Just a quick question for those who might know: I may have a chance to stay with some other folks at a rented place in the Outer Banks. I had a quick look at flights and it seems like the closest I can get is Raleigh-Durham. Is that correct, or are there commercial flights to the cape itself?
I don’t mind renting a car and driving a couple hours from RDU if that’s the cheapest or least hassle option, but thought I’d check.
Where in the Outer Banks? It’s over 100 miles as the seagull flies between Nags Head and Sunset Beach, and they’re not the extremes, just good landmarks. For Dare County, Qadgop’s suggestion of Norfolk makes sense – at least better than RDU; I’m 25 miles east of it, and it would take me nearly four hours to get to OBX. Rocky Mount-Wilson, a commuter airport, is slightly closer but still an absurd drive. If it’s in the southern range of the Outer Banks, Wilmington makes more sense; it’s on the coast just south of the effective end of the OBX.
New Bern, NC has a commercial airport (EWN, Delta ASA and USAir Express), just run out US 70 East until it ends, get on the Cedar Island Ferry to Ocracoke Island, drive all 12 or 13 miles of Hwy 12 on that island and take the next ferry to Hatteras. 18 miles from ferry terminal to Avon, 4 hours from New Bern. Two boat rides, nice in good weather, and quite likely a much more relaxing drive than fighting the way through Kitty Hawk and Nags Head traffic.
How did you get Google Maps to map a driving time via the Cedar Island ferry? I was only able to do it by switching it to walking mode, which gives a walking time. I don’t know why the ferry isn’t included, it clearly is a car ferry service. Otherwise it plots it via Manteo and the Virginia Dare bridge, which is obviously no short cut.
However as you point out, it’s a more rural area, so the roads may be narrower and more tractor-filled.
I’d still consider the ferry, just since I could chat with my family while not driving, your (nautical) mileage may vary.