Explore Jockey’s Ridge State Park on your next Outer Banks Vacation

Explore Jockey’s Ridge State Park on your next Outer Banks Vacation

Spending time at Jockey’s Ridge State Park when on vacation in the Outer Banks is always a fun and different activity for families to enjoy.  Staying in one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals near Nags Head will allow you and your family to stay close to the park and not miss any of the beauty and excitement. Let’s look below at how you and your family can explore and enjoy Jockey’s Ridge State Park when visiting OBX.

Nature Trails & Boardwalk

One of the benefits of going to Jockey’s Ridge State Park is the nature trails and the boardwalk available. Getting out and seeing the wildlife is what many love to do while on vacation. Don’t forget your camera because there may be a few animals that you may have never seen before. Animals commonly seen are raccoons, rabbits, deer, red fox, and also the gray fox. Be on the lookout, however, for snakes as you will be in their natural habitats, if you happen to see one just stay still, and they will go on about their business. The boardwalk is a favorite among visitors and locals as it is around 360 feet long. Located near the parking lot is where you can step onto the boardwalk and start exploring the park and seeing wildlife while never having to go onto the sand. How amazing is that?!

Outdoor Recreation

Did you know that you can take flight at Jockey’s Ridge State Park? Hang gliding is available to visitors that retain both a US National Park Permit as well as a United States Hang Gliding Association (USHGA) rating. If your feet don’t want to leave the sand than you might enjoy swimming, wading, or paddling on the soundside of the dune. Looking to enjoy some calmer waters, then the Roanoke Sound is the place to be. This is perfect area for families to sunbath, stretch out and relax. Think of all the new memories you can make at Jockey’s Ridge State Park while you are on vacation in the Outer Banks.

Fun in the Sand

One of the best things to do at the park is spending time in the sand. Enjoying the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast offers many sandy activities. If you ever wanted to try out sandboarding this is the place to do it. You don’t have to have a board either. Overtime we have seen kids and adults use anything from plastic lids from containers to even a cardboard box.  If you want to try and glide on the sand a little then try sandboarding across the dune while flying a kite. Think of the fun that you and the kids will have by watching each other try and fly their kite and surf in the sand at the same time.

While there are many other things that you and your family can do while you are on vacation to the Outer Banks, we wanted to share this fantastic park with you. If you haven’t booked your next holiday to stay in one of our Outer Banks vacation rentals near Nags Head, now is the time. We can’t wait to see your vacation pictures and hear all about your visit to Jockey’s Ridge State Park!

Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.

Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.

The Beach-Is There One that is the Best on the Outer Banks?

Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.
Kitty Hawk Beach in the summertime.

People are always asking us, “What is your favorite Outer Banks beach?” 

It’s a tough question to answer, because the truth is, we don’t have one.

When it comes to the beach, or at least an Outer Banks beaches, all of them have a some characteristics in common. From Carova to Ocracoke all of our beaches have a nice soft sand and especially now that so many have been nourished, they tend to be fairly wide. Although there are some exceptions, for the most part, Outer Banks beaches are pretty easy to get to.

All North Carolina ocean beaches are in the public domain, meaning anyone can use the beach when they are on it. Access to the beach, however, is not a public right, and crossing private property to get to the beach is trespassing. Please use public access to get on the beach.

Rather than call out specific beaches, we thought it would be better to give a more general description of each area and what the beaches in each area have to offer.


From the southern border of Currituck County at the Sanderling in Duck or where the NC 12 pavement ends north of the Village of Corolla, there’s about 12 miles of wonderful, soft sand.

Currituck County provides four parking areas for beach access. By far the largest is the southern access off Yaupon Road, a little bit south of the Harris Teeter shopping center.

The bathhouse at this access is wonderful. Large and well-maintained, there are a good number of outdoor showers and a fairly large parking area.

One thing to be aware of though, it is a fairly long trek to the beach; about a quarter of a mile, although there is a boardwalk that makes things easier. However, this is one of the best beaches anywhere with a lot of room between the sea and the dunes. 

Farther north in the more built up areas of Corolla, parking for beach access is either immediately adjacent to the dunes or across the street.

Something for parents with younger children to consider, the Albacore Beach Access is very close to the Food Lion in Monterey Plaza, and is the closest to retail stores and businesses.

