Dog-friendly beach vacations are growing in popularity as more folks are choosing to bring their four-legged family members along on their adventures. Dogs have always been welcomed with open arms on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, with its laid back attitude and dog-friendly beaches. From restaurants to accommodations, there are many places for dogs to explore on the Outer Banks (also referred to as OBX).
The Outer Banks is of a long strip of barrier islands, with small beach towns scattered throughout. No matter which OBX town you choose, the beach will be nearby...walking distance in most cases. Accommodations that allow furry family members are easy to find along the Outer Banks. The Outer Banks is a prime family vacation destination on the east coast, so vacation homes are the most common type of accommodation in the area. Outer Banks vacation homes range from quaint, single-family beach cottages to elaborate, multi-family oceanfront estates and everything in between. Twiddy & Company has approximately 350 pet-friendly OBX vacation homes that allow dogs of all ages and sizes.
The local beaches are dog-friendly and each town has its own appeal. It can be difficult to choose which beach town to visit, so we’ve listed our top four favorite areas of the OBX.
The Town of Duck is pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks running the entire length of the town on the main road (NC-12). Duck Village is a picturesque one mile stretch of the town that contains the majority of the shopping, dining, and activities in Duck. The Soundside Boardwalk in Duck is widely known as one of the best places on the entire Outer Banks to watch the sunset. The boardwalk stretches the length of Duck Village and winds through the maritime forest and willow swamp. It also connects to many of the sound front shops and restaurants, as well as Duck Town Park, which boasts open green space in which events are held year-round. Leashed dogs are allowed to attend events, walk the boardwalk, and accompany their humans at some of the restaurants.
Corolla features wide, soft-sand beaches and many places to explore, whether you like to explore unique shops, historical sites, or nature. Corolla is an excellent choice for those who would like to spend a week in a beach chair watching the waves roll in, occasionally taking a stroll on the beach to look for sea glass. If long days on the beach are not on the agenda, Corolla has a lot to offer. Many of the vacation homes are large (6+ bedrooms) with multiple common areas, making them perfect for a family reunion. A lot of the homes feature a private pool for those that do not like sand between their toes. Corolla Village, including Historic Corolla Park and the Currituck Lighthouse, is a sleepy village with a lot of character. Take your dog for a stroll through the village and observe the convergence of unique shops, hidden restaurants, and rich Outer Banks’ history.
Located just south of the North Carolina and Virginia border, Carova Beach was appropriately named with a description of its location. This Outer Banks beach is truly unique due to its limited accessibility. There are no paved roads to Carova Beach, and you must travel approximately 8 miles on the beach to reach the vacation homes located there. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required for the scenic oceanfront drive. Be on the lookout for the famous Corolla Wild Horses that live and roam the 4x4 beaches. Once you arrive at Carova Beach, you’ll find a tranquil, quiet environment as there are no paved streets, so no traffic noise. If you and your dog enjoy long, peaceful walks on the beach, Carova Beach is the place for you. The remoteness and lack of development on Carova Beach offer an opportunity to see hundreds of twinkling stars in the dark night sky.
Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head
Lovingly referred to by locals as “in-town”, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head are Outer Banks towns that have a large population of year-round residents along with vacationers. Although there are some larger, well-known chain stores and restaurants, these towns still have an impressive share of family-owned small businesses and history. The Wright Brothers’ famous first flight happened in Kill Devil Hills and is memorialized by a 60-foot tall granite monument that sits atop a hill in the center of town. Beaches are dog-friendly, and there are several dog parks and many walking trails in Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Nags Head.