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ohioteacher Jul 26th, 2013 10:43 PM

Best route to Outer Banks
My family and I are going to Nags Head in a couple of weeks for a vacation. We are leaving from the Cleveland, Ohio area. Due to morning commitments, we will not be leaving until around 1:00 in the afternoon and will be driving straight through, except for a quick stop for dinner. What would be the best (and quickest) route to take? It looks as though one choice would be to take the turnpike to I-70, then go down toward DC, Richmond, and Virginia Beach into the Outer Banks. The other choice seems to be to take I-77 south to Beckley, then take I-64 east to Virginia Beach then head to the Outer Banks. Thank you in advance for your suggestions. This will be our first trip to the Outer Banks, and are really looking forward to it.

tomfuller Jul 27th, 2013 07:15 AM

If you want to avoid the Beltway west of DC, you can use US 15 and US 17 through Winchester. The time required is within 5 minutes either way.

obxgirl Jul 27th, 2013 11:44 AM

Your first set of directions is faster but it does take you into DC metro area traffic which can be a nightmare. However, assuming you are traveling on a weekend day and aren't getting to the DC area until 5 or 6 pm you may miss the bulk of the weekend beach & day tripping volume. If you are traveling during the work week, no question, avoid anything that takes you near metro DC during rush hour.

I can't really comment on your second set of directions except to say that once you hit I64 it's essentially the same route as the first one.

Not trying to pawn off your question, but the Outer Banks are a pretty popular destination for people from Ohio. Have you asked around in your group of friends and family?

weimarer Jul 27th, 2013 11:45 AM

You don't mention the day you are leaving, but I would just say that leaving at 1pm from Cleveland area would put you in DC area around 7pm, and you absolutely don't want to be heading south on I-95 towards Federicksburg/Richmond at that time of day, even on weekends. (Sunday is one possible ok time, but that is risky as well)

If I were you, I would veer south on I-81 past Winchester, VA, then east on I-66. VA 17 comes in after a while and I-66 and VA 17 are the same highway for a bit, then VA 17 separates and heads to Fredericksburg, most of which is divided 4 lane highweay that should be very easy going.
After some lights etc nearing 95 at Fred, you would then get on I-95 south either to I-64 east, or pick up 17 again towards Newport News. (you get briefly on 95 south before exiting and continuing on 17 south). This is the way I always go. Almost all of it is sparsely used divided 4 lane highway, until you get close to Newport News where it is 45 with lights here and there. Not a big delay, just some stopping at lights. It takes about 2 hours from Fred to I-64 at Newport News this way, about the same as 95/64 and you can be assured there will be no traffic jam.

Either way, I'd do the I-81 past Winchester, VA to I-66/17 to Fredericksburg and then either 95/64 or US 17 straight to Newport News.

suewoo Jul 27th, 2013 11:50 AM

I would take 77 to 64. DC traffic can be congested, even on weekends.

ohioteacher Jul 27th, 2013 05:41 PM

We are leaving on a Saturday.

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