The beach tends to be a bit wider farther south than on the north end toward Carova.

Carova is the 4WD area of the Currituck Banks, north of Corolla. It’s’ a very nice beach but be aware, the beach is the road in this area. If you do decide to drive to Carova to enjoy the beach, Currituck County does require a permit to park on the beach.

Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head

These three towns, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head are actually the core of the traditional Outer Banks vacation spots. They are the most built up and because of that, they will have more businesses, stores and services within easy walking distance than other areas.

Kitty Hawk has the name recognition. Kill Devil Hills is actually the largest town on the Outer Banks. And Nags Head is where it all began–the first tourists started coming to Nags Head in the 1820s.

There are too many parking areas and beach access points to note them all. Look for the CAMA Beach Access sign. Generally that denotes a parking lot for the beach, although sometimes it’s simply an access point with parking elsewhere.

Beach access sign.
Beach access sign.

All of the beaches in this area have been nourished and they are in very good condition, and we don’t have a clear favorite at all. 

The widest beach is probably south of Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head. It is a great location for families. The bathhouse is large and well-maintained and there are a couple of places very close by for food and beach necessities. That area is also a popular surfing site.

Coquina Beach, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, South Nags Head

We had to include Coquina Beach. The entrance is directly across from the entrance to Bodie Island Lighthouse about a mile and a half south of the intersection of Old Oregon Inlet Road and NC 12, which is considered South Nags Head.

This is very much the original look to the Outer Banks. Not a home in sight; rolling sand dunes covered in sea grass; and a beautiful beach.

The parking lot is huge and there is a wind powered bathhouse with showers.

We highly recommend this beach—it is absolutely beautiful. But, be sure to take everything you’re going to need. The nearest businesses, stores or restaurants are at least four or five miles away.

About Duck and Southern Shores

We haven’t included the towns of Duck or Southern Shores for a reason. Their beaches are wonderful, but access to their beaches is permit only for property owners. People renting in a home in those towns do have permission to use the beach.

A recent lawsuit in the town of Duck may allow public access, although that ruling may be appealed.

Are you ready for summer? Here at Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates we’re gearing up and can’t wait to hear from you.

3000 Christmas Trees Help Stabilize Outer Banks Dunes

Placing  Christmas trees in Kitty Hawk. A surprising amount of muscle is needed to do it right.
Placing Christmas trees in Kitty Hawk. A surprising amount of muscle is needed to do it right.

Thanks to a some generous help from some Virginia Beach friends and some really hard work on the beach in Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, a lot of the sand dunes along the beach are looking better than ever.

Donny King chef/owner of Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk got a friend of his up in Virginia Beach to help with Christmas tree collection to stabilize the dunes.

The trees are great for the process. They trap a lot of sand so the dune can begin to regrow. And they are completely biodegradable, so in a couple of years, they’re gone.

It was Chico’s Pizza up in Virginia Beach that had been collecting them and when it wa all said and done they brought down 24 pickup trucks, most towing a trailer, loaded down with discarded Christmas trees.

Meanwhile here on the Outer Banks, there were a few hundred trees already gathered so the end result was somewhere around 2500-3000 trees to put on the beach in Kitty Hawk and Nags Head.

It’s not easy work rebuilding or stabilizing a dune using the trees. Sure the trucks can get them to the beach, but after that, it’s good old fashioned muscle to get them where they’re needed.

It’s not all that technical. The butt end of the tree points to the ocean, but getting them there entails dragging a 6-7’ tree over 100 or 150 yards of sand. 

Some of the pickup did try to get closer to where the trees were supposed to go. That was down in Nags Head. Not a good idea. Loaded down and in very soft sand, getting stuck was pretty much a foregone conclusion. They didn’t need to get towed, but it was a close call.

The trees are just one part of a dune stabilization program that includes planting grasses on the dunes. The larger, more stable dunes are a critical part of protecting property along the shore. 

It needs to be noted, though, that dunes are separate from the beach and whether a beach gains sand or loses it has very little to do with the dune.

Outer Banks beaches are the best there are and Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has the perfect home just waiting for you.

Repurposing Christmas Trees on the Outer Banks

One option for a new home for used Christmas trees.
One option for a new home for used Christmas trees.

