Top Dog Beaches near Charlotte, NC

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Finding a beach where you can take your furry bestie to walk or play isn't an easy task if you live in Charlotte. The ocean is about 5 hours away at the Outer Banks, but the pup-friendly ones here are furtabulous!  The good news is that once you're there, you and the pup will have a blast! And fear not: if you can't spare a couple days to go to the ocean, a park close to Charlotte has a lake beach where you and your pooch can be near the water. Here are the top beaches near Charlotte for fun in the sun with your pup!

#8 McDowell Nature Preserve

This preserve on Lake Wylie welcomes leashed puppers, including on the lake's narrow beaches. If you insist on the sound of surf and a stiff breeze, this may not be the place for you. In spite of the rule that says nobody swims, this is a barktiful escape from the city hustle and bustle. Officially, leashes are a must on the beach.

#7 Hatteras Island

Hatteras Island shares its 70-mile shoreline on the Atlantic with leashed fur-babies! Dunes, beaches, seagulls, lots of other pooches to meet and greet: what could be better? With only one way to the island, down the Outer Banks' long Route 12, you can't miss it. The island's quaint beach town atmosphere is pawrfect for folks and dogs who want to get away from the bright lights and traffic.

#6 Nags Head Beach

Nags Head, a popular tourist destination on the Outer Banks, is aware that many visitors come with their pups in tow. As a result, 11 miles of Nag's Head Beach is designated for doggos year-round, 24/7, with easy pup-lic access! They must be leashed, but long 10-foot ones are pawrfectly okay. Plenty of restaurants and cafes that welcome Fido make this a furbulous destination! Surf's up!

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#5 Bald Head Island

This island south of Wilmington is accessed by a pooch-friendly ferry and opens its beach to unleashed pups from sunset to sunrise every day! During the day, leashes need to be on and held by a human. Only the south side of the island is inhabited, leaving the rest open for exploring with your 4-legged guide, whose nose may pick up one of Bald Head's sea turtles nestled in the dune grass.

#4 Freeman Park

Located in Carolina Beach, the vintage seaside feel of this community with its lovely dog-friendly boardwalk and beach is one of the best places to settle your human/doggy pack for a few days or longer! Leashes are required from April to October, but can be shed all other times of the year for free-wheeling romping and swimming! This pristine park features camping spots for a pupjama party.

#3 Oak Island Beaches

Oak Island sits just south of Wilmington and can be reached by car. This island contains a string of dog-friendly beaches where leashed pups can frolic with you on the sand or in the surf year-round! The leash can be shed in the morning and evening, too! Imagine paddle-boarding with Fido, or sharing a picnic on a blanket in the sand! Or swimming beyond the breakers with a doggy tether.

#2 Duck Beach

Duck Beach is regarded as one of the dog-friendliest beaches in the country! A pupper need not be restrained on a leash as long as the human alongside can control their antics. To avoid mass parking on the streets, one must be visiting or living here for access to the beach via the plentiful paths and stairways over the dunes. Quaint, with a furtastically long boardwalk, Duck is a pawsome beachy destination!

#1 Kitty Hawk Off-Leash Beach

The only time Fido needs to be on a leash on this beach at Kitty Hawk is after 6 am and before 10 pm during the high season between Memorial and Labor Days! It's pup freedom the rest of the time! One of the Outer Banks' most beautiful stretches of sand and ocean, there's plenty of public access with room to wander or just hang out on a blanket and soak up the sun!