The Beaches of the Outer Banks
At the Beach
Let's face it - the majority of people come to the Outer Banks for the beach. Whether you're looking to enjoy some time sunning yourself in the sand, or doing a little body surfing, or maybe even a little fishing, the beach can accommodate.
Getting to the Beach
Getting to the Beach is easy at the Outer Banks. Permits are not required to enjoy the beaches at the Outer Banks*, so find the closest beach, and enjoy! Most of the islands are very narrow, so many houses are a reasonable walk to the nearest beach, but many houses, particularly on Bodie Island, may require a drive.
If you're lucky enough to have an Oceanfront house, you'll likely have a deck that leads you right to the beach. Many often have a small landing at the peak of the dune that will provide you a place to leave your beach gear.
Even if you're not in an Oceanfront property, though, there are still plenty of public beach accesses to get you to the beach. Some communities, like Duck, do not have public beach accesses, but it's likely that if you're Oceanside, you'll have a private beach access available to your community. Check with your property manager about beach access if it seems like the beach is a long way away.
What to Bring
Be sure to bring your towels, coolers, umbrellas, boogie boards, fishing poles, horseshoes... pretty much anything you might think you want. There are few restrictions on what you can enjoy on the beach. Fireworks top the list, probably. Beer is allowed, but not in glass containers. Wine and liquor are not allowed, although those consuming responsibly rarely have a problem with enforcement. As you might imagine, open alcohol containers are never allowed inside vehicles.
Driving on the Beach
Driving on the beach is permitted in some areas. Specifically, north of Corolla and Carova, where Rt 12 ends, and off-road vehicles (ORV) are the only way to get by.
Driving is allowed on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, but a permit is reqired. There are several rules about driving on the beach here, but most focus on protecting the flora and fauna of the Beach (and dunes). There was a time when driving on the beach did not require a permit, but the increased popularity of the Outer Banks has brought many more would-be drivers to the beach, some of whom are ill-prepared for driving on the soft sand, and others have been irresonsible and reckless with their vehicles - today a permit is required.
Other localities have different laws about driving on the beach, mostly seasonal rules. Check with your local locality about driving rules if you'd like to drive on the beach.
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