What could be better than getting up close and personal at the beach? Driving your four-wheel drive vehicle off-road and onto the sand is one of life’s greatest beach experiences.
At one time in the history of the United States of America, many of the beaches throughout the country were considered drivable highways or roads.
As time has progressed, driving off-road on the sand has become less favorable due to many beach communities’ environmental issues and health and safety concerns.
Knowing this doesn’t mean that you can’t still take advantage of this wonderful pastime while it still exists.
Driving on the beach can vary from location to location. Certain beach areas only allow beach guests to drive their vehicles onto the beach to park, camp, or enjoy the view.
Certain other beaches throughout the country allow actual beach driving as roadways with certain restrictions and laws similar to the roads we drive on today for our daily agendas.
What Beaches Can You Drive On In Virginia?
One great beach that you can drive on in Virginia is the Assateague Island National Seashore, but you must have a permit. The Assateague Island National Seashore is a barrier island that spans the coastal length of the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.
This barrier island in the Virginia beach area also offers visitors other exciting activities when the beach driving fun has ended.
This barrier island, like other locations, has designated spots where visitors can drive on the beach.
To participate in this fun pastime, travelers must obtain an Over Sand Permit. This permit allows travelers to drive their vehicles on the sand and can be obtained online before the journey.
If visitors didn’t do that beforehand, they could always obtain one at a Day Use Facility within the barrier island area when they arrive.
It should be noted that many a visitor may think twice about obtaining a permit to do such an activity because the fee is high.
What type of vehicle is used can change the permit price, but visitors who plan on returning might not find it so outrageous.
The permit is good for one year, and visitors can use it repeatedly every time they visit.
Visitors are allowed to drive on the beach and be there during night hours, but it should be noted that they must be actively awake and alert.
Driving on the beach in this area is often used by avid fishermen who are repeat visitors to the area and enjoy their sport often enough to make the fee more reasonable.
Suppose a visitor wishes to drive on the beach in Assateague Island National Seashore barrier island.
In that case, they should look at their vehicle.
The part recommends high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles for this pastime.
While they won’t deny anyone access who is driving a low-clearance all-wheel drive vehicle or even a two-wheel-drive vehicle, it may not be a good idea.
There are also other requirements as far as the type of vehicle and its equipment.
The vehicle must be currently licensed, registered, and insured, and the person driving must also have a current driver’s license.
The vehicle can’t be more than twenty-six feet long and eight feet wide, or ten thousand pounds in weight: two axles only and not more than four tires per axle.
There must also be at least seven inches of ground clearance.
It should be noted that some seasoned beach drivers find it useful to lower the tire pressure on their tires before driving on the beach.
Aside from these requirements, there are certain tools that visitors must carry in their vehicle for emergencies or when their vehicle gets stuck.
This is a good idea for when you drive on the beach wherever you may travel.
What Should I Bring With Me To Safely Drive On The Beach In Virginia?
- Jack and Jack Stand
- T tow Rope, Chain, or Cable at least 10 feet long has the right pulling strength.
- Metal Shovel
- Tire Gauge
Other necessary equipment would include anything that visitors will use while at the beach, fishing gear, coolers, and everyday use equipment, including a first aid kit for emergencies.
The drivable area starts at the end of the main beach parking lot and continues southbound to the Fishing Point.
From mid-March until the end of August, this area is usually closed due to wildlife preservation and birds’ nesting.
This area, known as the Toms Cove Hook Area, like other beach access areas, can be closed at certain times due to inclement weather so that beach driving wouldn’t be allowed that day.
Visitors wishing to participate in this activity, as with any other coastal beach activity, will find it useful to investigate the weather conditions for the area before they arrive.
It should also be noted that the drivable beach area only allows so many vehicles on the beach at one time. That number is close to fifty.
Depending on the season or day of the week a traveler visits, they may have to wait until another vehicle comes off the sand before going on the sand.
One perk to driving in this area is that there are no beachgoers.
Unlike certain other beach areas, this backcountry atmosphere where driving is allowed begins where the beachgoers stop, and just mother nature begins.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t any people.
Other fishermen, nature lovers, and beach drivers will do the same thing.
Still, the crowd will be different, and there will be fewer people.
The great state of Virginia has many things to do on or at the beach; driving on the beach is just one of them.
While this activity can be great fun and let visitors get up close and personal with the beach and nature, they should be well prepared and have the right tools and equipment.
Suppose a visitor arrives and can’t access the beach area using their vehicle for whatever reason.
In that case, it can still be a great day at the beach in Virginia anyway, and that permit is good for a whole year of use!