I've lived on the Outer Banks my WHOLE life and never knew the history of Jockey's Ridge...til know. Clearly, Jockey's Ridge has played a key role in the legends of the Outer Banks.
One legend states during the days of pirates such a Blackbeard and Kidd, the early settles of Nags Head would ride a mare around on the crest of the dune at night with a lantern tied around the horse's neck. Sailors on passin ships would often think the light was coming from a nearby safe harbor, approach the shorem and wreck on the shoals. The following day, the locals would walk down to the beach and collect the wares that had washed ashore from the wreck.
Wonder why these locations earned the names "Jockey's Ridge" and "Nags Head"
How about this one?
An early reference to "Jockey's Hill" appeared in a grant to John Campbell in 1753 suggesting that a family named Jackey or Jacock owned the area at one time. The most popular legend concerning the naming of Jockey's Ridge results from the "Bankers" practice of capturing and racing Spanish Mustangs. The herd of horses came from the ships of explorers wrecked offshore. Riders, or jockeys, used the flats at the base of the big dune as the race course. The steep sides of the ridge served as a grandstand for spectators to view the race.
Which ever legend you feel comfortable with Jockey's Ridge has seen it all from pirates to putt-putt golf.
Putt-Putt Golf..? Yes, I said putt-putt golf.
A while back there was a golf course located where Jockey's Ridge is today.If you ever visit (which i recommend) you might just see the tip of the castle poking out of the front sand dune closest to the highway!