridge.All the best from the beach!By Tim Cafferty, President, Outer Banks Blue Realty Services

Top 10 Tips for Driving to Outer Banks Vacation Rentals

Want to incite a sea of squeals and screams? Turn to your family or friends and shout, “ROAD TRIP!” Just the thought of taking off down the highway to a new adventure brings a jubilant state over just about everyone.
Before you make your way to one of the many Outer Banks vacation rentals, however, you’ll want to take note of this sage advice. Not only can these 10 tips help you arrive in one piece, but they can also save you money and ensure all have a pleasant trip.

=&0=& Safety first is the best rule when traveling whether it is to the next town or across country. Before you load yourself and your family into the vehicle and take off to the Outer Banks, make sure:

  • the oil levels are sufficiently high
  • the tire pressure is optimal
  • you have plenty of tread for the trip
  • any mechanical problems have been fixed
  • your windshield washer fluid reservoir is filled
  • you have a jack and roadside safety kit in your trunk

=&1=& Snacks and meals on the road often turn into junk food feasts because fast food and gas station snacks are the most convenient. However, they are also expensive and usually have little to no nutritious value.

The alternative is to pack your family’s favorite snacks in a small cooler that can fit within easy reach (think backseat, floorboard, etc.). Go one step further and create a picnic lunch that you can all share at a rest stop along the way.

=&2=& The Kids Activities Blog offers a huge list (40+) of car-friendly things to do. One favorite is to create a map from your home to your vacation rental and have the kids fill in the sights/signposts as they go along.

=&3=& In today’s electronic world, it’s crucial that all our tools and gizmos are available and ready for use. Make sure you pack phones, tablets, GPSs, laptops, car DVD players and others, including their chargers. It might also be worth your while to invest in some car adapters (USB to car charger, AC to car charger, etc.), which can usually be picked up online for just a few dollars each.

=&4=&

Wright Memorial Bridge Update

Bridge Construction Progressing over WinterThe temperatures have fallen dramatically on the Outer Banks over the last few weeks, but construction activity on the Westbound span of the Wright Memorial Bridge continues to work at a heated pace.The westbound span of the Wright Memorial bridge was closed on September 17th, and is scheduled to be re-opened on May 15th of this year.  G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc. of York, PA is conducting the resurfacing project and it was announced at the outset of the project that work could only be conducted when the air temperatures were above 50 degrees and wind speeds below 10 miles per hour.   This is due to the material they are working with to resurface the bridge deck.   It will not bond properly if exposed to more severe conditions.Given the typical Outer Banks winter conditions most believed this stipulation would mean a complete stoppage of work in December, January, and February.

Work Continues on the Wright Memorial Bridge

While recent conditions have drawn the daily work to a stop, surprisingly the contractor was able to get in many work days up until recently and it has resulted in the project being more than 1/3rd completed at this time.One of the ideas that provided extra time was the addition of simplistic wind screens which protected the work area.   These screens are simply large pieces of plywood, propped up against the side of the bridge to limit wind flow over the bridge deck and promote temperature effectiveness from the sun.The $6.3 million dollar project is an extremely involved process.  The pavement being used – latex concrete – is more expensive and complicated to work with than normal surfacing products, but its lifespan and upkeep is significantly better than traditional surfacing.Locals have watched with interest the process of construction which first involves removing the bridge deck with saws that shoot a stream of liquid at 20,000 psi to strip the surface to a consistent level.   All water used in the process has to be recaptured and cannot fall into the sound.  That means a steady stream of water trucks are lined up on the bridge to provide and then recapture the water used in the process.   The waste material is then hauled away from the project and can be used in area fields as a nutrient since the substance contains a great deal of lime.Originally the North Carolina Department of Transportation discussed this as a two-year project, but the contractor is confident the project will be complete by May of this year.   A key to that prediction is future weather conditions, but so far it would seem they are a bit ahead of schedule.