Beach Driving Tips
Being towed or "unstuck" from Portsmouth Island can be very costly and time consuming. Portsmouth Island is a totally secluded and hard to access island if you need help, as tides and wind movements are unpredictable, things may go south quick, but with a little common sense and some tools you should be just fine. A 4X4 vehicle is highly recommended on the beach and back roads. ATV's work well also, but remember they have limited fuel supply. Tire pressure on vehicles should be aired down to a 25 to 17 psi rating, this helps give the vehicle a bigger foot print and allows for better grip in the sand.
There are rules and regulations to follow when driving on the beach and they are listed on this website under the NPS rules and regulations. Speed limits, ATV guidelines, etc. Many times on Portsmouth you may encounter bird or turtle sanctuaries that are posted with keep out signs or no Jeep signs, do not enter these areas. Also ramps and roads are changed by the park service regularly so be advised of the no Jeep signs on the island and the proper ramps to take. The back road on Portsmouth Island is convenient when you need to get around a swash or high tide line, but the road can be rough and bumpy. Without much wind through your radiator you can quickly over heat behind the dunes, the best driving is kept to the beach. Many campers enjoy the island and spend days and weeks at the time in their mobile yachts. Always be aware of the high tide line and where you park for the night.
- Shovel- for digging out!
- Hi-Lift Jack- useful for large truck jacking and can be used as a winch.
- Water- For the radiator
- Extra belts and hoses
- Tire Gauge
- Boards- for traction
- Cell phone
- Tide tables
A well maintained vehicle is essential to beach driving. Leaking, unprepared vehicles cause environmental problems and end up littering our island. Be courteous to others by respecting there space and not speeding and horse playing. If people are at the water line fishing or playing give them a wide birth and slowly pass by. If done properly most driving on the island can be done in 2 wheel drive, but 4 wheel drive becomes essential in certain ramps and cabin areas. The Cape Lookout Mobile Sport Fisherman work hard at maintaining our privilege to drive on the beach, and by following the rules set by the NPS you can help us pass this privilege on to another generation.