Getting Around Outer Banks

The best way to get around the Outer Banks is by car as there is no public transportation available. The North Carolina Department of Transportation runs a ferry service, but we strongly recommend renting a car from Norfolk International Airport (ORF) or driving in your own vehicle. Most attractions are spread out, the ferry routes can take up to two and a half hours one-way and the boats can get crowded, especially during the peak season.

Car You'll find that a car is necessary in OBX, and as such, the traffic is brutal. Rental agencies are at the ORF Airport as well as in downtown Kill Devil Hills and Manteo, and will charge around $160 for a five-day period. Still it's relatively easy to find your way thanks to two main roads; N.C. 12 and U.S. 158, which both run north to south in the area. Within the Northern Beaches, many establishments will give you their locations in reference to their milepost address. Similar to what you find on interstates, these mileposts start at 0 in the northern end of Kitty Hawk at the Wright Bridge and increase as you head south. The mileposts end at the southern end of Nags Head at the Oregon Inlet.

A handful of ferries service the OBX area and are a great way to hop around the islands, but they can get crowded during the summer, so it's best to make reservations online at least a day in advance if not sooner. The Hatteras-to-Ocracoke car ferry is a free 40-minute ride, while the Ocracoke to Cedar Island route cost $15 one-way and is a two and a half hour time investment.

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