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Getting Around Outer Banks

There is no public transportation available along the Outer Banks, so the best way to get around is by car. The North Carolina Department of Transportation runs a ferry service, but we strongly recommend renting a car or driving in your own vehicle. Most attractions are spread out, the ferry routes can take more than two hours one-way and the boats can get crowded, especially during the peak season. The closest major airports are Norfolk International Airport (ORF) about 120 miles north and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) about 230 miles west. Both airports offer car rental agencies on-site. 

Car You'll find that a car is necessary in OBX, and as such, the traffic can be brutal, especially during peak season. Rental agencies are at the Norfolk International Airport  as well as in downtown Kill Devil Hills and Manteo. Stil,l 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 on the northern end of Kitty Hawk and increase as you head south. The mileposts end at the southern end of Nags Head at the Oregon Inlet.
Ferry

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 60-minute ride, while the Ocracoke to Cedar Island route costs between $1 (for a pedestrian) to $15 (for a vehicle less than 20 feet long) and takes about two-and-a-half hours. 

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