Very few places are left where you can camp directly on the beach; Cape Lookout National Seashore is one such place. All camping within the park is primitive beach camping: there are no designated campgrounds. Groups of 25 or more require a permit for camping. Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days. Because it disturbs vegetation, do not camp on top of the dunes. For more information on camping in the park, visit our Beach Camping webpage.
Groups are welcome to camp with their vehicles; however, vehicles must be kept on the oceanside beach seaward of the primary dunes, not between or on top of dunes. Drivers must follow the regulations for off-road vehicles (ORVs) outlined on the Beach Driving section of the website. Vehicles are not permitted on Shackleford Banks. Parking permits are required for vehicles located in long-term parking lots. No vehicle may be left unattended for over 24 hours without a permit or in any area other than the long-term parking lots. For more information, visit the Long-Term Parking Permits webpage.
Obtaining a Group Camping Permit
After sending your application, you will be contacted within 7-10 business days to collect payment. Once we receive your payment, a permit will be emailed to you for a signature. Requests which involve multiple locations, complex logistics, or coordination with other visitor activities will require a minimum of 15 working days to process. Projects which require environmental or cultural resource evaluation must be submitted not less than 30 days before the start of proposed activities. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received.
Note: If you are unable to fill out application digitally, you may print application, complete, and scanned copy to CALO_SUP@nps.gov. If you are unable to submit the application digitally, call Harkers Island Visitor Center (252) 728-2250 to request an application to be mailed to you.
The following areas are restricted for camping (are generally not available for camping):
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.
Application Cost: Must be submitted at the time of the initial application. This is a non-refundable payment.
Administration Cost: Payable when the permit is approved and prior to beginning the event. This is a non-refundable payment.
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.
Last updated: December 29, 2022