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Sand Dunes picture in Outer Banks
Devon Gustin / Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • Hours vary seasonally

Details

  • Parks and Gardens Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.7
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

The most popular part of Nags Head (aside from the oceanfront) is Jockey's Ridge State Park, home to the tallest sand dune on the east coast. You can reach the top two ways: either a 1½-mile long sand-covered trail (do this in shoes as the sand can get unbearably hot) or use the 360-foot boardwalk to walk to the top. Once at the peak, you can tap into your adventurous side by sandboarding (which requires a free permit from the park office), take hang gliding lessons from Kitty Hawk Kites or relive your childhood and simply fly a kite. Just remember to bring your own kite or sandboard along with you. For nature enthusiasts, the park also has several other trails you can wander and spot fulgurites (glass tubes formed when lightning hits the sand) – but removal of them is not allowed. Recent visitors said it's a great experience for the whole family, and the top of the dunes provide stunning panoramic views. 

Park hours vary depending on the month but range from 8 a.m. to 6 to 9 p.m. Entrance to the park is free. Those who have mobility issues can call the park 24 hours in advance to arrange transport to the top of the dunes. For more information, check out the park's website

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
John Yancey Oceanfront Inn

John Yancey Oceanfront Inn ...

  • 2.6 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Colonial Inn Motel

Colonial Inn Motel ...

  • 1.0 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Outer Banks »

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#1 Outer Banks Beaches The beaches in the Outer Banks stretch for more than 100 miles along barrier islands that frame the eastern coast of North Carolina. These sands are known for their cleanliness ... Read more » karenfoleyphotography / Getty Images

#2 Jockey's Ridge State Park The most popular part of Nags Head (aside from the oceanfront) is Jockey's Ridge State Park, home to the tallest sand dune on the east coast. You can reach ... Read more » Devon Gustin / Getty Images

#3 Cape Hatteras National Seashore The Cape Hatteras National Seashore stretches for miles and tempts visitors with its well-kept sands and rolling waves. While many visitors come to soak up the sun along the Atlantic ... Read more » wbritten / Getty Images

#4 Wright Brothers National Memorial If you flew to the Outer Banks, you have the Wright Brothers to thank. In 1900, the two moved here from Ohio for the area's steady winds to pursue ... Read more » Photosbyjam / Getty Images

#5 Currituck Beach Lighthouse Before 1875, ships sailing by the North Carolina coast faced an 80-mile "blind spot" between Bodie Island and Virginia's Cape Henry. Then the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla was ... Read more » Jens_Lambert_Photography / Getty Images

#6 Bodie Island Lighthouse This thrice-built, black-and-white lighthouse sits south of Nags Head on Bodie Island. The first incarnation fell due to poor construction, the second was destroyed during the Civil War and the ... Read more » Stephen Herzog Photography / Getty Images

#7 Roanoke Island Festival Park Located in Manteo, the Roanoke Island Festival Park takes visitors back in time to the 1500s and the settlement of Roanoke. Inside the park, you can board the Elizabeth II ... Read more » Courtesy of Roanoke Island Festival Park

#8 North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island If you want to see what animals you're sharing the water with when you're splashing around on the Outer Banks beaches, head to Roanoke to the North Carolina ... Read more » Sean Russell / Getty Images

Outer Banks beaches picture in Outer Banks
Sand Dunes picture in Outer Banks
Cape Hatteras National Seashore picture in Outer Banks
Wright Brothers National Memorial picture in Outer Banks
Currituck Beach Lighthouse picture in Outer Banks
Bodie Island Lighthouse picture in Outer Banks
Roanoke Island Festival Park picture in Outer Banks
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island picture in Outer Banks
Outer Banks beaches picture in Outer Banks
Sand Dunes picture in Outer Banks
Cape Hatteras National Seashore picture in Outer Banks
Wright Brothers National Memorial picture in Outer Banks
Currituck Beach Lighthouse picture in Outer Banks
Bodie Island Lighthouse picture in Outer Banks
Roanoke Island Festival Park picture in Outer Banks
North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island picture in Outer Banks

All the beaches in the Outer Banks are free and open to the public, with multiple beach access points and plenty of parking available.  karenfoleyphotography / Getty Images

You'll find sand dunes galore at Jockey's Ridge State Park. Devon Gustin / Getty Images

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in America.  wbritten / Getty Images

The Wright Brothers' first flight took place in Kill Devil Hills. Photosbyjam / Getty Images

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse has 220 steps leading up to the top.  Jens_Lambert_Photography / Getty Images

Stephen Herzog Photography / Getty Images

Courtesy of Roanoke Island Festival Park

Seals, sharks and otters are just a few of the animals housed in exhibits at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. Sean Russell / Getty Images

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