Jockey’s Ridge State Park features the tallest natural sand dune system on the East Coast and is consistently one of the most popular state parks in North Carolina.  Although the landmark has been a favorite of native Outer Bankers and visitors for generations, it did not become a state park until 1975, thanks to a local grassroots group that saved the dune from developers.

Climbing the 85- to 90-foot high sand dune is the favorite activity at the day-use only park, but with the Roanoke Sound and trails through maritime thicket on the backside of the park, as well as an indoor museum, gift shop and auditorium at the visitors center, there is a complete range of free activities year-round for all ages at Jockey’s Ridge.

Be warned that the dune climb is deceptively arduous, but as long as the weather is not too bad (wind and hot sun can be unbearable) it is one of the most special experiences to be had on the Outer Banks.  The sand can be as much as 30 degrees hotter than the air, so barefoot treks up the hill in the summer could be painful, if not dangerous.  But when conditions are right, there’s nothing like being on top, where the view of the ocean, sound and surrounding scenery is spectacular. Sunsets are eye-popping nearly every evening, and children and teens delight in flinging themselves off dunes and rolling full speed --- and safely!---down to the next dune. Kite flying is permitted, and hang gliding lessons are available at the 426-acre park through a private vendor. Swimming, kayaking and kiteboarding are popular activities in the sound off the soundfront access. 


  • Monday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Tuesday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Wednesday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Thursday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Friday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am-6:00pm
  • Sunday 9:00am-6:00pm


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Educational Activities
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Kid Friendly Activities
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