Beach Driving

Beach Driving Permit applications for the 2023-2024 season are available online starting August 1, and in-person starting September 1. You will need to complete the quiz and attach the results to your application. Links to both items can be found at the bottom of this page.

 Vehicle decals will be available starting September 1, and you will receive an email or phone call when yours is ready to pick up.

Please note: Vehicles must be 4 wheel drive, not all wheel drive. 

Read the basic Beach Driving Regulations (PDF).

Highly Important Disclaimer

By purchasing a beach driving permit, you understand that there will be no refunds or discounts provided due to beach closures of any kind. Closures may be caused by nourishment activities, beach conditions, and/or other unavoidable events.

Application Process

All applicants are required to watch a short educational video and complete a quiz; you must receive a minimum of 80% accuracy. You need to save and attach your results to your application in order to obtain a permit.

Authorized Beach Access Ramps

View Beach Driving Map (PNG).

  • The Ocean Drive "dog-leg" (near mile marker 15 on NC 58),
  • Black Skimmer Drive (across from Police Department), and at
  • The Point (at the terminus of Inlet Drive at Bogue Court).

Beach Driving Period

  • September 15, 2023 to April 30, 2024.
  • Beach driving is closed from March 29 - April 7, 2024.

Registration Types

All applicants must provide a valid drivers license and a vehicle registration.

  • Handicapped/100% Disabled Veteran - $0:
    Handicap persons of any age are eligible for one free permit and must also provide a copy of their valid DMV handicap placard registration card. The four-wheel drive vehicle which is to be permitted must be registered to the handicapped person.
    Note: Handicapped/100% Disabled Vet, Purple Heart eligible for one free permit. Handicapped/100% Disabled Vet, Purple Heart must upload supporting documentation.
  • Standard Commercial Fishing License or Retired Commercial Fishing License - $0
  • Must provide a valid commercial fishing license. See clarification on these two fishing licenses (PNG). Please note, Commercial Shellfish Licenses do not qualify for a free permit.
  • Town Employee/Retiree - $0
  • Must be a current or retired Town of Emerald Isle Employee.
  • EI Resident/Property Owner (65 and Over) - $0 (Senior)
  • EI Resident/Property Owner (under 65) - $50
    You must be on the Deed of the Emerald Isle Address or have a valid long term (12 months or more) rental/lease agreement and may be required to provide documents proving residency/property ownership.
  • Non-Resident CC (Carteret County) - $100 (In Carteret County, outside Emerald Isle)
    Must be a resident and/or property owner in Carteret County. You must be on the Deed of the Carteret County Address or have a valid long term (12 months or more) rental/lease agreement.
    You will be required to provide documentation of residency/property ownership.
  • Non-Resident - $175
    If you are not a resident or property owner within Carteret County.

Permit holders must notify the Emerald Isle Police Department of any changes to the information provided for this permit. If you sell, trade in or otherwise dispose of your vehicle, you must remove the permit sticker and bring it in to receive a replacement sticker.

More Information

For more information, contact the Emerald Isle Police Department at 252-354-2021. The Emerald Isle Police Department is at 7500 Emerald Drive, and the lobby is open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday.

Watch the following video, then take the beach driving quiz

Attach your quiz results to your beach driving permit application