Four hours east of Fort Bragg, past forgotten farms and miles of swampland, is one of the world’s mysterious natural wonders. A mountain of sand called Jockey’s Ridge rises over the town of Nags Head in North Carolina’s famed Outer Banks.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park, home to the tallest sand dune on the East Coast, has no admission fee and plenty of parking. There are hiking trails, a boardwalk, a hang-gliding school, and a museum ready to be explored inside the park.
While I would have loved to hike the trails at Jockey’s Ridge, my kids had bigger plans. They couldn’t wait to slide down the tallest sand dunes we’ve ever seen! They even packed their snow sleds for our trip to the beach just for this.
These lightweight foam sleds were perfect for surfing down the mounds of sand. They are more like a boogie board than a traditional sled. So, if you forgot your sled, a boogie board will work just as good.
STOKED about the visit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, it was all the kids talked about on the ride to Nags Head. However, sledding down the dunes was more difficult than they expected. Their first couple of tries were a flop….literally. But after a little trial and error, they were sand-sledding-pros in no time.
My husband was just as jazzed about sand sledding as the kids were! He helped them figure out that the steepest dunes were best and he gave them big pushes to get them started.
The hardest part of sand sledding was walking back to the top of the hill. We were in Nags Head during the month of March and it was EXTREMELY windy. The sleds were tossed around by the wind and ended up hitting the kids in the head several times. They also blew away and hand to be chased down.
Despite their struggles, the girls LOVED sand-sledding at Jockey’s Ridge State Park! They even asked if we could go back the next day. It was their favorite part of our whole trip!
I was a little afraid that the sand sledding might not work out, so I brought kites along, just in case! Since it was so windy at Jockey’s Ridge, getting the kites in the air was no problem.
However, the extreme wind was a double-edge sword. While the kites took to the sky quickly, they also swooped around at lightning speed and did dive-bombs from the clouds.
Several times, we ran from the kamikaze kites. Covering our heads with our hands, we hoped that we weren’t going to be nailed in the head by a rogue kite.
Needless to say, our visit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park was a day that we’ll never forget!
My only regret is that we didn’t take the time to hike one of the trails or see the sound side of the park. These are definite MUSTS on our next visit to Jockey’s Ridge.
We were glad to finally mark this item off of our Fort Bragg and North Carolina Bucket List. If you’re ever in the Outer Banks, we suggest that you add Jockey’s Ridge State Park to your list too. You won’t regret it!