Frequently Asked Questions

Metal Detectors
36 CFR 2.1(a)(7) prohibits use of metal detectors in all national parks.

Fireworks
36 CFR 2.38(b) prohibits the use or possession of fireworks in all national parks.

Vehicles
All vehicles used in the park must have a current vehicle registration, license tag, and the operators must have a current driver's license. Operation of a vehicle off paved roads requires a permit.

Horses
Horses may be ridden only on the ocean beach seaward of the existing dunes, on vehicular beach access routes, along road shoulders, or across paved routes where travel is necessary to cross to, or from, beach or beach access routes. Riders must clean up behind their horses--this includes both droppings and hay/feed--whether in parking lots, on access routes, or on the beach.

Bicycling
Use extreme caution! There are no established bike paths within the National Seashore. Highway 12 is a relatively narrow paved road with soft shoulders.

Swimming
Tides, rip currents and strong waves make ocean swimming extremely hazardous.

Surfing
For safety reasons, surfing is prohibited within designated swimming areas, specific areas adjacent to villages, and within 300 feet of fishing piers.

Pets
Pets are welcome at the park but must be on a six-foot leash. Pets are prohibited within any resource enclosure, in buildings, and on designated swim beaches.

Fishing
Surf, sound, and pier fishing is excellent in the spring and fall. Fishing tackle may be rented at most tackle and bait stores.

Boats
There are several marinas in the area which offer charter boat services and have boat launching ramps. National Park Service boat launching ramps are located near the Oregon Inlet Marina and near SilverLake on OcracokeIsland.

Beach Fires
Beach fires require a permit.

Dump Stations
RV dump stations are located near Oregon Inlet, Cape Point, and Ocracoke Campgrounds.

Weather
For current weather conditions contact the National Weather Service at (252) 223-5737 or online.

Nature/Hiking Trails
Signed nature trails in the seashore include: Hammock Hills Nature Trail (Ocracoke Island), Buxton Woods Nature Trail (Hatteras Island), and Bodie Island Dike Trail (Bodie Island).

Personal Watercraft
The trailering, launching or landing of PWCs on any NPS ocean or soundside beaches, public boat ramps at Oregon Inlet and Ocracoke Island, and operation of PWCs within the boundaries of Cape Hatteras National Seashore is prohibited.

Firearms
For information on firearms, see our Law and Policy page.

Did You Know?