Country roads winding through gently rolling hills and crossing picturesque creeks make the Northern Neck a great place to ride your bicycle. One excellent route makes a loop from Reedville via U.S. 360 and C.R. 652 and 644. On C.R. 644, you'll cross the Little Wicomico River via the free Sunnybank Ferry. Some bed-and-breakfasts provide bikes for the guests, but there are no places to rent them here, so bring your own.
The Northern Neck has more than 1,100 miles of shoreline and 6,500 acres of nature preserves, making it an important stop for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. It also has a substantial population of bald eagles. To see the eagles, head to the Caledon Natural Area, on Va. 218 near King George (tel. 540/663-3861; www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/cal.shtml), which has observation tours along the Potomac River and guided eagle-watching tours. Another fine place to view the migratory birds is at Belle Isle State Park (tel. 804/462-5030; www.dcr.state.va.us/parks/bellisle.htm), off C.R. 354 on the Rappahannock River northwest of Irvington, which has guided canoe trips as well as horseback riding on land. The Northern Neck Audubon Society, P.O. Box 991, Kilmarnock, VA 22482 (www.northernneckaudubon.org), organizes field trips.
Another good spot for birding and much more is Westmoreland State Park (tel. 804/493-8821; www.dcr.virginia.gov/parks/westmore.htm), off Va. 3 between George Washington's Birthplace and Stratford Hall. It's the Northern Neck's largest park and is equipped with a campground, rental cabins, hiking trails, boating, and swimming.
Golfers come here primarily to play the Golden Eagle course at The Tides Inn, one of Virginia's best, and the nearby Tartan Course (tel. 804/438-6200; www.tartangolfclub.com). Irvington also is home to the King Carter Golf Course, on Old Saint Johns Road (tel. 804/435-7842; www.kingcartergolfclub.com), a fine public course where you can play for less than $50.
Reedville is the jumping-off point for fishing charters on the Chesapeake Bay, where you might hook a fighting bluefish or snag a succulent rockfish (sea bass). In Reedville call Capt. Jim Hardy of The Ranger II (tel. 804/453-6635) or Pittman's Charters (tel. 804/453-3643; www.genepittmancharters.com). The latter operates the Mystic Lady II, a 25-passenger party boat.
You can learn to sail at Premier Sailing School (tel./fax 804/438-9300; www.sailingschool.net), which is based at The Tides Inn.
The Tides Inn also is home to the Miss Ann, a 127-foot yacht that makes lunch and sunset cruises from Carter's Creek out on the Rappahannock River. A Saturday morning "whiskey run" relives pre-liquor-by-the-drink days when local residents had to cross the river to buy alcoholic beverages. Call The Tides Inn (tel. 800/843-3746 or 804/438-5000) for the schedule, prices, and reservations.