Panic - best route

By: lhansenvt
7/17/2019 10:13 PM

Hello,

I am trying not to panic after reading all the horror stories about trying to get to OBX on a Saturday (July 20). We will be in Arlington, VA on Friday, July 19 (coming from Vermont) - spending the night after visiting Arlington National Cemetery. What is the best timing/route to get to Corolla on Saturday? I have read so many different posts that I am totally lost now. I have made the drive before but it was mid-week and late June - just followed GPS and had no problems. Please help

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By: JoyinVirginia
7/18/2019 12:53 AM

1) Don't Panic! and carry a towel (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
2) Get a very early start OR a late start
3) Download Waze or use google maps
4) realize that 95 will be crowded and 64 will be crowded around construction sites and once you cross the Wright Memorial Bridge, heading north on 12 will be slow because it's a 2 lane road with a zillion cars all heading north!
on saturday July 6 we left home near richmond airport about 1 PM, took 64 east to 664 Monitor Merrimac bridge tunnel to 64 to 168 Chesapeake expressway south. got to Nags Head about 4:30 PM, very easy drive and traffic was not bad. Based on that experience, I'd recommend you think about getting on the road about 10 or 11 am.
Check Waze for incidents on your route. taking 295 around Richmond to 460 east is good alternative if it looks like 64 has accidents.
Have Fun on your trip!

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By: NCSU Dad
7/18/2019 7:35 AM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

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By: Md.Chas
7/18/2019 9:10 AM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

NCSU Dad
This has been my route for years. Avoid I-95 at all cost.

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By: fredneckians
7/18/2019 9:16 AM

1) Don't Panic! and carry a towel (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

JoyinVirginia


And don’t listen to Vogons reciting poetry.

I’d suggest leaving early and following the directions your phone gives you. It can be bad but in my experience, it’s rarely as bad as advertised.

Have a safe ride down and enjoy your vacation.

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By: smeeky
7/18/2019 10:04 AM

I95 southbound, summertime, and Friday are not a fun combination. As a longtime commuter I can tell you that after noon on Friday it will be very heavy all the way to Fredericksburg, from there to Richmond won't be as bad but will still be heavy. As for I64 as long as there are no incidents you will be fine but with the long stretches of no shoulders one disabled vehicle or fender bender will make for a long ride (and with the expected heat this weekend not a pleasant thought),

My recommendation would to leave early from Arlington (before 10) and take 95 to 295 in Richmond. Follow 295 to 460 (to avoid 64) to Chesapeake and then 168/158 onto the peninsula.

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By: OceanBlue
7/18/2019 10:22 AM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

NCSU Dad


This. Full stop. Heads up before Tappanhannock heading south - use Waze (and a Valentine) - there is a very crafty trooper in a silver suburban that hides well. Also speed limit in Tappahannock is 25...not 26.

If you like sticking needles in your eyes and must go 95, use easy pass and drive at night.

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By: B_Pur
7/18/2019 10:59 AM

1) Don't Panic! and carry a towel (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

JoyinVirginia


And don’t listen to Vogons reciting poetry.


At the end of your vacation it's "So Long And Thanks For All The Fish"

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By: Md.Chas
7/18/2019 12:46 PM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

NCSU Dad


This. Full stop. Heads up before Tappanhannock heading south - use Waze (and a Valentine) - there is a very crafty trooper in a silver suburban that hides well. Also speed limit in Tappahannock is 25...not 26.

If you like sticking needles in your eyes and must go 95, use easy pass and drive at night.

OceanBlue
DO NOT exceed the speed limit going into Tappahannock because you will get nailed. Also crossing the bridge just before Port Royal to the traffic light at Rt.17 is another spot that'll get you a nice ticket.

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By: OiBeeX
7/18/2019 12:48 PM

I95 southbound, summertime, and Friday are not a fun combination. As a longtime commuter I can tell you that after noon on Friday it will be very heavy all the way to Fredericksburg, from there to Richmond won't be as bad but will still be heavy. As for I64 as long as there are no incidents you will be fine but with the long stretches of no shoulders one disabled vehicle or fender bender will make for a long ride (and with the expected heat this weekend not a pleasant thought),

My recommendation would to leave early from Arlington (before 10) and take 95 to 295 in Richmond. Follow 295 to 460 (to avoid 64) to Chesapeake and then 168/158 onto the peninsula.

smeeky


This is how we went last weekend. Decided to go a little later and hit the bridge at 5. Zero traffic. The only slow down was around Richmond and where 64 splits off. If you can get an early start that works too! I hate 64 and VA beach area so try and avoid it.

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By: mzdab3000
7/18/2019 1:43 PM

From Arlington, you're best off just catching I95, though as others have posted, it isn't a picnic on Friday/Saturday.

