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  1. Default Wash DC to the Outer Banks Trip

    My daughter and I are visiting from GB and wish to make a trip from Washington DC to outer banks and return. Can anyone recommend a good round trip route to take in the best to see, do and stay. Also great inexpensive & quirky places to eat enroute. We want to do it in 2 (or 3 if required) days?
    Thanks for any good advice or suggestions.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 08-16-2010 at 07:42 AM. Reason: easier to find this thread with new title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    If you only have 2 or 3 days, I'd recommend you take a fairly direct route there and back. Your limited time may be best used exploring the Outer Banks themselves. It's going to take you a goodly portion of a full day each way.

    It's about 6 hours from DC to Nags Head via I-95/I-64/SR-168/US-158. Via US-50/US-13 is more like 8 hours. I'd probably take the longer way down and the shorter way back, and make it a 3 day trip, staying in the Nags Head area both nights. It's going to take a full day to enjoy the Outer Banks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default More Time Would Be a Big Help

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The area you're going to be driving through is so gorgeous and so chock full of history that it would really be a shame to rush through. Two days barely lets you make the drive and a few quick stops. Three or even four days would be so much better if you can possibly swing it. You will be richly rewarded for your time. So let me describe a 'little' loop trip and just some of the sights along the way, so you can decide for yourself whether finding a little extra time will be worth it.

    From Washington head east on US-50 to Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, home to the US Naval Academy and a great walking town. Then cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore and possibly make a stop at the quaint (but definitely touristy) town of St. Michaels and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Continue on US-50 to Salisbury, the main city on the Delmarva Peninsula, and US-13 south. Just after crossing into Virginia, take VA-175 east past the NASA launch facility at Wallops Island to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, home to a herd of wild ponies. Return to US-13 and continue down to the tip of the peninsula and use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to cross over to Norfolk on the 'mainland'.

    From Norfolk take VA-168 down to US-158 and onto the Outer Banks, Fortunately, some (but by no means all) of the best attractions of the Banks are at the northern end, including Kitty Hawk, the site of the Wright Brothers' first flight and Fort Raleigh in Manteo, the site of the first English settlement in the New World. Not too far south, you'll be in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge with unspoiled beaches facing the Atlantic.

    When you're done on the Banks, head back up through Norfolk and cross over to Hampton via I-64. Just north of the urban area is one of the richest troves of American (and British) history, known as the Historic Triangle, and consisting of Jamestown, the first 'permanent' English settlement in America, Williamsburg, the restored colonial capital of Virginia, and Yorktown, site of the final battle in the American Revolutionary War. As you return to Washington, you can either use the Interstates to head inland to the Richmond area and its rich Civil War history or hug the Chesapeake Bay shoreline and visit George Washington's birthplace and his later home at Mount Vernon.

    But you're certainly not going to fit all that into two days!


  4. Default

    thanks so much for the heads up on the trip & yes I think i'll do 3 days definitely!

  5. Default

    Yes, you are talking about at least a 3 day trip with driving piled on at the front and back. I would start at the Wright Brothers Memorial and then hit Pea Island for the nature walk and scenery before heading down to Buxton. I like that end of the OB a lot more than the upper end (too resorty). Visit the Cape Hatteras Light and go out to the beach at the point. Drive back by way of Ocracoke and Swan Quarter. Ocracoke has a lot of interesting history including Blackbeard the pirate and the British Cemetery. Check out <>
    The ferries provide a cheap way to get out on the water. The Ferry Route web page includes a Bing Map that you can use to plan your route back to Washington.

  6. #6


    I just returned from a road trip that started out with a drive from PA to the Outer Banks, and I'd echo the recommendation to cross over to the DelMarVa Peninsula. It's a scenic drive, and it takes you to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, which is worth the $12 toll to cross. If you're not familiar with it, google it -- it's 3 separate bridges with 2 tunnels in between, and it's 18 miles long. There are parts where you can't see land in either direction -- just you, the road, and water beneath. It's a cool drive.

    I'd also echo the recommendation that you should hit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC. It's got a great museum, some cool displays, stone markers denoting the distances for each of the first 4 flights, and a huge monument on top of a hill that provides a panoramic view of the coast. Very interesting stuff, and definitely worth the admission fee (which is something like $4 per person).


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