Guide to Jockey’s Ridge State Park

I took my family to check out Jockey’s Ridge last weekend and it was a blast. Jockey’s Ridge, in Nags Head, NC is in a 427 acre state park that has the tallest sand dune on the east coast.

Fee: There is no fee to visit Jockey’s Ridge

Parking: The main parking lot is located on W. Carolista Dr. but if you want access to the sound side, a smaller parking lot can be found off of W. Soundside Dr.


  • Nature trails – two self guided nature trails through the park will direct you through the park
  • Picnic – There are eight picnic shelters, each with two tables and a grill.
  • Walk the boardwalk – Enjoy the accessible 360 foot boardwalk for a great view of the dunes
  • Visit the visitor’s center – Currently under renovations until next spring.
  • Flying kites – stop in to Kitty Hawk Kites, across from Jockey’s Ridge, before going into the park to check out the selection of kites.
  • Hang gliding – Kitty Hawk Kites also operates a training facility in the park for learning to hang glide.
  • Sand Boarding – Sand boarding is allowed during park hours, no permit required. Kitty Hawk Kites rents sand boards with wax for $25 – $40.
  • Kayaking
  • Wind Surfing

Nature Trails

The Soundside Nature trail is fairly easy, 0.6 mile loop through the maritime thicket. The Tracks in the Sand Trail (1.2 mile loop) starts from the main parking lot and can be a little difficult to hike up the steep dunes.


Make sure to bring sun-screen and water and take lots of breaks, as it gets hot and sunny on the dunes.

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