Wondering if you should bring your furry best friend on your Outer Banks vacation? Good news! The Outer Banks is a pet-friendly destination with plenty of parks, restaurants, beaches, trails, and rentals that welcome dogs. Bringing pets to the Outer Banks is easy because of there are so many dog-friendly destinations:
Outer Banks Dog-Friendly Beaches and Sounds
Dogs love the beach, and in the Outer Banks you’ll find safe, wide-open stretches of land where your buddy can run to his heart’s content. Just be sure to adhere to the rules to ensure a fun and safe time. All municipalities require that pets wear a current rabies tag, so don’t leave home without it. Leashes are required on Corolla, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke, Southern Shores, Nags Head and Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches at all times. The beach at Kitty Hawk is leash-free before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Duck is a popular dog playground because it’s leash-free year round.
For a less crowded option, take your K-9 kid to the sound side of the Outer Banks. Roanoke, Croatan, Currituck, and Pamlico Sounds have gentle water and shallows that are fun for smaller dogs and breeds that love to play games of water catch. If your dog is shy or not well socialized, the public access between Avon and Salvo is rarely visited, giving them a quiet, safe place to explore without distraction.
All beaches require that you clean up after your pet and keep a watchful eye on their interactions with other visitors.
Beach Safety for Dogs
The sand can be hot enough to burn your dog’s paws during midday, so it’s best to visit the beach in the morning or late afternoon when the sand has cooled. Don’t forget to bring fresh water, a bowl, shade, and a towel — your buddy will be hot, thirsty, and wet after his romp.
If your dog is ready to burn off some energy, head to Nags Head Woods. The Roanoke Trail, the Town Trail, and any gravel roadway are dog-friendly as long as your pet is on a leash. Currituck Heritage Park and Fort Raleigh National Historic Park are both great dog walking and picnicking spots with plenty of things for both of you to explore.
For the canine with boundless energy, take a hike on the Duck Trail — a seven-mile path full of exciting wildlife smells. If you’ll be hiking on wooded trails, it’s a good idea to pick up a tick collar for your dog if he or she isn’t on monthly tick prevention.
Most restaurants with outdoor patios are dog-friendly as long as dogs are leashed and well behaved. In Kitty Hawk, dogs and their bipeds can visit BK Shuckers, Capt’n Franks, Jimmy’s Buffet, John’s Drive In, and Zen Pops for patio or sidewalk seating. American Pie in Kill Devil Hills welcomes pets on their patio, as do Aqua Restaurant in Duck and Bacchus Wine and Cheese in Corolla. Steamers Shellfish in Corolla is a great place to watch the sunset with your buddy.
Also in Southern Shores, Tropical Smoothies has sidewalk seating that’s perfect for a quick break. In Manteo, try Ortegaz Southwest Grill for delicious food on their beautiful patio. Nags Head has plenty of pet-friendly dining, including Surfin Spoon, Mulligans, Sooey’s BBQ and Sonic. You’ll likely find bowls of water for your dogs at these pup-friendly spots, but it’s a good idea to take your own just in case.
Shops and Services
The Outer Banks are truly paradise for dogs. There are even pet-friendly shops and bakeries where they can enjoy their own special vacation treats. Outer Barks, also known as “the dog store in Duck,” is a favorite stop for dog (and cat) treats, toys, beach toys, collars, leashes, and accessories. Pet parents will also find pet-themed gifts, art, and jewelry. In season, you won’t want to miss their famous Yappy Happy Hour where dogs get to party with doggie daiquiris, puppy pasta, and cake while enjoying baby pools and paw painting.
If you’ve forgotten a pet essential at home or just want to pick up a new beach toy for your friend, try Dog Nutz in Corolla, The Pet Gallery in Kill Devil Hills, or Puparazzi Pet Bow-tique in Manteo. Salty Paws Biscuits in Nags Head offers homemade biscuits and treats for dogs — without by-products, salt, or anything artificial.
Need a vet while you’re vacationing? No problem. The Animal Hospital in Nags Head, Coastal Animal Hospital in Kitty Hawk and Martins Point Veterinary Hospital in Southern Shores all see furry visitors who need medical attention.
The Outer Banks is one of the most enjoyable, pet-friendly destinations on the coast. Your baby can enjoy new adventures, open stretches of beach, interesting hikes and al fresco dining with the family. Grab your tennis ball and we’ll see you on the sand.