Changes Coming to Carova Beach Use

County Commissioners Consider Beach Parking Fee for Northern Tip of Outer Banks
Carova Beach is the main thoroughfare north of Corolla.
Carova Beach is the main thoroughfare north of Corolla.

There may be some changes coming to how the beaches of Carova are enjoyed this summer.

The Currituck County Commissioners are considering an ordinance that would charge a fee to park—not drive—on county beaches in the 4WD area.

It is important to note that this is still tentative; the commissioners have not voted on any legislation yet. Equally important, this does not impose any fees on driving on the beach.

The proposal is a response to growing complaints and concerns that beachgoers parking in the middle of the beach are creating a hazard in the 4WD area. Because the beach is the the main thoroughfare between the end of the paved section of NC12 and Carova, the safety of drivers and the people enjoying the beach have become an issue.

As now proposed the fees would be somewhat similar to the structure used for NPS 4×4 permits.

As now proposed, there would be two parking pass fees—a $50 for a 10-day parking pass or $150 that would be valid for a calendar year.

According to the reporting we’ve seen, the permits could only be purchased at the County’s two visitors centers in Moyock, just over the state line, or at the visitor’s center in Corolla. Similar to the NPS system, purchasers of a permit would have to watch a video on safe use of the beaches.

There are a number of concerns with the proposal as written.

With travelers already using the visitor’s centers heavily during the summer, a number of critics have wondered if staff is adequate to handle the new demands. The purchase of a pass would also require a second stop for travelers who have often been driving for most of the day.

Under the current proposal, Currituck County residents and property owners would not be charged for a pass.