Visit Nags Head Woods

Thing To Do Visit Nags Head Woods

Nags Head Woods, located in Kill Devil Hills, is truly a unique spot in the Outer Banks, as it offers over 1,400 acres of lush maritime forest and a nice escape from the bustling beaches in the area. This park provides a wide range of activities for nature enthusiasts or those simply looking for a peaceful place to spend a few hours. 

You can find a trail guide here.

Things to Do at Nags Head Woods


  • Scenic Trails: Nags Head Woods features several well-marked hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. The trails wind through dense forests, past freshwater ponds, and over rolling dunes, providing a peaceful and immersive nature experience.
  • Trail Highlights: Popular trails include the Sweetgum Swamp Trail, which showcases a variety of plant and animal life, and the Blueberry Ridge Trail, known for its stunning views and seasonal blueberry picking.

Wildlife Watching:

  • Birdwatching: The preserve is a birdwatcher's paradise, home to over 100 species of birds! Bring your binoculars and look out for woodpeckers, warblers, and the elusive barred owl.
  • Other Wildlife: Keep an eye out for other wildlife, including white-tailed deer, turtles, and a variety of amphibians and reptiles. The ponds and wetlands within the preserve are particularly rich in biodiversity.


  • Natural Beauty: With its diverse landscapes, interesting trees, and abundant wildlife, Nags Head Woods is a perfect spot for photos. Capture the beauty of the towering trees, serene ponds, and vibrant flora and fauna as you wander the trails.
  • Seasonal Changes: The preserve offers unique photo opportunities throughout the year, from blooming wildflowers in the spring to the colorful foliage in the fall.

Educational Programs:

  • Nature Programs: Nags Head Woods offers a variety of educational programs and guided tours led by knowledgeable staff. These programs are perfect for families and those looking to learn more about the local ecosystem.
  • Interactive Exhibits: Visit the Nags Head Woods Visitor Center to explore interactive exhibits that provide insight into the area's natural history and conservation efforts.

Recreational Activities:

  • Picnicking: Enjoy a picnic at one of the designated areas within the preserve. These peaceful spots are perfect for relaxing and enjoying a meal surrounded by nature.
  • Jogging and Running: The well-maintained trails are also suitable for jogging and running, offering a scenic and shaded route for those looking to get a bit of exercise.

What To Know
  • Hours and Admission: Nags Head Woods Preserve is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Admission is free, but donations to support the preserve's conservation efforts are appreciated.
  • Parking: Parking is available at the visitor center and at various trailheads. Arrive early, especially during peak season, to ensure you find a spot.
  • Trail Maps: Pick up a trail map at the visitor center or download one from the preserve's website. This will help you navigate the trails and plan your visit.
  • What to Bring: Wear comfortable shoes suitable for hiking, and bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a camera. A hat and sunglasses are also recommended for sun protection.
  • Leave No Trace: Help preserve the beauty of Nags Head Woods by following Leave No Trace principles. Stay on marked trails, carry out all trash, and respect the wildlife and plants.
  • Pets: Pets are allowed in the preserve to protect the wildlife and natural habitat. Keep your pet on a leash no longer than six feet at all times to protect wildlife and prevent your pet from getting lost. Always pick up after your dog to maintain the cleanliness of the park and protect the environment. Stick to designated pet-friendly trails and areas, and never leave your pet unattended. Bring plenty of water, waste bags, and a first aid kit for your pet. Be mindful of the weather, as pets can overheat easily, and ensure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations.

Nags Head Woods is conveniently located close to our Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills vacation rentals, and we recommend adding it to your list of things to do on your next OBX visit!