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.
Columbia, our rendezvous site, offers a quiet village in one of the least populous of North Carolinas 100 counties. Arrive early to enjoy the paddling opportunities on the Scuppernong River and the exhibits at the Walter Jones Center for the Sounds.
After meeting for a light lunch and orientation meeting, we'll start the trip rolling with a 36 mile bike ride into the remote coastal plain. Country roads take us past cotton farms, swamps, and Lake Mattamuskeet on the way to Swan Quarter and the ferry that will take us to Ocracoke Island. You'll work up an appetite, which will be satisfied by an outstanding gourmet meal later.
After filling up with a delicious hot breakfast, enjoy a flexible day by exploring quirky Ocracoke Village, paddling the calm waters of Silver Lake Harbor and Pamlico Sound, or exploring the nearby beach. Then set off on your bike to the other end of the island, where another ferry waits to whisk you across Hatteras Inlet to Hatteras Island. Continue biking to our sound-front refuge for the night, the Inn on Pamlico Sound. If you arrive early, you can pedal over to the nearby Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, the most famous of North Carolina's lighthouses. Moved in 1999, it is open for climbing between early April and mid-October. An excellent visitor's center in the old keeper's quarters provides exhibits about the dangerous waters known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. When you are done with the day's activities, relax with a massage at the in-house spa at our inn before a group gourmet dinner. Close the day with a spectacular sunset on the Pamlico Sound.
After a three course gourmet breakfast, we'll depart on bikes. Our bike ride today takes us north up the length of Hatteras Island to the charming waterfront village of Manteo, our home base for the next 2 nights. Manteo, named for a native American who assisted the first English explorers is located on Roanoke Island, where the ill-fated "Lost Colony" was attempted. We will never know what became of those 116 colonists, who disappeared in 1587, but their legend is respectfully remembered all over Manteo and Roanoke Island. The Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in Manteo commemorates this history, and is home to the longest running outdoor play in America, "The Lost Colony," which is reenacted every summer. Nearby Festival Park is home to the Elizabeth II, a modern replica of the 16th century ships that would have brought the English colonists to the New World. We regroup for hors d'eourves on the Manteo waterfront at sunset and dinner as a group at the renowned 1587 restaurant. Click here to see some of 1587's outstanding cuisine.
Our layover day in Manteo give you the options of biking out and back north on the Outer Banks or remaining in charming Manteo for the day. The bike ride takes us to an optional climb to the top of the Currituck Lighthouse for fabulous views of sound and ocean , as well as the historic site of the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk. Enjoy the fascinating ranger talk and walk the hallowed ground where aviation history was made. In between stops, enjoy bicycling through both sound front and oceanfront communities.
It's time to leave the Outer Banks for the mainland. A brief shuttle takes us back to the Columbia area, when a lovely bike ride on quiet country roads awaits. Verdant fields of soybeans, cotton and peanuts provide a green backdrop for today's final ride. Showers and a catered lunch will be provided prior to departure.
Low end of tour price range reflects the 6 month Early Bird Discount. High end of price range reflects no Early Bird Discount.
What's Included in Your Tour Price
4 nights at 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.
Full Route Support & Luggage Transfer
Service of 1 – 2 support vans on route every day.
Complimentary Airport Transportation from Raleigh-Durham
Carolina Tailwinds picks up on the afternoon PRIOR to the tour start in the Raleigh area and drops off in the late afternoon on Day 5 at the Raleigh Durham Airport area or airport inn locations to and from our tour start in Columbia, NC. Timing formally coordinated 2 weeks prior to tour date.
More details on what's included:
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The Castle on Silver Lake, Ocracoke, NC. You will not want to leave the island hospitality provided by this beautifully restored bed and breakfast! Relax with friends by the private heated pool, on the widow's walk, or in the parlor complete with billiards table. Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014 winner.
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 2014 winner
Nights 3 & 4
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.
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:
Brickhouse Inn, 415 Main St, Columbia, NC (252) 766-3333
Getting to the Tour Start (Columbia, NC)
Driving: Approximate travel distance to Columbia—
- Norfolk, VA: 72 miles
- Raleigh- Durham, NC: 167 miles
- Richmond, VA: 183 miles
- Atlanta, GA: 564 miles
- Charlotte, NC: 316 miles
- Cincinnati, OH: 668 miles
- Washington, DC: 285 miles
Greenville, NC (PGV) is 86 miles away, and US Airways Express & United Express, provide non-stop flights via Charlotte. Flight timing: You would want to arrive at PGV no later than 9:30 a.m. on the first day and depart no earlier than 5 p.m. on the last day.
Norfolk Intern'l Airport (ORF) is approximately 83 miles away. Shuttle service to Columbia is available, but a rental car is probably the best option.
Raleigh-Durham Airport (RDU) is approximately 3 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 Greenville, Raleigh-Durham & Norfolk airports. A complimentary Carolina Tailwinds shuttle will be available to and from the Raleigh-Durham airport at a designated time the day before the tour starts and on Day 5 after the tour concludes.
Parking: We have arranged for long term parking there for the duration of your tour. We will end the tour at the same inn with an opportunity to shower there prior to departure.
Arrive 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. That usually means an arrival the night before arrival at RDU or ORF. Departure time from Columbia on the last day is usually around 2 p.m. and return flights should be no earlier than 7 p.m. that evening from RDU or ORF.
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 Brickhouse Inn in downtown Columbia. This quaint b&b is walking distance to the downtown boardwalk and the the Walter B. Jones Center for the Sounds. Columbia is a quiet place (population 819) where nature is the main draw. Paddling and fishing 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 (pictured to the left) 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.
Sparkling sandy beaches, delectable seafood, relaxing ferry rides, and extraordinary biking await you on this special tour. We visit in the spring and fall, when the crowds are gone and the weather is perfect for bicycling. Enjoy two nights in Ocracoke Village, "the Pearl" of the Outer banks.