Hot Diggity Dog: Best Way to Enjoy the Outer Banks with Your Pet

dogs on outer banks beaches

Going on vacation with you fur-baby can be a lot of fun for both your family and your pet. The Outer Banks is one of the most pet friendly vacation spots in the country. We love our pets and our visitors’ pets.

Just like packing for vacation with children, packing for vacation with your pet will require a few additional items. Make sure your pet’s shots are up to date and he/she is up to date on heart worm medication. Pack a few toys or loveys (with your scent) to keep him comfortable and reduce anxiety. A familiar food and water dish is also a good idea. If crate trained, you can pack his crate or rent one to save space while you travel. Make sure you have id on your pet and include a cell phone number you can be contacted with should you and your pet become separated.

Please be courteous and clean up after your pet. All pet waste must be collected immediately and deposited in appropriate containers. Some locations will make waste bags and disposal available but it is a good idea to keep a supply with you.

Where to Stay: Hotel or Vacation Home

Your first decision is to stay in a lovely pet-friendly vacation home or motel/hotel. A vacation home has all the conveniences of home. They are furnished and have a fully stocked kitchen. Some have fenced yards or kennel areas for pets. You can select a home with a private pool or hot tub. Pets should not be invited into either the pool or hot tub. Vacation homes may have home theaters, outside kitchens, volleyball, basketball, putting greens or other features to appeal to you and your family. Every vacation rental company, Airbnb and VRBO on the Outer Banks have a selection of pet friendly homes. In the summer months, most of these must be rented for the full week. In the off season, you may be able to get a short stay.

There are many pet friendly hotels and motels at the Outer Banks. Many of the hotels will have community pools, saunas and other amenities. Hotels and motels are more flexible regarding check in and length of stay. In season, if you are limited to a long weekend visit, then a hotel and motel is the option of choice.


Travelodge Outer Banks/Kill Devil Hills

Address: 804 N Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 Phone: (252) 441-0411

Outer Banks Motor Lodge

Address: 1509 S Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 Phone: (877) 625-6343

Quality Inn Carolina Oceanfront

Address: 401 N Virginia Dare Trl, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 Phone: (252) 480-2600

John Yancey Inn

Address: 2009 S Virginia Dare Tr Milepost 10, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 Phone: (252) 441-7141

Dolphin Oceanfront Motel

Address: 8017 S Old Oregon Inlet Rd, Nags Head, NC 27959 Phone: (252) 441-7488

dogs on the outer banks

Sun & Fun on the Beach or Sound

Playing with your dog on the beach or going for a swim is a memorable experience. Be careful when swimming near your dog as they can scratch unintentionally if you swim too close. Some dogs are fearful of the waves and it is best not to force the issue. If you are not familiar with rip currents, speak with a life guard to find if any are nearby and what you can do if caught in one. If you want to be extra cautious, they make life jackets for dogs.

A day at the beach is more comfortable for you and your pet with a bit of shade. You can rent umbrellas and chairs from several local companies. These companies will also set up your beach spot each day if you like.

Alternatively, you can visit a beach with a pier and go under the pier to get some shade for you and your pup. Don’t forget to bring plenty of water and a bowl. Dogs (and humans) will become ill if they ingest too much salt water.

If your dog is shy around the waves, consider going to the sound side of the island. Typically, the sound is less crowded and there are no waves. The sound is great for other water activities like Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, and windsurfing.

Beach Rules for Dogs on Outer Banks


Duck is one of the only beaches that allow dogs on the beach unleashed, but keep public safety and courtesy in mind and keep the pet in sight and under control. Sometimes the best behaved pet can get unnerved by another strange animal. Duck beach accesses are private. Each is owned by the individual Home Owners Associations, and access is limited to residents and vacation rental guests.

Southern Shores:

From May 15 to September 15 Dogs are allowed on the Southern Shores beaches before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet. In the off season, the hours the dog can be on the beach are not restricted but leash and waste collection rules apply. The beach accesses in southern shores have pet waste bags but having your own supply is a good idea in case they run out.

Kitty Hawk:

Dogs are allowed on beach and must have a current rabies tag. Waste clean-up rules apply. Dogs must be on a leash from the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 pm; leash must not exceeding 12 feet. Dogs can be taken off the leash only if they will not disturb other people on the beach and must be under the control of the owner, who must remain within 30 feet of the dog at all times. Leash must be with owner at all times.

Kill Devil Hills:

Unless the dog is a service dog, they are not permitted on the beach in Kill Devil Hills from May 15th until September 15th, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. At all other times, dogs on the beach must always be leashed and under control of the dog owner.

Nags Head:

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained by a leash not exceeding 10 feet.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore:

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round if they are restrained with a leash 6 feet or less at all times.

Parks & Sound Access

The soundside or west side of the Outer Banks has a wonderful maritime forest that is ideal for hiking and exploring with your pet. The birds and wildlife you will encounter are abundant and the sounds of nature will fill your ears.

