Nags Head increases beach driving fee

Published 8:15 am Monday, July 11, 2022

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Nags Head is increasing the annual beach driving fee from $25 to $50 for residents and property owners and to $100 for all others.

Beach driving season is from October 1 to April 30 every year. In an email to The Coastland Times, public information officer Roberta Thuman said that the increase comes because of an expanded beach presence over the last several years to manage beach driving. “Our beach populations are increasing and we are seeing more visitors here in the shoulder seasons. This has created more conflicts between beach drivers and other users,” Thuman said.

Part of this management includes actively monitoring the 11 miles of beach and closing sections to driving if it’s heavily populated or if beach width – especially in the north end of town – would create an unsafe environment for vehicles and beach goers together. Nags Head officials made the decision several times during last season to close certain sections to driving for safety.

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“In essence, our fees help us cover the additional time and expense managing the beach driving program,” Thuman continued.

In the 2021-22 season, there were 2,009 permits issued in Nags Head. This number has almost doubled in the last five years.

Commissioners voted unanimously on the increase at the July 6 commissioners meeting. This is the first increase for the beach driving permit fee in 44 years.

Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills have enjoyed a reciprocal relationship for beach driving; one permit was valid for driving access for both towns. According to Thuman, KDH wishes to maintain its current fee schedule. This means that beach driving permits for Nags Head will only be valid on Nags Head beaches, and KDH permits will be valid only on KDH beaches. Commissioners mentioned making permit stickers distinct to Nags Head, as well as clarifying signage.

Nags Head residents and property owners must purchase their permits at town hall. All other permits can be purchased at town hall, online through the Town of Nags Head web site, or at Nags Head’s tackle shops.