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Best route to North Myrtle Beach from Eastern PA

Best route to North Myrtle Beach from Eastern PA

Old Aug 7th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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Best route to North Myrtle Beach from Eastern PA

We will be travelling from the Allentown PA area to N. Myrtle Beach for the first time on August 15th - Saturday.
Looking for suggestions for best time to leave and the best route to try to avoid as much traffic as possible. Check in time at our condo is 4.00 p.m.
Thanks!
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 11:33 AM
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I think this is the first time I didn't get a single response.
Can anybody help?
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Yes, I can. I live in DC and my Dad lives in Myrtle Beach so I go down a lot. First, and above all, you do not want to be heading south on I-95 from the DC area towards Frederickburg in the afternoon on any day, least of all Saturday. It's a nightmare. If you leave Allentown early and are thru the major interchange in Springfield, VA by noon or so you should be ok. Mid-late afternoon could result in a 30+ mile long traffic jam and you will be suicidal. There's no other way south here except Rte 1 and that can be just as bad. You might even consider leaving Friday night and then just stopping near DC and then heading south in the AM. That would not be bad, and all the traffic on Friday eveing near DC will be going the opposite way as you are. It clears up around 8 or so anyway.

Other than that there is really only one way for much of it and that is down 95 south. It's 6.5 hours for me from Alexandria, VA.

The one shortcut I do take is to get off on NC 701 near Smithfield, take that down to Whiteville, go briefly east on NC 130, then turn south on NC905 wich ends up right on Rte 9 close to N Myrtle Beach. It's about 2 hours from the turnoff at 701 to there and is a more relaxing route than the highway. Quicker as well, in my experience. A couple small towns to go thru but no delays.

The only other option would be to come down the DelMarVA peninsula, over the Bridge/Tunnel to Norfolk/VA Beach and go 17S from there, but that will take much longer. Few traffic problems, but much longer.

Hope this helps. Above all, keep in mind the traffic on 95 S between Springfield and Fredericksburg, VA on Saturday afternoon and avoid it all costs. The rest, barring a wreck, should be ok.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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I forgot, if you can't avoid 95 south of DC in the afternoon, you could always take 301S off the DC beltway, thru Waldorf/ La Plata (lots of traffic lights for a strecth there), then over the Potomac and back on 95S between Fred and Richmond. I wouldn't do this unless you have to because it's not quicker than 95 under normal circumstances and can have delays as well thru Waldorf/La Plata (the rest is easy driving). But that would be an alternate to 95S if you can't get there at the right time to avoid the afternnon traffic jams.
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Thanks Weimarer. Just found out we may not be able to leave Bethlehem, PA until 8.30 a.m.
I think this may be asking for trouble. Somebody suggested 81 and then cutting over. Thoughts?
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Old Aug 10th, 2009, 04:01 PM
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Sure, 81 to Harrisburg, then Rte 15, down thru Gettysburg, Frederick, MD, Leesburg and Warrenton and then down 17 to Fredericksburg would work. That's mostly highway speed, just slower than the Interstate and no passing lane in the VA part of 15, but shouldn't be any major problems. You bypass the towns themselves, with just some lights in Leesburg and Warrenton and Fredburg approaching 95, but that's pretty much it, I think. That actually sounds like your best bet.

Once past Fredericksburg on 95 you should be fine as far as getting into a traffic jam unless there's a wreck or lane closure for road work or something like that.

