Home Blog Top 3 Most Widely Used Permits/Licenses on Cape Hatteras National Seashore


Did you know that the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was the nation’s first official national seashore, established in 1937? Its purpose was to preserve, which has helped sustain the island’s natural beauty, creating the scenic treasure that brings you back to the seashore year after year.

While this is a National Park, there are certain required permits and licenses that are in place that help park officials preserve these lands that we’ve come to hold so dear. As some of them are fairly new and may not be required in other areas that you’re accustomed to visiting, we did a quick round-up of the top 3 most widely used permits/licenses to better help you plan your trip to Hatteras Island!

Top 3 Most Widely Used Permits/Licenses on Cape Hatteras National Seashore

1.    Coastal Recreational Fishing License (CRFL):
Hatteras Island is a world-renowned fishing destination and taking part in this age-old tradition can be both exciting and educational. It’s a fun way to learn about island history, water currents, tides and astrology, ecology, sustainability and so much more! Just remember, when enjoying these waters, any person aged 16 and older must purchase a CRFL in order to fish. These licenses can be purchased on a 10-day, annual or lifetime basis, or combined with a variety of other licenses issued by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, depending on your individual need. There are various types of CRFL’s, but the basic 10-day Nonresident (NC) for persons 16 or older is a minimal fee. In addition to online and any Division of Marine Fisheries office, there are a variety of locations up and down the Island and on the Outer Banks that you can purchase a CRFL. This handy chart by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission contains a full list of certified agents and also includes their addresses, phone number and hours of operation. Please note that if you are on-island looking for a purchase location, we are located in Dare County. For more FAQ’s regarding a CRFL, visit this page courtesy of the Division of Marine Fisheries.

2.    ORV Permit (Beach Driving):
Driving on the beach is something that sets Cape Hatteras National Seashore apart from other beaches. While there are plenty of walk-over areas and convenient turn-outs along the seashore (not to mention boardwalks near almost every ocean front home), this permit isn’t imperative to your vacation on Hatteras Island, but it is useful! The convenience of avoiding lugging over a ton of stuff for a day of fun in the sun—especially if you are travelling with kids or someone who has mobility issues—is pretty great.  Effective in 2012, if you wish to utilize this convenience, you must obtain an ORV Permit.

There are both ten-day permits and annual permits (valid one year from the date of purchase) available. The process is very simple, as everything is done online. In preparation for the application process, be sure you have the following:

1.    Your driver’s license
2.    Your vehicle registration (only one vehicle per permit)
3.    Payment

For more detailed information regarding the ORV Permit, check out our friends at the National Park Service and Recreation.gov. For your convenience, there is also this ORV access map and beach access ramp status report. And if you’re purchasing your permit on-island and don’t have access to a printer, stop by our office to grab a self-certification permit to fill out for your dash.

3.    Beach Fire Permit:
Bonfires are a favorite pastime for many a visitor to Hatteras Island. For safety purposes, you are now required to carry a Beach Fire Permit on your person while having a fire. The permit is free and is about the size of a brochure for convenience. A basic list of safety regulations is on the back, both for reference and to prevent any accidental fires and/or injuries. You can find them on the front desk at any Midgett Realty office or you can download one online courtesy of the National Park Service.

A couple things to remember:
1.    The permit must be signed by a responsible adult of 18 years or older
2.    The permit is valid only if it is signed and in the possession of the permittee at the location of the fire