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Jockey's Ridge State Park

Discover Thrilling Things to Do in Jockey's Ridge State Park

During your Hatteras Island getaway, there are countless day trips to embark on, including one to the central Outer Banks towns of Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, and Kill Devil Hills. This area is home to one of the many Outer Banks' natural attractions: Jockey's Ridge State Park. Featuring the tallest natural sand dune system on the east coast, the state park is a significant landmark on the Outer Banks and a bucket list visit for all vacationers!

A colorful hang glider floats down a large dune face as a few observers watch from the top of Jockey's Ridge
Dozens of colorful kites fill adeep blue sky over Jockey's Ridge as smiling children watch. Octopus and a diver kites fly.

Activities In Jockey's Ridge State Park

Taking in the dune itself is enough of a reason to visit this Outer Banks wonder. However, the dune really comes to life at sunset as kids roll down the face of the dune and kites fill the sky as the sun sinks into the horizon. There is also plenty to do in Jockey's Ridge State Park for both the adventurous type and nature lovers!

Flying Kites

Just like the best views are at the top of Jockey's Ridge, so is the best wind. Pick up a kite or two, and climb to the top of the dune with the whole family for some of the East Coast's best kite flying! 

Hang Gliding

One of the most stunning and unique sights on Jockey's Ridge State Park is a hang glider pilot soaring for what seems like hours on the natural updraft created by an East wind. However, more commonly seen are simple flights down the face of the dunes.

Hang gliding is allowed on the dunes only for visitors with the proper rating card or permit. All hang glider pilots must register with the park office before taking flight. Lessons are available from Kitty Hawk Kites at the Hang Gliding School inside the park near the visitor center. These daily lessons allow you to learn how to fly as the Wright Brothers did over 100 years ago, in a glider on dunes just like these just a few miles away. It may sound like a lot of work, but if you want to experience one of the best things to do on the Outer Banks, it's completely worth it!

Experiences Attractions Jockeys Ridge Box3 Flyer Glider 960X600 142K
Several tiny silhouettes of visitors dot the top of a sand ridge under golden skies at Jockey's Ridge State Park

Hiking Trails

There is more to this park than high-flying adventures. There are several hiking trails inside Jockey's Ridge State Park that'll have you surrounded by Mother Nature's beauty! 

Start at the parking lot and follow the 1.2-mile Tracks in the Sand Trail, which goes over the dunes to the soundside and back. The trail introduces plants and wildlife that call this wild ecosystem home.

Make your way along the 360 ft. boardwalk nearby for a shorter walk. Take your time to look at the interpretive displays found along the path that teach visitors about the plants and animals of the park. At the end of the boardwalk, spend some time relaxing on the bench to witness exceptional views.

Soundside Nature Trail is a .6-mile course that takes you through an area of the park containing several different coastal environments like maritime thickets and grassy dunes. 

If you're looking for unique Hatteras Island activities or some of the best things to do on the Outer Banks, you're in the right place. Contact us today to learn more about things to do on your Nags Head day trip or to book your Hatteras Island vacation rental home!