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Ocean Highway

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Title: Ocean Highway  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: U.S. Route 13 Business (Salisbury, Maryland), U.S. Route 13 in Maryland, U.S. Route 13 in Delaware, American Guide Series, U.S. Route 13 in Virginia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ocean Highway

Ocean Highway
Route information
Length: 996 mi (1,603 km)
Major junctions
South end: US 90 in Jacksonville, FL

I‑295 in Jacksonville
I‑16 in Savannah, GA
I‑26 in Charleston, SC
I‑40 in Wilmington, NC
I‑64 in Norfolk, VA
US 50 in Salisbury, MD
US 40 in Wilmington, DE
I‑76 in Camden, NJ

I‑195 in Trenton, NJ
North end: US 1 in North Brunswick, NJ
Highway system

Ocean Highway was a designation established early in the 20th century for a combination of roadways and water-crossings for motor vehicles which would generally traverse as close as possible to the Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast of the United States from Jacksonville, Florida to North Brunswick, New Jersey. The Ocean Highway concept predated the creation of the Interstate Highway System beginning in the 1950s, and in many states the highways and byways of coastal routes from Florida to New Brunswick still carry the name.

Unlike many of the earlier named roads such as the beaches up and down the Atlantic Coast, the Ocean Highway promotions began in the 1930s.

Route description

The Ocean Highway began in Savannah. Within the state of South Carolina, the Ocean Highway ran along the state’s coast, passing through Charleston and Myrtle Beach. In North Carolina, the highway served the cities of Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, and Elizabeth City. The Ocean Highway passes through the Great Dismal Swamp on the border of North Carolina and Virginia before reaching the city of Norfolk, Virginia. At this point, the Ocean Highway shifted from US 17 to U.S. Route 13, and followed that route through Virginia Beach before coming to a ferry across the Chesapeake Bay. From here, the Ocean Highway ran the length of the Eastern Shore of Virginia before coming into Maryland. In Maryland, the Ocean Highway followed US 13 and passed through the city of Salisbury. Continuing into Delaware, the road passed through Dover before coming to Hares Corner, where the Ocean Highway split from US 13 and joined U.S. Route 40. The Ocean Highway crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey and continued to the northeast on U.S. Route 130. It passed through the Camden and Trenton areas before ending in North Brunswick.[1]

There were several spurs that existed off the main Ocean Highway. In North Carolina, side route A ran from the main road in Elizabeth City east to Sea Island.[1]


Over the years, some of the routing has changed. For example, for many years, the routing to the north through Virginia after passing the eastern edge of the Dismal Swamp offered a choice. A westerly track followed Chesapeake Bay, while an eastern alternative used U.S. Route 13 to pass through Norfolk and crossed the Chesapeake Bay via the Little Creek Ferry (replaced by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in 1964) to reach Virginia's Eastern Shore, and move north up the Delmarva Peninsula to Maryland and Delaware. After 1964, the former Little Creek Ferry equipment was transferred to the Delaware Bay, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry was introduced, offering another choice for crossing into New Jersey and following the shore points north from the traditional route over the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

Cities along route


External links

  • Discovering the Ocean Highway in North Carolina
  • The Ocean Hiway - US Highways 13 & 17
  • WPA Writer's Project - The Ocean Highway
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