Take a drive past famous Whalebone Junction in Nags Head and keep driving south. Reward yourself with wide stretches of desolate beaches, wildlife refuge areas, and miles of empty sand dunes. Much of the southern portions of the Outer Banks is owned by the National Park Service so it’s guaranteed you’ll be closer to nature and whatever brought you here. Surfing, sea shells, and sunbathing all await you on Cape Hatteras.
Hatteras Island beach access is available at numbered ramps which will be marked for pedestrian or off-road vehicle use. Parking is free at Hatteras beach access points and many offer bathrooms, showers and handicap access. Depending on the season, some ramps may be closed temporarily for wildlife protection and will be indicated as such with on-site signage or on the National Park Service website
On Hatteras Island, there are basically two ways to enjoy the beach: 1) Parking at a public beach access (or “ramp”) and walking to the beach; or 2) Using designated ORV (off-road vehicle) ramps to drive directly onto the beach (permit required).
Public Beach Accesses
There is no charge for those who would like to park their cars at these public beach accesses and walk to the beach. During the summer months, these access areas are usually busy. Although, it’s a fun and convenient way to experience the gorgeous beaches of Hatteras Island.
- South of Avon, Hwy 12 – The Avon public beach access offers handicap parking spaces, a paved parking area, bathrooms, and showers.
- South of Frisco, Hwy 12 – The Frisco public beach access offers a bath house with restrooms and showers.
Off-Road Vehicle (ORV)
Driving on the beaches on Hatteras Island require a permit. See our Beach Driving page for more information on how and where to purchase a permit.
ORV ramps are available all along Hatteras Island and are designated access roads that allow 4-wheel drive vehicles to drive directly onto the beach. For a full list of ramp locations and Hatteras beach driving regulations please visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore website.
Access does change frequently during the breeding seasons of protected birds and sea turtles. Check the Park Service’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date information on any closures.
Closure conditions may change in the field on short notice. On-site signage, rather than online information, is the most accurate and current indication of what is open or closed to the public. Closed areas are clearly marked in the field with closure signs or “symbolic fencing” consisting of posts, closure signs, string and flagging tape.