Which beaches can I drive on with my vehicle in the Outer Banks?

I'm looking for an Outer Banks rental in a town close to a beach that I can drive my vehicle on.

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The Current Status and a Little Background
by: Dan

Thank you for your email. A few years ago, this would have been a pretty straightforward answer, but with the recent issue between the National Park Service (NPS) vs. the Defenders of Wildlife and the Audubon Society, the answer is a little more complicated.

Let me give you the straightforward answer first and then address the Cape Hatteras Seashore controversy. North of Corolla, commonly referred to as four wheel drive territory, you can drive on the beach. As a matter of fact, you have no choice. There are no roads north of Corolla in either Swan Beach or Carova. You will need to drive a four wheel drive vehicle to get to your vacation house.

Now to the issue around Hatteras Island. The NPS was tasked with coming up with a plan to accommodate the desire to drive on the beach with the preservation of endangered birds and turtles who nest there. This was during the Nixon Administration. This never occurred. As a result, a court order was issued that prevented driving on the beach where these endangered animals were found nesting. The NPS, while formulating the plan, provided this site to inform the public what beaches were open and which were closed. Note that the beaches of the towns on Hatteras Island were not affected (during summer months, you were never permitted to drive in the areas to protect vacationers). It did affect the areas not directly in front of the towns. On December 28, the NPS released the final plan to strike a balance to accommodate both the desire to preserve endangered species and to allow off road vehicles (ORV). This article from the Island Free Press does a nice job summarizing the results and has a link to a summary laying out where ORV can occur.

Good Bye Dear Friend
by: joe coggins

As a OBX visitor for 30 years ,always the ORV beaches. I watched that wonderful place go from a few mostly strange but great houses to a over crowded richy rich, Mc mansion riddled MESS. Our last visit(five years now)is sadly our last. As someone who lives in a beautiful mountain community, we like the OBX suffer now from our own sucess in marketing. the bumper to bumper half drunk morons that now race up and down the northern beaches are also with us .. Other than their money they leave nothing of value when they leave. The things which bring them to the wild places they destroy,and the sad thing is we let them, in the name of money, do it to us. We have since found that rarity of all, a near pristine Florida Beach that,thank god,has banned development, no shops, no new homes,surronded by a state park. Hopefully we were the last ones to stumble into this Nirivana. I truly shed a tear as I say , GOOD BYE OBX WE WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE DAYS GONE BY WHEN YOU WERE THE MOST UNIQUE PLACE ON THE EARTH......

The "Old" Outer Banks Survives if ...
by: Dan

Hi Joe,

I understand your angst about how crowded it has become in certain sections. As you say, an area can become a victim of its own success. I would differ on your view that the "Old Outer Banks is lost". I am not sure what you mean by "old", but the Outer Banks that we feel in love with in 1991 ... the quiet and serenity ... the natural beauty ... the ability to have your own piece of the beach to enjoy without sitting on top of others ... still does exist if you know where to look. I do think this type of relaxed, slower pace experience still exists on Hatteras Island in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Building is only permitted in certain area (and due to the economy ... what building). There does exist the "McMansions" you so pejoratively refer to ... and I must confess I am an owner of one ... but there is a certain calm and pace and SPACE that continues to exist and be enjoyed. Yes the bug guy still sprays the area nightly (I hadn't seen those since my youth in the 60s and 70s), the ice cream truck still visits twice a day, and the atmosphere is one of solitude and peace on the beach.

I am happy you have found your slice of heaven in Florida, but don't sell the Outer Banks short. The Outer Banks you came to know still does exist ... if you know where to look.

Kind regards,

Love the OBX
by: Anne

I love the OBX. My family and I vacation there every year. Every Memorial day weekend we make plans to be in the OBX on Sunday before the holiday. We load up the cars with family,and friends pack snacks and head outfor our first visit to the beach in the new year.
Last year we spent our Christmas holiday at one of the Mc-Mansion(10 bedrooms). We had a wonderful time. I have visited Florida beaches, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and by far the OBX is my favorite. I am from a large metropolian area and just being in the Outer Banks is a calming peace. The beaches are lovely, the people are friendly and southern the food from hot dogs to seafood is great. I will never stop going to the OBX. If I could I would live there. OBX you are my true LOVE!!!

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