You are here

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Gains Approval For 29 New Public Access Points To Beaches


Visitors to Cape Hatteras National Seashore soon will have 29 new access points for exploring the seashore's beaches under a plan stemming from its off-road vehicle management plan.

The projects, ranging from parking lots and off-road vehicle ramps to handicap accessible boardwalks, were outlined in the seashore's Construction of New Development that Facilities Public Access Environment Assessment. After nearly two years of planning, the project list was approved in mid-November by the National Park Service's Southeast Region office.

The new access areas will create or improve 15 parking areas, 1 paved and 2 unpaved roads, 5 off-road vehicle ramps, 5 foot paths, 11 accessible boardwalks, and the elevation of an existing flood-prone road section. These access improvements will facilitate ORV and pedestrian access to areas of the Seashore and increase access for visitors with disabilities while minimizing conflicts between a wide variety of recreational users in the seashore, park officials said in a release.

The improved access points will protect the seashore's natural, cultural, scenic and aesthetic aspects as well as address mutual concerns with local communities and governments who expressed concerns about potential safety issues with road shoulder parking along NC Hwy 12.

Alternate Text
Map of new access points to be developed. NPS graphic.

The projects:

* A 10-car parking at the former site of the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Bodie Island

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Coquina Beach on Bodie Island

* Additional access road from NC-12 to fee station at Coquina Beach

* An ORV ramp and 10-car parking area 0.5 miles south of Coquina Beach (New Ramp 2.5)

* A 10-car parking area with foot trail to Bodie Island Spit at Ramp 4

* A 20-car parking area and handicap accessible boardwalk at Ramp 23 (Salvo)

* A 10-car parking area about 1.0 mile south of Ramp 23 with foot trail to the beach

* An ORV Ramp 25.5 with foot trail or boardwalk to the beach

* A 5-car parking area and foot trail to beach (beachside) at soundside Ramp 48

* An ORV Ramp 32.5 (Little Kinnakeet) with a 10-car parking area and foot trail to the beach

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Ramp 34

* A handicap accessible boardwalk to sound at Haulover Beach Parking Area

* A 15-car parking area west side of highway at/near Kite Point

* A 15-car parking area at soundside access #59 with foot trail from highway to beach

* A 5-car parking area west side of highway at/near soundside access 60

* A 50-car parking area at the former Buxton Coast Guard Station with handicap accessible boardwalk

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at Lighthouse Beach

* A 3-car parking area at Loran Road w/ new handicap accessible boardwalk to the beach

* An elevated section of Lighthouse Rd to address flooding at ramps 43 and 44

* An unpaved IDR between Ramp 45 and 49 w/new ORV Ramp 48 to the beach (Ramp has been moved from 47.5 to 48)

* Widen Ramp 49 and add connector road and 5 car parking area to Billy Mitchell Rd. near Frisco Campground

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ramp 55 parking area on Hatteras Island

* An unimproved 20-car parking area near the Pole Road/Spur Road intersection

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at/near north ferry terminal parking area on Ocracoke * An ORV Ramp 59.5 at north Ocracoke

* A 5-car parking area at the west side of highway entrance of Borrow Pit Road

* An ORV Ramp 63 across from Scrag Cedar Road

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ocracoke Pony Pens

* A handicap accessible boardwalk at the Ocracoke Day Use Area



Will this help solve some of the entitlement problems at Hatteras?

The above story is just more evidence that (as some of our regulars insist) the NPS is doing its best to shut the public out of the park :-)

How will 29 new public access points help "shut the public out of the park?"

Was your comment serious, or was it a sarcastic remark?

I think the wink at the end signified sarcasm, Lee.

Lee - sorry, that was definitely intended to be sarcasm. Looks to me like the park is making a serious effort to improve public access, despite claims by some of our regulars to the contrary.

It's all political, they are taking a lot of heat over this mess. It is unnecessary and a waste of money. With nearly 300,000 per visitors a month, I disagree that 5 or 10 parking spaces here and there will do anything to improve visitor experience. Destruction of 15+ acres of wildlife habitat because that Vehicle Free Area is "that area of Beach is difficult to access by foot " is thier attempt to fix the problem they created, that's rich.They should have installed some of those board walks long, long time ago. I doubt anyone thinks breaching anymore of the dune line is a good idea anywhere on this island. Access was fine and there was a good balance of ramps...

The new $120 ORV permit user pays for these pedestrian access improvements, but pedestrians pay nothing. The VFAs are certainly not being utilized now and doubt this will change that. It will be years, if ever, that these changes will be made...


You're denigrating a page-and-a-half list of projects as 'a talking point'? 'A bone?'

Here's the way it works. If I'm a member of a group that doesn't think the Washington Monument will ever get built, then I find myself wading in the Refecting Pool, look up, and see this big monolisque in the sky, my most graceful move is to cuckle and say "Sonovagun - you got this one right."

I can't comment on the pros and cons of the specific sites chosen, but based on the above map, it appears there's been an effort to spread these new access points throughout the seashore, and include a variety of uses, from handicapped access and standard trails to ORV access. If some view that as "tossing a bone" to the public, so be it. A different approach would draw criticism for other reasons.

BeachDumb doesn't think "5 or 10 parking spaces here and there will do anything to improve visitor experience," but on the contrary, I'd suggest they can greatly improve the experience for visitors who choose to use them.

Several smaller parking areas at intervals vs. one larger one give visitors the option to enjoy a short trail and/or section of beach that is less likely to be crowded. When I visit parks, I frequently seek out such opportunities.

BeachDumb seems so determined to find fault with everything attempted by this park that it would be humorous if it wasn't so sad. One one hand he or she says, "It is unnecessary and a waste of money" and on the other, "They should have installed some of those board walks long, long time ago."

Unfortunately, you can't please everyone ... which is one of the reasons running a park is never easy.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide