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Are there any areas of the beach where I can drive a vehicle?

Judy Royal

Whether you like the feeling of plowing through the sand in a big truck or you’re just too lazy to park and walk, you’re in luck if you like to drive on the beach. Around here, you can motor down the shoreline in two places, located on opposite ends of Pleasure Island.

Freeman Park: Formerly known as the “North End,” this 1.5-mile area has been a four-wheel-drive favorite for many years. Cars line the sand during the warmer months, and many people camp overnight. You can access Freeman Park with a $10 daily pass or a $50 annual pass. Click here for more information.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area: Four miles of beachfront are open to visitors in four-wheel-drive vehicles, though restrictions apply regarding times of use and areas open to traffic. The price is the same as Freeman Park: $10 for a daily pass and $40 for an annual pass. Click here for more information.

A word of caution: Although you might hear stories of people driving their sedans or station wagons out on the sand, it is a really bad idea to try to access these areas in vehicles that are not four-wheel-drive. Even those vehicles made for the beach often have trouble with steep dropoffs and soft sand, and unless you can get the assistance of a friendly beachgoer with a really large vehicle, you will find yourself paying a hefty fee to a local towing company.

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