●Classic route: Route 50 east to Ocean City (about 150 miles).
●Alternative: There really isn’t a good highway alternative to the Ocean Gateway (Route 50). Around Wye Mills, Route 404 branches east from Route 50 and heads for Rehoboth Beach on the Delaware shore, but it’s narrow and crowded.
Along the Route 50 corridor, there are some short breaks, including Route 662 at Wye Mills. Approaching the shore, Route 90 (Ocean City Expressway) provides an alternative way into the city, at 62nd Street.
●Travel tips: The HOV lanes on Route 50 are HOV all the time. The best Bay Bridge travel times for summer weekend getaways are Thursdays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Fridays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Saturdays before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., and holiday Mondays before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m. The regular car toll for the bridge now is $4, paid eastbound.
Maryland plans lane closings on routes 50 and 404 over the summer, but not on eastbound Route 50 after noon Fridays or on westbound Route 50 on Sunday nights.
Maryland offers traffic information for the bridge at www.baybridge.com. That includes traffic-camera views. The state is now part of the 511 traffic information system. Dial 511 from within the state and use the voice recognition system to get information about your route, or use the Web site: MD511.org.
●Classic route: I-95 south, to I-295 south, to I-64 east, to I-664 south, then I-64 to Exit 292 for Chesapeake Expressway/I-464/Route 17. Then keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168) and take Nags Head/Great Bridge Exit 291B to Routes 168 and 158 and the Outer Banks (about 270 miles to Kitty Hawk).
●Alternatives: After Fredericksburg, some I-95 drivers pick up Route 17 south at Exit 126 and take it to I-64 in the Hampton Roads area. Others take the I-295 bypass around Richmond into the Petersburg area, then take Exit 50 to Route 460 east into Hampton Roads. Drivers on the east side of the D.C. region could take Route 301, crossing the Potomac River on the Nice Bridge ($4 car toll, southbound), then connect with Route 17 south.
●Travel tips: Virginia has widened I-95 in southern Fairfax County. Even so, Friday afternoon traffic south of the District can be stop and go to Fredericksburg. Either leave by 11 a.m. or wait until after 8 p.m. Even better, head out between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Saturday. Heading back Sundays, or holiday Mondays, plan to arrive by noon and you’re much more likely to miss those massive delays.
Get information about Virginia traffic conditions through the 511 system. On the Web, it’s www.511Virginia.org. You also can call 511 from any telephone in Virginia.