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Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

San Antonio, Texas
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Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

My husband and I are planning to drive in early July from San Antonio, TX to Williamsburg, VA. We've already mapped out a visit to Jekyll Island, Savannah, and Charleston. We leave Charleston on July 5 and have reservations in Williamsburg on July 8. Any suggestions on route, things to see, etc. for this part of our journey? We haven't been in the area before and probably won't visit again by car. Any suggestions are appreciated!

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Atlanta, Georgia
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1. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

It is just about a 7 to 8 hour drive up I 95.

Post on NC forum for info from locals.

San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Thanks! Since it’s only 7-8 hours, I’m trying to plan a nice scenic or interesting route that lets us see some points of interest on the way. We have some time to kill 😄

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Yes you do! We usually just use the interstate when heading up to VA and DC. Sorry cannot be of more help.

We have been to the Outer Banks and enjoyed that but in the off season.

What about the Wilmington, NC area? We have enjoyed that along with Wrightsville Beach?

San Antonio, Texas
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4. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Thanks - I’ll check it out!

Baltimore
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5. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

It’s a one-day trip via I-95 which is heavily trafficked and all but void of scenery. With three days and nights allocated, there are some delightful options. It being July and a weekend, you may need to book in advance and that means planning.

My route of choice goes via the Outer Banks. This route incorporates two ferry rides which you may really enjoy. Single night rentals on Ocracoke Island or around Hatteras can be expensive during a July weekend – about $200 and up.

I think the one way fare from either Cedar Island or Swan Cove to Ocracoke Island is a modest $15 and the ferry on to Hatteras is free.

Besides the Outer Banks, Wilmington, Cape Lookout, Washington NC, and the Dismal Swamp are all interesting places between Charleston and Tidewater Virginia.

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6. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

We have taken the ferry many times to & from Ocracoke & reservations are highly recommended.

https://ferry.ncdot.gov/

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Thanks! I’ll check it out - much appreciated.

Long Island, NY
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8. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Route 17 North is a good alternate way to travel north as it will take you through a number of small towns as well as a couple of bigger ones. It's not as fast and direct as I-95 but certainly more scenic and laid back. You will pass through Pawley's Island and Murrells Inlet, Brookgreen Gardens is wonderful there. You can decide whether you wish to stay at Myrtle Beach (very touristy) or head further north to North Myrtle Beach (our family's preference) or Wilmington NC. From there, yoiu can head off to the Outer Banks or simply stay on Route 17 to Norfolk to catch I-64 to Williamsburg.

NC
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9. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

Since you are not in a big hurry, I recommend avoiding 95N completely. 95 can just be a nightmare, but it also is not scenic at all.

On the down side, since that is part of the 4th of July week, you need to secure reservations ASAP if you plan to visit Wilmington or the Outer Banks. Our beaches fill up that week and waiting to get something may find you having to stay somewhere you really don't want to. Wilmington is a great area and won't be quite as crowded as the Outer Banks. Also, not sure what your hotel budget will be, but the Outer Banks is very pricey, especially around the 4th.

One piece of advice----avoid Myrtle Beach at all cost! The roads will be jam-packed as well as the beaches. MB has become a huge tourist destination (mostly for people up north), but a lot of us down this way absolutely hate it and do not go, ever. With that, taking 17 up is fine, but I strongly urge you to not take 17 through Myrtle Beach. Not even the bypass.

Once you figure out where you want to go, we can recommend some routes for you. If you really want to go to/through Myrtle Beach, that's up to you. If you're looking for more laid back, I would suggest avoiding that area and heading up to NC.

Wilmington, North...
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10. Re: Road trip from Charleston, SC to Williamsburg, VA

You obviously have an interest in history, based on your itinerary.

Just north of Charleston, you might consider Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens.

Approaching Myrtle Beach, you can visit Brookgreen Gardens, which is outstanding and is noted for its over 700 sculptures placed in the gardens.

Wilmington, North Carolina has numerous historic sites. North of the city is Moore’s Creek national Battlefield, along the river is the USS North Carolina, which was the most decorated battleship in the Pacific during World War II. If you approach Wilmington through Southport, you can take the ferry to Fort Fisher, which protected the last open harbor of the Confederacy. (You can also reach Fort Fisher on NC-421 south of Wilmington.) There are beaches at Fort Fisher, Carolina Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, which are situated just outside the city of Wilmington. Wilmington has excellent tourist facilities and an active theater scene.

From Wilmington you can head north on US-17 to US-13 N. to Suffolk, and to US-460 to Route 31 N. to the ferry at Scotland. This takes you to Jamestown, Virginia, and avoids the traffic in the Norfolk-Newport News area.

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