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Hatteras IslandOcracoke IslandDown EastNCDOT Ferry

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse


Harkers Island

Schedules, Reservations:
For the Byway traveler:
The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway begins in the north at Whalebone Junction, the joining of US 64-264, US 158, and NC 12, in Nags Head, Dare County, North Carolina. Byway travelers following the Byway’s NC 12 south are flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Pamlico Sound on the west. The Byway traverses Bodie and Hatteras islands in Dare County, Ocracoke Island in Hyde County and Down East in Carteret County to end on the west side of North River at the intersection of US 70 and Merrimon Road (SR 1300). The route includes two ferry rides, one free between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands and the other, longer toll ride between Ocracoke Island and Down East’s Cedar Island.

Travel Directions to Byway Entrances:
  • Southern Entrance at Down East, Carteret County, N.C  :  From I-95 follow U.S. 70 from Smithfield, N.C. through Morehead City and Beaufort, to the byway gateway at North River.
  • Northern Entrance at Whalebone Junction, Dare County, N.C.: From the west: From I-95 follow U.S. 64 from Rocky Mount, N.C. east to N.C. 12 at Whalebone Junction (entrance to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore). From the North: From I-64 in Norfolk, Va., take Va. Route 168 south at Chesapeake, Va.; follow Route 168 which changes into U.S. 158 East at Barco, N.C. Take U.S. 158 to N.C. Route 12 and the Scenic Byway and Cape Hatteras National Seashore entrances at Whalebone Junction.

Links to Special Places

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Cape Lookout National Seashore
Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge
Chicamacomico Life Saving Station
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
Ocracoke Preservation Society
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center
Weather Rules:
Weather events like high tides and storms may impede driving along the Byway. Latest weather and road conditions can be had by dialing 511, which is NCDOT’s phone link for state travel. Follow voice menu to ask specifically about the Outer Banks. If access to the internet is available, updated road conditions including ferry runs are available at
Best time to visit:
Fall, winter and spring, September through May, are best for experiencing the Byway’s cultural heritage and natural features. Summer is high season for beach visitors.

Mailing Address:  PO Box 147, Rodanthe, NC 27968                               Phone 1-877-629-4386                                                     
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