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North Carolina and Virginia Coastal Region

Sunset taken from Fishermans Island, VA

Woow...Still in hangover of the trip. It was an awesome trip, few changes to the route made it lot memorable. The new plan is at the bottom of this page.
 As planned, got up early, and hit the road by 6:30am, traffic was ok, contrary to what I was expecting. Reached Virginia Beach around 12pm, driving at a steady average speed of 70 mph. The last couple of miles, though, were heavy labor day weekend traffic. Was looking for a place to park, got  parking at 21st street, very close to the beach; one can actually keep everything in the car, change into swim suit and jump into the ocean, easily accessible.


Well… just to take judgment of the area…I Took my camera, went down to the beach for a walk and hopefully get a few clicks. 

The beach was awesome with 10-12” high waves, lot of surfers were showing off their skills, families with kids, parents, grandparents… girl friend/boy friend, group of boys/girls, all combination could be seen.I started missing my hero, my son Dyuman & wife Devina…Definitely I'm gonna bring them here sometime. My kid just loves beaches…just like his daddy (or mom?!). Anyways…Couldn't find anything worth catching on camera...or maybe I am too amateur to find any!, just clicked few to capture the moment, then went back to car to keep my cam gear, changed, and came back & jumped into the ocean. I just fell in love with surfing. Next time I'll definitely try those surfing boards, I'm sure I can surf if I practice for few hrs. 

                       Virginia Beach, taken from 21st street parking

I had fun tackling those big waves till 4:30pm, then decided to pack up and head towards my next destination, “Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge”, my main intention being to drive  through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, US Route 13, VA, 23 miles route across ocean. The road is a combination of bridges and 2 tunnels of each 1-1.5 miles in length I guess. More info, visit . The toll is $12 each side.


Note –


·         You are allowed to make a ‘U turn’ just before the toll-booth at the other side. So if you just want to enjoy the road, $12 is good enough.

·         There are 2 scenic parking areas, one of which lies in the middle of the road, just before tunnel 1 starts. People can park their vehicles, come out and enjoy the beauty of ocean and engineering. The 2nd one is on the other side, i.e. on the Fishermans Island, just before the other side’s toll booth. You can enjoy the beauty during sunset.

·         The best time would be leave 1 hour before sunset, take a 15-20 minutes' break on the first scenic parking area, then take a U turn from the end, park on the 2nd scenic parking and enjoy the sunset, before heading back to Virginia's mainland.

·          The sunset photo in the top of this page clicked there.



I wasn't aware all these, and left quite early. So I had to exit. As it is said, things always happen for a reason, I got into the “Fishermans Island National Wildlife Refuge”. I could hear sounds coming from the jungle...sounds of creatures living within... It was scary, but thrilling at the same time.  I took a walk around, and found few wild flowers, plants, etc. This is one of best photo I have clicked. As the sun was about to set down for the day, I rushed back to the welcome center(From where you enter into the Wildlife Refuge, It’s just after the toll booth), passed through the toll booth(I had to pay $12 again)…and then stopped immediately to enjoy the sunset & capture few moments.


I decided to call it a day, and as I packed up my gear, I realised that I was day had started at 5am in Charlotte, and what an eventful day it was. My immediate plan was to head towards Nags Head, find some place to take a long hot shower before <handing myself over> to the bed.  I was in luck...I found a place in Chesapeake itself, a place where lots of Lodging options are available, and that too within standard, affordable rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                         A wild flower in Fisherman's Island Wildlife Refuge       

Note –

·         Virginia Beach Hotel prices are pretty high, a standard 2 star hotel (redroof),not even ocean faced, asked $169.99 + 30% tax. So, if you are on a budget trip, you may opt for this location, just 10 miles from Virgina beach on I64, exit 289B.

·         Lot of cheap hotels are available, including Extended Stay, Sun suits, other standard hotels.

·         I stayed in sun suits, only option was a double bed, at $69.99 + 30%tax. Single room was $59.99.



Unfortunately I could't find a nice dinner, had some junk food, but who cares after souch a lovely day. I updated my wifey about the current day and my <wellness>.



Day 2

                                                                                                                                   First stop towards Nags Head

Started at 10:30am, after having breakfast in McDonald (you just can’t avoid it, even if you want to, either your kid will drive you there or you will..LOL). I drove to Nags head, without any unnecessary stop, I just enjoyed the drive. The road went through lots of small villages, traffic signals & anyway, who wants to drive fast! Outer banks drive was not as I had imagined.


