Outer Banks Beach Driving: Rules, Tips, and Information
The Outer Banks is a beautiful coastal region in North Carolina, attracting visitors worldwide. It is an ideal place to enjoy the beach, especially if you love driving on the beach. You can drive on the beach in the Outer Banks in several places, but knowing the rules and regulations is essential before you head out. In this blog post, we will discuss the essential things you need to know about driving on the beach on the Outer Banks.
Outer Banks Towns Where You Can Drive on the Beach
The Outer Banks has several areas where you can drive on the beach, including Carova, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke. However, the rules and regulations vary depending on where you go.
Carova: 4x4 vehicles can access the beach at the northern end of NC 12, where the paved road ends year-round. Between Memorial and Labor Day, vehicles must use driving lanes adjacent to the dune between Milepost 14.5 and 17. At all other times of the year, vehicles should use the driving lanes adjacent to the dune line or at the shoreline.
Beach Parking Permits are required for parking along the beach between the last Saturday in April through the first Saturday in October. Currituck County issues parking permits for only $50 each, and only 300 are sold per week. Please review the beach parking rules on their website for more information.
Nags Head: The Town of Nags Head permits beach driving in the off-season (October 1st through April 30th). Four-wheel drive vehicles with a current state inspection and the proper permit may access the beach during that time. Visitors may purchase a permit for $100, which covers the whole driving season. Learn more about beach driving rules and how to purchase tickets on the town's website.
Kill Devil Hills: The Town of Kill Devil Hills also allows beach driving in the off-season (October 1st through April 30th). Visitors must purchase a permit. There are two to choose from. You can purchase a seasonal permit for $25 or a temporary 14-day permit for $10. Please visit the town's website to review more beach driving details and purchase your ticket.
Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, and Duck: Beach driving is not permitted in the mentioned towns. Duck does have an exception, but the beach is only accessible via private ramps that are not open to the public.
Hatteras and Ocracoke Island: The National Park Service allows vehicles on designated ORV routes on the oceanside and soundside. To use these routes, you must purchase an ORV permit. There is a 10-day permit ($50) and an annual permit ($120) valid for one year from the date of purchase. There is no limit to permits sold, but please note that routes may be temporarily closed for various reasons. Please view their website for more information and to purchase a permit.
Tips for Driving on Outer Banks Beaches
- Purchase the correct permit for the town you'll be driving in. Please note each Outer Banks town has its regulations and permit. The permit you purchase in Nags Head will not be valid for Kill Devil Hills or Carova and vice versa.
- Proceed with caution. Pedestrians always have the right of way. Watch for fishing lines.
- Use a Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicle.
- The tire pressure should be lowered on all tires. As a rule, 15-25 lbs of pressure works best. When you return to the paved roads, you'll want to air your tires back up immediately.
- Slow and steady! The speed limit is usually 15 mph unless otherwise posted.
- Beware of saltwater. It is highly corrosive. It is highly recommended that you wash your car (including the undercarriage) after each beach trip.
- Please do not litter; bring a trash bag to collect your trash. Refill any holes that may be dug during your time on the beach. We must keep the beaches beautiful and clean so we can enjoy them year after year.
- Observe common courtesy on the beach and the rules of the road when meeting or passing other vehicles in constricted areas.
For more beach driving tips, please view our YouTube video on Outer Banks beach driving.
Plan your Outer Banks vacation today!
The Outer Banks offers a unique and forgettable beach driving experience that should not be missed. Visitors can enjoy a safe and thrilling driving adventure on Outer Banks beaches with proper preparation of where to drive. So pack your bags, bring your 4x4, and get ready to experience the Outer Banks like never before.
We proudly offer a superb selection of vacation rentals from Corolla to South Nags Head. Whether you are looking for an oceanfront property, pet-friendly property, or soundfront property, we have you covered! Visit our website to browse our Outer Banks vacation rentals, or call us at 855-585-8811. Our friendly staff is only a phone call away, and would be happy to assist you with finding the perfect home.
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