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DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

Washington DC...
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DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

Hi all,

I've decided to take a solo road trip and see some great places along the lower east coast. Ideally, I'd like to be in the outer banks for a few days, and would like to make it to Charleston. Any ideas or advice on places to stop along the way, places to sleep and things to do? I have about a week, starting and ending in DC.

Thanks much!

Danielle

Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

I don't think that's a whole lot of time. The Outer Banks takes longer than you think it might.

If you're wanting to stay on the OBX the entire way including Ocracoke you'll need to make reservations for the Cedar Island Ferry which only runs 4 times a day and is a 2.5 hr ferry ride (http://www.ncdot.gov/ferry/). If you don't want to go to Ocracoke you'll miss the Cape Hatteras light and all of the towns and sights on Hatteras island. You would make better time, though. Map it in google and see what you think.

It's about 9 hrs (not counting allowing extra time for the ferry) from Ocracoke to Charleston. If you skip Hatteras and Ocracoke it's about 7 or 8 hrs from Nags Head to Charleston, so either way you'd most likely want to add another stop in there. Beaufort or Wilmington would be my suggestions.

Google says 4.5-5 hrs from DC to Nags Head, but that depends greatly on traffic, both DC traffic and OBX traffic. If you come on the weekend I have heard that traffic starts backing up on the bridge in Duck around 9am. If you can time it so you're not coming in on Saturday, traffic should be a lot better.

So...

Day 1: Washington to Nags Head/OBX (5+ hrs)

Day 2: hang out in OBX

Day 3: go to Ocracoke (allow about 3.5 hrs, short 45 min ferry crossing, no reservations needed)

Day 4: go to Beaufort (3.5 - 4 hrs, including reservations, 2.5 hr ferry)

Day 5: go to Charleston (5.5 hrs)

Day 6: Charleston

Day 7: go to DC via I-95, (8-9 hrs, depending on traffic)

Alternately you could skip Hatteras and Ocracoke:

Day 1: Washington to Nags Head/OBX (5+ hrs)

Day 2: hang out in OBX

Day 3: go to Wilmington (4-5hrs)

Day 4: go to Charleston (3.5-4 hrs)

Day 5: Charleston

Day 6: Charleston

Day 7: go to DC via I-95, (8-9 hrs, depending on traffic)

Tacoma, Washington
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2. Re: DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

When are you going? Trying to get reservations for the OBX on a weekend will be difficult. If you want to get to Ocacoke island you have to reserve ferries ahead of time.

Its about 4 hrs or so without traffic to the Outer Banks. The places to stay are Nags head, kitty hawk, and a few other places that all one large area.

day 0 drive close to OBX by driving down and staying in Chesapeake, VA (1 hr drive to OBX in the AM). 2 days in Nags head area, 2 days driving down to Hatteras then to Ocacoke then to the mainland then down to Charleston, 2 days in Charlestone, then the next day drive home

Chapel Hill, North...
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3. Re: DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

If you go to Ocracoke, you'd need to get reservations for the Cedar Island Ferry via the link I posted above. Assuming your trip is in the summer, the ferry leaves Ocracoke at 7:30am, 10am, 1pm, 3pm, 4:30pm and 8pm. Other times of the year there are fewer trips. You need to be at the ferry 30 minutes prior to departure or they can give your reservation to someone else. It arrives about 2.5 hrs later at Cedar Island, assuming the weather is good, etc. From Cedar Island it's about 6 hrs to Charleston. So if you took the 7:30am ferry you might make Charleston around 5 or 6pm allowing an hour or so for a lunch stop. The 10am ferry would get you there around 7:30 or 8pm. That would be a pretty full day, so I'd recommend breaking it up with a stop in Beaufort or Wilmington.

You only need to reserve the Cedar Island ferry (or Swanquarter ferry, but I don't think you'd want to go that way). The Hatteras ferry is free and doesn't take reservations.

Edited: 22 May 2014, 03:23
Chapel Hill, North...
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4. Re: DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

Just to clarify, if you come from the northern Outer Banks, (Nags Head area) down through Hatteras Island, to get to Ocracoke you take the Hatteras ferry — free, no reservations — but to continue south toward Charleston from Ocracoke, you would take the Cedar Island ferry which you most likely would want reservations for.

Edited: 22 May 2014, 03:25
5. Re: DC --> Virginia --> NC --> SC and back?

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