Saturday, March 2, 2024

Roadtrip with your dog? Two North Carolina beaches named among 10 Best Pet Friendly Beaches

Courtesy Invitation Homes
Courtesy of Invitation Homes

If you’re planning out that spring break beach trip and you’re not sure what to do with your furry companion, Wilmington dog owners can rest assured.

Topsail and Nags Head beaches in North Carolina were recently featured as two of the 10 Best Pet Friendly Beaches in the United States. The list was generated based on input from both locals and vacationers on where they like to take their pets for some fun in the sun.

“There was a certain methodology we used when making our selections,” said David Fleming, who worked in collaboration with Invitation Homes to select the final list.

“Of course we asked locals at each of these beaches what they thought. We also hooked up with Reddit communities, compiled lists, and then cross referenced them with government websites. Other factors and restrictions at different beaches were also considered.”

Topsail is just a one-hour drive from Wilmington, while a trip to Nags Head will take a little more than four hours.

Saint Petersburg, Fla.; Long Beach, Calif.; and Freeland, Wash., were also included in the list. Then there were a few locations that didn’t border an ocean but still had access to a beach like Chicago, Ill. and Sawyer, Mich.

Fleming, who owns a 35-pound schnauzer mutt named Gus, was happy to see two beaches from North Carolina included.

“Then again, I tried not to be biased,” said Fleming, who graduated from UNC-Wilmington and is very familiar with the different beaches in the Tar Heel state.

According to the Town of Nags Head website, dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained by a leash not exceeding 10 feet.

Many other beaches in the Outer Banks, considered to be a pet-friendly destination, also allow dogs. But several have restrictions on what time of day or what time of year your furry companions are allowed to roam.

Dogs are allowed at Topsail, but they must be on a leash 20 feet or less from May 15 through Sept. 30, as stated on the Topsail Beach website. Outside of those summer months, dogs must be under voice command of a responsible person, but does not have to be on a leash.

According to the website, those dog regulations apply to the entire town, including the beach.

So would you be willing to alter your spring break plans in order for your dogs to come along for the ride?

“I think it would be a special treat for all pets,” Fleming said. “People are willing to drive long distances if it means their pets will be welcome. This is good news for all pet owners in North Carolina.”

For more information or to have your recent trip highlighted in our new travel section, please email travel editor Aaron Gray at

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