A lesser-known activity that’s available at Jockey’s Ridge State Park is sandboarding. The dunes are recognized as being one of the best spots to fly a kite on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and considered by many to be the number one place to learn how to hang glide in the country.
Although the Wright brothers chose to fly their homemade gliders off Kill Devil Hill to the north, Jockey’s Ridge’s soft sand and smooth winds make the dune system a premier location for aviation recreation.
Apart from the incredibly ideal kite flying and hang gliding conditions, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is considered to be the very best spot for sandboarding on the East Coast – a designation that is rarely touted by the park. The area doesn’t receive much snow – maybe 1 to 2 inches a year – so board riding locals have gravitated to the dune for sandboarding fun for decades.
While sandboarding may seem similar to snowboarding, the sand can make it more challenging to carve turns compared to snow. One of the best advantages of choosing sandboarding is that all you need is a good board and enough endurance to scale up and down the dunes after riding down because unlike snowboarding, there are no ski lifts!
In addition to sandboarding, the younger audience typically enjoys sand dune sledding, which is a casual affair here on the Outer Banks… which fits into the laid-back lifestyle you’ll find elsewhere on the thin strip of barrier islands. On any given day, you’ll be able to easily spot kids of all ages sliding down the dunes on cardboard boxes and body boards. Sand sledding does not require a permit, however sandboarding with bindings on the board does and is only permitted on the dunes from October through March.
Permits must be obtained from the park office and parents will be required to sign for anyone under 18. Please visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park’s website for additional information about the park and other recreational activities available.
Consider Renting a Sandboard
We do rent sandboards out of the Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School, located at 302 Carolista Drive in Nags Head, NC. The cost is $20 for four hours, and $40 for the entire day. You will not need a permit if you rent a sandboard from Kitty Hawk Kites, however you will be required to sign a waiver.