Pedaling Through Paradise

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Photos & words by John Streit.

When most think of the word “paradise,” images of palm trees and white sand beaches come to mind. While that’s a scene all of us can appreciate, I’m here to challenge the notion that paradise can’t be found right here in and around Sandbridge — especially during the summer season. Our beaches are top-notch in their own right; and the recreational opportunities the Atlantic Ocean, Back Bay and False Cape State Park offer stand up next to anything you can find in the tropics. All it requires to view our rugged outbacks in this way is a minor change of perspective and an appreciation for the natural beauty our coastal environment puts on display. There’s arguably no better way to experience these diverse landscapes than striking out on one of our False Cape Bike Tours! We start on the pavement out of Little Island Park and make our way into Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge on the tightly-packed gravel trails perfect for a simple beach cruiser. Waterfowl empoundments, high dune ridges, the open waters of Back Bay and the expansive sky mesmerize the rider as the journey reaches the gates of False Cape State Park surprisingly fast, though 5-plus miles have already been covered. It’s easy to lose track of time when the scenery reveals wildlife such as river otters, bald eagles, deer, turtles and a wide variety of shorebirds and migratory waterfowl. The scene then shifts to maritime forest and the pine groves of the higher dune elevations. A hop over the dune reveals the vast Atlantic Ocean to the east and the dunes and forest to the west. We even offer a coastal cruise option with our fat-tire sand bike tours! Put your foot to the pedal and discover our slice of paradise!

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False Cape Bike Tours

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Words & photos by John Streit.

Aside from being one of Virginia’s most diverse and beautiful natural areas, False Cape State Park is also the commonwealth’s most remote. Unlike nearby First Landing State Park — which offers awesome recreational opportunities in its own right — there is no parking lot access to False Cape. While that certainly limits the amount of activity the park experiences, it is also the source of the park’s allure — it’s an uncrowded, undeveloped, pristine and remote adventureland!

Thanks to our False Cape Bike Tours, Surf & Adventure/Ocean Rentals has opened the door to experience the rolling dunes, marsh flats, maritime forests, beaches and tributaries of Back Bay and False Cape! Outside of hiking, biking is the only and most efficient way to access False Cape State Park with tightly-packed gravel trails extending from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center to the North Carolina/Virginia state line. Our tours offer two ways to experience False Cape: via the interior trails on beach cruisers or on the sand with our fat-tire bikes! These photos show the landscape of the interior trails from an early summer tour. Click the link to learn more about these unique, awe-inspiring tours and to book yours today!

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False Cape Bike & Surf Trip Scenes

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Words, photos and video produced by John Streit. Filmed by Les Frankel & Streit.

False Cape State Park is the kind of place where the usual travel or nature buzz words like “breathtaking” are used to describe it, but inevitably fall short of actually summarizing its majesty. No matter how many times I have made the trek from Sandbridge to Virginia’s southernmost state park, I always return with a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for this incredible stretch of natural beaches, high dunes, maritime forest and marsh flats. All of those ecosystems were on display under sunny skies and warm temperatures for our 2015 False Cape Bike & Surf Trip, which took 15 stoked participants from Little Island Park to False Cape’s Barbour Hill and back with a four-plus-hour surf session in between for good measure.

This trip also serves as a preview for our False Cape Retreats, which return for three special runnings this summer starting on Saturday, June 20 followed by Saturdays July 11 and August 22. We are also offering False Cape Bike Tours which offers participants the option of biking the interior trails or on the sand with our fleet of fat-tire sand bikes!

Until then, enjoy the video and photos capturing the action from another classic Bike & Surf Trip!

 

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False Cape Bike & Surf Trip: May 16

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May has arrived, and that means it’s time for adventure through the diverse ecosystems of False Cape State Park in search of natural beauty, fun waves and good times!

Alongside the friendly staff of False Cape State Park, Surf & Adventure Co. is proud to host our fourth annual False Cape Bike & Surf Trip!

Join us as we set out on bikes from Little Island Park through Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and into False Cape State Park. With the gracious park staff hauling our gear to the Barbour Hill walkover, all you have to do is pedal through the marsh flats and maritime forest — on a well-packed gravel pathway safe for beach cruisers — and enjoy the scenery and serenity of this natural treasure to Sandbridge’s south.

Please be sure to pack a lunch, water, towel and plenty of sunscreen! We will provide transport of your choice of one surf craft — pick the best option for the day’s conditions — tents, umbrellas and several beach chairs for the group to share.

If you’ve experienced the trip in the past, you know how special and thrilling this unique adventure is. If you haven’t, be sure not to miss out on this opportunity to immerse yourself in our region’s most beautiful natural scenery!

Schedule:

8:30 a.m.: Meet at Little Island Park for check-in and load-up.

9 a.m. SHARP: Departure to False Cape.

3 p.m.: Return trip to Little Island Park.

Total milage for the bike trip is about 12 miles.

Costs:

Package A: $20, includes park entry fees and gear transport.

Package B: $30, includes bike rental, park entry fees and gear transport.

Call Surf & Adventure Co. at (757) 721-6210 to reserve your spot. Additional rentals, such as wetsuits and boards, are not included in the packages.

See you there!

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Real Fun in False Cape

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Photos by Robbie Hickman. Words by John Streit.

Though the surf didn’t match up with the perfect beach day, our co-ed False Cape Retreat on July 12 went off without a hitch! Small-but-rideable surf was on-tap and standup paddleboarding was the best way to take advantage. We were stoked that a big crew from the Wahine Surf Club ventured down to enjoy the unique beach adventure. As always, lunch was catered on-site by Back Bay Gourmet, and the experience was enhance by the participant’s choice of a yoga and/or massage session.

Click here to book your adventure to the undeveloped, isolated East Coast paradise today!

Enjoy the photo gallery of some real fun in False Cape courtesy of local photographer Robbie Hickman.

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Retreat to False Cape

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Photos by Shaun Devine. Words by John Streit.

For so many reasons, False Cape State Park is one of our favorite places on Earth — we’re just blessed to have it be in our backyard!

We return for another co-ed False Cape Retreat this Saturday with conditions very similar to those seen in these photos from a trip we took earlier this summer. With 1- to 2-foot surf and offshore winds predicted for Virginia Beach, it’s almost certain that the swell’s size will be boosted by the exposure and natural sandbars of False Cape. Surfing is only one part of the adventure — the trip to beach offers some of the most breath-taking vistas possible in our region as we cruise through the dunes, marsh and forest of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge and the state park on the famous Blue Goose Express tram. Enhance your experience with a massage and a yoga session before eating a delicious catered lunch from Back Bay Gourmet!

It’s still not too late to register for the trip (if you are reading this on Thursday, July 10 and before 5 p.m. on Friday, July 11). Sign up online at Ocean Rentals Ltd.’s site: https://oceanrentalsltd.com/tours-adventures/false-cape-adventures/ or give us a call at (757) 721-6210. If you missed the deadline for this weekend’s trip, we’ll be headed back for an all-womens retreat on Saturday, July 26 followed by weekday trip on Thursday, Aug. 7.

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