How to Avoid Traffic on the Outer Banks

If you’ve ever arrived on the Outer Banks on a Saturday during July & August, you probably got stuck in traffic. Here’s why… During the prime Summer weeks the Outer Banks is close to 100% occupied. Most Outer Banks vacationers come from the North and there is only one road/bridge leading to the beach.  There are over 20,000 vacation rentals on the Outer Banks and the majority of them turnover on a Saturday. So… If each home sleeps an average of 10 people, 150,000 people are heading to the Outer Banks on any given Saturday during the summer. If every car has at least 4 people in it there will be 35,000 cars crossing the eastbound Wright Memorial Bridge during the day. Since we’ve been stuck in traffic many times before, we know how awesome it would be to avoid it. We’ve compiled a list below on the best tips and tricks to avoid traffic on the Outer Banks.

 

1. Consider Sunday-Sunday or Friday – Friday Vacation Rentals.

If you’ve already booked your Summer vacation, skip this one. While the majority of rentals are Saturday – Saturday, there is still a great selection of vacation rentals that turnover on a Sunday! Traffic is usually much smoother on Sunday vs. Saturday. Rarely do we see back-ups over the bridge on Sunday (incoming or outgoing). View our Sunday – Sunday Rentals. Friday – Friday vacation rentals are a great way to go too! The selection of Friday turnover homes is smaller but the traffic is obsolete! View our Friday – Friday Rentals.

 

2. Be across the bridge before 11am.

(11am: July & 1st 2 weeks in August or 12pm: June & late August – early September). All other times of year traffic is not an issue.
If you can time it so you are across the Wright Memorial Bridge bridge and onto the Outer Banks BEFORE 11am, you will miss the majority of the traffic. The problem is you can’t check in until 4pm. You’ve been stuck in a car for a while and you have no place to unload.

Here are some practical ideas to kill time:

  • Go souvenir shopping! This is the best time to go to local shops and buy souvenirs! Here are some recommendations for shopping:
    • Corolla,  Tim Buck Too Shopping center.
    • Duck, Scarborough Faire Shopping Center.
    • Kitty Hawk/Southern Shores, Buccaneer Village Shops at MP 4 (Children’s Museum is awesome).
    • Nags Head/South Nags Head, Kitty Hawk Kites at Jockey’s Ridge, Tanger Outlets or Outer Banks Mall.
  • Putt-Putt or YMCA – stretch your legs for a round of putt-putt or visit the family YMCA in Nags Head.
  • Go to the beach. Find a public beach access close to your check-in office and soak up the sun until your rental home is ready.

 

3. Request Early Check-In

Early check-in does not let you skip the traffic (wouldn’t that be great!?), but if you purchase early check-in AND you arrive before 11am (or 12pm), you can grab a bite to eat and start off on your vacation! A limited number of early check-ins are available for a fee. If available, you’ll be able to get into your home by 1pm.

4. Arrive after 6pm

The Saturday Summer traffic is at it’s worst from 12pm – 4pm but it will occasionally linger on until after 5pm. If you need to kill time on your drive down, check out some of these great places to stop on your way to the beach!

 

Keep in mind traffic is only an issue on Saturdays (and some Sundays) during the prime Summer months (mid-June through mid-August). Any other day/time, you can sail across the bridge in either direction going the normal speed limit!

 

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Top Things Worth Stopping For On Your Way To The Beach!

Here’s our list of the best places to stop on your way to the Outer Banks!

 

The drive to the beach, whether long or short, is full of anticipation and excitement. Many families drive over 12 hours to put their feet in the sand and enjoy a week at the world-renowned beaches of the Outer Banks, NC. We completely understand not wanting to stop at all and going pedal to the metal all the way here, however you may want to consider a pit stop at one of these fine places on the final stretch of your trip. Start planning your Outer Banks Vacation here at BeachRealtyNC.com.

