Of course our visitors know of our beautiful spacious beaches that run the coastline from Carova to Cape Hatteras, and some even know of the accesses that pepper the west side of the island allowing access to the calm waters of the Albemarle Sound, but not many people are aware of how many hidden gems are tucked away on our island just waiting to be explored. I’d love to introduce you to one of many- located off Kitty Hawk Road in Kitty Hawk, you will find Sandy Run park.
Located within the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Preserve, Sandy Run Park leads you through 1600 acres of marshland, waterways, and maritime forests all on decked ½ mile loop. When you arrive at the park, you will find ample parking, a picnic gazebo, small playground, basketball hoop and kayak launching site as well as a port-a-potty. Head down the decked walkway and as you head either right or left to explore, the loop trail will take you through wooded areas that open up to vast fishing ponds and kayaking waterways.
On the northern end of the loop, the fishing area is a real treat for the youngest fisherman because the small fish and turtles are always biting. Be sure to hit up one of our local fishing stores- TW’s Bait and Tackle in Kitty Hawk is just down the road- to secure your required fishing license and supplies. I’ve found that bread balls and bobbers are particularly cheap and efficient here.
Stroll path the gazebo situated on the water, or sit down for a picnic lunch with a view, and along the dirt path through the wooden area where you will see small animals, local horticulture and even a house nestled in the distance. As you round the southern part of the loop, you will find an observation deck and below there are always multiple families of turtles to delight in. Finish the loop past another gazebo where the fishing is plentiful and you have just discovered the hidden gem of Sandy Run.
Local Tip: Along the southern end, be sure to look for the “private island” across and slightly east of the Observation Tower. You’ll see a bridge, a pair of chairs and maybe a character or two.