Special Use Permit - Long-Term Parking

If you are interested in the convenience of parking your beach buggy at Cape Lookout National Seashore, the following information will be helpful. A Special Use Permit (Long Term Parking Permit) is required to leave your vehicle unattended for more than 24 hours on the barrier islands within Cape Lookout National Seashore; individuals parking their vehicle at the Harkers Island Visitor Center while camping on the barrier islands are not required to purchase a permit. Follow the guidelines outlined below to ensure that your permit is in place in time for you to leave your vehicle on the island.

This permit is required to be prominently displayed on any vehicle or trailer that will be parked unattended for more than 24 hours. All unattended vehicles must be in one of the park's three long term parking areas which are located in the Long Point, Great Island, and Lighthouse areas.

Vehicles which will be left unattended for less than 24 hours do not require permits and may be left on the open beach provided they are not obstructing traffic and are outside of areas closed to vehicles. They also may be left in designated less than 24 hours parking areas.

Permit Application Procedure

Requests for a permit application may be made in person at the Harkers Island Visitor Center, via telephone, email, or letter. The application form may be downloaded from the Special Use Permit webpage. A completed application and the accompanying required information is necessary before an application can be processed. Park contact information is:

Special Use Permits Phone: 252-728-2250 ext. 3018
Cape Lookout National Seashore FAX: 252-728-2160
131 Charles Street Website: www.nps.gov/calo
Harkers Island, NC 28531 Email: CALO_Special_Use_Permit@nps.gov
Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.

If you mail your permit application:

  1. Please allow at least two weeks to process a permit by mail.
  2. Please insure that the form is filled out accurately. Applications will be returned to the applicant if submitted incomplete, cannot be approved as submitted, or are received without proper documentation, payment, or a social security or Federal Tax Identification Number. This greatly extends the time required to process your permit.
  3. Decals for parking permits will be mailed to your home address. They will not be mailed to you through a third party.

Required Paperwork

  • Fully Completed and signed permit application for the current season.
  • Permitee's portion of the permit for the current season completed with signature
  • Copy of Current Valid Driver's License
  • Copy of Current Valid Vehicle or trailer registration
  • Vehicle Identification Number (serial number) from your ATV or UTV
  • Payment, accepted in any of the following forms:
    • Your personal check or money order made payable to the National Park Service for the number of weeks you wish to pay for your long-term parking
    • Charge cards, accepted in person or by phone
    • Cash, accepted in person only at the Harkers Island Visitor Center; you must have exact change
    • Note: You may pay for one week or for the entire season; however, no refunds will be issued. You may extend your time as often and by as much as you wish. Expired permits will be subject to tickets and fines.

Federal procedures (31 USC 7701 ) requires your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number on the back of all checks accepted for deposit. You must supply your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number in order for your check to be accepted and your application to be processed.


Please indicate the specific location you wish to park your vehicle. The Special Use Permit does not allow you to park in any lot, but only in one specific location. Lot locations can be changed but prior approval must be obtained.

The following areas are available for long term use:

  • Cape Lookout Lighthouse Area (Cape Lookout)
  • Great Island Cabin Area (Great Island)
  • Long Point Cabin Area (Long Point)

Cost Recovery

The authority for the National Park Service to recover and retain costs associated with managing special park uses is found at 16 U.S.C. 3a, 16 U.S.C. 460l-6d, and 31 U.S.C. 9701. Charges established for a Special Park Use under this authority are intended to recover costs associated with managing that activity and not to generate revenue beyond actual cost.

Special Use Permit for:
Application Fee
Administrative Fee
Long Term Parking
$0 $15 per week
$15 per week

Administrative Cost: Payable when the permit is received and prior to parking your vehicle in the lot. This is a non-refundable payment.


Once all the required information and fees are received, a Special Use Permit and Decal will be issued and mailed to you. Upon receipt, please place decal on front left bumper (or front left area where visible).

If you come in person, permits will be issued Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Permits will not be issued on holidays.

