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NC Beach Driving Permits By City, Town, & County

This is a request for information article asking locals and vacationers to NC coastal communities to tell us about beach driving permits for local area towns, cities, and county locations. Additionally, we’re asking readers using the no registration discussion form below to add data to this database, that you tell us specifically which municipality and county you’re talking about, the cost to obtain the permit, the process, where in the city or town one goes to apply, and any specific policies and regulations governing driving on local beaches.

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Additionally, please let us know if any locations allow drivers to apply online and if possible, to alert us to the online website to fill out applications and pay.

This website is NOT affiliated with any NC municipality or government agency.

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Please note, and speaking just about Carteret County NC since this is where our staff are located, county governments typically allow local city and town governments to set the rules and regulations for their communities, along with the cost for permits. The exception here will be locations which are unincorporated and do not have a local government and military installations.

NC counties with beach locations include Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender, Onslow, Hyde, Dare, Currituck, and Carteret County.

Furthermore, rules and regulations very much will be different for state park locations such as at Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout, and for military installations such as Camp Lejeune, Radio Island, and New River Air Station.

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NC Permits, Cost, Time Of The Year, And Process

Statement: We know of no location in NC which allows driving on the beach from May till September of each year except for the Core Banks of Cape Lookout as this is when the busy tourism season begins and ends, and all municipalities we know about require proof of insurance and that the vehicle is an all-terrain vehicle with four wheel drive capabilities. Again, we can only speak about the Carteret County area so we’re interested to find out if other areas do the same.

We’ll update the categories below as we receive information.

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For Brunswick County NC, we’re maintaining information on Sunset, Ocean Isle, Holden, Oak Island, Caswell, Southport, and Bald Head Island,


For Carteret County NC, we’re maintaining information on Pine Knoll Shores, Indian Beach, Emerald Isle, Salter Path, Atlantic Beach, Portsmouth Island, and Cape Lookout.

For all locations in Carteret and for the municipalities in Emerald Isle, Salter Path, Indian, Pine Knoll Shores, and Atlantic please contact the town hall locations.


For Currituck County NC, we’re looking at Corolla, Carova, Knotts Island, and the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.


For Dare County NC, we’re looking at Hatteras, Buxton, Avon, Salvo, Waves, Rodanthe, Bodie Island, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Southern Shores, and Duck.


For Hyde County NC, we’re looking at Ocracoke Island.

New Hanover

For New Hanover County NC, we’re maintaining information on Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Kure, Carolina, Wrightsville, Masonboro Island, Sea Breeze, and Figure Eight Island.


For Onslow County NC, we’re looking at North Topsail and Camp Lejeune.


For Pender County NC, we’re looking at Surf City and Topsail Island.


Anybody have information on driving on the oceanfront sandy areas on Camp Lejeune or New River Air Station?

Any information on the rules and regulation for the cabins on Core Banks of Cape Lookout? Or, for getting to fishing areas on the remote sandy areas of Core Banks?

Do all places accessible by car and truck ferry along the Outer Banks and Ocracoke allow for driving on oceanfront sandy areas?

Are there any areas within coastal North Carolina where you can drive on sandy areas year-around, or without a permit using a 4×4 vehicle?

What are some other city and town locations we missed which require driving permits to drive on oceanfront sandy areas in the off-season within NC?

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Michael Sharp

Native of Carteret County NC, Father to Makayla and Savannah. You can add me on Facebook. Interest include web development, encryption, and other technologies.

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