Just a few hours away from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are a great place to take your beach-loving dogs.

There are destinations that tolerate dogs and others that really embrace them. If your summer vacation is going to include your 4-legged friends, then give some serious thought to OBX.

Where to Stay

Pet-friendly hotels, motels, and home rentals abound, from Corolla (expensive) all the way down to Hatteras (more affordable). We stayed at the John Yancey Oceanfront Inn in Kill Devil Hills and would recommend it to anyone vacationing with their dogs. An oceanfront room will have a balcony that overlooks or leads right out onto the beach. The property has multiple buildings with various price points, and amenities like picnic tables, grills, a pool, and a viewing deck to catch that perfect sunrise. 


If you want a little more privacy or seclusion, go with a private rental and find something with its own private shoreline. The Outer Banks are filled with properties to fit every family's needs.

To find a house to rent, try Airbnb, VRBO, or the local full-service rental agencies like Sun Realty or Midgett. You can search for everything from weekly rentals to mini-breaks for just a few days. If you've got the time to chat online with a representative, these services can easily find you the perfect option within your price range. Don't be discouraged if the choice properties are all booked up—there's always the off-season!

Where to Eat

Many restaurants in the area cater to the dog-loving crowd. Pets are allowed at most outdoor seating areas, and some spots like South Beach Takeout, Catering, and Delivery even have a separate menu for your pup. Fresh fried rice with egg and hamburger? Yes, please!

Further south, in Buxton, the Orange Blossom Bakery and Café is worth a special trip for their giant apple fritters, cinnamon rolls, and fried pies. Your doggos can sit with you on the deck as you enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch.

cinnamon roll

When in doubt, just call ahead and find out if your four-legged family members are welcome.

What to Do

Walking on the beach is going to be your sunrise and sunset fun. After high tide, there's nothing like scouring the shore for colorful shells and sea glass while you practice your photography skills. Be hyper-aware of crowds and keep your dog leashed at all times unless you have a private strip of beach to yourself. Even the friendliest dog can suffer from anxiety with kids constantly wanting to say hi.

During the day, check out the local sites like the historic lighthouses dotted along the islands. Feeling adventurous? Rent a kayak or a paddleboard. Just be sure to get a doggie life vest first. Fishing, crabbing, and digging for clams are also fun if you have the right equipment.

With a little planning and the right place to stay, you can make a trip to the Outer Banks fun for the whole family. 

**All photos by Sarina Petrocelly

What are some of your favorite destinations for a dog-friendly vacation? Let us know in the comments, along with your favorite lodging and food recommendations.