August 8, 2017
While the Outer Banks’ miles of Atlantic coastline are often lauded as this cluster of coastal towns’ best attraction, sometimes you want a change of pace from the buzzing beaches. For days when you prefer a more quiet retreat, the Outer Banks offers many parks and nature preserves. There is the larger and notable Jockey’s Ridge State Park as well as the Wright Brothers National Memorial; however, the Outer Banks is also home to several little-known parks that offer a variety of activities for the entire family.
Sandy Run Park & David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multiuse Path and Park | Kitty Hawk
Located next to the Kitty Hawk Garden Center, Sandy Run Park offers accessibility to people of all ages and abilities thanks to its half-mile boardwalk. Enjoy a picnic at the covered pavilion, cookout at one of the grills, or shoot some hoops on the half court. Be sure to bring some bread for the turtles located a short walk from the boardwalk entrance. Sandy Run Park is open year round from 7 am to 8 pm.
Two miles down the road and connected by a path, is David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multiuse Path and Park. This small park has a playground, picnic tables, and a multiuse path for non-motorized activities.
Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve | Kitty Hawk
This expansive preserve, consisting of 461.6 acres, is located off of The Woods Road and encompasses a stretch of land from the Currituck sound to Kitty Hawk Bay. Park your vehicle at David Paul Pruitt Jr. Park or Sandy Run Park to access the preserve. The preserve offers a variety of options including a public boat launch, handicapped accessible path, and numerous hiking trails. Horseback riding, biking, kayaking, and even hunting (with the appropriate permits) are allowed in the preserve. Bring your cameras, this area is extremely scenic with beautiful sunset views over the sound. The reserve is home to diverse wildlife and rare foliage. Due to the delicate nature of its habitats, it is important that visitors remain on designated trails.
Aviation Park | Kill Devil Hills
A family-friendly area, Aviation Park includes a popular skate park, playground, and fitness trail. The shaded picnic area is a relaxing spot to enjoy lunch. The park is located close to the bustling parts of Kill Devil Hills and is an easy bike ride from the Wright Brothers Memorial. For skaters, the Aviation Skatepark is a fun spot to hang out and practice moves. Kill Devil Hills will occasionally hold events at the park, such as a seasonal lighting for St. Patrick’s Day.
Dowdy Park | Nags Head
Formerly an amusement park from the early 1960s until 1998, Dowdy Park is now in the process of becoming a Nags Head gathering spot once again. This 5-acre area currently features an inclusive playground, amphitheater, and fitness trail which were completed for its first phase. The second phase of development will add a garden, bocce ball area, public bathrooms, and more, and will begin in fall or winter of this year.