Cape Hatteras National Seashore falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. The north end is controlled by US Fish and Wildlife. All recreational activities are regulated by these two federal agencies. We invite you to come and enjoy our beaches but please read and understand all the rules and regulations of these two agencies so that you don't accidently do something that might ruin your vacation.
Beach activities like beachcombing, walking, dog walking, shelling, kite flying, sand art, picnicking, frisbee, horseback riding, fishing, fishing tournaments, commercial fishing surfing, kiteboarding, fires, weddings and even driving on the beach are allowed but within certain NPS guidelines. Please note that off beach activities like marathons, bike riding, car and motorcycle rallies, etc. are also regulated by the NPS so please check with the Manteo office for reservations and permits.
ORV use is still allowed on some of our beaches but not all. Most people are aware that for the last several years Hatteras Island has had expanding beach closures for bird and turtle nesting. However, in late 2014 the US Congress mandated that the NPS reexamine this issue in an effort to make beach areas more accessible. The NPS posts a satellite view map showing what beaches are open or closed. Since these areas can change daily the NPS is required to keep this map current. Before arriving it is a good idea to check the permits and resevations and satellite map before making plans for your beach activities.
The new Cape Hatteras ORV plan includes a regulation requiring a special permit for driving on a beach on Hatteras Island. Visitors can order their ORV permits online or pick them up at Coquina Beach, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse or the Ocracoke Visitor Center. Two types of permits are available ($50 for 7 days or $120 for a full calendar year). You will also be required to watch a very informative seven minute video in order to get this permit and we highly recommend everyone watch this even if you have no plans to drive on the beach because it discusses things like dogs on the beach and fires, fireworks, kites, frisbees, balls, etc.