Nags Head Woods

Located at 701 W Ocean Acres Dr, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948 · (252) 441-2525, Nags Head Woods is an ecological preserve on over 1092 acres consisting of sand dunes, ponds, marshes, and wetlands. There is a parking area at the entrance and hiking trails are open from dawn to dusk daily for foot traffic only. The woods can be thick so best practice is to keep your dog on a leash at all times.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Jockeys Ridge is the largest sand dune on the east coast. You can’t miss it on the west side of route 158 in Nags Head. This 426 Acre Park is famous for hang gliding and kite flying. There is also plenty of room for hiking, a visitor’s center, museum, and picnic facilities. The west side of the dune has sound access. Be careful of your pets paws as sand can be 10-20 degrees hotter than the surface in the summer. Dogs leash must not exceed 6 ft.

Duck Trail – Boardwalk

The soundside meandering boardwalk in Duck is 7 miles long and features some delightful shops, restaurants and wonderful sunset views. The town has a multi-use path along the entire length of the town, mostly on the east side of Duck Rd (oceanside), providing a scenic and safe recreational area to walk pets, bicycle or skateboard.

Duck Town Park

The town park is a short walk from the boardwalk. There are 11 acres of natural beauty. There are trails through the Maritime Forest and willow swamp. The town green is open green space where events, concerts and activities are held. There is also public kayak launch, boat pier, picnic shelter, playground, water fountains (and a canine water fountain).

Roanoke Island Festival Park

Located in Manteo on Roanoke Island across from the downtown waterfront. Dogs must be leashed but a pleasant stroll is in store through this village-like park with multiple fascinating exhibits and events

Kitty Hawk Skate and Dog Park

Located off route 158 at 900 Kitty Hawk Road, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949 is the dog park where your dog can play with other dogs. The park has covered picnic shelter (with 2 grills, 10 picnic tables, lights and electrical outlets), Skate Park (5000 square feet), Playground, Dog Park, Walking Trail (half-mile), and Restrooms.

The county requires that interested users fill out a registration form and show a current rabies vaccination for each of the dogs that will use the park. Dogs are not allowed in the park until registration has been completed. More information and forms can be found online, or by visiting any Parks and Recreation office.


After sharing fun activities at the beach, sound or local parks, you and your pet can enjoy many local restaurants together.

South Beach Grille

6806 S Virginia Dare Trail, Nags Head, NC, 27959 (252) 449-9313

The South Beach Grille has a wonderful deck with ocean and sound views for you and your dog to enjoy among the other dog-less guests. This restaurant even has a top-notch doggie menu so your fur-baby will feel like a prince or princess. The staff are incredible dog friendly.

BK Shuckers

4020 N Croatan Hwy, Kitty Hawk, NC, (252) 261-7800

Located on route 158, BK Shuckers welcomes dogs onto the outdoor porch. Dogs are promptly served water and lavished with attention.

American Pie Pizza & Ice Cream

1600 S Virginia Dare Trail, Kill Devil Hills, NC, 27948 (252) 441-3332

American Pie offers a covered patio separated from the building that is dog and people friendly. There is a railing all the way around to keep your dog nearby and the roof keep everyone in the shade. Perfect for a pizza dinner or ice cream desert.

John’s Drive In

3716 Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC, (252) 261-6227

This little “beach shack” is a local institution! Great sandwiches and treats for the beach or on the go. Free pup cups of vanilla ice cream that will surely be a hit with the pooch on a hot day.

Full Moon Cafe

208 Queen Elizabeth St, Manteo, NC, (252) 473-6666

This café in downtown Manteo has homemade bones made from the leftover beer grains, peanut butter and eggs. Free beer bones for all the dogs! Of course, the dogs also get a nice bowl of water (sorry no beer for the pup). Talk a walk along the Manteo waterfront after a meal for a perfect finish to the day.


1209 Duck Rd, Duck, NC, (252) 480-0032

This “Tap Shack” is the garden area to the side of the restaurant building. There are tables, games, and even live music. Attentive staff will keep the dog bowls filled and as well as great food for every taste.

Steamer’s Shellfish

798-B Sunset Blvd, TimBuck II Shopping Center, Corolla, NC, (252) 453-3305

Steamer’s Shellfish serves excellent fresh seafood, beer, and wine on their outdoor deck seating area. Your pup will be welcomed with a bowl of water as you enjoy the many offerings of this popular restaurant.


Wild Horse Tour

Corolla Outback Adventures 1150 Ocean Trl, Corolla, NC, (252) 453-4484

Well-behaved, leashed pets are welcome to join you on the Corolla Outback Adventures Wild Horse Tour. Knowledgeable guides provide history and local lore as you ride along with them into the Wild Horse Sanctuary and along the beautiful North Carolina shoreline. Reservations are required and be sure to indicate you are bringing a pet.


Outer Banks Kayak Adventures 1240 Duck Rd, Duck, NC, (254) 489-8146

Dogs are welcome on kayak and SUP tours. Private tours can be arranged for anyone bringing a pet for a custom experience.

Once you visit the Outer Banks with your pet, you may want to buy a vacation rental, second home or investment property. Eillu is here to help you navigate the home buying process. With over two decades of experience in the Outer Banks market, we can help you with any questions and guide you every step of the way for a smooth buying experience. Our exclusive buyers rebate will save you money without sacrificing service. Schedule an appointment with Eillu today.

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Mailing Address
PO Box 3009, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
Physical Address
3712 Suite B North Croatan Hwy
Kitty Hawk, NC 27949
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