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Old 06-12-2017, 11:33 AM
 
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My daughter and I are hoping to make a three day weekend getaway to the southern end of the Outer Banks. She is an avid fan of lighthouses and really wants to see both the lighthouse at Ocracroke and Hatteras. We would be driving from a suburb of Richmond.

I was thinking if we left here after she gets off work on Thursday, our shortest route to a ferry dock would be to go to Swan Quarter. I thought we could spend the night there (on Thursday), catch an early morning ferry Friday to Ocracoke and have that be our home base for Friday and Saturday nights. We could see Ocracoke most of Friday, have Saturday for Hatteras and then return by ferry from Ocracoke to Cedar Island on Sunday so we can drive through New Bern to back to RVA. Does this sound doable?

Any great hotel suggestions for Ocracoke? I assume I need to make reservations for the ferries as well. Thanks in advance for the help! She has never been to the Outer Banks and it has been many years since I have, so we are very much looking forward to this trip!
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:03 PM
 
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One issue is that I don't think there is anywhere to spend the night in Swan Quarter. Its about 4.5 or 5 hours from Richmond to Hatterras, and the ferry to Ocracoke runs until midnight; can you just bite the bullet and go all the way on Thursday?
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:26 PM
 
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I was worried about that problem, too. I didn't know how much traffic would be involved driving all the way down the Outer Banks from here. I have heard horror stories from friends who have homes in Nags Head about the length of time it can take, but maybe on a Thursday evening it wouldn't be as bad. It would be cool for her to see the length of the barrier islands, though! Hmmmm, now I am am rethinking....
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Winterville, NC
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I would drive to Nags Head and stay Thursday night. Check out Jennette's Pier while you are there. Then you could then get up Friday, climb Bodie Island lighthouse, and then head south to climb Hatteras Light in Buxton. Arrive at Bodie early so you dont have a long wait. You may be able to get a reservation at the two but i dont thi nk so.

You could then travel to the ferry (no reservations)and make your way to Okracoke to sleep Friday night. Friday would be a full day but you would be able to enjoy the sights and pullover spots of Hatteras island. Travelling the island at night does not do it justice. You also make the island trek on a non-turnover day. Saturday and Sunday traffic is brutal.

Saturday can then become your Okracoke day. There are no ocean front Hotels but a couple of them have pools. At this point you may be stuck with whatever hotel has availability. You are not allowed to climb the Okracoke light but you can walk up to it. There is also a variety of shops that sell fudge, bobbles, and trinkets. The public beach access on Okracoke is pretty nice but can get crowded.

Sunday would be a long day. Reserve and catch the 7:30am, 2.5 hour ferry. Then fight Sunday beach traffic through Beaufort, Morehead, and Havelock. Spend a few hours in New Bern and ride 3+ hours back to Richmond. It's doable, but like I said, a long day. Especially after the other car ride down.

But....it really does sound like a fun trip for the two of you. I hope you can follow through and enjoy it.
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Old 06-12-2017, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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I think there is a place or two to stay not far from Swan Quarter around Lake Mattamuskeet, but it is pretty remote. I couldn't give any hotel recs, having not stayed there myself.

You could spend a night in Little Washington NC or Plymouth NC and just catch the ferry in the morning. They're both about 1 hr from the ferry and cute historic little towns on the water.

If you drove down the OBX you could do more lighthouses, though. Traffic could be icky, but unlikely to be a huge problem on Thurs. Saturday it will be a lot worse.

The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry can really back up, especially going from Hatteras to Ocracoke. Try to catch it early in the morning esp if going from Hatteras to Ocracoke.
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:46 PM
 
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A couple of new updates....First, we can add another day (Monday) due to some flexibility in my daughter's work schedule. Good news. Also, I did find a couple of cute B&Bs in Swan Quarter. Haven't received verification for availability but hopefully if they have a room, I am now thinking

Drive to Swan Quarter Thursday
Leave on early ferry to Ocracoke Friday, stay until Sunday morning
Sunday early morning ferry to Hatteras, spend the day- lighthouse, beaches

Now here is the new question...How much of Sunday to spend around Hatteras? We could spend all day and try to get a room there Sunday night before leaving early Monday to drive north to see Bodie LH before going home, or should we try to plan for a night's stay further north Sunday evening, see the Bodie LH early Monday morning and then go home....Thank you all so much for your help!
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:03 PM
 
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Drive to Greenville or Washington NC, spend the night. Grab a early morning Swan Quarter ferry. Spend day and night in Ocracoke. Alternatively, just spend a couple hours in Ocracoke then head on up the Outer Banks, visit light houses along the way and after a full day, spend a couple nights around Kitty Hawk or on Roanoke Island. Going up to Duck/Corolla will take the better part of a day. Head home from there.
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Old 06-13-2017, 06:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchoc View Post
Drive to Greenville or Washington NC, spend the night. Grab a early morning Swan Quarter ferry. Spend day and night in Ocracoke. Alternatively, just spend a couple hours in Ocracoke then head on up the Outer Banks, visit light houses along the way and after a full day, spend a couple nights around Kitty Hawk or on Roanoke Island. Going up to Duck/Corolla will take the better part of a day. Head home from there.
Its an hour and a half from Greenville to Swan Quarter. The ferry is at 7:00 AM. Thats a pretty early wake up call.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:00 AM
 
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Especially with a 22 year old!
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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For that matter I wouldn't kill myself trying to get on the 7am ferry. I think the 10am ferry would be plenty early and would put you at Ocracoke just in time for lunch. You're not going to be able to do a whole lot if you get there at 9:30 vs getting there at 12:30. You probably can't check in to your lodgings. A lot of shops open at 10. Your call, though. I just don't see the need to rush around in the morning trying to catch that 7am ferry, but then again I'm not a morning person — ymmv if you'll be up at 5am anyway. (I have a friend like that and I just don't understand it. )

I think the new plan looks good. I think it's definitely worth it to drive the OBX at least once. If you have time you can also drive the 24 miles up past Kitty Hawk to the Currituck Lighthouse. You can climb the Currituck light. You might also be interested in the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo. It's more of a house and less of a tower and is a replica, but pretty cool.
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