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Post 2 is one mile south on the beach from Pier Avenue and marks the beginning of the OHV area. All OHVs must be transported to this point before off-loading. Fenced and signed areas are closed to vehicular use either because the property beyond is private or because the area contains sensitive plant and animal life.



All vehicles which are operated on public lands must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The registration fee is $52 per vehicle, and is valid for a two-year period. The OHV fees are used for acquisition of new OHV areas, development and operation of existing OHV areas, enforcement of the rules and regulations, and protection of the natural resources. DMV will issue a Green or Red Sticker for off-highway vehicles. Vehicles which can be operated both on- and off-highway will be given a street-legal license.

In order to operate any type of motorized vehicle off-highway on public land, you must have one of the following:

(a) Street-Legal License Plate: If you want to operate a 4-wheel drive vehicle or dual-purpose motorcycle on-highway and off-highway, you must have a street-legal license plate.

(b) The Green Sticker Or Red Sticker: If you are going to operate a motorized vehicle off-highway only, you must have either a Green Sticker or a Red Sticker that has been issued by the DMV.

Oceano Dunes allows "Red Sticker Riding" all year round.

Green stickers are issued for all California OHVs year model 2002 and older, including those that were previously issued a red sticker, and to 2003 and newer complying vehicles. Green stickers are issued to OHVs for year round use at all California OHV riding areas.

Red stickers are issued to 2003 year model and newer OHVs that are not certified to California OHV emission standards. If your OHV has a "3" or "C" in the eighth position of the vehicle identification number (VIN) then your vehicle will be issued a red sticker. Red stickers are issued to OHVs that can use California OHV riding areas for seasonal use only.

    (c) Closed Course Competition: Some race courses can be designated as a closed course. A Transportation Permit must be obtained from DMV to transport your vehicle to and from a race course.

    Possession of Alcohol

Vehicle Code sections 23220, 23322, 23223, 23225, and 23226, have been amended to include public lands.

It is illegal to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while riding in or operating an off-highway vehicle.

The intent of these laws is to make the possession of alcohol in a vehicle the same whether you are driving on a highway or off-highway.

The laws are designed to reduce alcohol-related accidents, but also allow vehicles such as 4-wheel drives and ATV's to transport such items in locked containers or even ice chests if they are secured in a manner that are not accessible to the occupants or the operator.

Responsible off-highway vehicle enthusiasts do not drink and drive.


Driving an OHV can be an exciting, yet dangerous, adventure. You can minimize your chance of injury and maximize your enjoyment through common sense, intelligent vehicle operation and by extending courtesy and respect to other riders. 

A drivers license is not required to operate a vehicle in the OHV area. However, if you have had a drivers license suspended or revoked, it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle on the dunes. 

Please note: Sand Highway is an extension of PCH (Hwy1) and all Governing HWY rules apply to Sand Highway up to POLE 11. 
(i.e. Seatbelt, DUI, Speed Limits, Helmet Law, Texting, etc.)


Nonresident OHV Use Permit


All vehicles operated off-highway on public lands in California are required to be (1) street-licensed or (2) registered as an off-highway vehicle (OHV). If you are visiting California from another state and your vehicle does not have a current registration from your home state, you must purchase a California Nonresident OHV Use Permit before you recreate on public lands. The 2010 Nonresident OHV Use Permits are now available for purchase. The permit fee is $30.


A.T.V. Safety Requirements


All-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators under 18 years of age must comply with the following California Vehicle Code requirements when operating an ATV on public lands. The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) currently provides funding for ATV safety certificate training for those age 6 through 17. For more information and to sign up for training contact the ATV Safety Institute at (800) 887-2887.



No person under the age of 18 years shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on public lands of this state unless the person satisfies one of the following conditions:
    (a) The person is taking a prescribed safety training course under the direct supervision of a certified all-terrain vehicle safety instructor.
    (b) The person is under the direct supervision of an adult who has in their possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by this state, or issued under the authority of another state.
    (c) The person has in possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by this state or issued under the authority of another state (CVC 38503).




No person under 14 years of age shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on public lands of this state unless the person satisfies one of the conditions set forth in Section 38503 and, in addition, is accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian or is accompanied by and under the direct supervision of an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian (CVC 38504).

Neither a parent or guardian of a child who is under 14 years of age, nor an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian to supervise that child shall grant permission to, or knowingly allow, that child to operate an all-terrain vehicle in a manner that violates Section 38504.

 A person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) is punishable as follows:

    (1) For a first conviction, the court shall either impose a fine of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) or order the person to take or retake and complete an all-terrain vehicle safety training course pursuant to Section 38501. If ordered to take or retake and complete the safety training course, the person shall provide the court a copy of the all-terrain vehicles safety certificate issued as a result of that completion.

