Outer Banks Bike Trails and Bike Rentals

It should come as no surprise that the Outer Banks is an ideal place to enjoy the pleasures of bike riding, whether you’re a casual cyclist or a hard-core extreme athlete. In this article we’re going to review some of the many bike routes and other cycling opportunities you’ll find along the North Carolina shore.


This popular community offers 10 miles of paved bike pathways that will take you past favorite attractions like Whalehead historic site, Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, and Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Paths are wide and flat, making them accessible to both novice and seasoned cyclists.

Duck/Southern Shores

A 10 mile stretch of paved bicycle pathway joins these two communities. The route parallels North Carolina Hwy. 12 with a wide greenway between the two for your safety. Ancient oak and cedar trees offer plenty of shady spots spots to take a break and enjoy the ever-present ocean breeze. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, shops, and other things to explore along this picturesque biking path.

Southern Shores/Kitty Hawk/Kill Devil Hills

Here you’ll find miles of winding bike paths where you can sample the area’s lesser known treasures. You can visit Kitty Hawk Coastal Reserve, floor local cafés and curio shops, and tour the Wright Brothers Memorial.

Nags Head

You can stick with an 11 mile paved route through the middle of town or, for a more intense challenge, travel the dirt trail that plunges straight through the heart of Jockeys Ridge State Park. Both options are popular with local cyclists. For something a little more private, Nags Head also has a lesser used dual-lane trail.


Manteo has splendid opportunities for casual cyclists who want to do a little sightseeing. Head for the lightly used public streets of downtown Manteo to ride through the area’s famous historic district. Or take a trip down the city’s purpose-built bicycle path, where you can enjoy mile after mile of beautifully tended Crêpe Myrtle trees alongside white picket fences.

Pea Island

This 13 mile stretch includes a challenging route through 13 miles of the Pea Island Wildlife Refuge. This trail is best suited to experienced riders in good physical condition due to its secluded location and limited rest areas. On the other hand, it offers a chance to enjoy the scenic wonder of the Outer Banks in a near-pristine environment.

outer banks biking

Some Opportunities for the Extreme Cyclist

The Outer Banks cycling community hosts a series of grueling annual adventures that will test your physical abilities to their limits. One of these is the Outer Banks Duathlon, held in early spring of each year. This is a run/bike/run event that follows strict USAT rules. You must be at least 15 years old to participate in this contest.

The annual Outer Banks Triathlon, held in early autumn, is a run/swim/bike competition that draws top athletes from around the world. This is a great opportunity to stretch your skills while enjoying amazing scenery and the companionship of other high-level performers.

Cycling Tours

Want to see all (or almost all) of the Outer Banks from the seat of your bicycle? Local tour companies sponsor biking tours that combine 15-50 mile daily routes with ferry rides, historic sightseeing, and meals at some of the area’s finest restaurants.

Rules, Regulations, and Tips To Keep in Mind

Always display proper cycling etiquette when riding in the Outer Banks. Wear your helmet, use hand signals, and be mindful of more those on foot or behind the wheel. Follow official rules when participating in a duathlon, triathlon, or other regulated event. Bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, a little extra cash, and first-aid supplies.

“What If I Want to Rent a Bike?”

You’ll find plenty of bike rental venues in the area. This link lists some of the best.

Other Resources

Find printable maps of the area’s bike routes.

When All Is Said and Done…

After a full day exploring the Outer Banks by bike, nothing beats having your own private vacation home to cradle you in comfort as you get ready for a great night’s sleep. Don’t risk your money on crowded hotel rooms or amateur innkeepers when our professionally managed short-term rental properties offer so much value. Browse our site and make your reservations today for best selection. We’ll see you soon along the Outer Banks.


Cola Vaughan Realty
PO Box 1375 • Nags Head, NC 27959
Phone: 252.573.2811
Email Inquiries To: vacations@obxcola.com