Bicycling the Outer Banks of North Carolina (TourzPlus™)

  • Itinerary Summary

    Savor the charm of southern hospitality as you cycle through seaside villages and along sandy beaches. This tour through the coastal regions and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina is a wonderful choice for those seeking level terrain, unique local culture, and the ever present influence of salt air.

    Your bike tour begins on a meandering route through rural countryside, passing cotton plantations and horse farms on your way to the coast. Cycle along Bogue Banks, the southern most of the Outer Banks, and visit the North Carolina Aquarium and historic Fort Macon, dating to the Civil War.

    Enjoy a wonderful sail to Cape Lookout on a 45' catamaran. Disembark to roam the expansive beach, visit the lighthouse, go for a swim, and collect seashells. Dolphins often frolic around our vessel and wild ponies can still be seen roaming the uninhabited barrier islands. Cruise on a water taxi to Harker's Island to visit the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum for an interesting perspective on the local heritage.

    Spend two nights at a lovely inn located in the charming seaside village of Beaufort. Visit the award-winning North Carolina Maritime Museum, conveniently located next door to the inn. The village is home to numerous historic properties, and shops line the main street across from the harbor. Cycle along miles of uninterrupted ocean and pristine dunes on the island of Ocracoke. Indulge in fresh local seafood or visit local artisan shops in Ocracoke Village.

    Bask in the immense expanse of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and visit its famed lighthouse - the tallest in the country. This area of the coast is known as The Graveyard of the Atlantic and lays claim to more than 600 shipwrecks.

    Experience the relaxed pace of coastal North Carolina life. This is a place where time is measured by the sun, wind, and tides.

    Learn more about our TourzPlus™ partner tours and how they differ from regular ExperiencePlus! bicycle tours.

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    1. Day 1: Meet in New Bern

      Highlights: Bike fitting and welcome dinner

      Your tour begins in the heart of historic New Bern. Today will be your first opportunity to savor classic southern architecture as you cycle along tree-lined streets past colonial era Georgian-style mansions. Following our welcome reception, we'll walk around the corner to a favorite local restaurant for dinner.

      Test Ride: 5 miles

    2. Day 2: Ocracoke Island

      Highlights: Mattamuskeet Wildlife Refuge and Ocracoke Island

      Following a transfer out of New Bern, you'll cycle around Lake Mattamuskeet, the largest natural lake in North Carolina. Spend the morning in the National Wildlife Refuge, home to Bald Eagles, Osprey, Peregrine Falcons, and the American Alligator, before enjoying a picnic lunch at the Refuge headquarters. The afternoon the ride traverses level farmland en route to Swan's Quarter, where you'll board the North Carolina State Ferry for the 2.5 hour crossing of Pamlico Sound to island of Ocracoke. One of the loveliest hamlets in the Outer Banks, Ocracoke retains the charm of traditional coastal life. You'll lodge at The Captain's Landing and enjoy a spacious room with views and your own porch overlooking the harbor. Relax and enjoy the sunset before gathering as a group to dine at a favorite local restaurant.

      Distance: 20 - 33 miles

    3. Day 3: Ocracoke Island

      Highlights: Ocracoke Island and Cape Hatteras National Seashore

      Get a taste of island culture during breakfast a popular local restaurant. Pedal the length of Ocracoke Island enjoying ocean views and miles of uninterrupted sand dunes along your route. You'll be within a stone's throw of the beach for most of the ride and if you're fortunate you may see dolphins or migrating whales. Take a short ferry ride to Cape Hatteras to visit the tallest lighthouse in the nation and marking the dangerous offshore waters known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. A new museum is dedicated to the memory of more than 600 ships lost in these waters. The evening is yours to stroll through town, sit on your balcony with a bottle of wine, or dine out at a local restaurant.