    (2) For a second conviction, a fine of not less than one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) nor more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

    (3) For a third or any subsequent conviction, a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).


SEC. 2. Section 38504.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

If a person under 14 years of age was not properly supervised or accompanied in accordance with Section 38504, and the parent or guardian of that child or the adult who was authorized by the parent or guardian to supervise or accompany that child is in violation of Section 38504.1, upon a conviction pursuant to Section 38504, the court may order that child to attend and complete the all-terrain vehicle safety training course accompanied by the person who violated Section 38504.1. If so ordered, the child under 14 years of age shall provide the court a copy of the all-terrain vehicles safety certificate issued as a result of that completion.



No person shall operate, ride, or be otherwise propelled on an all-terrain vehicle on public lands unless the person wears a safety helmet meeting requirements established for motorcycles and motorized bicycles, pursuant to Section 27802 (CVC 38505).


Basic Dune Rules

  • Speed limit is 15 MPH on the beach and within 50' of any camp or group of people.

  • California's Basic Speed Law applies in the dune area: Don't drive faster than is safe for conditions.

  • Laws that pertain to driving under the influence of alcohol are exactly the same for off-highway as they are for on-highway. Don't drink and drive.

  • Towing of any object other than another motor vehicle is prohibited.

  •  Motor vehicles must stay out of vegetated areas.

  •  Each unlicensed OHV/ATV operator must be under the immediate supervision of a licensed adult and must be capable of operating all vehicle control mechanisms.

  •  Unlicensed OHV/ATV operators, with or without a safety certificate, are prohibited from operating a vehicle during nighttime hours or outside the designated OHV area.

  •  ATV operators under the age of 18 must possess an appropriate safety certificate or be supervised by an adult who possess a safety certificate.

  •  All ATV riders must wear an approved helmet.

  • No passengers are allowed on three or four-wheeled single seated ATVs.

  •  If your driving privilege is suspended or revoked , you may not operate a motor vehicle off road.


OHV Equipment Requirements



Noise emissions of competition off-highway vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 1998, shall be limited to not more than 96 dBA, and if manufactured prior to January 1, 1998, to not more than 101 dBA, when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the Society of Automotive Engineers under Standard J-1287, as applicable.  Noise emissions of all other off-highway vehicles shall be limited to not more than 96 dBA if manufactured on or after January 1, 1986, and not more than 101 dBA if manufactured prior to January 1, 1986, when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the Society of Automotive Engineers under Standard J-1287, as applicable.

For more information on noise limits, visit http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=23037. [CVC 38370 (h) (1)]



(a) Notwithstanding Section 4442 of the Public Resources Code, and except for vehicles with mufflers as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 27150) of Chapter 5 of Division 12, no person shall use, operate, or allow to be used or operated, any off-highway motor vehicle, as defined in Section 38006, on any forest-covered land, brush-covered land, or grass-covered land unless the vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester maintained in effective working order.

(b) A spark arrester affixed to the exhaust system of a vehicle subject to this section shall not be placed or mounted in such a manner as to allow flames or heat from the exhaust system to ignite any flammable material.

(c) A spark arrester is a device constructed of nonflammable materials specifically for the purpose of removing and retaining carbon and other flammable particles over 0.0232 of an inch in size from the exhaust flow of an internal combustion engine or which is qualified and rated by the United States Forest Service.

(d) Subdivision (a) shall not be applicable to vehicles being operated off the highway in an organized racing or competitive event upon a closed course, which is conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body and by permit issued by the fire protection authority having jurisdiction (CVC 38366).




Any vehicle operated between sunset and sunrise must display at least one headlight that enables an operator to see clearly 200 feet ahead and one red taillight visible for 200 feet (CVC 38335, 38345).




A person shall not display a flashing or steady burning red or blue warning light on an off-highway motor vehicle except as permitted by Section 21055 or when an extreme hazard exists (CVC 38346).




(a) An off-highway motor vehicle, except an authorized emergency vehicle, shall not be equipped with a siren.
(b) A person driving an off-highway motor vehicle, except the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle as permitted by Section 21055, shall not use a siren (CVC 38375).




An 8' whip with an orange or red flag with a minimum size of 6" x 12".




Except for two-, three-, and four-wheeled cycles, all vehicles shall be equipped with adequate roll bars or roof structures of sufficient strength to support the weight of the vehicle and shall have a secure seat and seat belt for the vehicle operator and each passenger. Seat belts shall be as specified in the California Vehicle Code.

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Shorebird Protection

The endangered California Least tern and the threatened Western Snowy Plover nest on the sands of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
Please do your part to ensure the protection of these birds and your recreational opportunities, by following these rules:

  • Do not enter posted nest exclosures

  • Do not camp or park within 100 ft. of posted exclosure

  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times

  • Dispose of trash properly to avoid attracting predators

  • To avoid frightening nesting birds, kite flying is prohibited