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Old 03-01-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
henrymartin OP
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Roadtrip (car and kids) to NC

Guys and Gals south of me...

I'm starting to plan a road trip with the family for mid April this year, and we decided on NC, specifically the Outer Banks. Wife wanted to go to Duck, kids want Kill Devil Hills (we haven't seen either), whereas all I care about is to drive all night and wake them up just as we are about to cross Chesapeake Bay Bridge (they are scared of heights), have breakfast somewhere after that, and continue to the OB.

I'm thinking 3-4 days stay somewhere on the Outer Banks, maybe see the Wright Brothers Memorial, Cape Hatteras...then drive over to Wilmington (people who visited keep telling me that it is a good place for family visits - not sure why), then hit D.C. for a day or two on the way up north.

This is mostly about the kids/wife having fun, I'm just the driver But it will get me multiple kitchen passes for bike overnight trips later in the year.

So:

1) Where in Outer Banks would you suggest and why?
2) Wilmington, NC - yes or no?

Thinking mid April if that helps narrow it down. Kids are young, have no interest in amusement parks, and love nature.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:13 PM   #2
Rutabaga
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My 2c worth

After Kill devil Hill continue to the end of hwy 12 and catch the free ferry across to Ocracoke Island. Twelve miles of the most beautiful and desolate beach and it is all National Park so there is no, none, zippo development until you get to the village of Ocracoke. Several options for lodging; renting a small house , motels(amongst my favorite by a long shot is the Pony Island Motel, simple and clean plus there is a small local diner right there which is open year round), camping if you are into that. The state ferry runs from there over to the coast to two destinations and is only about $15 for the two hour ride. The kids will love the wide open beaches and almost always you can spot an old wooden ship wreck across from the wild pony area. The maritime museum at the Hatteras ferry dock is also a wonderful place. From Ocracoke take the ferry to Cedar Isle and then head down to Wilmington. The Beaufort Inn B&B is a great place to stay in Beaufort and it is a wonderful destination on its own.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:52 PM   #3
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The ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke was closed last time I checked.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Rutabaga View Post
After Kill devil Hill continue to the end of hwy 12 and catch the free ferry across to Ocracoke Island. Twelve miles of the most beautiful and desolate beach and it is all National Park so there is no, none, zippo development until you get to the village of Ocracoke. Several options for lodging; renting a small house , motels(amongst my favorite by a long shot is the Pony Island Motel, simple and clean plus there is a small local diner right there which is open year round), camping if you are into that. The state ferry runs from there over to the coast to two destinations and is only about $15 for the two hour ride. The kids will love the wide open beaches and almost always you can spot an old wooden ship wreck across from the wild pony area. The maritime museum at the Hatteras ferry dock is also a wonderful place. From Ocracoke take the ferry to Cedar Isle and then head down to Wilmington. The Beaufort Inn B&B is a great place to stay in Beaufort and it is a wonderful destination on its own.
Thank you. The island looks like a very nice place!
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:07 PM   #5
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If you have a 4x4 you could go to Carova Beach and all the beaches that are only accessable by 4x4.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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If you have a 4x4 you could go to Carova Beach and all the beaches that are only accessable by 4x4.

Thanks. I was all set to go to Ocracoke Island and then you had to bring news of this beauty
I actually found a house on Carova, oceanfront, for less money than a motel on Ocracoke. Decisions, decisions.....

I have a 4x4 Xterra with General Grabbers that enjoys mud and snow - never done any sand. (except some Class VI roads around here)

HELP
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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We stay in Kill Devil Hills beach front (well almost) the road is in front of the house over the dune and on the beach.

this is our 7 year there.

We use to stay 5-6 blocks off the beach and never again maybe beach side but not more than 2 or 3 houses off beach.

We use to stay in south nags head that is a good area too.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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Hatteras Ferry Route has resumed

The Ferry Division Hatteras-Ocracoke service has resumed, using a temporary alternate route until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes the channel dredging to re-open the primary route. The new route is approximately 10 1/2 miles long and takes about 60 to 70 minutes to cross each way. Two ferries will operate on the route on Friday, with a third added starting Saturday and remaining in service until the primary route re-opens. That means four additional trips are added in each direction starting Saturday. For the complete list see Ferry Schedules.
The opening of the alternate Hatteras-Ocracoke route means the extra departures added to the Swan Quarter-Ocracoke route to accommodate vendors and residents has stopped, and that ferry route returned to its regular schedule. The tolling of that route, which had been suspended when the added routes began, has resumed.

