North Carolina's Outer Banks are a DMV favorite for beach getaways. Did you know that Hatteras Island is an extremely dog-friendly spot?

For those who crave the endless views and crashing surf of an Atlantic Beach, OBX is a wonderful option. If you're nervous about having your dog around the crowded beaches and attractions of Nags Head or Kill Devil Hills, try Hatteras Island for a more laid-back vacation.

ocean, waves, beach

Getting There

Hatteras is the southernmost point of the Outer Banks. About four hours from Richmond, it's a bit too long to drive straight through from the DMV. Plan on stopping at least once to give your pooch a break. There are produce stands along the main road once you get into North Carolina, so stop and get some fresh melon or tomatoes!

sand dunes, road

Where to Stay

You have two options when you go to the Outer Banks: hotels/motels or beach houses. We were lucky enough to find a renovated motel on Airbnb that didn't require a minimum stay. That's pretty great for a dog-friendly rental!

Midgett Realty seems to have the most Hatteras-area rentals. Check their website for rentals here, but keep in mind, they have a three-night minimum for mini-breaks.


Courtesy of Airbnb

What to Do

Walking on the beach will be the most popular activity with your four-legged friends. If you like seafood, you can also head to the sound side of the island and try your hand at clamming for your dinner. The more adventurous can try kite-surfing or going out on a fishing boat – just head down to the marina and take a look at the local excursions available.

dog walk, sand dune

Where to Eat

Orange Blossom Bakery and Café has a case full of scratch-made doughnuts, fried pies, and fruit fritters that they call "uglies." Their cinnamon rolls (pictured below – yes, that's a full-sized paper plate) are easily enough for four. Try a BLT on their sourdough bread for breakfast; it's really good!

pastries, cinnamon roll

The Quarterdeck Restaurant has picnic tables just beyond the parking lot for people with pets. The best thing is that they overlook the sound in the distance and have a lovely view. This is a great local seafood spot with a salad bar and sky-high pie. Be sure to check them out.


picnic table, sound

Hatteras Sol Waterside Grill

Though dogs are allowed on the nearby docks, Hatteras Sol is a favorite for locals and tourists alike, and it gets really busy, even in the off-season. This was definitely DMV-level dining, with seasonal, local ingredients and a global flair. We got takeout one night, a Caprese salad, crab dip with crostini, and some really good hot wings. Yum!

Know Before You Go

  • Hatteras Island is a good hour or more from Nags Head. If you're craving anything from that area, stop on your way down or your way back. It's simply too far to go back up and down every day.
  • Anything south of the Oregon Inlet on the map is probably going to be closed off if there is a named storm coming through. The area connects with a series of over-water bridges that flood, so be careful if you're going during hurricane season (June-November).
  • The local grocery stores in Hatteras are very well-stocked, and prices aren't inflated like they may be in more-expensive villages.
  • There are plenty of gas stations and restaurants in Hatteras; they may not all have websites, so check Yelp and call them with any questions.

**All photos in this article are by Sarina Petrocelly.

Have you been to Hatteras? What are some of your favorite local haunts? Let us know in the comments!