Snapping turtle at Sandy Run Park, surrounded by yellow bellied sliders.

Snapping turtle at Sandy Run Park, surrounded by yellow bellied sliders.

Sandy Run Park in Kitty Hawk is one of those hidden gems of a park that you find yourself hoping no one discovers it because it is so wonderful.

Then there’s the realization that it’s the type of place that is perfect for people to learn a little bit about life away from the beach on the Outer Banks.

Located along the Woods Road in Kitty Hawk, there are some nicely shaded picnic tables, parking for about 20 cars, and basketball courts.

But the real attraction is the half mile trail around the pond.

It’s level, most of it is a boardwalk so it’s perfect for even the youngest kids. And what they will see are turtles. Lots and lots of turtles.

Mostly they’re yellow bellied sliders. And we’re not talking five or ten of them. The sheer number of yellow bellied sliders in the pond has to be seen to be truly appreciated.

And kids love it.

Today, though, when we were there, we saw a turtle we had not seen in the mix before. A nice big snapping turtle.

Some Snapping Turtle Facts

Close up of snapping turtle at Sandy Run Park.

Close up of snapping turtle at Sandy Run Park.

He—or she…it’s difficult to tell which is which—was just peacefully floating in the water with all the other turtles. Which makes sense. Snapping turtles, for all their reputation, are actually pretty docile when in the water.

On land they tend to be more aggressive—but that is probably because land is not their natural habitat and they don’t understand what is a threat and what is not.

There is actually much more to see at Sandy Run than the turtles. There’s an osprey nest on the south end. Birds come and go with the seasons. Dragonflies and butterflies are everywhere.

There are also two kayak launch sites that connect with Jean Guite Creek that bisects Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve.

And there is a catch and release fishing pier.

Sandy Run Park is just one of the many hidden gems of the Outer Banks. One week is never enough time to discover all that the Outer Banks has to offer. Plan your next vacations with Brindley Beach Vacations. We provide the finest homes in the best locations.