Cape lookout off road vehicle


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This lighthouse side of the island has another small visitors center to explore, you can beach it on the bay or ocean side of the island, climb the lighthouse, fish, or just relax and search for shells. Like many spots along the coast, all trash you bring to the island must come back with you. I'm always a little suspect of these systems while our state is still trying to kick its litter habit. While walking the beach on the ocean side we saw quite a few vehicles and I started pondering the specifics of getting our Jeep out here.

Here's what learned in the form of tons of helpful links!

Tips for Beach Driving

The park info doesn't really mention driving here, probably because the possibility of a flooded road. At both the North and South Core Banks there is a sandy service road that runs parallel to the beach. Ramps are numbered and correspond to what beach mile they are located at. If I recall correctly, I got one at the ferry office.


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You will find that on the map that the beach is divided into miles, and I believe posts along the beach mark the miles just like mile markers on a highway. In certain cases the beach may be closed and detour signs will direct you off the beach and onto the back road, which will take you around the closed area and to the next beach entrance ramp.

Sometimes you will find the next ramp closed as well so you just have to keep driving until you find an open ramp. Sections of the beach can be closed when turtles or sea birds are nesting. If you were to get stuck it would very likely be on the back road. The road goes through loose sand and ruts have been cut so deeply by passing vehicles that the center area is quite high, which is the reason for a high clearance vehicle.

To give you an idea of how deep these ruts are, I could drive the road without steering, as if my truck was on a rail like at an amusement park. Low clearance vehicles could get hung up on this middle sandbar. The sand is also quite deep along the beach entrance ramps and at the beach nearest to the dunes. The closer you can get to the water, the more packed the sand.

Deep ruts have been dug into the service road. The actual trail follows an old established roadbed that is primarily deep sand, which is extremely hard for walking. Because we love the beach we opted to walk on the beach for much of the trail, which follows the beach much of the time. But we followed the trail through the old abandoned village, which was sand.

Very tough walking.

Amazing scenery and crystal clear waters. Great adventure! We took the Local Yokel ferry across and off-roaded to the point where we set up camp and hiked up and down from the point. Fished and gigged for flounder, caught a 7 pounder! Great place to camp, hike, stroll, off-road, fish, enjoy the seclusion. May have areas closed for turtles, so be careful and respect the wild seashore. Love cape lookout.

Cape Lookout National Seashore | DRIVING ON THE BEACH |

Great seclusion. Tons of areas to discover.

Cape Lookout Camping and Offroad

Makes a great weekend. Show More Show Less. Distance: 4.

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