 

1. Morris Farm Market – Barco, NC

Morris Farm Market is hard to miss on your drive down to the Outer Banks. You’ll know it’s coming up when you start to see one vintage tractor after another lined up just off the road. You’ll find things at Morris Farm Market that you won’t find anywhere else. Local homemade goodness, fresh produce, ice cream, tractors, events and plenty of parking for even the largest of vehicles. Morris Farm Market is open daily during the Summer from 8am – 6pm (7pm on weekends) and the whole place is kid & dog friendly! Morris Farm Markeet

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2. Grave Digger/Muddy Motor Sports Park – Grandy, NC

The Grave Digger’s “Digger’s Dungeon” is easy to spot in Grandy, NC due to the up-turned monster truck fronting the highway. Home to the World Famous monster truck Grave Digger, the Digger’s Dungeon is a must stop if you are traveling with kids! During the Summer, you can even take a ride on a Monster Truck! You may even get lucky and find an event being held at the Digger’s Dungeon OR at the nearby Muddy Motor Sports Park. Events include mud bogs, flea markets, antique fairs and much more! Grave Digger

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3. Currituck BBQ – Barco, NC

If your stomach is growling and you’re in the mood for some delicious North Carolina Bar-be-que, Currituck BBQ is the place to eat! Menu items include Pork BBQ, Brisket, Ribs & Chicken, you really can’t go wrong. There is plenty of outside seating and the best part is – Most everything comes out SUPER fast – you’ll be back on the road to the beach in no time! Currituck BBQ

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Photo Credit: Dean Jeffrey on Flickr

4. Cindy’s Kitchen – Barco, NC

Located right next door to Currituck BBQ – Cindy’s Kitchen is home to the famous 12 layer chocolate cake! Trust me, you want to stop for this mouth-watering dessert!

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5. Cotton Gin / Sanctuary Vineyards – Jarvisburg, NC

The Cotton Gin is a seemingly never-ending gift shop that has just about everything you can imagine. It is a favorite stopping place for both locals and tourists. They sell their own local wine made next door at the Sanctuary Vineyards (open daily for wine tastings). The Cotton Gin has something for everyone and some things that you can’t find anywhere else! Both the Cotton Gin and Sanctuary Vineyards host many great events through the year! Sanctuary Vineyards or Cotton Gin

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Photo Credit: Brooke Mayo Photographers

 

6. Produce / Seafood Markets – Various

Currituck County is well known for it’s roadside produce and seafood markets. You must swing in for the best local fruits, veggies & seafood! You’ll be glad you did.

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7. Pick your own Berries (seasonal) – Point Harbor, NC

Right before the Wright Memorial Bridge, there is a great little farm that allows you to pick your own strawberries & blueberries. This is a fun activity for all.  They are only open for a few weeks out of the year so if you’re lucky enough to see it open – STOP IN!

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8. Welcome Center, Currituck Visitors Bureau – Moyock, NC

The Currituck Welcome Center is located right at the NC/VA border. This is the place to stop for brochures, rack cards and local business information and great ideas on what to do on your vacation. Currituck Welcome Center

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9. Border Station – Moyock, NC

The Border Station is located at the NC/VA border. There’s plenty of parking and interesting things to look at and purchase.

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10. Sound Park – Point Harbor, NC

If you’re stuck in traffic and you have little ones that need to stretch their legs – you can swing into the Sound Park located in Point Harbor, NC. The Sound Park offers an outdoor skate park, a playground, boat ramp, tennis courts, picnic tables and more. The park is located just a mile north of the Wright Memorial Bridge.

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Photo Credit: Artisan Skate Parks

11. Harley Davidson – Point Harbor, NC

If you’re a biker or you enjoy motorcycles then you’ll definitely want to stop into the Harley Davidson shop in Point Harbor, just a few miles north of the Wright Memorial Bridge.

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12. Beacon Seafood – Grandy, NC

There’s a new seafood market in town and it’s located at 6378 Caratoke Highway on U.S. 158 in Grandy. This is a great place to stop to stock up on your fresh local seafood for better prices than what you’ll find at the beach!

Photo credit: Outer Banks Voice
Photo credit: Outer Banks Voice

 

Now that you know where to stop – start planning your next Outer Banks vacation with Beach Realty / Kitty Hawk Rentals! Search over 420 vacation rentals from 4×4 Carova Beach, Corolla to South Nags Head. Search now!