Drive the NC-12 4x4 Route

Thing To Do Drive the NC-12 4x4 Route

As you embark on your Corolla, NC vacation, prepare for an unforgettable adventure along the NC-12 4x4 Beach. This unique and exhilarating experience offers the chance to explore miles of pristine shoreline, dunes, and maritime forests from behind the wheel of a 4x4 vehicle. If you're seeking an off-road adventure like no other, the NC-12 4x4 Beach is a must-visit attraction that promises scenic beauty, wildlife encounters, and some true OBX fun.

Accessing the NC-12 4x4 Beach

To access this captivating stretch of beach, you'll need a 4x4 vehicle with adequate ground clearance. A permit is required for beach parking, and more information on the permits can be found here. The beach is open to the public, but permits and regulations are in place to ensure the protection of this fragile ecosystem. Please do not attempt to drive this stretch of beach in anything but a 4x4 vehicle, as you will likely get stuck!


What to Expect:
  • Untamed Natural Beauty: The NC-12 4x4 Beach features rolling sand dunes, maritime forests, and the unspoiled beauty of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a place where nature reigns supreme, and you’ll truly be surrounded by undisturbed landscapes.

  • Wildlife Encounters: Keep your eyes peeled for the famous Corolla Wild Horses that roam freely in this area. These majestic creatures are descendants of Spanish mustangs and add a touch of wilderness to your adventure. While it’s a thrill to see these beautiful wild horses, please be respectful by giving them space. Visitors are required to keep a distance of at least 50 feet from the horses.

  • Scenic Views: This is a unique opportunity to see the more wild parts of the Outer Banks, and to get a glimpse of what the beaches looked like long ago. There's even a petrified forest in the middle of the beach, which makes for some cool photo opportunities - but keep an eye out while driving! Enjoy a unique adventure, and soak in the endless views on the 4x4 Beach.

  • Shelling and Beachcombing: The shoreline here is a treasure trove for shell collectors and beachcombers. Stroll along the beach to discover unique seashells and marine artifacts.

Tips for Your Visit:
  • Beach Parking Permit: Ensure you have the necessary permit if you plan to park on the beach, which can typically be obtained from the local authorities or online before your trip. More info here.

  • Tire Pressure: Lower your tire pressure to navigate the soft sand more easily, typically between 15-20psi depending on the weight of your vehicle. Most 4x4 rental companies will provide guidance on this.

  • Safety First: Always be mindful of local regulations and guidelines for driving on the beach, as well as any posted speed limits (35 mph on this stretch) or wildlife protection areas.


  • Pack Essentials: Carry essentials such as water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable.

  • Parking is not allowed anywhere within the first 2 miles!

The NC-12 4x4 Beach in Corolla beckons adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. It's a place where you can immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of the Outer Banks, and envision what our beaches were like many years ago. Once you’ve secured your 4x4 vehicle and the necessary permits, get ready to create lasting memories as you explore this hidden gem, where the wild meets the sea!