Jennette’s Pier

Jennettes-Pier-Nags-HeadIt’s rare for a structure, business or an attraction to become an icon of an area in just two years, but somehow Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head has managed to do that.

There has been a pier at that location since 1939, but Hurricane Isabelle ripped the remnants of a once grand part of the Outer Banks and sent it out to sea in 2003. The North Carolina Aquarium Society had already purchased the site, and an apparent disaster opened everyone’s eyes to possibilities. In 2011 the new pier opened and the possibilities had become reality.

The new Jennette’s Pier is concrete and 1000’ long, placing visitors beyond the shore break and above the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There is no other public facility on the Outer Banks that offers this perspective (The Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility in Duck is longer but visiting hours are restricted and tours are by appointment only).

Of course, it’s not just visitors looking for a different perspective that have noticed how far into the ocean the pier goes–fishermen fell in love with the pier immediately. The list of fish that have been caught off the pier is like a who’s who of the Outer Banks aquatic world: everything from trigger fish and spot to cobia . . . big cobia.

To go along with the fishing, classes such as “Little Anglers” to “Catch-it Clean-it Cook-it” are offered throughout the week.

The fishing programs are just one small part of what is available at the pier. As a stable platform extending so far into the sea, Jennette’s Pier has become a center for near-shore research and there are a number of programs for children to highlight this fact. One in particular that parents may wish to check out is “Parent’s Night Out” which is a three hour evening camp that offers kids a pizza dinner and immerses them in the pier’s science lab for three hours.

The pier has striking architecture–three wind turbines rise out of the deck and are coupled with solar panels placed along the pier, provide a substantial portion of the facilities power.

The pier house is by far the largest of any of the Outer Banks piers. A two-story building that houses a remarkably well stocked retail store, a small aquarium and research facilities.

Additionally, Jennette’s Pier has become one of the most sought after venues for special events–think weddings and award ceremonies. The reception area on the top floor can handle up to 175 people and there are catering facilities available.

The activities and events scheduled around the pier, doesn’t really get to the heart of why so many people are visiting every day. To fully understand, place $2 in the donation box and walk out on the pier. It’s only then that you’ll understand this captivating adventure