Oh, and needless to say the same thing applies going back on 95 between Fred and DC, only this time Sunday evenings are especially bad. I've gotten stuck there on Sunday nights coming back from down south several times. Saturday has always been ok coming that way, though. But anyting can happen on that stretch. It has to be the worst in the entire country.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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My route is similar to weimarer with some exceptions. Stay on I-81 until near Strasburg and cut over to I-66 and over to Hwy 17 to Fredricksburg! Very nice route too! Take I-95 down to Richmond (do I-295 around Richmond)and then jump over to I-795/117 in NC to I-40 to Wilmington, then bypass with I-140 onto Hwy 17 to Little River, SC. Its a very good route! It may not be the shortest but it is one of the fastest and keeps your blood pressure down to a minimum!
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 10:53 AM
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Adding travel time from PA to Alexandria, weimarer's routing takes 9:40 and rickloco2's via I-81 takes 11:09.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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This is an old old thread, but do what Rick suggests about going I40 to Wilmington and down.
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Old Jun 9th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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You have to take into consideration of what kind of roads you are traveling plus local conditions. When I travel to Pa, I make it a point to bypass the big cities. One major wreck can tie up traffic for a couple of hours or more. Last time I was traveling to Pa. via Hwy 17 from Fredricksburg, I was bypassing a tractor trailer that flipped over just south of Washington, DC on I-95! I saved a couple of hours of headaches! Besides, the traffic was light on Hwy 17 and the scenery was nice too!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 04:15 AM
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MapQuest suggests Route 17 from Wilmington NC to Myrtle Beach which totals 52 miles. Is Route 17 full of stops/red lights or is it more of a 'bypass' route?

Also, rickloco2, you suggested getting on I-295 to go around Richmond to bypass I-95. And then you suggest getting on I-795/117. Question ... do you ever get back on I-95? MapQuest suggests taking I-295 to get around Richmond but then it puts you back onto I-95. Thank you.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 12:12 PM
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It is about an hour drive--very easy. It is a 4 lane "bypass" type highway, getting a little congested as you hit N. Myrtle Beach. By far the best way to go. I95 swings very far west of the coast as you go south--at one point (Darlington) you are an hour and a half drive from MB, with LOTS of stop and go driving.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 03:46 PM
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Gretchen ... thank you. Our trip is scheduled for late July with an early departure North of Pittsburgh ... on a Saturday morning. I plan to follow the directions that ricloco2 suggested (i.e. I-81, I-66, etc. to get to I-95 in Fredricksburg). Can you tell me your travel route once you take I-295 around Richmond? Is it the same as listed above or do you get to Wilmington, NC (Route 17) via a different path from I-295. Thank you.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 05:04 PM
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Hi beach_travler...I-295 takes you around Richmond and Petersburg and you are back on I-95. Very good bi-pass! Also keep in mind once you do get down to the Myrtle Beach area, Hwy 17 is the main BUSINESS route up and down the beach where everything is happening. Expect slow going at times especially from 4pm-8pm. However, if you feel the need for speed to get from one place to another, try Hwy 31 just across the river. Interstate style 6 lane highway with speed limits mostly 60-65mph. Great way to save time!
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 06:58 PM
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rickloco2 ... thank you for the reply ... I appreciate it. I have another question for you. After I get back onto I-95 (after taking I-295 around Richmond) MapQuest puts us back on I-95 (as you note) for another 108 miles and then has us exiting on US-264 toward US-117 via I-795 (approx. 25 total miles). What do you think about US-117 that heads south to
I-40? We would be on it for approx 20 miles. I looked at the map and it appears to be more of a 'bypass' and not prone to congestion. We are supposed to take US-117 to I-40E to eventually get to Wilmington, NC (Route 17). In one of your earlier posts I see that you recommend this route. Thanks again!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 04:26 AM
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Oh, my, wait wait. From Pittsburgh just come down to I77. There is NO reason to go so far east just to hit TRAFFIC!!
Head south on I81 (I am not looking at map), or WHEREVER you can hit I77 easily.
Drop south to Charlotte. Now, this sounds hard, but it isn't.
From Charlotte you can be IN Myrtle Beach in 4 hours doing this.
Take I485 east from I77 to
Route 74
Take Route 74 east to Monroe (25 miles) to
Route 601. Take Route 601 to Route 151
Take Route 151 to Darlington to Route 52 (it will say to I95).
Take I95 NORTH to 3rd exit (about 8 miles) to Route 327.
Take route 317 about 8 miles to Route 378/501. Turn Right and stay on this road straight into Myrtle Beach.
This almost all 4 lane roads, and is very direct. We do it 4+ times a year, not to mention all the other Charlotteans who do!!

IF you just don't want to do this, take I77 to I40 to Wilmington and then 17 south. That will be about 5-6 hours.

PLEASE don't go via Richmond!!!

