625 Miles, Four Days
When the humidity hits, there’s only one way to beat it: keep the ocean in sight. From Virginia Beach head for the Outer Banks (Interstate 64 East to Highway 168 South to Route 158), which you’ll trace in their entirety over the next two days. —Jacob Baynham
Camp with Wild Horses
Drive through Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and take flight with a hang-gliding lesson over the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park ($99). Take Highway 12 to Hatteras Island, catch the free ferry to Ocracoke, a 16-mile-long barrier island, and pitch a tent at the National Park Service campground ($23). Unpack your cooler and look for dolphins at sea and wild horses on the beach.
Visit One of the Atlantic's Most Unspoiled Beaches
The next morning, rent a sit-on-top kayak from Ride the Wind, located on the island ($12 per hour) to paddle the calm Pamlico Sound before continuing to Beaufort for blackened-tuna tacos at Front Street Grill ($15). Keep heading south to Hammock Beach Road and take a $5 ferry ride to Hammocks Beack State Park, where foaming breakers will lull you to sleep on one of the Atlantic’s most unspoiled beaches ($13 camping).
Go for a Morning Paddle
On day three, return to the mainland and drive south to Wilmington for freshly shucked oysters at Hieronymus Seafood. Take Route 17 into South Carolina, but bypass busy Myrtle Beach to camp in Huntington Beach State Park, where you can lose yourself in the 9,100-acre Brookgreen Gardens ($14).
Next Up: Waterside Drive: Grand Rapids to Ann Arbor