Off-Road Vehicle Use

This information is moving! All the general ORV and access information has moved to the Beach Activities page, while all permit information is now found on the Permits & Reservations page. Please update your bookmarks accordingly. Thanks!

Off-road vehicles (ORVs) are one way for visitors to enjoy the ocean beaches and sound-side waters of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Ramps all along the seashore provide access to the ocean and the sound. The National Park Service (NPS) is managing ORV use with protection of important wildlife habitat and recreational interests. Use of ORVs within Cape Hatteras National Seashore requires a permit.


Access Map

Access does change frequently during the breeding seasons of protected birds and sea turtles. Below shows the latest access map, or you can view the full-screen version of the beach access map here.

You can zoom in to the shoreline area in which you are interested to see the current access status. The color-coded "access line" indicates the status of shoreline access at the time the map was updated and is based on recent GPS coordinates of the actual shoreline. The underlying photo image is dated and may not accurately reflect the current location of the shoreline. Reference to non-US Department of the Interior (DOI) products do not constitute an endorsement by the DOI.


Closure conditions may change in the field on short notice. On-site signage, rather than the beach access map, is the most accurate and current indication of what is open or closed to the public. Closed areas are clearly marked in the field with closure signs or "symbolic fencing" consisting of posts, closure signs, string and flagging tape.

Knowledge of tidal changes and caution should be exercised while traveling the beaches of the park.


Getting a permit

To learn how to get a permit, please visit the Permits & Reservations page.



Additional Information

When going out onto the beaches with your vehicle, remember to take along the required equipment, which includes

  • a low-pressure tire gauge,
  • a shovel,
  • a jack,
  • and a jack support board.

You might find these recommended items useful to take along as well:

  • a tow strap,
  • a first aid kit,
  • a full-sized spare tire,
  • trash bags,
  • a fire extinguisher,
  • and, if you are night driving, a flashlight.

Here are some additional resources regarding ORV use within Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Did You Know?