It’s such a simple idea it’s amazing that it works. After the holidays are done and all the trimmings come off the Christmas tree, create a new purpose for it. Place it at the base of a sand dune and let nature take its course.

Here on the Outer Banks it’s become sort of an annual rite of passage. 

The idea came from a project at Jockey’s Ridge State Park where some middle school students and Boy Scouts were laying out Christmas trees to capture sand and rebuild the dune.

it was just a natural progression for someone to figure, “Hey, if it works at Jockey’s Ridge, why wouldn’t it work on the beach?”

And the answer is, it does, and it does very well.

The first to start gathering trees was Betsy Seawell, owner of the Islander Motel in Nags Head. That was in 2009 right after Nor’Ida carved away the dune in front of her motel.

Pretty soon she was, as she describes herself, the Crazy Christmas Tree Lady, going up and down the Outer Banks collecting trees wherever she could find them.

About 2013 Donny King, owner of Ocean Boulevard in Kitty Hawk had some ocean got in the game, although at the time he did not know about Betsy’s efforts. After Sandy passed and he saw that although the dunes were damaged they still kept the sea out of his restaurant, he figured a little help for the dunes was in order.

Donny knows a lot of people and he’s pretty savvy about media, so his efforts really took off.

H’s expanded his efforts now, doing a Better Beaches OBX that includes sand fencing, plants and of course, Christmas trees.

2020 may be the biggest year yet for Christmas trees. Trees can still be dropped off at Betsy’s motel, but the big shipment will be the  25 plus trucks loaded with trees that Donny has arranged to bring from Virginia Beach.

Spend some time in a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates and see for yourself how wonderful our Outer Banks home is. 

November Version of Outer Banks Food Truck Showdown a Great Time

A good sized crowd for the Fall Food Truck Showdown at the Nags Head Event Site, and kiteboarders riding the wind on Roanoke Sound.
A good sized crowd for the Fall Food Truck Showdown at the Nags Head Event Site, and kiteboarders riding the wind on Roanoke Sound.

You know the winds are brisk when the kiteboaders are skimming over the waters of Roanoke Sound all day. And Sunday they were getting some great rides.

It didn’t seem to faze the 1000 or so who showed up for the first every Outer Banks Fall Food Truck Showdown. 

Sure, it was a bit chilly. And yes the breeze of the sound was pretty brisk, but the food was great, the music wonderful and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Scheduling an outdoor event on the Outer Banks in November is always a bit iffy, but event organizers looked at what was on tap for the month and noticed nothing was scheduled the weekend before Thanksgiving. So they decided to take a chance.

It worked out pretty well, too.

With 11 food trucks on hand there was plenty of variety to select from. If there is any complaint it is that there is no way to get to everything there is to sample.

That being said, the BBQ loaded fries from Y’all Eat Yet were wonderful for a cold day. Sweet and savory in just the right portions…the fries done just right. Marvelous.

Which is probably why they came in second in the voting.

One of the nicest parts of the event was how many families were there with kids of all ages. And the kids seemed to be having a genuinely good time. That could have been because they got to run around pretty much as much as they wanted to. It was a good safe area and they didn’t need grownups hanging over them the whole time.

The music was great as well beginning with the kids from the Mustang Outreach Program. Followed by local bluesman and recipient of the North Carolina Order of the Longleaf Pine, Mojo Collins with his band Triple Vision.

Songs From The Road Band wrapped things up for the day with as kind of funky, bluesy bluegrass sound.

Winter is a wonderful time to visit the Outer Banks. A slower time of the year, there’s time for conversation and contemplation. Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates has the perfect home for a week or two of rest and relaxation.

First Place

The Fall 2018 Food Truck Showdown People’s Choice Winners:

First Place

Fork’et Me Not

Nags Head

Second Place

Y’all Eat Yet? 


Third Place

Poblanos Tacos and More 


New World Record Glide Distance Set at 5th Annual BrewTag

Flying beer kegs marked the 5th Annual BrewTag at the Nags Head Event Site on Saturday.
Flying beer kegs marked the 5th Annual BrewTag at the Nags Head Event Site on Saturday.

Beer, evidently can fly. Or glide at least. That’s what we discovered today at the 5th Annual BrewTag in Nags Head.

