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Remote beach camping advice??

Level Contributor
153 posts
Remote beach camping advice??


My gf, puppy-dog and I will be taking a mega-road trip from Denver to Duck this August, with some awesome stops along the way. When we reach Duck, we'll be united with a slew of family chaos in a wonderful beachfront house. We are thinking that we'd like a day or 2 of "real" OBX serenity before entering the aforementioned chaos.

We've been doing the Duck trip for several years and have always been curious about the southern end of the island but able to get down there. Since we're gonna be on the road anyway, perhaps this is our time to do so.

I know that Portsmouth Island is the epitome of what we are in search of... a tent on the beach and very little interaction with other human beings. In doing some research, I can't decide if trying to get there and then getting to a suitable plot on which to stake a tent would be biting off more than we can chew. There are a handful of factors contributing to this hypopthesis, but I think my main concerns are:

1. we will be traveling in a Subaru Outback wagon. It is ALL WHEEL DRIVE as opposed to "real" 4 WHEEL DRIVE. We learned the hard way, in a rental vehicle (Jeep Cherokee), that AWD is not sufficient for driving on the beach up in Corova. Are the beaches down south similar or are they more hard-packed, by any chance, making my Subaru less likely to get stuck?

2. One of us does not get around so well... requiring crutches to walk, with limited distance and duration. If walking on the sand any sort of distance away from our vehicle is required to navigate to the camp site or whatever, this will probably be an issue.

So. Based on my two concerns above, do you agree or disagree that PI might be a little unrealistic for us? If you agree, any suggestions for other locations that might mimic the remoteness of PI along with the ability to set up camp right on the beach... or pretty darn close to it.

5 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
153 posts
1. Re: Remote beach camping advice??

annnnnnd it seems I chose the wrong sub-forum for this post. My apologies. Moderators, can we please move this to perhaps the Ocracoke or Hatteras forum? Thanks!!

Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
13,157 posts
34 reviews
15 helpful votes
2. Re: Remote beach camping advice??

I have not camped at the OBX, but I've seen the NPS campsite at Ocracoke and it might work for you. It's not completely secluded and right behind the dune line, but could work for you. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g49407-d1090324-Reviews-Ocracoke_Campground-Ocracoke_Outer_Banks_North_Carolina.html Frisco is another one that a lot of folks like: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g49150-d4367737-Reviews-Frisco_Campground-Frisco_Hatteras_Island_Outer_Banks_North_Carolina.html

I'm not sure if your Subie can deal with Portsmouth or not, but it's really more of a Cape Lookout area rather than a Cape Hatteras area, so might be a bit too far from Duck for what you're looking for. You'd need to get a vehicle ferry from Atlantic NC or from Davis NC on the other side of the Core Sound. https://www.nps.gov/calo/planyourvisit/ferry.htm

Level Contributor
1,140 posts
58 reviews
21 helpful votes
3. Re: Remote beach camping advice??

It would take a long time to get To Portsmouth Island, and there are no support services. I would recommend you try one of the NPS camping areas or the KOA campground on Hatteras. https://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

Maybe even try the NPS campground at Oregon Inlet, it's isolated yet not too far away.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
548 posts
4. Re: Remote beach camping advice??

Here is a site with some temp camping info on CALO, http://drumwagon.com/fishrep/ just hit the search on the upper right hand side and read on. There focus is on Davis but most of the information holds true for Portsmouth. It is probably a lot more than you bargained for. You could get a cabin for a night at Long Point https://www.nps.gov/calo/planyourvisit/lodging.htm the sand roads from the ferry to the cabins are pretty packed and you are right on the beach. If you want to go to south end of Hatteras I heard that Frisco Woods campground is ok.

Amissville, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
Level Contributor
1,657 posts
33 reviews
33 helpful votes
5. Re: Remote beach camping advice??

Getting to Portsmouth by vehicle requires going to Atlantic I think and there is a ferry, But if you couldn't make it in Corolla you will not here either . No camping allowed on the beach but you will find several camp ground up and down the beach just over the dunes from the beach. If the ocean isn't that important try camping on the sound side there are ls also several sound side camp grounds. I Like Frisco woods you and get sound side water front sites there ,Great sun sets thee too.

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