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CHNS Rules, Regulations & Permits

CHNS Rules, Regulation & Permits


The following information is provided by the National Park Service for the safety of visitors and the protection of wildlife in our delicate ecosystem. Outer Beaches adheres to all park service directives and encourages all guests to follow these regulations, have all necessary permits, and familiarize yourself with all safety information to ensure the best possible experience during your stay on Hatteras Island.


  • Fireworks are not allowed in any National Park Service area
  • Off-Road Vehicle permits are required for driving on the beach. See below for more information
  • Fishing licenses are required for recreational fishing on the seashore. See below for more information
  • Beach fires are permitted in certain times and areas with a beach fire permit. See below for permit information
  • Camping is permitted only in designated campgrounds. Oregon Inlet, Frisco, and Ocracoke Campground reservations can be made at Recreation.gov or 877-444-6777. Cape Point Campground is on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6? at all times and are prohibited within any resource closure. Pets are not allowed in park buildings
  • Use of metal detectors is prohibited
  • Kite-flying or Frisbee- and ball-throwing is allowed on beaches, except within or over any nesting shorebird closure
  • The launching, landing, or operating of unmanned aircraft/drones on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service is prohibited
  • For safety reasons, surfing is prohibited within designated swimming areas, specific areas near villages, and within 300 feet of fishing piers


The National Park Service off-road vehicle (ORV) management plan permits the use of vehicles on designated ORV routes (ocean and sound side routes) to help protect the park’s treasured resources. These ORV routes are generally marked with posts seaward of the toe of the dune or vegetation line to the high tide line. ORV routes through vegetated areas are posted on both sides of the route. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended due to the soft and sandy conditions, but two-wheel drive vehicles are allowed. If a vehicle gets stuck commercial towing companies are available. National Park Service staff are not allowed to pull or tow stuck vehicles.

Two types of ORV permits are available: a 10-day permit and an annual permit valid for one year from date of purchase.

Permit Cost.

  • Annual Permits: $120.00
    10 Day Permits: $50.00

Rules and Regulations:

  • Each vehicle must have its own permit.
  • To obtain an ORV permit, your vehicle must:
    • Be registered, licensed, and insured for highway use and comply with inspection requirements for the state, country, or province where the vehicle is registered.
    • Have no more than two axles and have tires that are listed or approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation as described here.
  • Required equipment within the vehicle includes: low-pressure tire gauge, shovel, jack and jack support board.
  • Optional equipment includes a full-sized spare tire, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, trash bag or container, flashlight (if night driving) and tow strap.
  • ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles are not allowed.
  • Vehicles are only permitted on designated ORV routes.
  • There are seasonal closures along certain ORV routes that generally range from April 1 – October 31.
  • ORV routes may be temporarily closed if the carrying capacity is reached, if there is a specific need for resource protection, or for safety reasons.
  • There are seasonal closures that generally range from April 1 – October 31. Go to the park’s Facebook page for current ramp information: facebook.com/CapeHatterasNS
  • Night driving is allowed on the beach generally from November 16-April 30.

Contact Information: 252-475-9054


Enjoy your day fishing, just remember any person aged 16 and older who wants to fish recreationally in any water designated as coastal and joint waters of North Carolina must purchase a Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL). This license can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis, or combined with a variety of licenses issued by the Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC). State of North Carolina fishing regulations may apply.

The natural beauty of Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a pleasure for everyone to enjoy. Help us preserve it by:

  • removing all trash (including fishing line, bait, fish parts or dead fish),
  • not feeding any wildlife,
  • returning back to the water alive all fish you aren’t keeping (including skates and sharks), and
  • not dumping wastewater or gray-water on the beach.

Numerous local tackle shops sell bait and fishing equipment, and are your best source for fishing information.


Beach fires require a permit and strict adherence to the regulations below.

  1. Download and print the free beach fire permit.
  2. Read the entire permit.
  3. Sign and date the permit.
  4. Keep the permit with you.
If you have trouble downloading or printing the permit, you can get one in person by visiting any park visitor center, ORV permit office, or campground.

Beach Fire Rules:
  • Beach fires are allowed all throughout the park from November 16 to April 30.
  • From May 1 to November 15, to protect nesting sea turtles, beach fires are allowed only on the ocean beaches at Coquina Beach, Ocracoke Day Use area, and the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras.
  • Fires are allowed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Fires no greater than 3 feet in diameter may be ignited and maintained seaward of the ocean dune, below the high tide mark, and at least 50 feet from any vegetation.
  • The beach fire permit is valid only when a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) is present.
  • Fires cannot be left unattended and must be completely extinguished (cold to the touch) before leaving the area.
  • Follow the Leave No Trace ethic and clean the area of all trash before leaving the beach.

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