The National Park Service is initiating an ORV (off-road vehicle) plan for Outer Banks (NC) beaches. This new regulation will go into effect on February 15, 2012. Some things you need to know before you go:

  • An ORV permit will be required from now on.
  • Every vehicle must have an ORV permit. No piggybacking off someone
  • else’s permit.
  • You must not exceed the speed limit, which is 15mph, unless otherwise posted.
  • There are two types of permits issues: ($50) weekly and ($120) annually. Note: No day rate but there is limited access on Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches.
  • The permits may be obtained at NPS offices during normal business hours, seven days a week, (but not prior to 2/15/12) at :
  1. Bodie Island at the north end of the Coquina Beach parking lot (8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, NC);
  2. Hatteras Island by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC);
  3. Ocracoke Island by the NPS visitor center (40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC).

You must have a valid driver’s license and vehicle registration. You will be required to fill out a form, pay the money, and watch a brief educational video.

The permit must be prominently displayed on your vehicle while engaging in off-road driving. Maps are available that show designated ORV areas at the permit offices and OB visitor centers, as well as on their website,

For more information, call 252-473-2111 or visit the park website at:

Terrance Zepke, author of Coastal North Carolina and Lighthouses of the Carolinas
Guest Blogger