Cape Cod National Seashore Oversand Beach Driving

Off Road Vehicle (ORV) Annual Reports and Related Documents

The ORV corridor at Cape Cod National Seashore is comprised of miles of unspoiled beaches managed by the National Park Service to accommodate ORV enthusiasts and other beach goers. Outlined are requirements and regulations for driving off-road at Cape Cod National Seashore. All applicable federal and state laws and regulations apply and are enforceable.



Bring 4-wheel drive and/or self-contained vehicle (SCV) to Off-Road Permit Station at Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA for a vehicle inspection between April 10 and November 15. If not the owner of the vehicle, you must have a letter of authorization and a copy of the owner's drivers license.

  • Have all required safety equipment.
  • Show valid driver's license and registration.
  • View orientation program.
  • Pay permit fee (cash or traveler's checks in U.S. currency; Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and Diner's Club.
  • Agree to abide by Cape Cod National Seashore regulations and the "Low and Slow" initiative.

Permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis.


8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Seven days a week (including all holidays)

ORV Annual - $150
ORV 7-Day - $50
SCV Annual - $225
SCV 7-Day - $75

There will be up to 400 7-Day permits active at any time and 3000 annual permits available.

Call the Off-Road Information Line for station hours, current driving conditions, closures and other information: (508) 487- 2100, ext. 0926. The direct phone number to the Oversand Office is: (508) 487-2100, ext. 0927. This office is staffed daily, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM, from April 10 through November 15. Off season: From November 15 - April 10, please call the Race Point Ranger Station at (508) 487-2100, ext. 0928

The Oversand Program issues permits in person, on a first-come, first-served basis at the Oversand Station located adjacent to Race Point Beach in Provincetown. Permit sales begin on April 10, 2017. Four hundred (400) weekly permits may be active for any 7-day period during the season. Since 2006, permits have been available throughout the season.

When considering a 7-day permit, be aware that during shorebird nesting season, as protected populations, such as the piping plover and least tern increase, the area of the ORV corridor may decrease significantly, particularly during the months of June and July. The ORV program cannot predict changes in the corridor area, and these changes may happen without warning and/or advance notice. All 7-day permit sales are final. The ORV program does not issue any refunds.

Credit card is the preferred method of payment for all ORV permits. The ORV program does not accept pre-paid debit cards.

Registered owners and other operators must have a valid state operator's license; view an educational orientation program each season; and abide by all Seashore and off-road regulations.

4-Wheel/All Wheel Drive Vehicles or Self-Contained recreational vehicles must have: a valid state registration, inspection sticker, insurance, tires meeting standards outlined in this brochure and all required accessory equipment.


Vehicles will be inspected for required accessory equipment:

  • Shovel: Heavy-duty shovel equal to a military folding shovel
  • Towing Device: Any of the following which are at least 14 feet long:
    Tow Strap: 1.5"; Rope: 3/4"; Chain 5/16"; Cable 1/4"
  • Jack: Standard size (e.g., vehicle manufacturer's jack)
  • Jack Support Board: Wood: 10" x 12" x 1.5" or Plywood: 10" x 12" x 3/4"
  • Tire Pressure Gauge: Must register to 5 p.s.i. or lower
  • SCV's and pick-up truck campers must also have a fire extinguisher and permanently mounted holding tanks for gray and black water.
  • Spare Tire: Must meet tire standards outlined below. Important Spare Tire Information
  • Tires: All 5 tires, including the spare tire, must meet or exceed the standards outlined below. NOTE: Many newer vehicles are being produced with temporary (smaller) spare tires; be sure to carefully, physically check your spare tire size for compliance before applying for an Oversand permit. These standards are minimum acceptable tire standards.

