I have added tips and tricks for you to drive an SUV on a beach without getting into trouble.
However, you have to pick an appropriate vehicle, take some essential tools with you and gather information about the sand and environment of the place before heading towards it.
Can You Drive an SUV On The Beach? You can drive an SUV on the beach because it has a better ground clearance that is suitable for the sand. However, 4WD and AWD SUVs are preferable over 2WD because of their all four-wheel-drive functionality and excellent tire performance on the beach.
SUVs are popular in the USA because of their luxurious and versatile appearance, including enough interior space and pick-up capacity.
- 1 Can You Drive an SUV On The Beach?
- 1.1 Bring either an AWD or 4WD SUV
- 1.2 Examine the sand
- 1.3 Drive at slow speed
- 1.4 Check the Air pressure of SUV tires
- 1.5 Follow the regulations of the beach
- 1.6 Keep an eye on the tide
- 1.7 Do not overload
- 1.8 Stay away from sharp corners
- 1.9 Bring emergency kit and tools
- 1.10 Clean and wash the SUV after the trip
- 1.11 What are the best beaches in America for driving an SUV?
- 1.12 Best SUVs for driving on the beach
Can You Drive an SUV On The Beach?
SUVs have excellent off-road performance and the ability to pass through shallow water without any damage to the body.
However, not all vehicles can perform better there, and you should be aware of your vehicle’s potential and power before moving to it.
A vacation can become more enjoyable when spent at the seaside. Moreover, you can take your vehicle to this picnic spot but need some helpful tips for a successful experience.
Bring either an AWD or 4WD SUV
The first and the most important thing is to get an SUV that can perform well on the sand, and AWD or 4WD are the right choices.
They are different in system features and functionality but have the potential to drive on the off-road path.
Usually, a 4WD engine sends power to all its wheels while turning the vehicle and helps to increase the speed with high to low gear range.
Also, it is easy to get it out of the sand with maximum traction, provided by locked front and rear axles.
Its street tires work well on the dry and wet sand by pulling through it, and you can increase its performance by adding tire chains.
The AWD continuously supplies torque to its wheels with better grip, but there are chances of bogging due to its CPU traction.
It gives a less effective and smooth drive than the 4WD due to the absence of a two-speed transfer feature.
The limited cruising ability gives inadequate ground clearance but can perform better than a 2WD on the beach, so it should be your second choice.
Examine the sand
An SUV will perform differently on dry and wet sand, and you should be aware of it.
It is relatively easy to drive on wet but hard-packed surfaces, while the wheels can spin excessively when you move fast on dry sand.
It makes the path even and cohesive on which you remain on the top surface.
On the other hand, loose and fluffy sand is problematic, and you can not prevent the tires from digging in it.
Drive at slow speed
A slow and steady drive with enough traction is the most successful approach.
Always choose the path of minimum resistance and drive at a speed of 20 to 25 miles per hour.
Usually, the wheels spin make the stability control to reduce the spinning using throttle and brakes.
It disturbs the momentum and control when you spin the wheel to take it out of the dig.
Check the Air pressure of SUV tires
The tire performance decides whether the drive on the beach is successful or not, and the air pressure in the tire plays a vital role in it.
It is preferable to lower the air pressure by 13 to 14 psi. Never raise it to 15 psi or more; otherwise, your SUV can be bouncy.
The tires remain on the sand and do not sink or dig into them when you keep them at low pressure.
Use any air removing tool to reduce pressure and check at the end. I prefer not to reduce it to 10 or less psi.
Follow the regulations of the beach
There are typical restrictions and limitations of driving on some beaches, and you should always follow these.
These boundaries are only for your safety because you are unaware of the problems you may encounter there.
There may be soft sand or mud or extreme tides if there is a restriction for going close to the water or going too far.
Keep an eye on the tide
The intensity and altitude of tides vary with season, weather, time, and place.
Keep looking at the tides, and do not go near water if there are high tides as you may bog in the sand.
Preferably, drive within 2 to 3 hours when the tides are low, as you will have the best experience at this time.
Do not overload
The more to keep your vehicle loaded, the more it will cause problems while driving on the sand.
A heavy SUV is more likely to sink in the wet sand and gives the worst ground clearance.
It is necessary to prevent excessive friction and aggression on the path and avoid hard braking.
Stay away from sharp corners
The need to avoid sharp corners is the difficulty in turning a vehicle on these areas.
It takes more power and pressure to turn wheels, and you can get stuck there.
Stay between the waterline and high tide line and move not too near, not too far from the water.
Bring emergency kit and tools
Shove, inflator, jack, tow strap, tire gauge, and compressor are the essential tool you must bring when driving in an SUV.
The shovel will help trench out a stuck and bogged wheel, while the deflator and compressor will help you maintain the tire pressure.
