Under the heading of “I’m not as smart as I think I am,” I was trying to run some errands about 3:00 o’clock on a Saturday. I’ve lived on the Outer Banks just about 20 years and I should know better. If in all that time I haven’t come to realize that Saturday is change over day and a few 100,000 people are all showing up between 12 and 5:00 . . . well–obviously, I’m not as smart as I thought I was.
The Outer Banks is all about tourism–welcoming visitors to our towns and villages, doing everything we can to make sure they’re having a great time and can’t wait to get back again next year. And we do a good job of it, too. Which is why families have made coming to the Outer Banks a part of family tradition and lore.
But–weekends, and Saturday in particular, can be a bit challenging.
Traffic does get backed up. We’re working on solutions. The biggest piece of the puzzle–the Mid Currituck Bridge–was so close to being funded that we almost scheduled a party–but the state of North Carolina, like states everywhere, is struggling to match available funds to most pressing needs and it doesn’t look like the bridge will be funded in the near future. The full history of the Mid Currituck Bridge, though, is a tale spanning decades and is a story of another day.
Although traffic is difficult on weekends on the Outer Banks, it’s not hopeless and there are things the savvy traveler can do.
Here at Brindley Beach Vacations we offer options to the standard 4:00 o’clock check-in through our Sparkle Club and early check-in. Families with children, especially younger children, may wish to take advantage of our early check-in services. It may be too late to take advantage of this service this year, but keep it in mind for next year’s vacation.
Although most rentals are Saturday to Saturday, some homes are available on Sunday. Both days are pretty busy, but Saturday is by far the busier day. If a Sunday rental works with your vacation schedule, consider that as an option.
Yes, check-in time is 4:00 p.m., but there is nothing that says a family has to show up as the cuckoo chirps four times. Consider arriving earlier. Start your vacation early–go to the beach, check out some of our wonderful shops. Weekends in the summer are the best days to be on the beach; because everyone is going and coming, there is almost no one on the beaches. Same is true for our stores and restaurants.
Here’s another suggestion–come early and do your grocery shopping before you check in. There is nothing that says you must get to your rental and then go shopping, and by shopping a bit earlier, you’ll avoid the insanity . . . which starts about 5:30 or 6:00 on Saturdays.
These are just some suggestions, but there are no perfect solutions. So, if you’re stuck in traffic, take a deep breath, relax and remember, the Outer Banks is just over that rise in the Wright Brothers Memorial Bridge, and the best one or two weeks of the year is about to begin.