Rim Diameter


Profile Example



50 or >

P265 / 50 R19



55 or >

P255 / 55 R18



60 or >

P245 / 60 R17



65 or >

P235 / 65 R16



70 or >

P225 / 70 R15

Dual-Wheel Standards for R/V's and
Pick-Up Campers (including spares):

Self-Contained & Pick-Up Campers

Tire Section Width





Spare Tire


2 Front Tires



70 or >

Matching Spare

LT245/70 R16

4 Rear Tires



70 or >

Matching Spare

P215/70 R15

Driving Corridor:
The Off-Road Corridor includes the beach route from Race Point Lighthouse in Provincetown to Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro. Coast Guard Beach to Longnook Beach in Truro is open for night fishing only. See designated off-road routes and definitions on the maps and diagrams. Travel may be restricted at the discretion of park rangers because of changing beach conditions and/or shorebird nesting activity.

For enjoyment of Cape Cod National Seashore's off-road route today and in future years, every operator must know, understand and abide by all seashore regulations.

All ORV traffic is limited to the backshore area of the beach, a marked corridor defined by a 10 foot offset from the spring high tide line to the berm crest at the normal high tide line. Check with rangers if in doubt. All applicable federal and state laws and regulations apply and are enforceable. Foreshore and foredune areas are off limits to ORVs EXCEPT travel in the foreshore area when passing a beach cut where no backshore portion of the beach exists. Driving through inner dune routes, posted shorebird nesting areas and lifeguard-protected beaches is prohibited.

Driving Season & Hours:
The ORV corridor is open from April 15 through November 15. Portions of the beach may be temporarily closed to driving because of changing beach conditions and/or shorebird nesting activity.

Speed Limits:
15 m.p.h. on the beach unless otherwise posted and 5 m.p.h. through self-contained camping areas and posted shorebird nesting areas.

Right of Way & Safety:
When two vehicles meet on the beach, the operator of the vehicle with the water on the right has the right of way. Riding on fenders, tailgate, roof, or any exterior portion of a vehicle not designed to carry passengers is prohibited.

Alcoholic Beverages:
All applicable State and Federal roadways laws, including OUI and open containers, will be strictly enforced.

Pets will not be allowed out of ORVs in front of active piping plover nests. These areas will be signed. ORV users with pets, will be allowed to drive by active plover nests to access other areas of the beach where pets are permitted.

Pets are allowed on beaches except in posted shorebird nesting areas and lifeguard-protected areas. They are also permitted on fire roads. Pets must be leashed or otherwise caged. Please remove all pet fecal matter. Pets are not permitted on certain National Seashore bike trails, designated nature trails, fresh water pond areas, lifeguarded swimming areas, and posted shorebird nesting areas.

Parking is permitted only on the open portion of the ORV corridor. All vehicles and boat trailers must be parked without obstructing traffic. Parking is not permitted on the inner route at the Race Point Lighthouse (north beach). Parking overnight is restricted to registered self-contained vehicles who are camping in the designated camping areas.

Boats & Personal Water Craft:
Boats may be trailered to and launched from anywhere on the ORV corridor. Personal watercraft (e.g., Jet Skis, Sea Doos, etc.) are prohibited anywhere within Cape Cod National Seashore.

Beach Fires:
Beach fires are by permit only. Fire permits for the ORV corridor are issued at the Oversand Station (508-487-2100 ext. 0927) from 8 AM to 4:30 PM seven days a week. Permits for Cape Cod National Seashore beaches in Truro and Provincetown are issued at Province Lands Visitor Center (open seasonally, 508-487-1256). Permits for Cape Cod National Seashore beaches in Eastham and Wellfleet are issued at Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham (508-255-3421 ext. 0) Self-contained stoves or grills, using charcoal or gas are allowed without a permit.

Clean Beach:
Please leave a clean beach and only dispose trash in dumpsters at the Race Point air lot or appropriate trash receptacles.

Route Maintenance:
If your vehicle becomes stuck in the sand, you are responsible for filling in all ruts or holes and removing debris used to extricate the vehicle. Dumping trash and other debris is prohibited. Please leave no trace by packing out what you pack in.

