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Northern Outer Banks Bicycle Tour 
A bicycling vacation along North Carolina's Outer Banks & Pamlico Sound 

Ocracoke Lighthouse at Sunset

Day 1 l Day 2 l Day 3 l Day 4 l Day 5 l Lodging l Getting There l Cycling  

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.

See also: our 4-Day Southern Outer Banks Tour and our 6-Day Southern Outer Banks Tour

Northern Outer Banks Tour Fast Facts:
Highlights: Dates: Price:

3 Waterfront Inns 

Flat coastal cycling

Guided Kayak Tour

Fresh Local Seafood

Wright Brothers
National Monument

Pristine Sandy 

Ferry Rides

2018 Dates:

5 days / 4 nights

April 22 - 26 (Su-Th)

May 14 - 18 (Mo-Fr)

Oct. 8 - 12 (Mo-Fr)

Opt in for email date
announcements here:


2018 Tour Price:
$1,695 - 1,795 / person
Price range reflects
early to late enrollment.  

Bike rental: $100

Single occupancy 
room supplement: $425

Tour prices 
subject to change

Dates with an asterisk * have a solo traveler hoping for a roommate--  Call for details
RESERVE YOUR SPOT (click here)  

Day 1:  

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.   

Bicycling Distance:  40 miles +/-, flat terrain.

Silver Lake Harbor in Ocracoke Village

Day 2: 

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.  

Bicycling Distance:  26 miles, with options to extend, flat terrain.

Cyclists at the Outer Banks

Day 3:  

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.  

Bicycling Distance:  55 +/- miles, flat terrain.

Day 4:  

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.  

Bicycling Distance:  30 - 60 miles, flat terrain.

Wright Brothers National Monument Sculpture

Day 5:  

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.

Bicycling Distance:  20 - 40 miles, flat terrain.


All meals are included, with the exception of one "on-your-own" night in Manteo.  This includes breakfasts, picnic lunches, gourmet dinners and abundant snacks and beverages.

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Night 1:   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 Castle on Silver Lake, Ocracoke, NC

Night 2:  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.

The Inn on Pamlico Sound, Buxton, NC

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.

Tranquil House Inn, Manteo, NC

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Getting to the Tour Start (Columbia, NC):


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.

Driving:  Columbia is 72 miles from Norfolk International, 167 from Raleigh-Durham International, and 183 from Richmond.

Timing:  Arrive by 11:30 a.m in order to participate in our bike ride.  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.



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.  

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Bicyclists in coastal NC

Extend your visit: 

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.

Call 888.251.3206 (or 336-794-1054) or click here to request your reservation today

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Carolina Tailwinds   P.O. Box 24716   Winston-Salem, NC 27114-4716   888.251.3206 or 336.794.1054