Hatteras, Ocracoke, and Roanoke Islands are all featured on this itinerary that allows the bicycle tourist to explore more of the Outer Banks. Visit the site of the Wright brothers’ first flight, miles of undeveloped seashore, up to four historic lighthouses, and more. Enjoy fresh local seafood, and all waterfront accommodations.
This itinerary has been modified from previous versions to make it safer in the Covid-19 era. Specifically, there are no long van shuttles built into the itinerary. This, along with the many other safety protocols we have instituted on all tours should make this trip a safer choice for as long as we are all living with Covid-19.
Manteo, our rendezvous site, is a quiet village on historic Roanoke Island. Arrive early to enjoy the area paddling opportunities or the NC Aquarium.
After meeting for a light lunch and orientation meeting, we'll kick things off by exploring Roanoke Island and its remarkable history by bike. You'll roll through the island neighborhoods and waterfront communities. We head toward the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, which tells the story of the Lost Colony, England’s failed settlement of 1587 prior to their success at Jamestown. From there, you may opt for a stroll through the Elizabethan Gardens, featuring coastal NC’s blooming gardens, bike toward the tiny village of Wanchese, or park the bike and spend the afternoon in the charming small village of Manteo. Conclude with a ride over to Manteo’s Festival Park, an indoor and outdoor living history museum complete with character actors and a replica of a ship Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonists used to cross the Atlantic in the 1580’s!
After getting cleaned up back at the Tranquil House Inn, we'll enjoy dinner at the famed 1587 restaurant onsite. Click here to see some of 1587's outstanding cuisine. Takeout optional.
Our second day in Manteo gives you the options of biking out and back north on the Outer Banks or remaining in charming Manteo for the day. After a quick 10 minute shuttle, the bike ride takes us north along the beachfront road, through a beautiful tree canopy neighborhood, and into the charming community of Duck, NC. Strong riders can make all the way to the end of the road in Corolla, NC, home to North Carolina's northernmost lighthouse. Later, stop at the historic site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk. Enjoy a fascinating ranger talk and walk the hallowed ground where aviation history was made.
Another brief shuttle will get you back into Manteo, where dinner will be on your own this evening.
Today is simply a spectacular day on the Outer Banks. We'll take a brief shuttle to Nags Head and start our ride there. Going south on famous NC 12, you may choose to stop at the Bodie Island Lighthouse before a true highlight: biking over the new Marc Basnight Bridge over Oregon Inlet. Equipped with a huge shoulder, the bridge allows you to take in breathtaking views of ocean, sound and inlet as you make the 2.8 mile crossing. At the other end you are on Hatteras Island, the longest of the islands on this tour. After passing through the beach communities of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo and Avon, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will come into view. The tallest brick lighthouse in North America, it is one of the best known North Carolina symbols. Just a few miles further is our gracious inn for the next two nights, the Inn on Pamlico Sound.
Dinner is together at Cafe Pamlico, onsite. (Outdoor seating and takeout available)
Rising early, we'll depart the inn and bike to the end of the road in Hatteras Village. From there a state run ferry will take us to the northern end of Ocracoke Island, the next island in the barrier chain. Highway 12 continues for 13 miles to quirky Ocracoke Village, all but the last couple of miles completely undeveloped. In the charming village you'll have opportunities to visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse, circa 1823, browse shops and take in the beauty of Silver Lake Harbor. Lunch of fish tacos at a outdoor cafe is recommended. After exploring the village, you'll make your way back up the island (stop briefly to visit the "wild ponies" of Ocracoke) and return to Hatteras Island.
Dinner will again be at spectacular Cafe Pamlico. (outdoor seating and takeout available)
On our final day, we get to bike back up Hatteras Island and cross the spectacular Basnight Bridge once again. We'll get you back to Manteo and your car by early afternoon. Showers will be available prior to your departure.
Low end of tour price range reflects the 6 month Early Bird Discount. High end of price range reflects no Early Bird Discount.
During the era of Covid-19, the Single Room Supplement will be waived for a limited number of single rooms. These will be available on a first come, first serve basis. After those rooms are filled, the Single Room Supplement will be $425.
