Hitting the Hatteras Island Bike Trails

In the summer, it seems like every other vehicle on NC Highway 12 has a bike rack strapped to the back, and there’s a good reason for this phenomenon. With a collection of smaller neighborhoods, paths, flat beaches, and miles of scenic highway, Hatteras Island can be a biker’s dream.
New to the local cycle scene? Exploring is an easy way to find the best routes, but there are a few scenic spots up and down the island that are ideal for long, easy bike rides.

Cape Point / National Park Service (NPS) facilities: This area is perfect for folks who need a little variety. With challenging hiking trails that double as great bike paths, small roads where NPS employees reside, and everything in between, you can enjoy a long ride that’s anything but boring. Simply park at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and head down the windy road. Explore the small roads and paths that meander off the main stretch, or just head towards the beach. The closer you go to Cape Point and the beach accesses, the more likely you’ll get a glimpse of the birds and animals that call this relatively deserted stretch of shoreline home, including deer, foxes, turtles, willets, and ospreys. It’s definitely worth it to pack along a camera.

Frisco Beach: Take a tour through the NPS run Frisco campground for a biking adventure through Hatteras Island’s highest point, or head down the long public beach boardwalk to the beach. This beach is perfect for biking along the shoreline with long flat sandbars and heavy packed down sand. Stay near the ocean wash, and try to arrange a bike ride around sunset when the beaches are unpopulated, and the skies are especially colorful.

Through the Villages: Hatteras and Avon villages might be off the beaten path, but they’re definitely worth a tour. In Avon, turn into the village via the stoplight by Village Grocery and Big Wave Dave’s. In Hatteras, turn past Burrus Red & White and the Weather Station. Then, in either locale, get ready to be surprised. In these villages you’ll find an uncommon collection of modern homes, brick ranches, and old historical homes that have been painstakingly restored and date as far back as the early 1900s. In spring and summer, the villages are alive with color, as many local residents take pride in their overflowing flower gardens, and the warm coastal climate does wonders to help them thrive.

On NC Highway 12: For distance cyclists, there’s no better route than right along NC Highway 12. With a bike lane that extends for 55 miles, and a flat, even route throughout the entire stretch, (aka, no hills), Highway 12 attracts cyclists from all over the world who want to go the distance and enjoy some amazing scenery along the way.

In your own Backyard: Perhaps the best thing about Hatteras Island for those with a bicycle adventure in mind is that virtually every small road off of NC Highway 12 is worth exploring. Scope out the neighborhoods that border your rental home, particularly if you’re in a larger community like Wind Over Waves or Hatteras Colony. While there are also bike paths along NC Highway 12 for long rides, most folks find more pleasure in exploring the small side roads that eventually lead to the sound or the ocean. Whatever you do, during your vacation planning remember to set up that bike rack on the back of the family truck. Once you arrive on Hatteras Island, you’re sure to find the effort well worth it.

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