Island Customs and Information
FIREWORKS: ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL ON HATTERAS ISLAND. Use of illegal fireworks at a rentalcottage is grounds for eviction. Fireworks are not permitted on the property. The lessee will be held responsible for any damage to any rental home caused by fireworks.
BONFIRES: In general, fires are allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and a fire permit is required. To obtain the free beach fire permit, visit one of the three ORV permit offices, any of the park campgrounds or visitor centers, or available on-line at: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/beach-fire-permit. Fires, no greater than 3 feet in diameter, may be ignited and maintained seaward of the ocean dune, below the high tide line and at least 50 feet from any vegetation. Fires cannot be left unattended and must be completely extinguished (cold to touch) upon termination of use.
BEACH DRIVING: All vehicles are required to obtain an ORV permit to drive on the beach. There are 2 types of permits: 7 day/ $50 permits and annual/ $120 permits. Permits can be purchased at the permit offices. Hatteras Island permits are sold at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. You are required to fill out a permit form, watch a 7 minute video, sign the permit to acknowledge that you understand and agree to the guidelines and pay the permit fee. You must have your driver’s license and vehicle registration. Items required in vehicles are a pressure gauge, shovel, jack and jack support board. For more information, see the FAQ posted at: www.nps.gov
LOCAL DRIVING: Unlike the interstate highways leading to the Outer Banks, our posted speed limits are strictly enforced, so please slow down and enjoy your vacation with safety in mind. NC law does not permit passing on the right on a two-lane road, even when the shoulder is wide enough. If you are behind a car making a left hand turn, we suggest you wait until that car has made its turn rather than passing on the right. Be cautious when pulling onto the shoulder of the highway and only pull 2 tires off of the pavement. Sand can be deep on the shoulder and cars will get stuck.
OCEAN SWIMMING: Wind, waves, the change of the tide, the slope of the beach and other factors can cause strong currents to be present in the water even on the calmest days.Ocean conditions can change from day to day and from hour to hour. Before going in the water, spend a few moments watching the waves. Rip currents form when the sand bar breaks and the trapped water funnels out to the sea through the break, sometimes sweeping swimmers with it. The most important thing to remember if you're caught in a rip current is: DON'T SWIM AGAINST THE CURRENT! Instead, swim across the current, parallel to the shore, slowly working your way back to the beach at an angle. Above all, remain calm. Signal for help if you need it.
PETS: Dogs, cats and other pets must be on a 6 foot leash at all times while in the park.
DUNES: Our sand dunes and sea oats protect our island. Please respect the area and do not walk on the dunes.
BEACH DRIVING: ORV permits are required to operate a vehicle on the designated ORV routes at the Cape Hatteras Seashore. For more information visit: www.nps.gov
FISHING LICENSES: Fishing licenses can be purchased online or at one of the local tackle shops. Visit www.ncwildlife.org for more info.