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Hatteras Beach Driving…Unspoiled Sand & Surf

Hatteras Beach DrivingThe beaches of Hatteras Island, North Carolina are known for their soft sand, blue waters, rolling waves, and tranquility. You'll often enjoy a stretch of beach all to yourself, with only the occasional sea gull or frolicking dolphin for company. Hatteras Island's beaches offer terrific fishing, beachcombing, bird watching, sunning, surfing, kite boarding, relaxation and of course, the famous Hatteras Beach Driving. This long stretch of coastline offers miles of serenity and natural beauty.

On Hatteras Island, there are basically two ways to enjoy the beach: 1) Parking at a public beach access and walking to the beach, or 2) Using designated ORV (off-road vehicle) ramps to drive directly onto the beach.

Public Beach Accesses
There is no charge for beachgoers who would like to park their cars at these public beach accesses and take a short walk to the beach. During the summer months, these access areas are usually busy, but it is just an easy walk down the beach to find a more secluded spot.  You will find a mix of families; water sports enthusiasts, and anglers at these public beach accesses. It's a fun and convenient way to experience the gorgeous  beaches of Hatteras Island.

  • South of Avon, Hwy 12: The Avon public beach access offers handicap parking spaces, a paved parking area, bathrooms, and showers.
  • South of Frisco, Hwy 12: The Frisco public beach access offers a bath house with restrooms and showers.

Hatteras Beach Driving - ORV Ramps

Numerous Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) ramps are available on Hatteras Island.ORV ramps are  designated access roads that allow 4-wheel drive vehicles to drive directly onto the beach. For a full list of ramp locations and Hatteras beach driving regulations please visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website .

So What's This I Hear About Hatteras Beach Driving?

Hatteras Beach driving, or off-road vehicle (ORV) use, is one of the many great things about Hatteras Island. Fishermen, surfers, families, and beach bums of all sorts love to get in a 4-wheel drive and experience the beautiful coastline. You have  likely heard that beach driving, or ORV use, has been restricted in certain areas. It is true that some areas of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore may experience temporary closures due to mandated bird and wildlife protection. These temporary closures vary from day to day based on wildlife activity.

There's still plenty of shoreline available for beach driving. Conveniently monitor beach driving/ORV accessibility on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website - it includes helpful FAQs, as well as an interactive Google Earth map of ORV ramps. The Hatteras Island you know and love is awaits for beach driving! Come see us soon!

Don’t forget your permit for Hatteras beach driving! Permits can be obtained online here, or at any of these three permit offices:

  • Bodie Island at the north end of the Coquina Beach parking lot (8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, NC);
  • Hatteras Island by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC); or
  • Ocracoke Island by the NPS visitor center (40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC).

The Off Road Vehicle (ORV) permit offices are open 7 days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year round, except for Christmas day.  For more information visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore websites at, or by calling 252-441-2111.


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