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Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

Level Contributor
4 posts
18 reviews
Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

We are driving from Frederick Maryland to Corolla on a Sunday in July. We were planning on taking I95 south but after reading about the horrible traffic congestion we are concerned. We have little ones in tow and hope to avoid getting stuck in traffic. I've read mixed advice about the best and worst travel times and routes but much of the info is from older posts. I would be very appreciative if others could please offer suggestions or comments about recent driving experiences including congested areas, delays at bridges, alternate routes or any other advice that could help us avoid traffic problems.Thanks!

15 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
4 posts
18 reviews
11. Re: Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

Thank you, everyone, for your great suggestions. I wanted to update this post now that we have made the trip (July 2018(NOT the holiday weekend). We decided to stop in D.C.early on Sunday morning and had no trouble getting to Arlington cemetery at 8:30 am. We continued to casually visit a Smithsonian museum and grab a bite to eat from a food vendor truck. We left D.C. at 1:30 pm. Traffic was slow and got worse as we headed down 95. Bumper to bumper 50% of the time. 64 wasn't much better. Overall the drive from Washington D.C. to Corolla-Outer Banks NC was almost 7 hours (Google maps indicated 5 hrs and 15 min.)with frequent stop-and-go traffic due mostly to accidents or simply because it's just so congested!

Do yourself a favor and take the advice I was given.... but didnt follow....leave D.C. at 5 am if your driving on a busy-season Sunday!

Mechanicsburg...
Level Contributor
5 posts
26 reviews
12. Re: Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

We leave from PA and come down that route. We leave PA no later than 2 am. It puts us into OBX and up into the 4x4 area where we stay by 9/10 AM. That is super early but basically gives us an extra day at the beach and we have no traffic at all coming in. The kids also sleep almost the entire way too! I use the Waze app to detour me around traffic but once you get on 2 lane roads in OBX, there isn't any detour that will save you time. Since you are further south, you would probably be good to go leaving around 4 am. Enjoy your vacation!

Brookneal, Virginia
Level Contributor
1 751 posts
99 reviews
13. Re: Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

"Traffic was slow and got worse as we headed down 95. Bumper to bumper 50% of the time. 64 wasn't much better. Overall the drive from Washington D.C. to Corolla-Outer Banks NC was almost 7 hours (Google maps indicated 5 hrs and 15 min.)with frequent stop-and-go traffic due mostly to accidents or simply because it's just so congested!

Do yourself a favor and take the advice I was given.... but didnt follow....leave D.C. at 5 am if your driving on a busy-season Sunday! "

I am so sorry that it was so horrible.

There really are only 2 choices to avoid it:

Go a different route, or leave a lot earlier.

8:30 am is a great time to get out of DC, but I'm sure the cemetery and museums were fun too.

As you said, I-64 is not much better.

That is why TA forum folks offer the alternate route information, so that people don't have to be stuck in traffic with all that stress.

Level Contributor
4 posts
18 reviews
14. Re: Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

One last bit of advice I'd like to mention to anyone reading this thread. All of our traffic congestion problems were on I95 and 64. We arrived at OBX around 9 pm ish (sunday) and had NO traffic problems crossing the Wright bridge or driving the main OBX road to Corolla (although most of that road is 35 mph). My daughter had arrived at OBX much earlier at 530pm and did not have any OBX traffic problems either. At the end of our stay we left Corolla on Sunday at 730 am and went all the way down to the Manteo bridge...no problems at all.My daughter left at 830 am and had a little traffic congestion to the Wright bridge. We stayed in Corolla Light and were very pleased with the amenities as well as the rental agency, Twiddy.

Edited: 24 July 2018, 22:03
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
445 posts
15. Re: Drive from D.C. to Outer Ban Corolla on Sunday advice needed

How was 95 north on Sunday after Richmond? I am normally taking the trip earlier in the season and on Sundays it can be brutal. I have bailed to the 522 route to Culpepper when I have not gotten out on time.

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