Pets & the Beach

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Your pets are welcome at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Your pet must be on a 6’ leash at all times and are prohibited within any resource closure. Pets are not allowed on designated swim beaches or in buildings. Please, for your pet’s sake, never leave them unattended. Also, for everyone’s and the environment’s sake, clean up after your pet.


Dogs are allowed on the beach unleashed, but as a matter of public safety and courtesy, they should be under the watchful eye and contact of their owner.

Southern Shores

Dogs are allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. from May 15 - September 15. Year-round leash law. Dogs must be on leashes at all times when off personal property. All pet waste must be collected immediately and deposited in appropriate containers.

Kitty Hawk

Dogs are permitted on public beaches.  The owner/handler is responsible for and must remove feces and possess a bag/container for waste removal at all times.  From the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. dogs must be on a leash not exceeding 6 feet.

At all other times during the year, dogs must be restrained on a leash retractable to 12 feet.  Dogs may be taken off the leash only if they will not disturb other people on the beach.  Unleashed dogs must be controlled by the handler, who must remain within 30 feet of the dog at all times.  A leash must be with owner/handler at all times. 

Violation of any of these rules shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $50.00.

Kill Devil Hills

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day of each year, no dogs shall be permitted on the public beach between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. unless being used to aid a person/is a service animal. At all other times, no dogs shall be permitted on the public beaches except upon a leash and under the control of owner or handler. For more information, please contact Animal Control at 252-480-4047.

Nags Head

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained by a least not exceeding 10 feet. Owners must clean up after their dogs. Anyone who violates the leash law is subject to a criminal and/or civil penalty.


Any animal off the premises of the custodian shall be restrained by a leash, cord, or chain not exceeding six in length, held by a person who is physically able to control the animal unless such animal is restrained by voice control.