Outer Banks 4x4 Carova Beach Guide

Take an Off-Road Vacation on the Currituck Banks

Positioned north of the town of Corolla and south of the Virginia border, the Outer Banks 4x4 beach area, commonly called Carova Beach, is a special place with open spaces and abundant coastal wildlife. In this region, you will experience the true Outer Banks, where wild horses roam free. With the freedom of a 4-wheel drive truck, you can visit Ocean Beach, Seagull Beach, Swan Beach, Swan Island Estates, North Swan Beach, and Carova Beach. Begin planning your getaway today.

OBX 4x4 Tips

1. Respect Wild Horses 


Wild Spanish Mustangs have roamed the Currituck Outer Banks for approximately 400 years. These famous wild horses are protected by law. If you’re lucky enough to see them, please remain at least 50 feet away at all times and do not attempt to pet them. Never ever feed them, we cannot stress that enough. Do your part to keep wild horse wild.


2. Fill up your Tank


There are no gas stations in the 4×4 area. Be sure to fill up before leaving Corolla and consider carrying an extra tank. 


3. Let Some Air out of your Tires


Before you get to the ramp, let some air out of your tires. Lowering the air pressure gives your tires more surface area and increased traction. We recommend lowering your air pressure to 20 psi. 

When coming off the beach, you can refill your tires, or “air-up” at the FREE Air Up Station located in Historic Corolla Park at 1100 HUNT CLUB DR, COROLLA, NC.


4. Pay Attention to the Tides


Plan ahead tides change quickly on the Outer Banks. At high tide, some areas become impassible and many areas are only wide enough for a single car. 


View the Currituck County Tide Times & Charts

Carova Beach

What is the Carova Beach 4x4?


Carova Beach, or just Carova, is a community of beach homes in Currituck County, located in the far northeast corner of North Carolina, near the Virginia border. Originally founded in the 1960s, the community of Carova is on the Currituck Banks, north of Bodie Island, surrounded by the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge. Since no paved roads connecting Carova to the town of Corolla, this special part of the Outer Banks can only be accessed by boat or by a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

How do I Get a Beach Driving Permit for Carova?


If you want to park on Currituck County’s 4-wheel drive beaches during the summer, you are required to have a county-issued beach parking permit displayed on their motor vehicle.


The beach permit system is effective from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day.


Purchase a Currituck County Driving Permit


What to Pack in Your Car on Your OBX 4x4 Vacation? 


When you are traveling in Carova, you are in a remote, wild environment. Remember to plan ahead and have the essentials in your car.


Must Haves:


  • Low-pressure tire gauge
  • Jack and jack support board
  • Shovel




  • Tow strap
  • First-aid kit
  • Full-sized spare tire
  • Trash bags
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlight


Rules for Driving On The Beach

Carova Beach has its own rules. Please follow local regulations: 


  • Speed limit on the beach is 35 mph
  • Within 300 feet of any person, the speed limit is 15 mph
  • Watch for pedestrians, especially children
  • Be alert around the wild horses and other wildlife
  • Park vehicles in the middle of the beach strand
  • Watch for lane shifts
  • Vehicles are required to use driving lanes adjacent to the dune line between Milepost 14.5 and Milepost 17
  • Tire air pressure should be
  • 20 pounds per square inch (PSI) for SUV’s and 1/2 ton 4X4
  • 35 pounds per square inches (PSI) for 3/4 ton 4X4
  • Air up pressure stations is located at the Corolla Historic Park.