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Driving on the Beach

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Beach Driving Tips

Beach Driving Tips

Bring your tent for overnight fun and relaxation!
Here, in North Carolina, we’re blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in our country.  From the Currituck Sound to Ocean Isle Beach, there are miles and miles of places to relax, watch your kids play, take a walk, and drive.
Drive?  Yes – drive on the beach.  Two examples of driving on the beach is The Outer Banks and Carolina Beach (Freeman Park).
When you speak with folks who have never lived here, some are amazed that you can still drive on the sand.  Here are some beach driving tips:

  • Drive on the beach in only four wheel drive (4×4).
  • Always follow the posted speed limits.
  • Bring a tire pressure gauge.
  • Reduce your tire pressure to 15-20 PSI.
  • AWD (all wheel drive) vehicle drivers should take note of ground clearance.  Driving in sand ruts may bottom out your vehicle and you may get stuck.
  • If possible, drive on packed sand.
  • Do not drive through the surf.  Salt water is extremely corrosive to electrical components and the sand may be unstable under the surface.
  • Distribute your weight evenly.  Packing too much on the rear of your vehicle could result in your rear wheels getting stuck.
  • Leave your ATV home.  They are not allowed on public beaches.
  • Before you leave, write down a local towing company that specializes in beach towing (just in case!).

If you’re camping overnight, here are some further tips:

  • Know the weather forecast.
  • Pay attention to where the public restrooms / showers are and park nearby.
  • Pack trash bags so you don’t leave a mess blowing around on the beach.
  • When using a pop-up tent, bring 4 buckets.  Put each leg into the bucket and fill the bucket with sand.  This will weigh your tent down and secure it when conditions are windy.
  • Pack extra tie down straps.  You may need to tie your tent to the side of your vehicle to prevent the winds from blowing it over.
  • Sunscreen.  Sunscreen.  Sunscreen.  Since beaches do not have any shade, you’ll need extra protection.

After you drive on the beach, make sure you thoroughly wash your vehicle in order to remove any salt and sand.  Sand can get into bushings, fittings, and rubber boots that are meant to protect vital components.  Leaving sand and salt alone could damage your vehicle.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?  Send along your comments for us to share.