Cape Lookout National Seashore Orv Permits

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore is a dynamic barrier island ecosystem preserving unique plants and wildlife. The Seashore stretches approximately 55 miles along the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina and includes the islands of North Core Banks (Portsmouth Island), South Core Banks (Davis Island), and Shackleford Banks. It is famous for its soft sandy beaches, renowned fishing opportunities, excellent shelling, historic lighthouse and village, wild horses, and dynamic coastal processes. 

All vehicles (including ATVs and UTVs) driving on South Core Banks or North Core Banks are required to purchase an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Permit.

Permit & Season Information

The National Park Service Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) Management Plan permits the use of vehicles on designated ORV routes to help protect the park's treasured resources. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended due to the soft and sandy conditions. If a vehicle gets stuck, commercial towing companies are not readily available and are cost prohibitive. National Park Service staff are not allowed to pull or tow stuck vehicles. At Cape Lookout National Seashore vehicles may only be driven on the oceanside beaches, ramps, and the Back Road of North Core Banks (Portsmouth Island) and South Core Banks (Davis Island). The only way to get your vehicle onto the islands is by vehicle ferry.

The permit is valid for the calendar year. The season runs from mid-March through December 31st of each year. Permits purchased between January 4th - March 15th will cost $25.00. Permits purchased from March 16th - December 31st will cost $50.00.  

Need to Know

To obtain an ORV permit, your vehicle must:  

Driving Regulations

Beach Rules 



Fee Policy

Recreation Fee: January 4th - March 15th, the permit is $25.00 for the calendar year. March 16th - December 31st, the permit is $50.00 for the calendar year. 

Once the decal is issued, it should immediately be attached to the windshield.

Lost ORV decals will not be reissued.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy: There are no changes or refunds allowed.

Change Policy: There are no changes or refunds allowed.

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