      Distance: 26 miles or 52 miles

    4. Day 4: Ocracoke Island Day

      Highlights: Guided kayak trip

      One of the loveliest hamlets in the Outer Banks, the village of Ocracoke retains the charm of traditional coastal life. See the town and island from a different perspective this morning as you paddle the peaceful estuaries and bays during a guided kayak excursion. Depending upon the tides, you'll see various waterfowl and have the opportunity to beach the boats on a quiet island to explore. This afternoon, visit the town's shops featuring the creative works of talented local artists, take a boat to the deserted island town of Portsmouth or cycle to the beach for a walk along miles of pristine shoreline. Relax and enjoy the sunset from your porch at the inn before joining your fellow travelers for dinner at a favorite local restaurant.

      Distance: 8 or 26 miles

    5. Day 5: Beaufort

      Highlights: Cedar Island, Harker's Island & the National Seashore Visitor Center

      Hit the road early this morning and enjoy a delicious homemade breakfast during your ferry crossing of Pamlico Sound to Cedar Island. Upon disembarking the ferry, you'll cycle through the Cedar Island Wildlife Refuge, an extensive and undisturbed coastal marsh serving as home to over 270 species of birds such as the Green Heron, Clapper, Virginia Rail, and Marsh Hawk. Ride through small villages before crossing the bridge to Harker's Island. Your destination is the Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor Center and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum where you'll gain insights into the area's relationship to the sea and its local heritage. From here it's a short transfer to the seaport of Beaufort. Dinner tonight is at a popular local restaurant. Lunch is on your own today.

      Distance: 20 or 37 miles

    6. Day 6: Beaufort

      Highlights: Explore Beaufort and Cruise to Cape Lookout

      Begin your layover day with a leisurely stroll or short bike ride along the waterways surrounding the historic town of Beaufort. Originally a fishing port, then important trade port, the town was relatively unscarred during the Civil War because of early and continued Union occupation. Be sure to visit the highly acclaimed North Carolina Maritime Museum for greater insight into the local heritage and history. You might also enjoy perusing the local shops. At noon you'll set sail for Cape Lookout, a remote section of the National Seashore and part of the extensive barrier island system. Enjoy a picnic onboard before disembark on a deserted beach for a swim, visit to the lighthouse, or collecting seashells. Dolphins are often spotted during the cruise or even from the beach, as are wild horses that make these islands their home. Tonight the group will dine together in town at one of the region's top restaurants.

      Distance: 8 miles

    7. Day 7: Transfer back to New Bern

      Highlights: Plantations & Rural Farmland

      This morning you'll be transferred inland to the quiet countryside. During your final day's ride you'll gain a different perspective on the region as you travel through pine forest, rural farmland, horse farms, and old plantations steeped in the traditions of southern life. This area was one of the wealthiest in the nation prior to the Civil War when crops and people moved along the rivers in flat-bottomed steamboats. The remains of one such vessel are on display at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Today, the region relies heavily on crops such as tobacco, cotton and soybeans, as well as timber. Enjoy a farewell picnic by the river before pedaling through the Croatan National Forest back to New Bern. You'll have the opportunity to shower at the Harmony House Inn before departing. We advise that you not make flight reservations out of New Bern prior to 5:00pm.

      Distance: 22 or 38 miles

    • Highlights

      Gourmet regional cuisine, Ocracoke Island waterfront suites, Sail to Cape Lookout National Seashore, The finest beaches on the Atlantic, Cape Hatteras Seashore and Lighthouse, Guided sea kayak excursion, Seaside village of Beaufort
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 24-27 speed bicycle; 6 nights accommodation; all meals except one dinner and two lunches (excluding drinks); catamaran sail, guided kayak excursion
    • Countries

    • Begin/End

      New Bern, North Carolina
    • Arrive/Depart

      New Bern Craven County Regional Airport (EWN)
    • Total Distance

      97 - 184
    • Daily Distance

      22 to 36 miles
    • Rating

      101 Level terrain for the entire tour (except for the bridge crossing!).
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • The Outer Banks trip was fabulous! I really enjoyed the boating and biking combination. The lodging and meals were great and the tour leaders were helpful, attentive, and excellent!

      Kathy W.

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