Jockey’s Ridge State Park
The Wright Brothers were drawn to the Outer Banks for some of the same reasons people find here today more than a century later. Friendly local people, gentle ocean breezes, lots of soft sand and an off-the-grid setting far away from the cares of metropolitan life. The Northern Beaches have glorious pockets of pristine nature like the 427-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the tallest sand dunes on the east coast, and conservation forests such as Nags Head Woods and Kitty Hawk Woods.
This park has the largest natural living sand dune on the East Coast. Two self-guided trails and nature programs available year-round. Hang gliding, kite flying, hiking, visitor's center, small gift shop, museum, picnic facilities and restrooms. A visitor center with museum is attached to a 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dune’s ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field with no entry fees. Shoes and sun protection are recommended. By calling ahead 24-hours in advance, it’s possible for mobility-impaired visitors to schedule a ride in our all-terrain-vehicle to the top of the dunes. The soundside access of the park is a different experience offering sunbathing, wading, paddling and a one-mile nature trail that opens onto wetlands, grassy dunes and maritime thickets.
A hike to the top of the ridge can work up an appetite! The picnic area adjacent to the parking lot offers a break from the relentless wind, sun and sand. Eight picnic shelters are spaced among small dunes with low-growing vegetation. Each shelter has two tables and a grill. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby. Use of the shelters is free unless reservations are requested.
Park hours are the following: November to February – 8AM to 6PM, March – April 8AM to 8PM, May to September – 8AM to 9PM, October 8AM to 8 PM.