Tire Pressure:
You are required to decrease tire pressure before entering the beach ORV. Tire pressure is critical for successful oversand driving. 11 p.s.i. is recommended. Friction may cause pressure to increase while you drive making it necessary to stop and reduce pressure again. Your beginning tire pressure should not exceed 15 p.s.i. An air compressor for inflating tires is located in the parking area between the north and south access areas at Race Point.


Camping is restricted to SCV permittees and allowed in SCV camping areas only on Race Point Beach. Camping is limited to 100 vehicles per night and restricted to 21 days per vehicle from July 1 through Labor Day. Variable beach conditions and temporary beach closures may result in temporary or permanent changes in the locations and boundaries of the designated camping areas.


Time Limits & Holding Tank Regulations:

All self-contained beach camping spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All SCVs arriving for an overnight stay must register at the Oversand Station before going onto the beach. An overnight authorization permit will be issued at this time. If arriving after hours you must register by 9 AM the following morning.

If overnight authorizations are not renewed, the vehicle and any personal items must be removed from the beach by 4 PM on the day the authorization expires. Authorizations must be posted with the expiration date clearly visible.

A SCV is defined as a vehicle with a self-contained water or chemical toilet and permanenetly installed holding tanks with a minimum 3 day capacity for gray and black water.

SCVs may be parked in the designated areas for a maximum of 21 days during the period from July 1 through Labor Day.

SCVs MUST exit the beach after each 72 consecutive hours in order to empty holding tanks and gray water at an established septic dumping facility.

SCV reservations for July 4 and Labor Day Weekends are no longer required.

Travel to Beach & Camping Areas:
Self-contained vehicles may only travel the beach from either the Race Point north or Race Point south access ramps to the boundaries of the self-contained vehicle areas. The foredune and foreshore areas are off limits to all vehicles.

  • You are required to decrease tire pressure before entering the beach ORV driving corridor. Tire pressure is critical for successful off-road driving. 11 p.s.i is recommended. Friction may cause pressure to increase while you drive making it necessary to stop and reduce pressure again. Your beginning tire pressure should not exceed 15 p.s.i.
  • Always check tides before entering the off-road corridor. Portions of the beach may be impassable at high tide.
  • If you feel you are in danger of getting stuck - check your tire pressure and let air out if necessary; try backing up in your tracks before moving ahead. Do not spin tires, this will only cause the vehicle to dig in.
  • Do not speed - excessive speed endangers you, your vehicle, other beach users, and wildlife. Experienced beach drivers know that a slow, steady speed and correct tire pressure are more effective than faster speeds.
  • Always be alert for wildlife when driving on the beach - tern and plover chicks may attempt to hide in vehicle tracks when frightened.

Piping plovers, least terns and other shorebirds nest on the beaches of Cape Cod. Protection of the threatened piping plover and their habitats is administered jointly by the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Signs are posted near nests and exclosures are erected around nests to protect the chicks. Please check with a ranger for current beach closures.

Seals and seal pups rest on shore. Although they may appear to be tame, these animals are wild. Please do not approach them under any circumstance - this creates stress for the seal and may cause injury to you and the animal. If you suspect an animal is injured, please contact a ranger at 508-487-2100 ext. 0928.

Who needs the MA Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit?

In order to fish recreationally for finfish in Massachusetts marine waters, including up to the first upstream bridge in rivers and streams that flow to the ocean saltwater fishermen must have: a MA Recreational Saltwater Fishing permit, or a recreational saltwater fishing permit from a state that has a reciprocity agreement with Massachusetts. As of February 17, 2011, Massachusetts has reciprocity agreements with: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
What is the cost of the MA Permit? The annual cost for both residents and non-residents is $10 for ages 16 - 59, 60 & older - no fee
Who does not need a permit? No permit is required for: fishermen who are under 16 years of age; fishermen fishing on permitted for-hire vessels; fishermen who regardless of their age, otherwise meet the definition of a disabled person in M.G.L. c. 19C
What about people 60 and older? People 60 and older must obtain a permit but the permit is free for these individuals (although a small fee will be charged by the vendor to process the permit through the internet).

Last update: 2/16/2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667


(508) 255-3421

Contact Us