Adventure awaits: recreation, refreshing fun in Washington

Posted March 10, 2021 12:49 p.m. EST

If you want to experience the Pamlico River by kayak or stand-up paddle board, call or visit Inner Banks Outfitters. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Tourism Development Authority)

This article was written by our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

It has been said the best thing about memories is making them. With temperatures starting to warm and spring merely weeks away, an abundance of recreational activities await you in Washington.

From getting out on the water to exploring on two wheels to flying high among the clouds, this quaint river town has all the activity and adventure you crave this season.

If you want to experience the Pamlico River by kayak or stand-up paddle board, call or visit Inner Banks Outfitters. They rent, sell, and repair kayaks, bikes and stand-up paddle boards. Owner Liane Harsh can get you set up with the equipment and it will be ready for you in no time.

"We do all the work; you just show up and have fun!"

IBX Outfitters organizes stand-up paddle board yoga classes, wine and cheese paddles, and full moon paddles. If staying on land is more to your liking, you can rent bicycles.

Harsh said the latest addition to the business is golf cart rentals.

Maybe you're looking for a larger vessel. Pamlico Boat Rentals at Moss Landing Marina rents pontoons and deck boats, as well as paddle boats, kayaks and paddle boards.

Operating seven days a week, renting a water craft couldn't be easier. There is a form on their website that can be filled out to rent.

Owner and operator Austin Smithwick said the only requirements for the pontoon and deck boats are that renters be at least 25 years old and watch a quick safety video.

"We have people that come from all over that rent our boats. We have a handful of locals that rent, and an even larger percentage of people visiting from other areas," Smithwich said. "Some folks make reservations; some are just walking the boardwalk and see our boats with the phone number, call and rent [immediately]."

He added, "If you want to rent a tube for the day and go out tubing with your family while out on the boat, you can do that."

Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats are also available to rent.

Another option for getting out on the water is River Vibes. Located in downtown Washington, they rent kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and cruiser bikes. They also have a full service smoothie bar.

Owner Jennifer Schmit said she recommends reservations for rentals (especially during the busy season), but they aren't necessary.

"Our catchphrase is 'Ride, Relax, Refresh.' The idea is you can ride or kayak and have a refreshing smoothie when you're finished," Schmit said.

The N.C. Estuarium in Washington, one of the state's most innovative environmental centers, has a way to explore the Pamlico River, too. They have a roving riverboat that cruises the area several times per week starting sometime in April. The ride is free but call to reserve your seat; the riverboat fills up fast!

A few miles east of Washington, in Belhaven, you'll find another fun option for the whole family. Peter Beottger started Machapunga Ecotours in 2017 and has been providing informative and fun expeditions on the water since then. Captaining a 25-foot Parker boat, he can take up to six people at a time.

With a master's degree in biology, Boettger tells about the estuarine system in the area and how the local ecology is affected.

"We start out most of the trips going through what an estuary system is and why it's important to the environment. I do an overview of the area and the environmental factors that go along with it," Boettger said.

The excursions offered include sightseeing, photography, birdwatching, crabbing and can be tailored to fit the interests of an individual group.

Washington is also home to Goose Creek State Park that sits on the Pamlico River. The park includes hiking, places to fish, a visitor center, boat ramps, picnic areas and camping, including 'tiny cabins.' Park Administrator Vanessa Fisher said it's the perfect place for a recreational outing.

"We have over nine miles of hiking trails, and the park is dog-friendly [on a leash]," Fisher said.

For recreation that's less physical but very exciting, IBX Balloon Rides in Bath (North Carolina's oldest town), can take you on a hot air balloon ride. Open seven days a week, owner Neal Langford has been flying the balloons almost all his life.

"It's very peaceful, very quiet in the air. You get a different perspective," Langford said.

The rides fly over the river and farmland. Passenger rides are usually about an hour ride, ending with a traditional champagne toast.

Spring is right around the corner, and Washington has a variety of recreational activities for you and your family.

Adventure awaits. "Today's moments are tomorrow's memories."

Contact List

Inner Banks Outfitters

Pamlico Boat Rentals at Moss Landing Marina

River Vibes

N.C. Estuarium

Machapunga Ecotours

Goose Creek State Park

IBX Balloon Flights

This article was written by our sponsor, Washington Tourism Development Authority.

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