I recommend you inflate the tires before leaving the spot to have a smooth drive on the road.
Clean and wash the SUV after the trip
A beach trip will bring a lot of sand, mud, and salt to your vehicle, so you must give it a proper wash to prevent it from rusting. This will also keep the back of your SUV clean.
It can reach internal parts and can damage the engine, brakes, and caliper.
Let the salt and sand dry, and then wash it with a pressure washer to remove dirt from all the areas.
What are the best beaches in America for driving an SUV?
Driving near the seashore is a pleasure that no one wants to miss, and it becomes much easy when you have an SUV.
Moving along on the bank, hearing the soulful noise of tides is soothing, so here are some outstanding vacation destinations for you in the USA to take a drive on.
Long Beach Peninsula is located at the southern corner of Washington state and offers you a scenic ride.
It is 28 miles long, which makes it the longest beach in the US. It links the pacific ocean from its west and Columbia river from its south.
It is two miles away from US-101, giving the vision of birds, oyster shells, kite flying, historic building, and a lot more.
Padre island national seashore in the US serves as a divider between the Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico.
The hot summers last long here while the winter period is short, and the average temperature in spring lies up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit maximum and 50 degrees Fahrenheit minimum.
The weather changes quickly from sunny to heavy winds and thunderstorms.
You can drive a 4WD down to the island and do camping, fishing, playing, and relaxing there.
Daytona Beach is 23 miles long and wide, located on the Atlantic coast of Florida that has white hard-packed sand and allows driving in some areas.
It surprises you with several adventures and attractions like “international speedway” resorts and museums of the arts.
The place is calm, charming, and full of life that also organizes free summer concerts.
Grayton Beach, Florida, is a vacation spot extending to several miles with well-maintained trails.
It is one of the most beautiful shorelines in the US that offers many activities like fishing, paddling, and walking through the oak stand.
The warm breeze and salt winds make the atmosphere pleasing, and nature preserves much more.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, extending 70 miles or more, includes many natural attractions and delights.
You will find historic places like the country’s tallest lighthouse, picnic areas, and lifesaving stations there.
It has a long-running seashore, dunes, and woodlands, with changing weather, and is suitable for a drive.
East Beach, Rhode Island, is less developed than the others in Rhode Island and has limited parking but gives you an enjoyable tour.
It is super clean and located in Charlestown that is an extended part of Quonochontaug neck that covers around three miles of area.
You can reach the water by driving behind the dunes and crossing over some points of the sand trail.
Best SUVs for driving on the beach
The vehicle having good performance on all terrains, including dirt, sand, and the slippery path, is suitable for a beach drive. Here are six preferable SUVs that can tackle and overcome challenges in such places.
Jeep Wrangler has the legendary off-road capability with a high comfort level and ground clearance on rough surfaces.
It also offers an infotainment system, a well-spacious seat, and a 4xe powertrain.
However, the four-door wrangler is not preferable for the on-road ride and has average fuel economy.
Toyota 4runner has a 4.0 L V6 engine and a horsepower of 270 hp with high rough terrain performance and standard driver assists.
It is a mid-sized SUV with sturdy body construction and interiors and provides a spacious cargo space.
Its four-wheel drive provides traction in muddy and sliding paths because of the better articulation of wheels.
Jeep Grand Cherokee is ideal for a beach with three seating rows and an iconic design.
Luxurious fabrics and premium finishes with extreme comfort make the driving experience worthy.
The electronically slip rear differential and hill-descent control provide better clearance on the ground.
Toyota RAV4 with an engine of 2.5 L 4-cylinder and horsepower of 203 hp is an AWD and allow you to select between different terrain mode.
It provides you an upgraded capability to tackle rough trails, driving performance, and enhanced traction.
You can choose between MUD and SAND, SNOW, NORMAL ad ROCK, and DIRT modes with a system regulating wheelspin by controlling brakes and throttle of the engine.
Ford Bronco is an expert in off-road and outdoor adventures with a turbocharged engine, all-terrain tires, and technology.
It is much refined and functional on clumsy paths and has innovative features and unique interiors.
The bronco divides power to all wheels, and the advanced suspension makes it ideal for a beach drive.
Nissan’s rouge has 4×4 capability on all terrains that delivers power to the front and rear wheel for better grip.
The modern interiors and improved ground performance with a 2.5 L 4-cylinder engine and 281 hp horsepower make the SUV suitable for different challenges.
It has standard and luxurious leather upholstery and automatic climate control.
Honda CR-V with a turbocharged engine gives you a rewarding driving experience.
Its AWD system is capable of performing extraordinarily on any terrain and can tackle poor weather conditions.
It offers safety features, an infotainment system, spacious interiors, great comfort, a smooth hybrid system, and modern technology.