Beach Driving Information

Outer Banks / 4x4

What is the 4x4 area like?

Wide beaches, dense maritime forests, and a marshy soundside make up the 14-mile stretch of sand north of Corolla and south of the Virginia border. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required to explore this beach community, as there are no paved roads. Visitors staying in homes on the 4x4 beaches must drive on the beach and behind the dunes to access their vacation home. Traveling on the sand to your vacation home offers a unique experience, unlike any other. An opportunity to observe the Corolla wild horses in their natural habitat adds to the charm of this uncomplicated area.

Do you have suggestions for driving on the 4x4 beaches?

  • A 4x4 vehicle with off-road ground clearance is required. Most All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles are not recommended due to low clearance.
  • Check the tide prior to arrival; low tide is ideal for beach driving: Outer Banks Tide Chart.
  • Bring a tire pressure gauge. We recommend lowering your tire pressure to 18-20 psi. Currituck County ordinance states that tire pressure cannot exceed 20 psi when traveling on the 4x4 beaches for vehicles weighing less than three-quarters of a ton, which is most vehicles. For vehicles weighing between three-quarters of a ton and one ton, tire pressure cannot exceed 30 psi. Violators could receive a citation and $50.00 fine
  • Lower your tire pressure in our Corolla office parking lot, prior to traveling to the North Beach Access ramp to the 4x4 beaches. Complimentary air hoses are available in the parking lot of the Corolla office for guests staying in the 4x4 area to re-inflate their tires.
  • Arrive before dark, as the beach is more difficult to navigate at night.
  • The speed limit is 25 mph unless posted otherwise (15 mph when within 300 feet of pedestrians or wild horses).
  • Avoid driving through the surf - salt water is extremely corrosive. Drive either on the hard-packed sand near the edge of the water or on the soft sand just east of the dune line. Leave the middle of the beach for parked vehicles and beach-goers.
  • All parked vehicles should be in the middle of the beach (east of the dune line and west of the hard-packed sand near the water's edge). Do not block the flow of traffic with chairs, coolers, fishing lines or any other items. Always be alert for moving vehicles when walking across the hard-packed sand.
  • No vehicle of any type may park or unload at the North Beach Access at any time. Guests can park and unload on the beach beyond the 1/2 mile mark. Violators will be towed.
  • Drivers must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Currituck County does not permit ATVs or allow personal motorized watercraft on the ocean. Jet skis and personal motorboats are allowed on the Currituck Sound. The closest boat ramp is located at the Whalehead Club in Corolla.

Effective in 2018:

  • Currituck County has mandated via ordinance that a permit will be required for all vehicles parking on the 4x4 beaches  Memorial Day to Labor Day
  • Additional permits for additional vehicles can be requested either by mail or in-person at either Currituck County Visitor Center location.

Visit the County Website to view Visitor Center location information, beach driving regulations, and printable beach driving permit applications.

Which vehicles are best for driving on the 4x4 beaches?

There are no paved roads on the northern Outer Banks 4x4 beaches — travel is over loose sand roads and actual sand dunes. All wheel drive (AWD) vehicles are not recommended due to ground clearance and traction concerns. Our experience shows that AWD vehicles in this area are problematic at best. 4x4 vehicles with off-road ground clearance and reduced tire pressure are recommended for beach travel. Please consult your vehicle manual and manufacturer for specific information. Twiddy & Company will not be responsible for vehicle recovery or damages.

Please view for more information regarding Currituck County's rules and regulations.

When is the best time to travel on the 4x4 beaches?

Low tide is the best time to travel up and down the 4x4 beaches. Please view our Outer Banks Tide Chart when planning for arrival.

Do you offer a parking lot to 4x4 guests who do not have a 4x4 vehicle?

There is limited parking available at Twiddy’s Corolla office for guests to park non-4x4 vehicles while vacationing on the 4x4 beaches. Parking passes can be purchased prior to arrival or at our Corolla office upon arrival. Contact us at (800) 489-4339 or if you wish to purchase your parking pass in advance. Please plan accordingly. There are no public parking lots in Corolla for beach goers that are not staying on the 4x4 beaches and do not have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. 

Is there a 4x4 rental company in the area?

There are several options if you are interested in renting a 4x4 vehicle locally during your stay.

Outer Banks Jeep Rentals

Explore the Outer Banks by jeep! Conveniently located in Kill Devil Hills.

Island Cruisers

Mid- and Full-size 4x4 vehicle rentals available. Vehicle delivery is available.


Located in Kill Devil Hills.