The Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Outer Banks with your Dog

You may be wondering if dogs are allowed on Outer Banks beaches. Pet ordinances vary from town to town, but on most OBX beaches dogs are allowed if they are on a leash. With its amazing beaches and many pet-friendly things to do, the Outer Banks is a perfect place to vacation with your dog. But, with over 200-miles of barrier islands to explore, you could spend weeks here without seeing it all. So, to make the most of your visit, take the time to plan out your trip and create an itinerary that you and your dog will love. Get started by using this guide on visiting the OBX area with pets in tow.

Finding Accommodations that Allow Pets

As a notoriously pet-friendly region, the Outer Banks boasts many exceptional accommodations that allow dogs. Hotels and motels are an obvious choice, but you could go one better by renting a vacation home or condo.

To find these premium accommodations, check with local property management companies to see what they have available and inquire about their rules for pets. There will likely be a small fee attached to cover your pet’s stay along with potential charges for damage or cleaning.

You can minimize the risk of having to pay those additional fees by renting a crate for your dog during your stay.  A soft blanket or dog bed in the crate becomes a safe, comfortable space when your pet is left alone in an unfamiliar place and provides safety and security while you’re out and about.  Also, ask if they have any enclosures available at the rental location, including dog runs and baby gates.

Dog-Friendly Things to Do on the Outer Banks

tips and rules for taking your dog to the beach obxOnce you are settled in at your vacation rental of choice, you can set your sights on experiencing all there is to do in the Outer Banks, such as:

Visiting the Beautiful Local Beaches

As long as you follow the rules for pets, dogs can accompany you to the many gorgeous OBX beaches, including:

  • Southern Shores
  • Nags Head
  • Manteo
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Depending on the particular rules of the beaches you visit, you will need to keep your pet on either a six or ten foot leash. Also, remember to pick up after them right away and dispose all bagged waste in a trashcan.

Zooming Around the Nearby Parks

Many local parks also allow dogs to visit when on a leash and under control of their owners. You can visit:

  • Wright Brothers National Memorial
  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park
  • Roanoke Island Festival Park
  • Historic Corolla Park
  • The Elizabethan Gardens

If your dog loves to socialize, plan to visit these great dog parks:

  • Kitty Hawk Dog Park. You’ll need to complete an application for each dog, along with proof of rabies vaccination, in order to receive the keycode for entrance and exit but it’s well worth the effort. For more information, click here.
  • The town of Nags Head Dog Park. No permit required and includes two fenced areas; one for large dogs and one for small dogs less than 30 pounds. Areas of the park are shaded and includes a water station and double-door entrance/exit system. View dog park rules and parking information on the town of Nags Head website.
  • Roanoke Island Dog Park. Located in Manteo, this dog park offers two fenced areas for large and small dogs and has a large grassy area and shaded canopy for the humans. The park also offers a water station and clean up bags.  Again, you’ll need to complete an application and proof of rabies vaccination through Dare County Parks & Rec.  You can find the application here.

Filling Up at Dog-Friendly Restaurants

When it comes time to grab a bite to eat, keep your dog by your side by visiting these pet-friendly OBX restaurants:

You will have to sit outside with your dog at these locations, but they do allow you to order delicious items off the menu for your pet.

Making the Most of Your OBX Visit with Your Dog

With so many pet-friendly things to do in the Outer Banks, it is the perfect place to vacation with your dog. To make the most of your visit, remember to:

  • Create a pet-friendly vacation itinerary
  • Book dog-friendly accommodations
  • Secure a crate rental for your dog
  • Pack your dog’s vaccination records
  • Have pet ID tags on your dog’s collar
  • Pack your dog’s normal food to prevent an upset stomach

Know the Local Leash Laws

leash laws for dogs on outer banks beachesBe sure to bring along several leashes in 6-10-foot lengths so you’re always prepared no matter where you go.  And it’s a good idea to understand the leash laws for the area.  We’ve listed a few for you here:

Corolla: Dogs are allowed on both the beach and Whalehead Club Heritage Park, but they must be on a leash at all times.  There are no leash length requirements.

Duck: No leash laws on the beach, but they must be under control at all times.  In the town, they must be leashed.

Southern Shores: They must be leashed at all times, on the beach and around town.  They are not allowed on the beach between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. from May 15th and September 15th.

Kitty Hawk: Dogs must be leashed and display a current rabies tag. From the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. All other times, dogs must be leashed (up to 12 feet) and can be taken off leash if they do not disturb other people and within 30 feet of owners.

Kill Devil Hills:  Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on the beach after 9 a.m. or before 6 p.m. unless being used to aid a handicapped person. Dogs must be leashed at all other times.

 Nags Head: Dogs are welcome at all times, but must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet.

By taking everything into consideration ahead of time, you set you and your dog up to have the best Outer Banks vacation experience ever.  So, start building that itinerary and booking your accommodations today to plan the pet-friendly OBX vacation of a lifetime.