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ATV Riding in North Carolina

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You’ve been warned. ATV riding in North Carolina is addictive! If you want to know more make sure you read this recreational ATV riding guide complete with the information you’d want to know before heading off to the exciting trails of this southeastern state. 

Known for its wide, open areas and diverse landscapes, North Carolina is home to a number of ATV trails that draw ATV riders from every corner of the United States to explore. Whether you’re an expert in riding ATVs or looking for a place to develop your driving skills, North Carolina has something to offer.

ATV Riding in North Carolina
ATV Riding in North Carolina

North Carolina is indeed a perfect place for ATV riders looking for an adventure through exciting wooded trails and wide-open spaces.

Not sure how to plan your adventure? Here is a complete guide to ATV riding in North Carolina!

Does North Carolina Have ATV Trails?

With such diverse landscapes throughout the state, ranging from the Smoky Mountains in the West to the coastal islands in the East, all levels of skill can enjoy the ATV riding opportunities in NC.

Places you can ride ATVs in North Carolina:

  • Public Lands and National Forests such as Brown Mountain Trail System in Pisgah National Forest.
  • Private ATV parks
  • ATV trails systems
  • Private Guided ATV Tours

From the OHV trail systems in North Carolina’s national forests to privately-owned ATV parks and well-kept trails, there’s lots to explore. You’ll find some of the best trails in forested mountains of Nantahala National Forest and the coastal region of Croatan National Forest. 

Read our guide to the Best ATV trails in North Carolina for our pick of the top places for North Carolina ATV Riding.

ATV trails in North Carolina
ATV trails in North Carolina

Can you ride ATVs on the Beach in North Carolina?

Yes, ATV riding on the beaches of North Carolina is possible. The coasts not only offer ATV riders sandy oceanfront trails, but also muddy bogs for those who want to get down and dirty.

However, be aware that there are some areas in which ATV riding is not allowed. 

For more information, visit the National Park Service North Carolina site. 

Can you ride ATVS at Nags Head?

Driving on the beach is allowed in Nags Head from October 1 until April 30. Vehicles must have current safety inspection, registration, insurance, and license plate. Beach driving permit is required and can be picked up at the Town of Nags Head or Town of Kill Devil Hills town halls, or at area tackle shops. 

You can visit Outer Banks Visitors Guide for more information. 

Can Your Ride ATVs in the Outer Banks?

ATV use is only allowed on North and South Core Banks within the boundaries of Cape Lookout National Seashore. The National Park Service has long established rules regarding the riding of ATVs on the islands for the safety of all visitors.

Visit National Park Service’s official website for more information regarding ATV riding in the Outer Banks.

atv trails in north carolina
ATV Riding in North Carolina

North Carolina ATV Trail Maps

Most trail systems will provide you with a trail map when you arrive at your riding location. However, if you are a regular ATV rider and want a great ATV trail map navigation system, we recommend the onX off-road App membership.

Many of North Carolina’s National Forest trail maps can be found underneath each section of trails.

North Carolina ATV Rentals

Looking for ATV rentals in North Carolina? Here are the best places to check out!

Fun ATV Riding Clothes

While protective gear is essential on the trail, it’s ok to look cute and share your wilder riding side with the world. I’m a big fan of ball caps and love this adorable “ATV hair, Don’t Care” hat from Sew Vivid Design on Etsy. Be sure to Check out all this cute ATV apparel.

Download Your FREE ATV Pre Ride Inspection Checklist Today!

Recommended ATV Riding Resources


For more scenic and exciting ATV destinations, make sure to read our guide to ATV riding in Georgia

Looking for ATV riding spots outside the US? Check out this post about an Off-Roading ATV Adventure In Sayulita, Mexico.

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