Also with respect to 17 in MB, there is a BUSINESS 17 and a bypass. You want the bypass until you are at the level of your hotel, etc. Not to say there isn't traffic, but you aren't going down the main street.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 08:03 AM
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"I-40? We would be on it for approx 20 miles. I looked at the map and it appears to be more of a 'bypass' and not prone to congestion.".....

I-795 is an excellent interstate spur going to Goldsboro, NC. Once you past Goldsboro, it merges to Hwy 117 which is a standard 4 lane hwy with very few traffic lights until you approach I-40. Eventually I-795 will connect to I-40 once work is completely done. As far as construction concerns, very little if any delays. They keep the traffic moving nicely.

Gretchen: The main purpose of my post is to avoid the major metro areas and make driving pleasurable. I-295 around Richmond is very nice and have driven it very nicely with speeds up to 70mph. I wouldn't take I-95 through Richmond though. You stated I-77 to I-40 is a better route? I have to differ with you on that since I have been there too many times. You have to consider the "Triad and Triangle" metro areas. Greensboro and High Point plus the Raleigh, Durham, and the Chapel Hill regions can be a traffic mess at any given time. Those areas remind me the route between Fredicksburg, Va to Washington, DC! Either route you take, eventually you have to go East. Why not go East to the least resistance?
I live in Myrtle Beach and you are right, there are two roads, Business 17 and Hwy 17. The truth is...there is really not much difference on either highway. Both are built up fairly well now. This area has been in a growing boom for many years and continues to do so. So all I have to say is, "Have a Pleasurable Drive to Myrtle Beach and Enjoy!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 10:11 AM
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Did you notice that I said come to Charlotte? Why go to richmond or all that way east. Why go east first--because it is out of the way and adds hours to the trip. I81 is no day at the beach for traffic either.
I gave the travel times. I have driven on 40 to wilmington, and do the other as I said often. I do not find getting through the I40 cities a problem at all, and once past Raleigh, there ain't any.
As for MB, well, never mind!! Sorry 'bout that.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 11:32 AM
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Gretchen: Any route is a good route if you plan to travel between 12mid- 6am. I am sharing my experiences when I travel. I have had many good times in the Charlotte area and I-77 can be a good route around Charlotte at times. Other times, it can be a traffic nightmare and there goes your traveling time. Route 74 to Monroe is a one hour stop and go (traffic lights) experience from Charlotte even though its only 25 miles to the east. The other roads like 601, and 151 takes you through small towns and traffic lights and some of the other roads you have listed on your post are single lane highways (378) Watch out for the tractors! lol! Hwy 501 between Conway and Myrtle Beach can be up to 3 hours to go 15 miles when there is a wreck! Allow 1 hour during normal times on 501, which by the way is nicknamed stoplight alley!
THERE ARE more direct ways you have pointed out traveling to Myrtle Beach but any time that you have saved going on these routes can be wasted away by going through country towns, traffic lights, 2 lane roads, wrecks etc. Its not fun stopped on I-77 for 2 hours or so waiting for a jackknifed tractor trailer be cleared from the road outside of Charlotte! I was there one time and it was a mess!
In closing, my feeling is if it works for you, take any route you please. I do travel some and I have found this route I have posted early is the best for me and like you, wanted to share travel experiences with others in this forum. The most important thing is to arrive safely to your destination and have an enjoyable vacation!
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Old Jun 23rd, 2010, 02:01 PM
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STOP. Red herring alert. "travel between midnight etc.". I HAVE travelled each way I have recommended, and I have given the travel times. I have travelled on weekends, holidays, whatever.
Ummmmm. Why do you think you might NOT be stopped on I95 for an hour. You seem to only have one opinion of how to do this--yours.
"I was there one time and it was a mess". YESS. I have been to MB many times and it is always a mess.
I think it is fine to post what works for you, and I have posted what works for me.
You have posted scenarios that are true (stop and go traffic to Monroe) sometimes, and not other. C'mon.
I still think it is a better possibility to come south first and then east, whichever way the traveller wants to do it. All I can do is say I do it NUMEROUS times a year and it works well.
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