February 1, 2012
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is widely known as one of the most gorgeous areas in North Carolina while being a popular destination for many of our Outer Banks guests. Most tend to make a day trip out of driving down Highway 12 to Hatteras for a fun and different style of driving, fishing excursions, and lighthouse climbing. It’s one of the prettiest areas around and is about a 2.5-hour drive from South Nags Head. Not too shabby considering several families make the drive.
The NPS (National Park Service) has developed an ORV (off road vehicle) management plan, and special regulations to comply with executive orders, as well as preserve the unique plants and wildlife of this dynamic barrier island ecosystem while permitting the use of vehicles on designated ORV routes at the seashore. Makes sense, right? For we are truly a fragile section of barrier islands that needs to be taken care of. If not, the situation could, in fact, be worse. This regulation will become effective February 15, 2012. It requires all beach drivers to hold an ORV permit to operate on the routes at the seashore.
You may obtain these permits at any three NPS permit offices on Coquina Beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center, and the Ocracoke Visitor Center. (Offices are open year round.) The cost of an annual ORV permit is $120 and is valid for one year. For a 7- day permit, the cost is $50. These Off Road Vehicle Permits are only valid for the calendar year in which you buy them. Personally, I’d just head up to Corolla which is another off-roading destination, home to the infamous Spanish wild mustangs. The access is located at the end of the road in Corolla, North Carolina, and provides a sense of mystery, relaxation, and amazing views. Just as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore does. If you decide to explore any of our beaches by car on your next vacation, please be respectful or all of the regulations, both old and new: get your permit if driving in Hatteras, stay at least 50 feet from the horses when you see them on the northern beaches, be cautious of other beach goers, and watch your speed. But most of all, have a safe, fun, and enjoyable vacation on the Outer Banks!