Terms & Conditions

To maintain park natural and cultural resources and quality visitor experiences in addition to the standard terms and conditions, the following conditions and requirements apply to Special Use Permits for Long Term Parking:
  1. This authorization is applicable only for the specific vehicle listed on application page of this permit.
  2. All vehicles and recreational equipment left in the park unattended must display a valid parking permit decal and must be parked in one of the National Park Service's designated long-term parking areas. All property left unattended for more than 24 hours elsewhere in the park may be considered abandoned property. (36 CFR §2.22(2))
  3. A parking permit will be issued only to the owner or immediate family member of the permitted vehicle or equipment. Permits will not be issued to dealer or rental plates. No transfer of permits allowed without prior approval of the Superintendent.
  4. Placement of the Parking Permit Decal- The decal issued through this permit must be firmly attached and prominently displayed on the vehicle for which it is issued. The decal must be clearly legible and affixed to the left front bumper of full-sized vehicles, or if an ATV, on the left side of the fuel tank. Trailers and other equipment shall have the decal attached to the left front.
  5. Motor Vehicle Regulations: It is important to note that in addition to the conditions of the permit, National Park Service regulations posted at 36 CFR, section 1-7, seashore specific driving rules documented in the Superintendent's Compendium and North Carolina Motor Vehicle Codes will be enforced.
  6. The Permittee and/or any operator must possess a valid state driver's license. And meet all requirements of safe vehicle operation per NC DMV law.
  7. Vehicle Registration and Safety Inspection:
    • The vehicle must continuously meet North Carolina vehicle registration and safety inspection requirements as if operated on State highways, even while stored.
    • Current license plate(s) and safety inspection shall be attached to the vehicle in accordance to the laws of the State in which the vehicle is registered at all times, while at the seashore.
    • Vehicles equipped with dealer tags will not be issued a parking permit.
  8. Camping in Lots- Camping (including vehicle camping); is prohibited within all long term parking lots.
  9. Any storage of fuel in external containers must be secured and in approved containers for the type of fuel being stored.
  10. All trash and garbage generated by the Permittee will be carried out of the Park by the Permittee.
  11. The area(s) authorized for use under this authorization must be left in substantially the same condition as it was prior to the activities authorized herein, with all refuse properly disposed of. No clearing of natural features including vegetation is allowed without prior consent of the Superintendent.
  12. Special Requirements- Emergency Conditions:
    • The Permittee should remove his/her vehicle and equipment from the park at the earliest notice of the possibility of a major storm and the park closing.
    • The National Park Service is not responsible for securing vehicles and/or personal possessions left at the long-term parking area during Permittee's absence. It is the Permittee's responsibility to secure the vehicle and its contents, or to remove it from the island and store it until the emergency concludes. The National Park Service will make every effort to ensure visitor's personal safety, BUT NOT the safety of personal property.
    • In the event that a storm causes the vehicle or equipment to move or be buried, the Permittee will return to the national seashore and remove his/her vehicle and equipment on a schedule acceptable to the Superintendent and restore or repair the damage to park resources to the satisfaction of the Superintendent.
    • In the event of a storm incident in which the Permittee does not remove his/her vehicle or equipment from the banks prior to the closure of the park, the National Park Service reserves the right to remove by any means necessary any vehicle or equipment which is remains in the park which causes operational problems or has become a health or safety hazard. The National Park Service will not be held liable for any damages that may occur by such removal. The permittee will be financially liable for any removal costs incurred by the National Park Service and may be billed for such cost.
  13. Accidents - Any accident shall be reported to the Superintendent as soon as possible and in no event longer than 24 hours after the incident (36 CFR 2.33, 3.4 and 4.4).
  14. Towing and Storage - The Permittee understands and agrees that either with or without prior notification by the National Park Service, the vehicle may be towed off of the national seashore and stored off the island, at the Permittee's expense for any of the following concerns:
    • Emergency conditions, including storm recovery
    • Vehicles leaking any fluids
    • Environmental protection concerns
    • Revocation of the long-term parking permit
  15. The vehicle could be booted and made temporarily inoperable for the following reasons:
    • Expired or missing license plate and/or sticker
    • Missing or improperly located permit decal
    • Expiration of the long-term parking permit
  16. Although every reasonable effort will be made to contact the Permittee if a vehicle is to be towed and/or stored off the island, the Permittee agrees that the National Park Service is not obligated to inform the Permittee before such action is taken.
  17. Permittee further agrees that the National Park Service is not responsible for any property loss incurred during towing and/or storage of the permitted vehicle, including contents.
  18. Permit Expiration- the National Park Service is not required to notify Permittees when their parking permits expire. If permit expires while vehicle or equipment is in long-term parking area, the Permittee will be subject to a Violation Notice (a ticket) and fine of $150 up to $5000, in addition to permit fees and towing fees.
  19. It is the Permittee's responsibility to notify the national seashore of any extenuating circumstances regarding this permit.
  20. The Permittee shall be liable for any damages to any Government property resulting from these activities.
  21. The Permittee may not lease, rent, or allow a use for compensation by another party any permitted vehicle being stored in the parking areas.
  22. Refunds - Fees will not be refunded for any reason (for example: permit revocation, park closures due to emergency conditions or lack of ferry operations). Fees are not transferable (for example: from one timeframe to another or from one person to another).
  23. Revocation - The Permittee understands and agrees that this permit may be revoked for violating any permit condition. The Permittee may not be eligible to apply for another permit in the future.

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