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On the one hand, navigation in the Outer Banks is a snap because there's only one road—Route 12. On the other, traffic can make that single road two lanes of pure frustration on a rainy midsummer day when everyone is looking for something besides sunbathing. Low-lying areas of the highway are also prone to flooding.
Highways into the other areas along the coast—U.S. 158 into Kitty Hawk and Nags Head; U.S. 64 around Nags Head and Manteo; Interstate 40, which can take you from Wilmington all the way to Las Vegas or California if you desire, or Raleigh if you're catching a plane; and U.S. 17, which services Wilmington and New Bern—run smoothly during all but weekday rush hours and the busiest days of high season.
Driving on the beaches is allowed in designated areas, and permits are usually required. The strictly enforced speed limit on the beaches is 25 mph, and pedestrians always have the right of way. Driving on sand can be tricky, so be careful.
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