Dog-Friendly Beaches Along the NC Outer Banks

When you feel the warmth of the sunny weather, it’s the perfect time to go to the beach and enjoy the summer breeze. Now, knowing a few dog-friendly beaches can come in handy if you want to take your furry four-legged buddy with you. That being said,  it can be a challenge to list dog-friendly beaches along the NC Outer Banks.

Here are nine of the best dog-friendly beaches along the NC Outer Banks:

  1. Bald Head Island
  2. Caswell Beach
  3. Corolla Beach
  4. Emerald Isle Beach
  5. Manteo 
  6. Nags Head
  7. Oak Island Beach
  8. Sunset Beach
  9. Topsail Island Beach

Let’s explore these dog-friendly shores and take a look at their different rules. After reading this post, you’ll also know what to do when bringing your canine friend to these places.

1. Bald Head Island

I recommend visiting Bald Head Island if you love clean surroundings. That’s because this beach has “green” regulations that help sustain the environment. The area has no spoiled beaches or dunes, and its salt marshes are filled with wildlife.

You also won’t have to be annoyed by speeding cars. That’s because they’re not allowed on Bald Head Island. 

You can only travel to this beach using a private boat. Once you’re there, you can use a bicycle or golf cart to get around.

Dogs are permitted on Bald Head Island’s beaches from May 1 to November 15.  During this prime season, though,  you must ensure your dog is leashed at all times.  Meanwhile, in the offseason, your furry buddies can wander wherever they want.

2. Caswell Beach


You may not like to stay at crowded beaches. So, if you are searching for a dog-friendly beach that is also calm and quiet, Caswell Beach is your go-to place.

A stay at this beach guarantees you a harmonious, peaceful, and relaxing seaside escape. Furry friends can also experience a calmer vacation than at crowded spots.

Whatever day it is of the year, you can bring your dogs with you to this beach. Keep in mind, though, that Caswell Beach also requires dogs to be leashed in most areas. 

Caswell permits unleashed dogs under voice control to visit from dawn until 9:00 a.m. throughout the year. Meanwhile, controlled dogs may visit from 3:00 p.m. until dark, from October 1 through April 30.

3. Corolla Beach

Worrying about dog rules that change with the seasons can be daunting. If you don’t want to bother with confusing regulations, consider visiting Corolla Beach.

You can bring your pets here all year round. You must still ensure to leash them and tag them with you at all times.

Besides the beach, there are other dog-friendly spots you can visit nearby. For instance, you may want to take a horseback tour with your pup by your side at  Corolla Outback Adventures. You may also enjoy a fine meal next to your fur baby in local restaurants, like Steamers Shellfish.

4. Emerald Isle Beach

The Point at Emerald Isle, NC

If you want to take a rest from the waves and sands, check out Emerald Isle Beach. When you visit, you will soon come across  Emerald Isle Woods Park Trail. 

You’ll definitely fall in love with the shores of Emerald Isle, as your dogs can play on this beach throughout the year. It will also be an excellent opportunity for both you and your furry buddy to rest and relax at this calming place.

As you roam around the area, though, you will realize there’s more to life than just enjoying the ocean breeze. At Emerald Isle Woods Park Trail, you can explore and enjoy hiking with your canine.

5. Manteo

If a beach leads nowhere you can spend the night, it can throw a wrench into your plans. If you explore Manteo, though, you’ll never worry about finding a place to stay. That’s because this town is your bed and breakfast haven. 

Manteo is across Shallowbag Bay on Roanoke Island, North Carolina’s eastern side. In this place, you can explore the beaches along NC Outer Banks with your dogs.

If you want to bring your furry friend along as you visit nearby beaches, you’ll need to have them on a leash that’s six feet long or shorter.

6. Nags Head

Staying in a town with many open spaces can be the perfect place for you and your dog. So, if you want to enjoy an area just like this, you should consider going to Nags Head.

At any Nags Head NC beach, you can take your canine with you, as long as they have leashes on. To be specific, the required leash must not exceed 10 feet.

Worrying about where to spend the night is not a problem. That’s because you’ll find various Nags Head NC beach house rentals in the area.

7. Oak Island Beach

Dog on the beach

Keeping your whole family happy for the rest of your stay might be what you desire. That means you’ll be looking for the perfect beach that makes a classic family vacation spot. Now, if you are on the hunt for one, Oak Island Beach is your ideal choice.

On this beach, you can enjoy your visit both with your family and furry baby. As with most beaches, if you want to bring your pet with you, there’s a few regulations you’ll need to follow.

Oak Island allows leashed dogs to tag along throughout the year. If you want them to be able to run around unleashed, visit the beach during the off-season from October 16 to March 15,  from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

8. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach

Watching the sunrise and sunset over the beach on beaches feels nostalgic to some people. If this is you, then Sunset Beach is a place for you to visit. 

You may take your dogs with you, as long as you have them on a leash, not longer than 10 feet. That being said, you cannot bring them with you from May 31 to September 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

9. Topsail Island Beach

Rain Storm at the Beach, Topsail Island, NC - blue beach chairs and umbrella against blue sky ocean

If you are a sea turtle lover and want to watch them as they hatch, go to Topsail Island Beach. On this island, you and your canine might enjoy the sight of a few baby turtles scooting along the sand.

If you visit Topsail Island from May 15 through September 30, your dogs must be on their leashes. At other times of the year, though, fur babies under voice command can wander without leashes on.

Key Takeaways

There are several beaches along the NC Outer Banks that accommodate pets. Each place also provides distinct and unique experiences and is worth exploring.

When you visit beaches with your dogs, always observe pet regulations. Although you want to enjoy your time with your canine, know your responsibilities. By doing so, rest assured that you’ll worry about nothing.

If you plan to visit these dog-friendly beaches along the NC Outer Banks, I recommend these rental properties:

Sandcastle CottageSouth Nags Head, North Carolina3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Point Break CottageBuxton, North Carolina2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Classic 1935 Oceanfront Beach CottageKitty Hawk, North Carolina3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
Storm CottageBuxton, North Carolina2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Private Cozy CottageNewport, North Carolina2 bedrooms

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