We love the beach, even for short three-day weekend trips! About 9 years ago we started visiting Nags Head, NC with dear college friends for the Yuengling 5k race and it has turned into an annual trip that we look forward to each spring. The race is always in early May, so it’s the perfect time to visit when rental prices are low and it’s not too busy. This year as another fantastic weekend was coming to an end, we decided to stop at Whalebone Park on the way out of town. It’s a park we’ve passed by several times when in town and finally made time for a visit, which was a quick and fun final stop before heading back to Raleigh.
Whalebone Park is located across from Jennette’s Pier and next to Sam & Omie’s restaurant at 7300 S. Virginia Dare Trail. It has a large ship-themed playground for ages 5-12 with several ladders, hanging bars, monkey bars, and slides. The playground ship is called the Theodosia Burr, named after the daughter of Vice President Aaron Burr who was supposedly murdered on board the Patriot pilot boat at Nags Head around 1812. More information is included in a small informational board at the playground.
There is also a smaller playground for ages 2-5 with monkey bars, teeter totters, climbing ropes, and a small climbing wall. It also has some musical toys that are a great height for early walkers, one tot swing, which was broken, and one handicapped-accessible swing.
All of the play areas at this park are situated on the rubberized surface, but unfortunately there isn’t any natural shade, so on warm days like this one the heat was beating down on us and we couldn’t even put Claire down to play. Ashley seemed pretty worn out from the weekend so she spent most of her time swinging.
Next to the playgrounds are some additional features: picnic tables with removable shade tarps (not up on this hot day), sand volleyball court, bocce ball, horseshoes, trash can covers with interesting art and funnel ball game. So, while it was fun to explore a new park at the beach, it seems like this park would be better appreciated by year-round residents than tourists busy with all the other myriad beach activities.
Resources: previous posts on Nags Head featuring Manteo, Roanoke Island, Jennette’s Pier, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and NC Aquarium
Thumbs up: having a playground option at the beach, interesting trash can lid art, nautical-themed playgrounds, walkable from Jennette’s Pier or Sam & Omie’s or Dune Burger restaurants
Thumbs down: lack of shade, poor landscaping