Dog Friendly Activities on Hatteras Island

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Dog Friendly Activities on Hatteras Island in OBX

Hatteras Island is a beautiful destination located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Located South of the towns of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills & Kitty Hawk, Hatteras Island boasts pristine beaches, picturesque lighthouses, and stunning natural beauty.  Hatteras Island is an ideal vacation spot for travelers with dogs. Keep reading for several places you and your furry friend can visit during your stay on Hatteras Island.

Take a Short Dog Friendly Hike

Visit the Sea Breeze Trailhead in Hatteras for a short quarter-mile trail loop with your dog.  Or take a longer stroll at the 3/4 mile Buxton Woods Trail loop.  Both are great dog friendly trails. Another great option is the Frisco Native American Museum and Natural History Center in Frisco, which has nature trails winding through several acres of maritime forest.

Always bring your insect repellent!  Long pants and sleeves are also recommended at certain times of year to keep the bugs at bay.

Take a Longer Dog Friendly Hike

Hatteras Island has several scenic hiking trails that are perfect for a walk with your dog. The Buxton Woods Coastal Reserve, for example, offers over 1,000 acres of dedicated nature preserve and miles of trails through a beautiful maritime forest. Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash and watch out for any wildlife that may be in the area.  Look at the trail map to fit you and your dog's level of expertise!

Family dog laying on oceanfront vacation beach home

Are Dogs Allowed on Cape Hatteras Beaches

Yes, dogs are allowed on Cape Hatteras beaches!  There are very few basic rules you will need to follow such as having your dog on a leash.  This is one of the many reasons Hatteras Island is the most popular destination to bring your family pet when staying at a pet friendly vacation rental!

Explore Outer Banks Dog Friendly Beaches

Hatteras Island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  The great thing about Hatteras Island beaches is they are typically less crowded and have fewer dog restrictions than the beaches in Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, and other beaches to the North.  For example, Kill Devil Hills does not allow dogs on the beach during daytime hours in peak season.  Hence, Hatteras Island has the pet friendliest beaches.  You can take your dog for a walk or a swim on the beaches of Hatteras Island, as long as you keep them on a leash. Make sure you clean up after your dog and dispose of their waste properly.

Visit the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the most iconic landmarks on Hatteras Island. While dogs are not allowed inside the lighthouse, you can still take your furry friend for a walk around the lighthouse grounds. The scenic views of the lighthouse and the surrounding area make for a great photo opportunity.

Dog Friendly Shopping

LotsaPaws Barkery located in Avon has an in-store "barkery" where you can see what is baking fresh each day!  In their boutique section you will find pet supplies and accessories, plus unique gifts and souvenirs for animal lovers.

Note: As of June 2023, the LotsaPaws web site is still active but LotsaPaws has vacated their Avon storefront.  Seaside Vacations now occupies that building.

Go Fishing

Fishing is a popular activity on Hatteras Island, and there are plenty of opportunities to cast a line with your furry friend. Some charter boats even allow dogs on board. If you're fishing from the shore, make sure you keep your dog on a leash and away from the water. Dogs can easily get caught up in fishing lines or be swept away by strong currents.  Be sure to follow Cape Hatteras National Seashore Fishing Guidelines.

Pet Friendly Restaurants

Hatteras Island has several restaurants with outdoor seating which are great for pets.  Restaurants with pet friendly outdoor seating on Hatteras Island include:

Pangea Tavern Avon, NC
The Froggy Dog Avon, NC
Burger Burger Avon, NC
Watermen's Bar & Grill Waves, NC
Tavern on 12 Frisco, NC
Neptunes Kitchen and Dive Bar Rodanthe, NC
Rusty's Surf & Turf Buxton, NC
Lighthouse Sports Bar Buxton, NC
The Wreck Tiki Bar Hatteras, NC

Hatteras Island Sunrise

Catch a sunrise with your four-legged friend!  Hatteras Island is home to some of the best sunrises and sunsets.  There's few other places you can watch a sunrise and sunset over the water in the same place.

Outer Banks Dog Friendly Resort

You could also put your dog up in a resort for part of your Hatteras Island vacation.  The OBX Pet Resort is a great option for that.

If you can't bring your own dog crate, you can also rent equipment at the OBX Pet Resort.

Beach Fire with Your Furry Friend

Last but definitely not least, many have never experienced the simple pleasure of a beach fire.  This is a fantastic thing to do with your pet at the Outer Banks that few people take advantage of!  The National Park Service makes it very simple to get your beach fire permit from home for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  Just print, read, sign, and have the permit with you at the fire.

Family dog at oceanfront beach fire at night

Outer Banks Dog Friendly Vacation Rentals

Finally, make sure to find a dog friendly vacation rental home to stay in so you can spend quality time at home with your pooch.  Lucky for you, all Oceanfront and Soundfront homes at Hatteras Island Vacation Rentals are dog friendly!

Hatteras Island is a beautiful destination that welcomes dogs. There are a plethora of things to do with your dog at the beach year round. Just be sure to follow Hatteras Island leash laws and pet policies, and always clean up after your pet. With a little planning, you and your dog can have a fantastic vacation on Hatteras Island.


Do you know about other Hatteras Island restaurants with pet friendly outdoor seating, or other dog friendly activities on Hatteras Island?  Let us know at!

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