As the USA gears up for its birthday celebration, CNN highlights its favorite natural wonders across the nation in "50 States, 50 Spots Natural Wonders."
For North Carolina, CNN selected Jockey's Ridge at Nags Head, noting, "The dunes of Jockey's Ridge change with the wind, taking on the character of deserts: hot, bright and windy. Despite the volatile terrain, the tallest sand dune on the country's Atlantic Coast provides a scenic perch for sunsets. Temperatures can get high, with the sand often much hotter than the air. For the full experience of the 80- to 100-foot dune, try kiteboarding or sandboarding, which are allowed by permit during parts of the year in a designated area. Hang-gliding lessons are also available. The park on Nags Head on North Carolina's Outer Banks is bounded by Roanoke Sound to the west, home to big cordgrass, black needlerush, marsh pennywort, marsh-elder, cattail and lance-leaved sagittaria. A daylight-use park only, morning visitors might also spy the tracks of nocturnal animals such as foxes and lizards across the sand."