Originally built in 1939, Jennette's Pier is the oldest ocean fishing pier on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Battered by storms and rebuilt several times over the years, Jennette’s and its five-acre tract, located in Nags Head, were purchased by the North Carolina Aquarium Society in 2003.
Eventually, the state took it over and built the massive concrete, $25 million facility that features “green” building systems, an educational classroom with programs, live animal exhibits, oceanfront event space, meeting facilities and a tackle shop.
If you’ve never visited there or if you want to return for an outing, here are the top five reasons why you should check out Jennette’s Pier.
1. Hook into a fishing tradition
World-class fishing can be found at this state-of-the-art, 1,000-foot-long concrete pier. Anglers of all experience levels can take a shot at landing a wide variety of fish, from small spot to hard-fighting mahi mahi. There’s drum, trout, flounder, croaker, pompano, sea mullet and more.
Jig for bluefish and Spanish mackerel on the end of the pier, or bottom fish for a red drum in the surf zone. Novice anglers love to feel and reel in feisty fish. Intermediate fisherman can target this wide variety. The pier fishing fee covers your license for the day. There’s bait for sale and rods for rent too.
Read the fishing report here.
2. See marine mammals and coastal birds
Walk-on sightseers can find all sorts of interesting happenings around Jennette’s Pier. Watch a fisherman catch a big cobia or king mackerel. Often, bottlenose dolphins are swimming around the pier.
Birds of all types fly the sky, including brown pelicans, ospreys in summer and a wide variety of migrating waterfowl during the winter. Be sure to bring your camera or binoculars.
On the rare occasion, people can spot spouting whales, usually humpbacks, on the horizon as they make their way south or north depending on the season.
Click here to learn more about pier experiences.
3. Explore interactive, educational programs
Jennette’s Pier offers numerous educational opportunities both inside the pier house and out on the pier itself. Family Fishing programs are offered during summer months too.
Informational graphic panels located along your path explain the history of Jennette’s Pier. Inside the pier house, two large aquariums, more graphic panels, plus informational and interactive displays, offer a wealth of information on Life Under the Pier as well as ocean sciences and research. Learn more.
4. Get married and enjoy epic ocean views
Jennette’s Pier has emerged as a premier wedding venue on the Outer Banks since it reopened in 2011. Hundreds of happy couples have been wed on the beaches surrounding the pier and then celebrated with family and friends inside Oceanview Hall.
As the name implies, there’s a grand vista of the sea and a wraparound veranda so you can soak in the salt air, warm breezes and shimmering moonlight across the water. For wedding venue details, click here.
5. Community beach events
Whether you want to run in an early beach race, do yoga or watch a professional surf contest, Jennette’s Pier has it all — all season long. With plenty of parking, there’s no wonder people are flocking to the beach for days in the sun and surf. See upcoming special events by clicking here.
Commemorate your day with a gift from the Pier Shop. Choose from hats, T-shirts, housewares and fishing tackle.
Plan a visit and explore the Outer Banks at Jennette’s Pier, where fishin’ is catchin.’ For more information, visit jennettespier.net or call 252.255.1501.