We sometimes head south toward DC (from PA) out Old US 15 down to Warrenton, and pick up Route 17 down to Fredericksburg. Not really an option for you. But it does eliminate the hassle that is the Capital Beltway. At Fredericksburg we endure I95 down to Richmond, and pick up I295. We stay on I295 almost to the end, and jump on Virginia Rt 460. That takes your through some nice scenic country - filled with many Barney Fifes and VA State Troopers mind you. But it is infinitely better than I64. It brings you out below the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel, and it is only a few miles to Rt 168 down to Rt 158.

This has served us well over the years.

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By: MikeW
7/18/2019 3:23 PM

Although many is MD 301 as an alternative to 95 getting to it from Arlington would be no fun.
As others suggest, just deal with 95 to 295 to 460.

Just to note the express lanes on 95 are southbound until 2pm on Saturday

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By: Staggerlee
7/18/2019 3:57 PM

I have used the I95>I295>460 combination going down the past couple of years and it is fine if you get through it early. However, on the return trip, I inevitably find myself in a sea of traffic on I95 specifically around Fredricksburg in the afternoon.

Now I use I295>301>495 to get back as we tend to leave a bit later.

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By: NCSU Dad
7/18/2019 4:14 PM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

NCSU Dad
This has been my route for years. Avoid I-95 at all cost.

Md.Chas


Md Chas: This year I started taking another route to avoid LaPlata, Waldorf, Upper Marlboro, and Bowie on 301. I go Virginia I64 to Rt 13 CBBT to travel the eastern shore to get me on Rt 50 to Annapolis. Since I have the luxury of being retired I can slow down & plan my trips to avoid Ocean City traffic in season.

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By: tilly
7/18/2019 6:43 PM

My suggestion head down 95 early. Try to cross the Occoquan by 6:30am and use the southbound HOT lanes which won't have a high fee due to low volume. This should get you to 295 and 64 ahead of a lot of traffic. 64 thru the work zones moves along at the posted 55mph speed well unless there is an incident. The overhead and route indicator destination time signs on 95 and 295 and your WAZE app should be enough information to let you know if you need to change course. 664 tunnel and high rise bridge work zone should be ok since you got an early start. Hope you have safe and easy travel.
Family took this route last week with no issues.
Coming home I wanted a change of scenery and came up 17N. Lots of cornfields and church steeples but a little longer behind the wheel Car

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By: OBX_Kool
7/19/2019 6:47 AM

If you are going to hit 301 from Arlington this weekend, go rt1 to 95 to 210. Don't go through DC on 295. There is a 1 lane closure on 295 from 8PM tonight till 5 AM on Monday.

I always go the way NSCU Dad posted. But, I live right off of 301.

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By: Md.Chas
7/19/2019 8:34 AM

You would have to get from Arlington to 301 in Maryland. My route traveling between the DC area and OBX was to travel south in Maryland on Rt 301 into and thru Va. Hang a left on Rt 17 at Port Royal. Travel Rt 17 with a right turn on 105 Ft Eustis Blvd in Yorktown. Take 105 to I64. Travel I64 into Hampton where you have the choice of picking one of two tunnels. Va. has message boards giving travel times for the two tunnels depending upon accidents. 664 Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel (my first choice) or Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. If you travel 664 MMBT it will put you back on I64. Either way travel until you reach Exit 291B for 168 to OBX.

NCSU Dad
This has been my route for years. Avoid I-95 at all cost.

Md.Chas


Md Chas: This year I started taking another route to avoid LaPlata, Waldorf, Upper Marlboro, and Bowie on 301. I go Virginia I64 to Rt 13 CBBT to travel the eastern shore to get me on Rt 50 to Annapolis. Since I have the luxury of being retired I can slow down & plan my trips to avoid Ocean City traffic in season.

NCSU Dad
Heading down I leave early enough to avoid the Waldorf traffic. If I get to Waldorf by 7:00am I beat the traffic and get mostly green lights down to the Va. line. Coming home, I don't get to La Plata until 10:00am so it's a pain in the @$$ all the way up to 50. I have to try the CBBT one day. I haven't been thru it since I was a tadpole.

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By: OceanBlue
7/19/2019 9:12 AM

[ I have to try the CBBT one day. I haven't been thru it since I was a tadpole.

Md.Chas


Heading north one can always exit onto 214 (parallels 50) take that to Riva Road or Rt 2 and get to 50 - if heading further north, take 97 and avoid even more 95/495.

On the CBBT route via 50 (Bay Bridge) just remember that on a Friday afternoon there are about a zillion other folks also trying to get to the MD/DE beaches...it is not pretty.

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