We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

Medina, OH
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Topic
1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

I am planning an extended family trip to Carova Beach March 26th - April 2nd. Mermaid's Reef to be exact.

Any advice or concerns on the property would be helpful and appreciated.

Will all wheel drive vehicles be able to make the trip to the house? Or will they get stuck? I am not too interested in beach driving... not yet at least. The group consists of adults aged 25 up to 75.

Any and all responses are appreciated!!


Edited: 21 September 2010, 09:53
North Carolina
Level Contributor
450 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

You will need a 4 wheel drive with good clearance. An all wheel vehicle will NOT make it. Please search this site, and read more about beach driving. There are some very basic, but important things about beach driving that you should read. Make sure you always know the tide schedule before leaving, and have a tire gauge.

Carova is a great place, but that time of year it's pretty empty, so I would bring as much as you can with you on the first trip. It's a drive to the store, depending on how far up the beach the home sits.

I work in event planning here, and if you would like, feel free to PM me with any questions. If you are at a home that will not accomodate all of your guests for an inside reception, I would definitely rent a tent. The same if you are planning to have your ceremony on the beach-have a safety net. Weather that time of year can still be cool, and rainy. Not sure about the paticular property, but the homes there are usually very nice.

Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
Level Contributor
3,053 posts
136 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

I have had people with front wheel drive make it to Carova and I rarely air-down as everyone suggests, BUT you better be ready to get stuck if you get off that oceanfront hard packed sand. I would suggest 4x4 but I have seen people do it with less. The hardest spot is right at the end of the road where the sand it torn up and soft. Like Kil37 says, 4x4 and good clearance is a big advantage, but 4x4 owners love to pull out little cars so have a $20 ready.

Edited: 21 September 2010, 14:01
Amissville, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Ocracoke
Level Contributor
1,486 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

I had a all wheel drive Toyota Rav 4 and it did better then my truck I guess it depends on your clearance too.

What are you planning to drive ? As long as you air down to 10 psi if necessary in smaller vehicles and stay in the tracks you should make it , your biggest problem is crossing the dune , if you get stuck back up and try again you should be fine

Outer Banks, NC
Level Contributor
479 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

As many have said, driving in the 4x4 is not like driving on Daytona Beach. I think when you have to get up from the hardpack and drive through the dune opening to get behind the dune and then drive to your house is the worst of the drive. If you are coming going at high tide you might have to drive the whole way on the soft sand in front of the dune. Depending on if we've had a lot of rain, there may be huge deep puddles up behind the dune. A horse tour guide showed me a quicksand bog he got stuck in up there.

Bottom line, enjoy but please be careful.

Good luck.

Fairfax, Virginia
3 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

You would be better off with a 4WD but AWD should work as long as you have good clearence. An AWD BMW sedan ain't cuttin' it. Just North of Corolla, there is NO pavement... anywhere. Except maybe the carport of the house you're staying at, and even that is probably gravel. And there are NO Stores, not even a 7-11. You may want to Google Map your house and look at the Satelite pic, just so you know what you're getting into. I love the 4WD beaches and as long as you prepare, you'll be fine and have a great time!

Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
1 post
15 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!


We go to Carova every summer. We love it. Of 7 years with large groups, we had only one year where the house was horrible, dirty and smelly. This year we also are staying at Mermaid's Reef. Twiddy has been our best OBX realtor so we are hopeful that this will be as nice as in prior years. Personally, I think 4x4 can be a little nerve-racking from my perspective in the passengers's seat. I get afraid when my hubby gets too close to the water or too close to the soft sand (if he doesn't have enough momentum) but we haven't had any issues. I can't say anything about all wheel drive. I would love to get your feedback on Mermaid's Reef after your stay. Have a nice time.

7. Re: 1st Timer to Carova Beach... Please Help!!!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 July 2011, 07:17