Maybe the winds were just right; maybe the contestants are finally figuring out how to build a glider that will fly a small keg of beer (empty, or course). Perhaps the sheer number of contestants—15, the most ever—raised the competitive bar.

Or maybe it was just plain dumb luck.

Whatever it was, two of the best flights ever recorded at BrewTag happened this afternoon. the idea is to strap a 1/6 keg of beer—empty, of course—to a homemade glider, launch it from a 20’ tower and see how far it will fly.

We thought we had the all time winner when the Blue Crab Tavern team, representing the Colington Road bar and restaurant ripped off a 66’4” flight, besting the old mark by 9’. 

The team’s celebration was a thing to behold as they ran around the flight field cheering wildly as they carried their aircraft to safety.

Their joy was short-lived. Three flights later, team Late For Work shattered the Blue Crab Tavern record with an astonishing flight of 96’7”.

It is important to note that not every flight was a thing of beauty, gracefully soaring as the glider settled to the ground. There was stiff competition for the shortest flight of the day…12’6” just edging out 12’7”.  And quite a few of the aircraft did not survive the landing.

Nonetheless, from the vantage of flight, this was the most successful yet.

The day was also a very successful fundraiser—according to John Harris, the President of Kitty Hawk Kites who sponsored the event, the 2019 BrewTag raised more money than any had in the past.

That’s great news. Half of the proceeds will be going to Ocracoke through the Outer Banks Community Foundation’s Ocracoke Disaster Relief Fund. The remaining proceeds will help fund the Francis Rogallo Foundation. Francis Rogallo was a NASA engineer who, among other things, invented the Rogallo wing that is used in hang gliding.

Looking for a getaway to a wonderful place by the sea? Check out what Joe Lamb, Jr. & associates has to offer.

Outer Banks Seafood Festival and Mustang Rock & Roast – So Much To Do!

An Outer Banks event dilemma. Seafood Festival, Mustang Rock & Roast or both?
An Outer Banks event dilemma. Seafood Festival, Mustang Rock & Roast or both?

We admit it. With the Outer Banks Seafood Festival and Mustang Rock & Roast happening this weekend, we have a real dilemma on our hands.

 Actually, it’s just Saturday that is causing all the angst.

Do we go to the Seafood Festival at the Nags Head Event Site with amazing food, a wonderful family atmosphere and a great musical lineup featuring Country Music Star Celeste Kellogg and local bluesman Mojo Collins and Triple Vision? Or do we head up to Corolla for the first day of Rock & Roast with amazing food, a wonderful family atmosphere and a great musical lineup?

Adding to the dilemma, Sunday is looking very iffy at this point in time with Tropical Storm Nestor forecast to be passing over the Outer Banks on Sunday. The forecast track looks promising at this point, with the storm apparently staying to the south of Corolla. However, the weather forecast for the day is calling for a lot of rain and some strong winds. Although those strong winds, according to the forecast shouldn’t go much above 20mph.

There is always the option of starting at the Seafood Festival and then heading north to Corolla. In theory, it could work the other way, but the Seafood Festival wraps up at 6:00 p.m. and the music at Rock and Roast goes until 10.

The Seafood Festival does feature 12 local restaurant preparing local seafood and that is a pretty big draw. On the other hand the Rock & Roast is all about music and Saturday North Carolina barbecue—that’s the roast. Sunday it’s oysters—the rock.

Such a dilemma. We’ll get back to you and let you know how we’ve resolved it.

So much to do a on the Outer Banks. Reserve your Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home and see for yourself how wonderful the real Outer Banks is.

Fire Destroys the Original Cotton Gin

Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.
Fire destroyed the Cotton Gin in Jarvisburg.

The original Cotton Gin on the Currituck Mainland has been so much a part of Outer Banks life that it’s hard to imagine what it will be like without it. After Saturday’s blaze the left only charred remains of the store, we’ll have to face that reality.

We don’t know yet what caused it or why it burned fro eight hours and the Currituck Fire Departments were unable to put the blaze out.

We can hope the Wright family who own the Cotton Gin will be willing to and have the resources to rebuild it.

But we don’t know any of that right now.

All we know right now is that one of the most remarkable and wonderful stores ever is gone. 

