NC12 - Carova 4x4 Beach

Total Miles


3.11 ft


0.5 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer

Trail Overview

The Carova 4x4 Beach is the northernmost portion of NC-12, which runs along North Carolina's Outer Banks. The pavement ends in the town of Corolla, at which point a 4WD vehicle is mandatory in order to make the beach drive. Currituck County has an ordinance that makes airing down your vehicle's tires to a maximum of 20PSI mandatory in order to go onto the beach. After making it onto the beach, you'll proceed north. The amount of beach varies wildly depending on the tide, and many drivers don't conform to the normal rules of the road. The speed limit is 15MPH when near pedestrians. You'll see several species of birds, and of course, the Outer Banks are famous for their wild horse. Local laws require you to remain at least 50 feet from the horses, and not to feed or otherwise disturb them. These laws are strictly enforced, and the locals will record and report violators. NC-12 ends at the Virginia and is gated off to prevent drivers from entering Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, which begins at the Virginia Line. There are several points along the dune line that afford drivers the opportunity to get off of the beach and head onto the back dirt roads of Carova. If leaving the beach, be mindful of property lines and horses. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a county-issued permit is required to park on the beach. It is not required to drive on it.


Be prepared for loose beach sand and debris. Portions of the beach have tree stumps and driftwood. Drivers should remain alert while on the 4x4 Beach.

Technical Rating