New dates for 2022: 4x4 Beach Parking Passes are required to park on the beach beginning the last Saturday in April to the first Saturday in October. Read more
Beach Driving Tips
- What is the 4x4 area like?
- Are passes required to drive or park on the 4x4 beaches?
- Do you have suggestions for driving on the 4x4 beaches?
- Which vehicles are best for driving on the 4x4 beaches?
- When is the best time to travel on the 4x4 beaches?
- Do you offer a parking lot to 4x4 guests who do not have a 4x4 vehicle?
- Is there a 4x4 vehicle rental company in the area?
What is the 4x4 area like?
Wide beaches, dense maritime forests, and a marshy soundside make up the 11-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.
Are passes required to drive or park on the 4x4 beaches?
Currituck County requires 4x4 parking permits to park on the beach beginning the last Saturday in April to the first Saturday in October. You do not need a pass to drive on the beach or park at the home.
Two 4x4 parking passes are included with each 4x4 vacation home. Passes will be in your vacation home (subject to change). If more than two passes are needed, there are a limited number of additional passes per week available for purchase from Currituck County. If you plan to purchase extra passes, it is recommended that you do so in advance. The cost for a 4x4 parking pass is $50 and can be purchased online, but will need to be picked up in person at the Corolla's Visitors Center.
For more information or questions, please visit Currituck County's website.
Do you have suggestions for driving on the 4x4 beaches?
- We strongly recommend 4x4 or AWD vehicles with at least 7.5 inches of ground clearance.
- Bring a tire pressure gauge. Reduced tired pressure is critical to driving on the beach. 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 a $50.00 fine. We strongly encourage your tire pressure to be 18-20 psi.
- Lower your tire pressure in our Corolla office parking lot, prior to traveling to the North Beach Access ramp to the 4x4 beaches. No vehicle of any type may park or unload at the North Beach Access at any time. 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.
- Check the tide prior to arrival; low tide is ideal for beach driving: Outer Banks Tide Chart.
- Arrive before dark, as the beach is more difficult to navigate at night.
- The speed limit is 35 mph unless posted otherwise (15 mph when within 300 feet of pedestrians or wild horses).
- Avoid driving through the surf and seafoam - 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.
- There is no parking for the first approximately 1.5 miles of the beach. Look for the sign to mark where parking begins. Violators will be towed.
- Drivers must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license.
- Currituck County does not allow street legal UTV/side-by-side vehicles except by ATV permits, which are only available to Currituck County residents and property owners. North Carolina allows street legal UTV/side-by-side vehicles on roadways, however, the 4x4 beach is not a roadway, but a Public Vehicular Area controlled by Currituck County.
- Currituck County does not 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.
Which vehicles are best for driving on the 4x4 beaches?
Driving on the beach has historically been a unique way of life on The Outer Banks and is still required in some communities. Please be attentive when driving as beach conditions continually change. Reduced tire pressure is critical to a good beach driving experience and 18-20 psi is strongly encouraged. We also recommend 4x4 or AWD vehicles with at least 7.5 inches of ground clearance. Please keep in mind, vehicle models vary greatly. Inspect your vehicle to make sure it is suitable for driving on the beach. Twiddy & Company will not be responsible for vehicle recovery or damages.
When is the best time to travel on the 4x4 beaches?
If we had to choose, low tide is the easiest time to travel up and down the 4x4 beaches simply because there is more room and the sand tends to be more hard-packed. Travel during most high tides is still possible, it just may be that the sand is softer. During times of rough weather or exceptionally high tides, travelers may need to wait for the water to recede before travel is recommended. Please view our Outer Banks Tide Chart when planning for arrival. Also, we strongly suggest not traveling at night if this is your first time driving on the beach. If driving at night, please be alert to changing beach conditions, people, horses or other animals, debris, and tree stumps.
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. Passes to leave a car in our lot can be purchased prior to arrival or at our Corolla office upon arrival. Contact us at (800) 489-4339 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to purchase your parking pass in advance. Please plan accordingly. There are no overnight public parking lots in Corolla for beachgoers 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.