Of course you are! Outer Banks beach driving is one of the most unique adventures our area has to offer. We’re here to give you the 4-1-1 on 4×4 as you plan your first trip cruising the sand.
Some OBX Beach Driving Details
Before you start driving on the beaches of the Outer Banks, you need to know some basic information. Keep in mind, rules and regulations vary from beach to beach. The facts in this article are specific to Carova and Corolla beach driving.
A common misconception is that permits are needed to drive on the beaches of Corolla and Carova. A permit is only required if you plan on stopping and parking on the beach. If you are considering stopping to observe the wild horses that roam these beaches, acquire a parking permit so you can watch safe and legally. Park your off-road vehicle and pull out some rental beach supplies to enhance your time on these hidden gem beaches.
Types of Currituck County Parking Permits
If you find that parking on the beach could benefit your planned activities, the next step is to select the parking permit that is right for you. Here are the three types of parking permits tailored to the needs of Outer Banks residents and tourists.
- Resident and Owner Permits are available at no fee for residents and property owners from Currituck County.
- Seasonal Permits are available for $150 and provide one vehicle with beach parking for the entire vacation season.
- 10-Day Permits are available for $50. The pass is valid for 10 consecutive days under one vehicle.
After deciding on what type of parking permit fits your needs the most, place an application. No matter how you submit your application, the permit must be picked up at either the Mainland Currituck Outer Banks Welcome Center or Corolla Visitor Center.
Ready for Outer Banks Beach Driving General Rules?
It is very important to become familiar with general beach driving rules before taking off to the beach road, especially if it is your first time. Be knowledgeable of how to drive your off-road vehicle and carefully follow best practices while on the beach. Some important rules to follow are…
- The speed limit. The beach’s speed limit is 25 MPH, but if you are driving near others or animals drop down to 15 MPH for extra precaution. Remember pedestrians always have the right of way!
- Staying at least 50 feet away from wild horses. That means no feeding the Spanish Mustangs. Carrots and apples can be deadly to these native creatures!
- Never driving on the dunes. Do your part and help prevent erosion. We recommend driving during low tide because you will be driving on harder packed sand versus softer sand during high tide. Be sure to check the tidal charts before heading out.
- Obeying all posted signs.
- Parking your vehicle in the middle of the beach. The beach is the only road into and out of Corolla and Carova. Park in the appropriate places to prevent obstructing through traffic.
- Always lowering down your tire pressure. Not only is it the law, but it allows you to navigate in the sand easier.
Remember, many of the safety regulations are set to protect our beach and YOU! Currituck County has official county rules as well as a way to get your beach parking permit online. Follow the beach driving rules and guidelines at all times. Grab your parking pass, read over and understand the rules of beach driving, grab your family and friends, and GET OUT THERE!
If you decide that you’re not ready to drive off-road or do not have the proper vehicle for this type of adventure (4×4 or AWD with at least 7.5″ of ground clearance), you don’t have to miss out! Corolla and Carova beaches have other public accesses that are open to the public and wild horse tours are a popular option for exploring the region.
No matter how you get to Corolla or Carova, we recommend packing your car with a fun day in mind. Go ahead and rent some beach toys for yourself while you spend your day on the sand. Ocean Atlantic Rentals can supply you with the rental gear you need to have tons of fun during your four-wheel drive day like our ultimate umbrellas, beach chairs, coolers, beach games, watersports equipment and more!