Jockey Ridge State Park, is where I experienced 1 extremely dynamic Outer Banks hang gliding experience I’ll never forget.
Yes, I took flight, and I HATE heights, but I did it and will absolutely do this again!
Seek out the Outer Banks Hang Gliding experience!
Our instructor might have been the coolest, intolerably patient instructor, I’ve ever worked with.
My teens, all 4 of them, absolutely thought the hang gliding experience surpassed their expectations.
I went in the sand to play, and captured great images to share!
What could be better than a day in the sand and sun?
How about flying above the sand dunes?
Actually, Jockey State Ridge Park is the ‘tallest living sand dune on the East Coast and that alone earns bragging rights for, ‘been there done that!’
What is a beginner Outer Banks hang gliding experience?
Everything and more!
It’s an extremely dynamic moment at Jockey Ridge State Park, on a setting that unto itself is just eye-popping fab, but you’ll amp that up with a side of hand gliding in the OBX.
Mega bad-ass IMO, for lack of better descriptors!
Dress casually, tee shirt and shorts, slather the sunscreen and don’t forget your sunglasses!.
You’ll take flight off a dune and your instructors will encourage you every step of the way!
Are you ready for the Outer Banks hang gliding experience?
Maybe the best thing about this is that you get to experience hang gliding in the OBX through a simple series of what I’ll term companion flights.
If you loved the hang gliding experience you can build on it with more instruction right here throughout your OBX vacay!
My adventure was hosted, the story that follows and all images are my own, based on my personal experience.
Visit North Carolina, whether you are an adventure seeker, a foodie, or a beach-seeking fiend!
Distance from Wherever You Are Plus the Beach Roads. (ugh!)
We traveled from Corolla Light To Jockey Ridge State Park & Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School!
We stayed in Corolla, in a Vacation Villa, and headed to Jockey Ridge State Park.
At Jockey Ridge State Park, we are seeking Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding School.
Here we are going to experience hang gliding in the Outer Banks and that is just simply cool and outrageous (for me mostly).
For your reference, we left at 2:45 P and arrived at 4:25P.
One-lane roads and people that don’t go anywhere near the posted speed, traffic, etc. all play into this so factor that in!
Bucket List Item in The OBX ~ ♥ Before the adventure begins
Everywhere I travel I have a bucket list.
Sometimes the list is more pronounced or written down and other times not so much. Here you can cross off a bucket list item in the OBX. ↓↓
As I mentioned before, Jockey Ridge State Park is the TALLEST Sand Dune on the Atlantic Coast?
Check that one off your travel bucket list!
So before you can begin to experience hang gliding in the OBX you will travel by foot just a bit, well a lot of a bit, lol!
Expect To Walk a Bit to arrive at your hang gliding dune
Nothing good comes easy, so do expect to walk a bit to arrive at your hang gliding dune, it’s not a hard walk.
Your Outer Banks hang gliding experience will be the highlight of your vacation.
For those that seek adventure with a new learning experience, the Outer Banks Hang Gliding experience glows!
You will walk to get to the location and up and down the dunes to take flight a few times, so bring WATER!
The whole adventure is in the sand, so you will get sandy!
After all, you are at the Jockey Ridge dunes so you will get walloped with sand and fun in the sun.
Q& A: Outer Banks Hang Gliding adventure.
OBX Hang Gliding Experience: Do I Bring a Backpack or Not?
Bring a backpack and allergy meds if you have them.
Sure, it’s going to sit on the sand dune while you are taking flight.
Make sure you have water in there and you can store your phone too when you take flight!
My bag sat atop the hill, with camera equipment and everything else I needed, it was FINE!.
On the FLIP side of where we sat, were other kites and people.
Should I wear sunglasses while I experience hang gliding in the Outer Banks?
Yeah, that is the short answer, look at our faces and flights and watch the video!
If you look at all the photos, you’ll see we are wearing sunglasses.
It’s bright, you are on the reflective sand and I would shield your eyes!
The reflection of the sand is crazy and can be blinding.
Honestly, if your sunglasses drop off while you are in flight, they will fall right below you on the sand, not a big deal!
What Time To Reserve for your OBX Hang Gliding Instruction?
Our 4:30 slot was perfect.
While the sun was out, we didn’t die of heat.
To that end, the sun glistened across the sand, while the wind was blowing.
It was warm, but perfect for photos, memories, and a new adventure.
However, everyone has their own time preference, so you decide, this is just my opinion!
Shoes & Jockey Ridge State Sand Dune
Really it comes down to personal preference.
Do you have shoes you wear on the beach and walk in with the sand?
Anything you want, they are coming off the minute you get off the mini ‘boardwalk’ path that leads you to the sand dune area.
My crew had everything from tennis shoes to their slides!
Clothing choices & hang gliding instruction
What do you wear?
Hey, y’all it’s sand and sun, so keep it easy, and relaxed and know you will sweat with fun or with fear, lol!
What I would not wear is a dress if that is what you want to know.
You have to step into these ‘harness’ things (I’m not technical) and each has a separate leg hole if you get where I am going!
Shorts and workout clothes work well.
Tees, tanks, etc.
Anything comfortable, as you will be laying on the ground, moving your legs, and may get super warm from the sun beating on you!
Is this experience physically strenuous?
Yes & No is the answer to how physically strenuous this hang gliding experience is.
First, the walkover requires the ability to walk on sand that might be mounded, soft, flat, already trotted in.
There is nothing but sand.
OBX Hang Gliding Physicalicaty depends on you!
Once off the wooden pathway that leads to the dune area, you will go downhill, but quickly, you will ascend.
Let’s just say, it’s straight up and you are going to fight sand every step of the way.
Note the people walking towards us in the background of the photo below ↓
I must have gone up and down the hill 15x during this, to capture photos and reset a Bluetooth device to shoot other images at the same time.
I was no worse for the wear, but I exercise every day and I live in Pittsburgh which is filled with hills!
Maybe that was my winning combination?
Tips For Getting Up The Sand Dunes
Sidestepping is helpful.
For THOSE not watching and instead of flying, do note that for every flight you take, you have to HIKE back up.
That is 6x up the hill, plus the first plunge.
Naturally, there’s the walk back as well.
Stamina as well as a desire to fly is what you will need.
Did I mention anyone NOT flying can just come and watch!
There were plenty of spectators.
The Hang Gliding School’s Response To Our New Normal
So now that you know you want to take flight, let’s clear the air about social distancing and cleanliness.
Yes, I too was worried, but, here’s a little help.
First, every harness going on YOUR body is in a washing machine BEFORE you put it on, being sanitized between patrons.
Secondly, the helmets are also sanitized.
Third, your activity is OUTDOORS.
Once you take flight you are well beyond SIX feet as they are on the ground and YOU are IN THE SKY (well somewhat, let’s not get too crazy here!)
It’s so Gonna Be Their Thing –
For those that love a vacation memory trigger, a good story, this is it!
Kitty Hawk Kites offers the largest hand gliding school in the USA (bragging rights on where you learned)!
Next time you sit around with your friends, you’ve got a great adventure to share.
Would we do this again?
My family is ready for lesson TWO.
1 Extremely Dynamic Outer Banks Hang Gliding Experience
This is really an Outer Banks experience I will NEVER forget, it was exhilarating and so fun!
Plus, I only share my vacations and things we do, when it was fabulous, felt safe, and makes for a great family adventure!
See you in the sand dunes with a Kitty Hawk Kites instructor ~ Dana XO