It’s easy to talk about the variety of recreation available on the Outer Banks. The list of obvious activities include the beach, our ocean and sounds, hiking, shopping … it’s a list that seems endless, and a good reason why we love living here and vacationers return year after year.
Aside from the obvious, there are also special little things that make this such a special place. So, I thought it would be interesting to write a blog series highlighting some of these little things that greatly add to Outer Banks enjoyment, the first being about our wonderful community parks.
The first entry isn’t a park at all, but it is designed around a park and a beautiful town green. The Duck Boardwalk is the most beautiful soundside walkway on the Outer Banks. It’s about a mile in length and provides amazing panoramic views. Along the way, there are plenty of places to stop for coffee and snacks and it is ideal for outing from family excursions to a romantic stroll.
The Town of Southern Shores has some great little parks but they are all administered by the civic associations and are considered private property.
If there is a rating system for small, friendly parks, the town of Kitty Hawk would rank high for their three town parks, all in fairly close proximity. In fairness to other towns, one of these parks is actually a county facility. The Woods Road goes through the heart of Kitty Hawk Woods, and the Paul Pruitt Park is located at the beginning of the road, just past the intersection of US 158 (The Bypass). Located just past the Dominion Power offices, this park is fenced, provides parking and is surrounded by shade trees, making it perfect for youngsters.
About 1-1/2 to 2 miles up the Woods Road, is Sandy Run Park. This is an absolute gem of a little park, providing a boardwalk and very well marked dirt path loop around a small pond and wetlands. Exquisitely beautiful, the path is a little less than half a mile and is suitable for all members of the family.
Kitty Hawk Park, which is a part of Dare County Parks and Recreation, is located on Kitty Hawk Road. Turn left at the end of the Woods Road and the park is on the left about a half mile down. It has a great skateboard bowl, created by local designer Andy Duck, a dog park, picnic tables and a trail that loops around the park. On good weather days, the bowl is packed with kids.
One of the best children’s parks around is Hayman Park in Kill Devil Hills. It has swing sets and a jungle gym that will keep kids occupied for hours (okay, maybe minutes), wide open space for running and a picnic table shaded by a beautiful live oak. Located on West Hayman Boulevard, the turn for the street is between the Pittsburgh Paint store and the Bingo sign on the Bypass.
The Nags Head Town Park qualifies because it’s off the beaten path, and it’s a wonderful facility. Located at the end of Health Center Drive (turn at the Ace Hardware), this park is too big to be called small. It has everything from grills and covered picnic tables, to swings and a large open field designed for pick-up games. There are even a couple of easily navigated hiking trails, making it ideal for family fun and family gathering.
The other Nags Head park that gets special notice is Whalebone Park, located across from Jennette’s Pier. It’s designed as a children’s play park, but there’s not much shade, so slather on the sunscreen. This is a great place to go when the kids are tired of the sand.
This is just a sampling of the town parks throughout the Outer Banks, so please feel free to explore. When it comes to parks, they all have unique qualities and something special to offer residents and visitors.