Fishing Licenses & ORV Rules


Starting January 1, 2007, a Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL) is required for anyone wanting to fish recreationally in North Carolina’s coastal waters. The N.C. General Assembly passed legislation in 2004 to create a saltwater license and Governor Mike Easley signed it into law in 2005.

The revenues generated from the sales of the CRFLs will be used to conserve and enhance Norht Caroliona’s marine fisheries resources.

The most common CRFL’s are:

Annual Resident – $15.00

Annual Non-Resident – $30.00

10-Day Resident – $5.00

10-Day Non-Resident – $10.00

Annual Inland / CRFL – $35.00

Annual Unified – $55.00

Various Lifetime – fees vary

Various Lifetime Unified – fees vary

For more information on the current requirements, go the

CHNS – Off-Road Vehicle Use Permit 

Closure conditions may change in the field on short notice. On-site signage, rather than the beach access map, is the most accurate and current indication of what is open or closed to the public. Closed areas are clearly marked in the field with closure signs or “symbolic fencing” consisting of posts, closure signs, string and flagging tape.

Knowledge of tidal changes and caution should be exercised while traveling the beaches of the park.

Getting a permit

Obtaining an ORV permit is an easy process that takes only minutes from start to finish. You can choose to visit an ORV office at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in person or you can visit the Cape Hatteras ORV Permit page at If you request a permit using the website, you can choose to pick up the permit at an ORV office or have it mailed directly to you.

The online permit process is as simple as

  1. Going to the Cape Hatteras ORV Permit page on,
  2. Filling out the online application, and
  3. Choosing whether you will pick up the permit in person or have it mailed to you.

The in-person permit process has six easy steps.

  1. Go to one of our three ORV Permit Offices.
  2. Show the required documentation to the ORV Permit Office staff member.
  3. Fill out the ORV permit.
  4. Watch the 7-minute video (you can skip this step if you bring last year’s permit).
  5. Pay for your permit.
  6. Place the permit in your vehicle’s glove box and affix the proof-of-permit to your vehicle’s windshield.

That’s all there is to it. You’ll be off enjoying the beaches of Cape Hatteras National Seashore before you know it. In preparation for getting your permit, be sure you have

  • your driver’s license,
  • your vehicle registration,
  • form of payment (charge card or cash),
  • and last year’s permit (if available, for the in-person process).
  • With these items you can apply for your permit online or at any of the three ORV Permit Offices. The offices are located at
  • Coquina Beach (8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, NC 27959)
  • Cape Hatteras Light Station (46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC 27920)
  • Ocracoke Visitor Center (40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC 27960)Two types of permits are available for purchase. They are
  • These offices are open seven days a week, year-round (except Christmas Day) from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Refer to the Designated Off-Road Vehicle Routes map to see the location of the permit offices, ramps, and other park amenities.
  • A 7-day Permit ($50, valid for 7 consecutive days), or
  • An Annual Permit ($120, valid for the calendar year).
  • Remember to keep the permit in the glove box of your permitted vehicle and the proof-of-permit sticker clearly visible on your windshield.