Wandering through the Cotton Gin was like walking through an attic that was a combination rambling old mansion and barn. There was a randomness about how it all came together that made exploring the many rooms—none of them very large—the type of activity that could keep anyone, man, woman, child, occupied for hours.

The product selection was, well, different. In a wonderful individualistic way. That the store was successful was obvious. Why it was successful —that’s a bigger question.

In the world of retail that now exists, the Cotton Gin is exhibit A that most of the experts don’t know what they’re talking about.

This is not, or was not in this case, an example of a slickly merchandised store. Just the opposite. Instead there was a beautiful charm that it exhibited was founded on not being perfectly organized.

It absolutely would not work in almost any other store or setting. But for the Cotton Gin it was perfect.

There are three Cotton Gin stores still in existence—Corolla, Nags Head and Duck. They are very nice store; Corolla comes closest to the original. But nothing will ever quite match the original Cotton Gin.

Annual ESA’s Surf Competition Returns to Jennette’s Pier

Amateur but skilled. The ESA’s have something for everyone.

The hurricane is behind us. Except for Ocracoke everything on the Outer Banks is open and welcoming visitors and the Eastern Surf Association finals beginning Sunday and running through next week is what back to normal is all about.

The ESA is celebrating its 50th anniversary—not quite as experienced in the as Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates, but pretty close. The organization is certainly the largest amateur surf association in the US and maybe the world.

The ESA’s are a showcase of what the organization is all about. 

Held annually at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, the event brings together the qualifiers from the regional heats held earlier in the year. Competitors from 8-80 take to the water, and what is particularly nice about the event is it’s not limited to just surfboards.

There are skimboard competitions, and bodyboard competitions. And it’s all done in an amazing family atmosphere.

Why Jennette’s Pier? After it was rebuilt in to a 1000’ concrete edifice, the stability and size of the pier created a sandbar on the south side of the pier. It is a very rare day when there’s not a surfable break there.

From Maine to Florida, families take the week off from school to bring their kids to the competitions. It creates a remarkably wholesome feeling.

The weather is looking pretty good next week at this time. It’s still a bit early to get a good read on surf conditions, but there is tropical storm activity out in the Atlantic—forecast to stay well offshore—so we should be seeing some good surf later this week. Sunday is looking pretty good for the first day of the event.

The ESA’s are a great event to check out. Lots of surfers and families gathered together because of their love of the sport.

Fall-Surfing Time on the Outer Banks

 JLWRVPr.jpg September 1, 2019 859 KB 1050 by 700 pixels Edit Image Delete Permanently URL https://www.joelambjr.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/JLWRVPr.jpg Title JLWRVPr Caption Chauncey Robinson in his Round 1 heat at the WRV Outer Banks Pro, Thursday, August 29. Photo, WRV Pro Surf.
Chauncey Robinson in his Round 1 heat at the WRV Outer Banks Pro, Thursday, August 29. Photo, WRV Pro Surf.

The waves have been rolling as the surf competitions come to the Outer Banks. Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head is the place to be in September as some of the best surfers around check out the break generated by the sandbar that builds up just south of the pier.

The WRV Outer Banks Pro just wrapped up today with Noah Schweizer from Florida taking home top prize.

The weather this year was just about perfect for the event. Bright sunshine and moderate temperatures throughout the four day event. Surf conditions were pretty good, although they today the break was pretty small.

Still it was good event with competitors from the US, Costa Rica and a number of other countries.

Coming in a couple of weeks are the ESAs, the Eastern Surf Association championship. It’s weeklong competition—September 15-21, that features the best amateur surfers in on the East Coast. 

The ESA is one of the largest, if not the largest, amateur surfing organization in the world. Particularly nice in the way they go about doing things, they represent just about everyone who want to ride the surf—all ages all styles.

As a consequence, the ESAs are a wonderful family affair with parents cheering on their kids, the families traveling from Maine to Florida to meet at Jennette’s Pier.

Ages of the competitors range from 8 to 80 and the age range may even be a bit wider than that.

There are certainly some storms out in the Atlantic stirring things up. As it looks right now, they’re going to stay offshore and send in some great conditions. 

Fall is a fantastic time to visit the Outer Banks. Book your stay in a Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates home and see for yourself why the people who live here love this time of year.