Outer Banks Bonfires On The Beach

Outer Banks Bonfires On The Beach

Get Fired Up

Beach fires are allowed, with regulations, on beaches in Nags Head and along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. They are NEVER allowed in Duck, Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.

Nags Head

Beach pit fires are allowed on the beach in Nags Head with a permit from Nags Head Fire and Rescue.

Permits are $10

In Nags Head permits are required and are obtained from the Nags Head Fire Department located at 5314 Croatan Highway after 5:00pm on the specific day the fire is requested. Fires will not be permitted if winds are 10 knots or more.

A picture ID, the address of applicant and the location for the requested fire are required. Fires cannot be built within 50 feet of any combustible material. In addition, the hollowed-out pit must be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and not less than 1 foot in depth. The fire must be attended by an adult and must be extinguished prior to leaving.

Permits are only issued between 5 pm and 9 pm daily based on current wind speed and fire danger conditions.

Pick up permits at:

Station 16
5314 S Croatan Highway
Mile Post 14.5

Station 21
8806 S Old Oregon Inlet Road
Mile Post 18

Hatteras Island

Beach fire permits are required on Hatteras Island starting May 1, 2012.

Beach Fire Permits are FREE.

To get your Beach Fire Permit:

Things You Need to Know:

  • From May 1 to November 15, to protect nesting sea turtles, beach fires are allowed only on the ocean beaches at: Coquina Beach, the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, Hatteras and the Ocracoke Day Use Area.
  • From November 16 – April 30, beach fires are allowed on throughout the park.
  • Fires are allowed from 6 am to 10 pm.
  • The Beach Fire Permit is valid only when a responsible adult (18 years of age or older) is present
  • Fires, no greater than 3 feet in diameter, may be ignited and maintained seaward of the ocean dune, below the high tide mark and at least 50 feet from any vegetation
  • Fires cannot be left unattended and must be completely extinguished (cold to touch) upon termination of use
  • Clean area of all trash before leaving the beach and remember the “pack in/pack out” practice of leaving national seashore beaches in a clean and safe condition for the next visitor.

If you have trouble downloading or printing the Beach Fire Permit you can get a permit in person by visiting any seashore ORV permit office, campground, or visitor center.

ORV Permit Offices are located at:

  • Bodie Island at the north end of the Coquina Beachparking lot (8101 NC 12 Highway, Nags Head, NC)
  • Hatteras Island by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Visitor Center (46368 Lighthouse Road, Buxton, NC)
  • Ocracoke Island by the NPS visitor Center (40 Irvin Garrish Highway, Ocracoke, NC)

Seashore Campgrounds include the Oregon Inlet Campground, Cape Point Campground, Frisco Campground, and Ocracoke Campground.

Seashore Visitor Centers include: the Bodie Island Visitor Center, Hatteras Island Visitor Center, and Ocracoke Island Visitor Center.

Tips for Beach Bonfires
  • Flashlights – Make sure you bring the flashlights along. Not only do they come in handy for those first few minutes of starting the fire, but family members can also explore the beach at night, and always be within sight of the fire.
  • Firewood – Always bring ample kindling and starter scraps in case a fire’s having a hard time igniting. And it never hurts to have extra logs on hand. It’s always easier to bring extra than to have to run out for more.
  • Pick the Right Night – Aim for certain days and locales. A full moon on the Outer Banks is absolutely stunning, with an extra glow over the ocean. A completely clear night is also a fantastic time to go and is a perfect time for stargazing. Lighthouse lovers may want to find a spot in Avon or Buxton, where the distant light of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse can be seen in the distance.
  • Weather – While a fire is perfect to take the chill off of cool night, be careful during exceptionally dry and windy conditions.
  • Bioluminescence – If walk away from the fire, down along the beach, dip your toes in the wet sand and look for the shimmering, almost green glowing tracks. These actually a small sea organisms called the dinoflagellate, which are only visible on particularly warm nights and during especially dark beach conditions.
  • Check with Park Service – Be sure and check with the National Park Service (NPS)or local fire station to confirm that bonfires are permitted. On occasion, the NPS or town puts a temporary ban on beach bonfires during periods of extensive drought or wind.