In 2021 Jennette’s Pier celebrates its 10-year anniversary since reopening in 2011 as part of the North Carolina Aquariums division. Known as “the place to be” in Nags Head during the summer season, anglers catch a wide variety of fish while sightseers can watch brown pelicans overhead and bottlenose dolphins swimming in the sea.
The pier is surrounded by wide, clean public beaches, free parking and a bathhouse, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from near and far. Owned and operated by the N.C. Aquariums, this state-of-the-art facility includes large aquariums in its pier house alongside educational exhibits, restrooms and a remodeled Pier Shop. There, visitors can find Jennette’s Pier t-shirts, hats, visors and even a new book on the history of Jennette’s. Anglers can also find everything they need for a day of fishing, including different types of rod and reel combos, bait and tackle. Ice cold drinks, snacks and souvenir items are also available in the gift shop.
The Pier property also serves as a frequent venue for community events, and the upstairs Oceanview Hall is available to book for wedding receptions.
Education is a strong suit of Jennette’s Pier. The pier has emerged as a must-see place for schools to visit on the coast. In the past decade, they’ve averaged around 8,000 to 10,000 North Carolina students a year. They host school groups on field trips, offer week-long summer camps and teach Fishing 101 – a rundown on the angling essentials – for $15. Check out the Surfside Classroom, or sign up for Family Fishing offered weekdays all summer at 9 a.m.
Pier staff also keep busy with two important conservation organizations – the Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the Responsible Pier Initiative, which promises to help protect sea turtles.
The pier has a blanket license for all anglers, so if you don’t have a fishing license, you’re covered. A daily fishing pass costs $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 12 and younger. A three-day pass costs $36 and seven-day pass is $80 (children pay half on passes). Walk-on passes cost $2 for adults and $1 for children. Rods can be rented by the day for $10 (photo ID required). Ask about prices for annual passes, family passes and pin rig passes.
For more information about their events and pier programs, call or see their social media pages. Jennette’s is open year-round except on Christmas Day. In season, from May through October, their hours are 6 a.m. to midnight every day. Off-season hours vary, so call ahead.