Outer Banks Biking


Bicycling is one of the favorite activities on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Not only do bicycle paths abound, but many of the roads winding along the coast have wide paved shoulders, allowing cyclists to ride alongside motorized traffic.

Outer Banks biking routes begin at the north end of the Outer Banks at Corolla and Duck, and extend all the way to Cape Hatteras and Ocracoke at the southern end. The entire route comprises over 100 scenic miles of bicycling fun. The path on Roanoke Island runs from Washington Baum Bridge to the Manns Harbor Bridge, a total of six miles. This path is great for exploring Manteo and for visiting Fort Raleigh, the Elizabethan Gardens, and other attractions.

Short and long guided bicycle tours are available all along the Outer Banks, but cyclists can also choose their own route. Rental shops abound for those visitors who want to enjoy biking on the Outer Banks, but do not bring their own cycles. All types of equipment are available as well, including helmets and accommodations for children.

Not only is Outer Banks biking available throughout the islands, but the terrain is also extremely bicycle friendly. The entire route is almost completely level, except for a few bridges. For cycling safety, Dare County has posted yellow “Bicycles - Share the Road” signs throughout the county on US 158, US 64, and NC 12.

Visitors can join traffic along these highways, or take a quiet ride through residential neighborhoods. Paths in the towns and villages are usually slower-paced, providing a good route for leisure and family riding. Several paved routes wind through wooded area or parallel to the highway. Cyclists can tour from town to town on these paths without mixing with motor vehicles.

While biking on the Outer Banks, cyclists need to be aware that non-cyclists, such as joggers and walkers, also use the paved paths. Remember to always ride to the right and practice common courtesy. Roads with wide shoulders, in addition to being near motor vehicles, can also contain patches of sand.

Summertime in North Carolina can be hot and humid. Spring and fall are usually milder and will probably provide a cooler ride. Also, the wind blows on the Outer Banks almost constantly, and at times can be brisk. Blowing salt spray can leave a film on the bicycle, so riders may need to rinse their bicycles after riding along the water. The wind can also blow sand onto the bike paths, so cyclists need to use extra caution.

Detailed maps of the Outer Banks are available at the Outer Banks Visitors Centers, which boasts several locations. North Carolina treats bicycles like other motorized vehicles, so cyclists need to obey the rules of the road. Some basic rules for Outer Banks biking include staying to the right with traffic, always ride in single file, and keep at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. And, of course, wear a helmet!

For more detailed regarding North Carolina bicycling laws, cyclists should check with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Click here for more Outer Banks biking information.

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