Travel Guide: How To Avoid The Traffic on Your Drive to the Outer Banks

22 November 2023 |  Published By: Hotels OBX

By Christine Flanagan, Marketing Manager and Facilities Coordinator The Outer Banks in North Carolina is likely a top choice when considering a beach vacation. It’s close enough to easily get to but far enough away to allow you the feeling of escape from everyday life. The beaches are beautiful. To experience the sunset in the Outer Banks is magical. Traffic can make the journey tricky, especially in the summer. In the end, it will be worth the trip, but we have a few travel tips to help you make the most of your vacation.

Best Routes to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a beautiful vacation destination with a lot to offer. Advanced planning of your stay is recommended. Reserve your oceanfront hotel stay in the Outer Banks before you arrive to guarantee you have a place to rest your head at the end of the day. The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront is located in Nags Head. Nags Head is a great middle-ground for exploring the Outer Banks. If you're looking for an easy road trip to get there, there are a few simple ways to do it. One option to take from Hampton Roads is I-64 to US-168, which will take you right to the Outer Banks. If you are coming from further north, like Washington DC or the Richmond area, take I-95 to US-64. If you are coming from Raleigh, get on US-64 and head East; you’ll end up in the Outer Banks! If you're starting from other states, you can also take routes to the Outer Banks. If you're from Maryland or Delaware, you can take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, a beautiful scenic drive. That route includes a long bridge and tunnel, hence the name, just a heads up. The Outer Banks is a string of barrier islands separating the Atlantic Ocean and North Carolina. The only way into the area is over a bridge. While unexpected traffic jams are sometimes unavoidable, there are tips to try to keep them to a minimum.

Timing Your Drive Along the Scenic Byway

Take the scenic byway if you're planning a road trip along the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway is a 138-mile route that takes you through some of the Outer Banks' most beautiful areas. Estimating travel time along the scenic byway can be tricky, as many factors can affect how long it takes to get from one place to another. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can spend about five hours driving the entire byway. You don’t need to drive the entire byway to explore and enjoy the Outer Banks. If you're making pit stops along the way, there are plenty of cool places to pause without wasting time. You should stop at the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which has a visitor center and a museum. You could also check out the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of the most famous landmarks in the Outer Banks. And if you're looking for a place to stretch your legs, you might want to stop at Jockey's Ridge State Park, the largest sand dune on the East Coast.

Check-in days

Many vacation houses offer Saturday to Saturday check-in and check-out options. Making Saturdays a hectic travel day in the summer. Try shifting your travel days to Thursday or Friday, which will help alleviate the time spent in traffic. Oceanfront hotels in the Outer Banks may have a slight discount to check in midweek instead of just on weekends. Summer is peak season in the Outer Banks. If your schedule allows, try looking at shoulder months to travel when the weather is still warm but the crowds are thinner. 

Time of Arrival and Departure

Oceanfront hotels in the Outer Banks will have standard times for check-in and out. Therefore, many people will aim to arrive at that specific time and leave then as well. We suggest arriving in the area early. Avoid the traffic and get in a bit more exploring. You may be unable to check into your room early, but that’s okay! Enjoy shopping and exploring the area. Oceanfront hotels in the Outer Banks typically have a 10 am checkout time. If you have the time, don’t rush. Once you check out, grab a few last-minute souvenirs or enjoy a leisurely lunch.

There’s an App for that!

  •       Google Maps
  •       Waze
  •       OBX Travel
When planning a trip to the Outer Banks, you might wonder which apps are the best for getting directions and avoiding traffic. One of the most popular navigation apps is Google Maps. Another great app for navigating the Outer Banks is Waze. Finally, if you want an app specifically designed for the Outer Banks, check out the OBX Travel app. This app provides information about local events, restaurants, attractions, real-time traffic updates, and directions to popular destinations. Several apps can help you navigate the Outer Banks and avoid traffic. These tools can make your trip to the Outer Banks more enjoyable and stress-free. Read onHidden Gems of the Outer Banks: Off-Beat Destinations Worth Exploring

Discovering the Quietest Spots

The Outer Banks in North Carolina offers cozy corners away from the crowds. While the main beaches can get crowded during peak season, plenty of lesser-known spots exist to explore. The beaches in Nags Head are known for their tranquility. The Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve provides a serene setting for birdwatching and hiking. You can even rent kayaks and explore the area by water! (Pro Tip: Remember the bug spray and sunscreen!)

Beachside Stays – Oceanfront hotels in the Outer Banks

For the ultimate serene escape, consider staying at one of our oceanfront hotels in the Outer Banks. Wake up to the sound of waves crashing. Enjoy a peaceful morning stroll on the beach. The Comfort Inn South Oceanfront offers private beach access and complimentary breakfast. If you prefer a more rustic experience, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has campsites for tents and RVs. With the ocean steps away, you can fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to a breathtaking sunrise. The Comfort Inn on the Ocean is in Kill Devil Hills, NC. This oceanfront hotel in the Outer Banks is the sister property to the Comfort Inn in Nags Head. Contact us at 2524416333 and 2524416315 to reserve your oceanfront hotel room in the Outer Banks!

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