Jockey’s Ridge, North Carolina

September 6, 2013 by  

Jockey’s Ridge, North Carolina, Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a fascinating 420-acre park and recreational area where visitors are able to explore the highest sand dunes on the entire Atlantic coast. Consisting of three peaks, this constantly shifting ridge is often referred to as The Living Dune.

Depending on weather conditions, the height of Jockey’s Ridge fluctuates between 80 and 100 feet tall. Climbing to the top of Jockey’s Ridge is a popular but strenuous endeavor, especially during the heat of summer. Other park areas to explore include the Maritime Thicket and Roanoke Sound Estuary.

There are two explanations for where Jockey’s Ridge got its name, according to the Jockey’s Ridge Visitors Center. The more colorful version is that locals who owned Spanish Mustangs (the famous horses that swam to the Outer Banks shores following shipwrecks) used to race the horses, somewhat of a status symbol at the time, at Jockey’s Ridge, while spectators watched from the tall dunes. The second version is that the land was once owned, according to somewhat patchy map records, by someone named Jackie, which either evolved into Jockey, or was misspelled on the map.

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