NEW! -- Starting with the 2021 season -- The ORV Driving Permit replaces the ORV Educational Certificate. While there was no charge for the Educational Certificate, there will be a charge for the ORV Driving Permit.
Obtain the ORV driving permit through recreation.gov
(If you need to use the search box -- use "Cape Lookout National Seashore ORV Permits" as your search criteria)
All vehicles will need to have this permit to drive on the islands. The ORV Driving Permit must be purchased online, for a fee of $25, prior to arriving on the islands through the recreation.gov website. Park staff will not be able to issue the permits on the islands. The permits will not be available until February of 2021.
A printed copy of the permit must be carried in the vehicle while it is on the island.
NOTE: To print out the ORV Permit, log onto your Recreation.gov account. Go to My Reservations. Scroll to the photo of the red SUV with the words Cape Lookout Annual Permit under it. Select Reservation Details. On the right side of the screen under the $25.00 payment is the Print Permit button. Select Print Permit. 3 pages should be printed. 1) Visitor Permit page with the full Permit # and the payment information. Place a check mark in the box at the bottom acknowledging that you agree to follow the rules and sign the permit. Park staff will sign the other box. 2) Rules & Regulations page. 3) Temporary Proof of Permit with the vehicle license plate number, make, model, and color information.
For ATVs and UTVs: Since these normally don't have a license tag -- enter the last four digits of your driver's license in the box for a license tag. For the rest of the form, fill it out the same way as you would for a standard vehicle -- make, model, color information, etc.
Once you have purchased the permit through recreation.gov, a window decal will be issued by the park through the following steps:
- Bring the printed copy of the permit to show at one of the following locations:
- Great Island Cabin Camp office -- normal office hours: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm daily during the season
- Any Law Enforcement Park Ranger on the island.
- Harkers Island Visitor Center -- call to schedule a pickup time -- 252-838-8900
- Failure to have the window decal while driving on the island may result in a citation. Decal must be displayed on driver's side left top corner of the windshield or the front left fender on an ATV/UTV
Be aware that the Cape Lookout National Seashore ORV Driving Permit is not the same as the ORV permit purchased for Cape Hatteras National Seashore. It is also an additional permit to the Long-Term Parking Permit, If you are going to leave your vehicle in one of the long-term parking lots, you still need to obtain a long-term parking permit.