Beach Driving


Seasonal Beach Driving Information:

Beach driving permits are on sale onlineand in-person at the Emerald Isle Police Department, at 7500 Emerald Drive. 

All applicants must watch a short educational video and take a 10 question quiz. You must score at least an 80 percent on the quiz and attach your results to your application. 

Beach driving is allowed from September 15 to April 30, with the exception of the 10-day period from and including the Friday prior to Easter until and including the Sunday that occurs 7 days after Easter.

Beach driving is allowed from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily from September 15 to November 5, and from March 11 to April 30 (to coincide with daylight savings time).  Daily driving hours are 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. from November 6 to March 10 (to coincide with Eastern standard time).

 Beach Driving Map

 Important Beach Driving Message

Placement of Permit Decals:  The permit decal must be permanently affixed and displayed on the lower corner of the windshield on the driver's side of the vehicle to which it is issued. All decals from previous years must be removed.

Authorized beach access ramps are located at the Ocean Drive "dog-leg" (near mile marker 15 on NC 58), at the end of Black Skimmer Drive (across from the Police Department), and at The Point (at the terminus of Inlet Drive at Bogue Inlet).  The Doe Drive ramp is closed to the general public.

Certain sections of the beach may be closed from time to time due to erosion concerns, in order to protect endangered and/or threatened sea turtle and bird nests, and/or to provide for general protection of public health, safety, and welfare.  Closed sections will be posted and roped, and beach drivers must avoid these areas entirely.

No driving is allowed on the beach without an official Town of Emerald Isle beach driving permit.  A beach driving permit may be purchased at the Town Police Department at 7500 Emerald Drive (physical address) during normal business hours. Call 252-354-2021 if you have any questions.

In person applications please apply at the Police Deparrtment, 7500 Emerald Drive and you must have your vehicle registration and drivers license with you for processing.

Please note:  The Police Department will not hold permits for anyone unless special arrangements have been made through Town Hall during normal business hours. The Police Department hours are Sunday through Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 8 a.m.-11 p.m. If payment is due at the time of permit pick-up, you may pay with cash, check, or credit card.  If paying by cash, you will need the exact fee amount, as the Police Department does not carry change for cash payments.

Visit the Town's website at for permit application and details.

Handicapped persons of any age (whether they are Emerald Isle residents / taxpayers or not) are eligible for one free permit.  Handicapped persons in addition to providing copies of vehicle registration and drivers license must also provide a copy of their handicap placard and DMV registration card for their placard. The four-wheel drive vehicle which is to be permitted must be registered to the handicapped person.