Most all of our day trips involve some driving, usually staying around 3 hours to get to our starting location. The Sunset Beach Boat Ramp is about 2.5 hours away and parking in adjacent gravel lot is free. First step is to inflate the Kokopelli Castaway Packraft, which takes roughly 10 minutes. Next involves attaching the bike to the raft, where some tools and skill are required. Remove wheels, remove one pedal and lots of straps; this takes another 15-20 minutes. Required gear will include paddle, life vest for the boating portion and helmet, storage bags and lights for the bike portion. Standard repair kits for boat and bike recommended as well.
Checking the tidal charts and weather is important to making this trip achievable. Paddling downstream in the Intracoastal Waterway and into adjacent creek for total of 3.5 miles. This took about hour and half before landing on the end of Sunset Beach. Now it was time to deflate the boats, assemble the bikes and then load up all our gear, roughly 30 minutes total.
For riding on the beach, nothing beats a fat tire bike. The Trek Farley has Bontrager Barbegazi 26 x 4.70 tires for floating over the sand. Topeak Frontloader bag will hold my packraft on the handlebars. We rode to the other end of Sunset Beach and then back over the bridge to our car for a total of 8 miles in about 50 minutes.
Sure, the paddling section is slower in a raft and the bike is slower loaded up with gear. And it does requires more time and gear for this trip, but the reward of getting to paddle and bike is incredible.
For more information on where to launch, go to www.ncbrunswick.com/activity/sunset-beach-boating-access-area-fishing-pier-sunset-beach