Jockey's Ridge State Park
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West Carolista Drive
Nags Head, NC 27959www.jockeysridgestatepark.com
Jockey's Ridge State Park is located in Nags Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The park covers 426 acres and includes the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States. Jockey's Ridge is the most visited park within the NC park system, and is a day-use only park with no campgrounds.
Jockey's Ridge contains three unique ecosystems: the Roanoke Sound, the dune system, and the maritime forest. Often when it rains, water collects near the bottom of the dunes creating a temporary pond, known as a vernal pool. Few fauna can be seen around the dunes, although some types of flora, such as tall grass, may be readily identified closer to the bottom of the dunes.
The park is open year round, except Christmas Day, and does not charge an admission, parking, or program fee. The Jockey's Ridge entrance is located at Milepost 12 on S. Croatan Highway/US 158. Ranger-led programs are offered throughout the year as is access to nature trails, a sound frontage, and picnic areas.
Viewing the sunset over the sound, bird watching, and kite-flying and hang gliding are among the favorite activities of visitors. The park also provides outside bathrooms that are typically open from April to November.
The Jockey's Ridge visitor center features a small museum focused on the cultural and natural history of the park, including sand dunes, plants and wildlife, weather, pirates and local maritime history. The ridge area is accessed either from the back deck of the visitor center or the parking lot via a 350 foot long boardwalk.
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