What's Included in Your Tour Price
4 nights at two lovely waterfront inns
Dinner on Nights 1, 2, & 4; All lunches except 1 on your own lunch; All breakfasts; Snacks; and Hors d'eourves most nights.
Services of Expert Guides
Carolina Tailwinds maintains a guest to guide maximum ratio of 7:1 on all our tours. Guides are ready to show you the hidden wonders of each and every destination. (During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are running at a 4:1 ratio so that we can provide an extra van.)
Full Route Support & Luggage Transfer
Service of 1 – 2 support vans on route every day.
More details on what's included:
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Nights 1 & 2
Tranquil House, Manteo, NC is located on the Shallowbag Bay waterfront in quaint downtown Manteo surrounded by beautiful boardwalks, and sailboats. Built in the style of stately Outer Banks Inns of the 19th Century and enhanced by the conveniences of the 20th, the charm of custom cypress woodwork and beveled and stained glass will greet you at every turn.
Nights 3 & 4
The Inn on Pamlico Sound, Buxton, NC is a full service inn on the water. The Inn provides a casually elegant lodging, waterfront balconies, swimming pool, and gourmet dining, and a full service spa. Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2017 winner.
Average mileage of 35 per day varies at the options of individual guests. Distance flexibility is available by taking advantage of short-cuts and designated "leap-frog" shuttles. Because of the flexibility, this is a great tour for couples of mixed biking ability. Terrain is flat, but windy days are common. Routes are on back roads with intermittent, light traffic, and on a beach road with a wide, paved shoulder. The tour is suitable for road bikes or hybrid style bikes.
Tour Point of Origin:
Tranquil House Inn, 405 Queen Elizabeth Ave., Manteo, NC
Getting to the Tour Start (Manteo, NC)
Driving: Approximate travel distance to Manteo—
- Norfolk, VA: 98 miles
- Raleigh- Durham, NC: 204 miles
- Richmond, VA: 300 miles
- Atlanta, GA: 601 miles
- Charlotte, NC: 573 miles
- Cincinnati, OH: 706 miles
- Washington, DC: 287 miles
Norfolk Intern'l Airport (ORF) is approximately 98 miles away. Shuttle service to Manteo is available, but a rental car is probably the less expensive option.
Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) is approximately 3.5 hours away. It is served by most major airlines. We can provide a complementary shuttle from/to Raleigh-Durham if timing is coordinated in advance. Our shuttle picks up in the RDU area at 5:00 pm on the afternoon prior to the tour start. We then shuttle to the tour start area for an added overnight. Call or email for details.
Ground Transit: Rental cars are available at the Raleigh-Durham & Norfolk airports.
(During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Carolina Tailwinds will not be providing airport shuttles on this destination.)
Parking: We have arranged for long term parking there for the duration of your tour.
Arrive in Manteo by 11:30 a.m in order to begin your bike vacation with us on Day 1. If you are renting a bike from us, please arrive no later than 11:00.
Departure time from Manteo on the last day is usually around 2 p.m.
Extend Your Vacation
There is much to see and do in eastern North Carolina. Before or after your activity-packed four days on this tour, consider some time in the area on your own.
Our meeting point for the tour is Tranquil House Inn in downtown Manteo. This waterfront inn is walking distance to the downtown boardwalk, Roanoke Island Festival Park (a living history museum, and a small maritime museum. Paddling on the Scuppernong River are popular here. Bring your bike and explore quiet country roads nearby.
Those interested in history will want to add time in nearby Edenton. Many of the historic homes in Edenton, including Cupola House are included on the guided walking tours led by the downtown visitors center.
Another lovely waterfront town nearby is Washington, NC. Known as "Little Washington," it has a refurbished downtown area with b&b's and restaurants.
Birders and kayakers will revel in the options available in eastern North Carolina: Merchants Millpond State Park, Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, and many other spots offer quiet, tranquil water. Several self-guided canoe trails are located in the area.
Virginia's Lower Peninsula is rich in history: Home to the first successful English colony in America, the final dramatic battle of the American Revolution, and the incomparable living historic park that is Colonial Williamsburg. Bike routes on gently rolling hills and flat terrain connect these sites and more.