Have a backup plan...this could change any day as the sand is in constant motion here.
As for driving on the beach, the only "tricky" parts are the entry and exit points. These get churned up and are deep and soft...out on the beach you would be fine. The winter/off season is nice since there are very few to no, tourists. Hopefully you will get a break with the weather...The water will still be breathtaking..(away).
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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Hatteras Ferry Route has resumed


As for driving on the beach, the only "tricky" parts are the entry and exit points. These get churned up and are deep and soft...out on the beach you would be fine. The winter/off season is nice since there are very few to no, tourists. Hopefully you will get a break with the weather...The water will still be breathtaking..(away).
No matter what, it will be warmer than NH I think the water here, in August, is just about pushing the limit of what is bearable.

Then again, I used to live on an island....
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:16 PM   #10
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If you drive and the sand is really loose, always back up a foot or two before going forward, and let plenty of air out of your tires and you'll be fine.
No sudden movements.

Aka, if you floor it, you'll dig till you're stuck. If you slam the brakes, you will build a wall in front of your tires, causing you to be stuck. Just stop giving it gas and you'll stop surprisingly quick. :)

If you really want to see Wilmington, it's either a boring crappy long drive, or a REALLY long drive with lots of ferries and REALLY FRIGGIN cool for kids.
But going down the coast the whole way is kind of cool, even if it will take all day.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:41 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hscrugby View Post
If you drive and the sand is really loose, always back up a foot or two before going forward, and let plenty of air out of your tires and you'll be fine.
No sudden movements.

Aka, if you floor it, you'll dig till you're stuck. If you slam the brakes, you will build a wall in front of your tires, causing you to be stuck. Just stop giving it gas and you'll stop surprisingly quick. :)

If you really want to see Wilmington, it's either a boring crappy long drive, or a REALLY long drive with lots of ferries and REALLY FRIGGIN cool for kids.
But going down the coast the whole way is kind of cool, even if it will take all day.
Thanks. Well, the original plan was to drive the entire length of Outer Banks plus ferries. Now, with the 4x4 beach option (never knew it existed), we are thinking 5 days Cardova and 2 days DC. Driving all day is fine with me - the kids, not so much, and wife would rather fly. Not an option! I'll ride all night before dragging booster seats onto a plane.
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Old 03-06-2013, 05:13 PM   #12
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We travel at night too we learnt it with my kids and now do it with the grand children leave about 2-3:00am beat most of the traffic and are down on the beach mid morning.

Kill Devil has a bathroom and we park and change there and get the keys to the house after lunch pizza for dinner and unload after dinner
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #13
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Outer banks are great place to visit, will be cold and windy when you plan on being there. Love the ferry system, great entertainment at a reasonable price.
Beaufort is one of my favorite places, Beaufort Inn definitely the place to stay.

Wilmington is a nice city with lots to see. Coast is nice. Sounds like you have a great start on a good trip.

Heading north Roanoke and Richmond are a couple of less crowded options. Also could consider hitting some of the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skline Drive on the way home.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:53 PM   #14
henrymartin OP
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Originally Posted by 4PawsHacienda View Post
Outer banks are great place to visit, will be cold and windy when you plan on being there. Love the ferry system, great entertainment at a reasonable price.
Beaufort is one of my favorite places, Beaufort Inn definitely the place to stay.

Wilmington is a nice city with lots to see. Coast is nice. Sounds like you have a great start on a good trip.

Heading north Roanoke and Richmond are a couple of less crowded options. Also could consider hitting some of the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skline Drive on the way home.

Cold and windy? I'm sure it will be warmer than NH

As for the trip, this one is of the coastal kind, not mountains. I've done BRP and Skyline on the bike two years ago at the end of April. It was like 96F in TN by then. What do you consider cold on the OBX?

I'm still a little torn whether to rent a house and stay in one place - Duck, Cardova... or whether to hotel it and move around a little (couple nights each in Kill Devil Hill, Hateras, Ocracoke). I'm sure the kids would enjoy the scenery. I'm also sure I won;t enjoy driving more than 2 hrs at a time while they are awake
This is what I know: I want to start driving Fri night, clear the metro NY, NJ, PA area, stop for breakfast just before the Chesapeake bay bridge, wake them up, eat, scare the living hell out of them by driving over the bridge, and drive for up to two hours to find a place to stay. Weather permitting, beach would be ideal. No need to swim (cold), but sand castles are a must. Wild horses are a plus. Seafood places to eat are also a bonus. If the weather sucks, then I'm instructed to hit DC and be a tourist...not my cup of tea.
I was rather excited about a house in Cardova, 8 miles off pavement, smacked right on the oceanfront. The Mrs. was not excited about 8 miles of sand between her and amenities That's why I ride in the woods and she goes to Pottery Barn.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:12 AM   #15
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Ended up settling for a nice house in Corolla (not 4x4) with the Mrs. compromising on a daytrip to the 4x4 beaches
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