Note –


·         Initially I thought the road will go across the ocean, and I'll be able to see the sea on both sides while driving. But it is actually much wider, and you can see land, vacations homes,trees, etc. After few miles though, it gets thinner, but not enough for ou to see the water across, but you can feel the ocean though.

·         There are parking areas in every 2/3 miles, one can just park car, walk to the beach.

·         The best thing was, it was not at all crowded,  a single group/family can always find a private enough space.

·         There is no toll road.



I clicked few, the beaches, white sand and blue sky are awesome, but did not enjoy much, as I was looking for some subject, I really did not know what. So, I decided to drive further to check out what lies on the other side.

Ferry service was available to Ocracoke island, you can just take your car on to the boat. A boat can carry 15-20 cars along with few motor cycles and bicycles. It took around 45 minutes to reach the island. Again, you don’t have to pay any fees to avail this service.


Yeah....its me, I hardly take photos of mine...This is one of 3 photos of me in the trip.

Ocracoke is a small island (for more info, visit ), where you will find lots of people on bicycles. You can even find a bicycle to fit your whole family! The automotive vehicles are not given much value and maximum speed you are permitted to drive throughout the island is 20mph! and most of time, it’s much less than that, as you have to give ‘right of way’ to bicycles. But you will enjoy. I Visited a gift shop to get some souvenir, thinking at the back of my mind, what to do next, because as per plan I have finished my road trip, take a U turn, return back to Nags head, and then back to Charlotte.


My GPS suggested that I can go further to other side of the island using ferry service. I decided to go with my GPS, and explore more.  Why should I call it a day when I still had some to explore? And it was only 5:30pm!! I Got into the ferry queue without knowing where I am heading to. The toll booth operator gave me a surprising look, when I asked “Do you know where am I going?”  Its Cedar Island! I said “woow”…without knowing anything :P


                       Ocracoke Island, boat just left for Cedar island, when clicked

Note –

·         The ferry service from Ocracoke to Cedar island is $15.


 The boat honked soon <scaring everyone onboard>  Very soon I got confirmation of my destination after hearing the Captain’s announcement that the travel time will be just more than 2 hrs! Huuuh! Lots of questions were going through my mind..."Where am I going? Is there any way to come back from that “island” during night?" it was too late for me to change my mind!!


The travel was really awesome!!! Since long time I wanted to travel across the ocean, in fact in my last visit to Mauritius, we travelled to a small island, ”Ile Aux Cerfs”, click here to see it in google. Travel time was 45 minutes, but parallel to the shore. But this time, it was across the sea and after few minutes you actually cannot see any land within your eyesight. And…it was a sunset time again! Woow. It’s just happened, sometimes when you go without any plan, things tend to take you by surprise...For me, it was like a gift!!!  This time I was accompanied by couple of other photographers along with 2 professionals, who also shared few photography tips.


                                                                                                                                                                        I like this one very much, clicked in middle of ocean in b/w Ocarcoke &Cedar Island

Well… Reached Cedar island around 8:30pm, the main surprise was it was not actually an island!, GPS suggested a town called “Morehead City”, oooppss…again naming confusion, a town named as “City”…anyways…thanks to this town, I found a shelter to sleep. The town is about 1.5 hrs drive from the shore. I stayed in a motel called “Morehead Motor Inn” owned by an Indian(Mr. Patel), cost me around $62 including tax. Woow! I like the price here.


Day 3


Morning, got up late, again I updated Devina about the status. Took a long shower, had breakfast, and then headed back to Charlotte. This time the road was across county roads, lots of villages, traffic signals, but anyways I was not in hurry. I finally reached Charlotte around 4:30pm. Well…that’s it about the trip guys.



This article is actually a bit tilted towards those visitors who by chance, land onto this page by ‘Uncle Google’,  to provide some idea about the roads, the breaks, costs, etc. When you try googling the words like Virgina beach, fisherman island, Nags Head, Ocracoke Island, you will only find resorts, cabins, and lot of other advertisements and very difficult to get a road trip details. If you find it helpful, please drop a comment here.


Thanks and until the next!!! :) by the is the actual plan...

(1) Charlotte, NC, USA -->
(2) Virginia Beach, VA, USA -->
(3) Fisherman Islands National Wildlife Refuge --> (4) Virgina Beach -->
(5) Nags Head, Outer banks -->
(6) Ocracoke Island, NC -->
(7) Cedar Island,VA -->
(8) Charlotte, NC

Whereas, the planned was this route.

Few moments from the trip

Sep 8, 2010 1:38 PM