Outer Banks Beach Policy
Corolla: Dogs are allowed on the beach year round but must be on a leash at all times.
Duck: Dogs are allowed on the beach unleashed as long as they are under the watchful eye and contact of the owner.
Southern Shores: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 15 to September 15. When dogs are allowed on the beach, they must be on a leash. All pet waste must be collected immediately and disposed of in appropriate receptacles.
Kitty Hawk: Dogs are allowed on the beach but owner must possess a bag or container at all times for waste collection. Between the Friday before Memorial Day and the day after Labor Day, dogs on the beach must be on a leash not exceeding 6 feet between the hours of 10AM and 6PM. Dogs may be taken off the leash only if they will not disturb other people on the beach, and must be controlled by the owner who is required to remain within thirty feet of the dog with a leash on hand at all times.
Kill Devil Hills: Dogs are allowed on the beach from mid-September to mid-May but must be on a leash. Dogs aiding the handicapped are allowed on the beach year-round. All pet waste must be gathered and disposed of in appropriate receptacles.
Nags Head: Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round but must be restrained by a leash not exceeding 10 feet.
Corolla: Personal watercraft is not permitted in the ocean, but can be operated in the sound. A public soundside boat launch is located at the Whalehead Club in Heritage Park.
Duck: Personal watercraft is prohibited on the town’s beaches. You must go straight in and straight out within 900 feet of the shoreline at a speed no faster than necessary to maintain control, but not causing a wake or exceeding five miles per hour, whichever is less. Personal watercraft can only be operated during the hours of 9AM and 6PM. Operator must be at least 16 years of age.
Southern Shores: A permit and proof of insurance is required to operate personal watercraft in the town of Southern Shores. Permit requires a boat safety course. Operator must be at least 16 years of age. Personal watercraft is prohibited on all waters extending 200 yards into the ocean and 400 yards into the sound. Operation is only allowed between sunrise and sunset.
Kitty Hawk: Launching engine-powered watercraft from Kitty Hawk beaches is prohibited. Personal watercraft cannot be operated within 600 feet of the Atlantic Ocean beach within town limits.
Kill Devil Hills: Personal watercraft is allowed within the town of Kill Devil Hills; however, they cannot be operated within 300 feet of the ocean or sound shoreline or fishing pier.
Nags Head: Personal watercraft are allowed within the town of Nags Head; however, they cannot be operated within 300 feet of the ocean or sound shoreline or fishing pier. You must go straight in and straight out at a speed not causing a wake or exceeding five miles per hour, whichever is less. Personal watercraft may be launched only at permitted sites within the town. No motorized watercrafts may be launched at the Danube Street sound access or Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
Driving on the Beach
Corolla: Driving on the beach south of the 4x4 area is permitted between October 1st and April 30th. Vehicles must enter the beach at designated access points. Speed limit is 25mph. Driving on the beach in the 4x4 area (north of where the paved road ends) is permitted year round and is actually required in order to reach this area.
Duck: There are NO public beach accesses through which vehicles can enter the beach, ONLY through private subdivisions. Driving on the beach is permitted ONLY from October 1st thru April 30 daily, and ONLY during the half hour prior to sunrise and the half hour following sunset. Pedestrians and swimmers always have the right-of-way over vehicles. Operators must have a current and valid operator’s license issued by the state of his or her residence.
Southern Shores: There is NO driving permitted on the beach at any time.
Kitty Hawk: There is NO driving permitted on the beach at any time.
Kill Devil Hills: Driving on the beach is permitted from October 1st thru April 30th. Vehicles must enter the beach at designated access points and must be registered, having passed safety inspections. No driving on or over the dunes.
Nags Head: Driving on the beach is allowed from October 1st thru April 30th from sunrise to sunset. A permit is required and can be purchased for $25. Vehicles must enter the beach at designated access points and must be registered, having passed safety inspections. Speed limit is 25mph. No driving on or over the dunes.
Fireworks and Bonfires
North Carolina prohibits the possession of any pyrotechnics which launch or propel into the air, or which explode, making a sound or “report.” Sparklers, fountains, and ground displays are allowed when accompanied by adult supervision, extreme caution, and fire prevention preparedness. Fireworks are illegal in all towns and villages and on all beaches in Dare County.
Fires on the beach are permitted in Nags Head only and require a permit that can be obtained from the Town of Nags Head Fire Department Headquarters on the day the fire is requested. Fires will not be permitted if wind speeds are at or above 10 knots. Fires cannot be built within 50 feet of any combustible material. A hollowed-out pit must be no larger than three feet in diameter and no less than 1 foot deep. The fire must be supervised by an adult at all times and must be completely extinguished prior to leaving the beach.
Important information about Southern Shores beaches: Leaving unattended personal articles on the beach between the hours of 5pm and 7am is prohibited and subject to removal and disposal. This includes volleyball nets, tents, chairs, umbrellas, sunshades, and other personal items. Any digging that presents a dangerous condition or is left unattended is prohibited.
The above information is subject to change. For the most current and detailed information regarding ordinances by area, please refer to the following websites: