The 80 to 100 foot sand dunes of Jockey's Ridge State Park crest above the surrounding landscape of North Carolina's Outer Banks. Visitors to these towering dunes may hike, hang glide, fly kites, and kiteboard along the sandy, wind-blown landscape surrounding the coastal community of Nags Head, North Carolina.
Jockey's Ridge State Park offers two hiking trails. Soundside Nature Trail is a mile loop through the wetlands and grasses along the ecosystems adjoining Roanoke Sound. Tracks in the Sand carries trekkers across the sand dunes to the edge of Roanoke Sound, then back to the trailhead located at the parking area of the park's main entrance.
The high sand dunes of this park are a forgiving location for adventures learning to soar. Kitty Hawk Kites provides an introductory three-hour lesson on hang gliding from the dunes. Experienced hang gliders with a Hang I rating may register with the park to take their own flights.
The wind that sweeps across the Outer Banks offers easy opportunities to recapture the childhood joy of flying a kite. Local retailers carry an extensive inventory of kites from traditional single line diamond kites to technically challenging stunt kites.
The winds that allow for excellent kite flying also allow kiteboarders to cruise the nearby Roanoke Sound and Atlantic Ocean. Lessons and equipment are available from area vendors.
Visitors will find picnic shelters with a grill and tables near the parking area of the main entrance. Guest can prepare and consume a meal while the sheltered location protects them from sun and blowing sand. Restrooms and a visitor center with a museum are adjacent to the picnic shelters.
The official address is Jockey's Ridge State Park, PO Box 592, Nags Head, NC 27959. For more information see the website ncparks.gov or call (252) 441-7132.
Article Written By David Chandler
David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.