Are You Ready for Outer Banks Beach Driving?

Outer banks beach drivers access Corova and Corolla through beach road.

Outer Banks beach driving is one of the most unique adventures that North Carolina 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. Before you start driving on the beaches of the Outer banks, you need to know the basic information, rules and guidelines.

Outer Banks Beach Umbrella Daily Setup/Breakdown Service

Umbrella Rentals

Outer Banks Beach Umbrella Daily Setup/Breakdown Service Once you’ve finally made it to the Outer Banks for your vacation, it’s time to relax on the beach!  How would you like to walk out of your cottage each morning and your umbrella and chairs are already set up and waiting for you? And at the end …

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4 of the Best OBX Wedding Venues for Less than 100 People

Jennettes Pier

The Outer Banks is one of the most sought-after wedding destinations in the country…and for good reason! Knowledgeable wedding professionals, convenient event rentals, gorgeous weather, and a spectacular natural backdrop create the perfect recipe for an unforgettable destination wedding! Not to mention the collection of unique venues to choose from for your special day, offering …

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Why You Shouldn’t Dig Holes at the Beach

ocean atlantic rentals beach baby obx

The Outer Banks is known for being the ultimate family beach destination. This is because of the freedom, adventure, and fun that the area represents to all who visit or live on the coast. While the area is open to explore and enjoy, there are a few activities visitors should avoid while at the beach. …

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4×4 driving tips for the Carova beaches

A wild horse standing in dune grass.

Located just north of Corolla, there are nearly 10 miles of national seashore where folks are still permitted to drive on the beach. If you drive all the way north on NC 12, it will end at a beach access to enter the beach.

No permits or special passes are needed to enter this area, but some preparation will help. Four wheel drive vehicles are strongly encouraged to drive on the sand. Below are some tips to have a fun time on your beach drive!


  1. Deflate before you go. While at your beach house, or a shopping center in Corolla, deflate your tires. Yes, softer tires will make your vehicle glide over loose sand, rather than digging. I usually drop my truck tires from 80psi to 35psi. From trial and error, that just seems like the right spot for my vehicle to handle even the loosest of sand. On other vehicles, I have dropped from 50psi to 20psi as a start. Remember, you can always drop down more on the beach, but it is best to start out right, and not get stuck!*do not pull over in the “no stopping for any reason” areas. You may be ticketed by sheriffs patrolling the area.  PLEASE REMEMBER! The county parking lots (both at the lighthouse and beach access- less than a mile south of the ramp) are also legal places to park, and that the Currituck Banks Reserve parking lot is NOT a legal place to park.  This is true both for airing up and airing down, as well as for leaving vehicles in order to carpool on the beach. 
  2. Observe low tide. It is usually harder to drive on the beach at high tide, as there is “less” beach. Check the weather channel or a local tide chart for zip code 27927 for the best experience. Often, driving near the ocean on the hard-packed sand is the best spot, at low tide, which brings us to…
  3. Do not drive in the water. Salt water is very corrosive, and terribly hard on brake lines, brake pads, and other parts of your vehicle. Worse, you could get stuck in the soft, saturated sand, and lose your vehicle in the surf! Trust me, a few vehicles are lost in the Atlantic every year, don’t do it!
  4. Give pedestrians the right of way, and watch for children. The posted signs state 15MPH within 300 yards of pedestrians, and 30MPH when outside of pedestrians by 300 yards. Be safe, enjoy the ride, and slow down.
  5. Use 4 high setting, not 4 low, in your vehicle. Usually 4 low is geared just too low for loose sand. It is better to let out more air, and go in reverse, and forward slowly, than to dig deeper, requiring a tow.
  6. Next, a few items to consider taking with you:
  • tire gauge
  • shovel
  • camera (you may see wild horses!)
  • cellphone (for google maps, or if a towing company is needed, A1 is located in Corolla)
  • drinking water

*Lastly, air to re-fill your tires can be found at the Winks Convenience store in Corolla, just a mile from the ramp, south.

Have fun!