Jockey's Ridge State Park, NC

Jockey's Ridge State Park NC
Jockey's Ridge, NC

The weather had turned cool and very windy at the coast when we stopped at Jockey's Ridge State Park. We had the park to ourselves until one lone hang-glider came out. He was evidently setting up for a class because he was trying to set up 2 hang-gliders.

Jockey's Ridge Sand Dune
Sand dune at Jockey's Ridge State Park

Jockey's Ridge Sand Dune with Nag's Head, NC in background

It is quite a sight to see the large sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge. If you get to a place where you can't see the buildings in the background, it looks like you're in the middle of a desert somewhere out west. It's especially striking when you're all alone in the place. The park is full of people in the summer. So winter is a good time to visit.

Jockey's Ridge is the largest natural sand dune on the east coast. In 1973 it was scheduled to be leveled for development. Quick action by Carolista Baum forced a stop to the leveling. Then serious local and state efforts began to save the area for a park. In 1975 the state appropriated funds to purchase part of the property and the Nature Conservancy purchased additiona property and transfered it to the state. More information on the history of the park is found on the park's website.

Jockey's Ridge is probably best known as a site for hang gliding. There is a hang gliding school that teaches new comers how to safely hang glide. In addition to hang gliding, it is a good place to hike around and play in the sand. Kids seem to especially enjoy rolling down the dune.

Although we have not paddled there yet, the back side of the park is supposed to be a good place to paddle. We hope to check it out one of these days.

Official directions to the park. Jockey's Ridge State Park is located in Dare County on the Outer Banks. The entrance to the park, Carolista Drive, is in the town of Nags Head at milepost 12 on the Highway 158 Bypass (South Croatan Highway). From I-95, exit onto US 64 east, which merges with US 264 east before Roanoke Island. Continue on US 64/US 264 to Bodie Island and turn north on US 158. The entrance to the park will be on the left after the town of Nags Head.

Jockey's Ridge State Park NC
Jockey's Ridge, NC