Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, is a tiny seaside hamlet right in the heart of Vacation Land U.S.A. Brunswick County includes Ocean Isle, Myrtle Beach, and six gorgeous islands with soft, sandy beaches, terrific fishing, and plenty of golf courses. In fact, it is often referred to as the Golf Coast. So where does all this leave Woof?
First, the islands of Brunswick County blessed with miles of beaches, each of which has slightly different rules on dog walking, some with generous off-lease schedules, while others allow no dogs at all. Some of the more generous options are listed below.
The actual hamlet itself – with a year-round population of 550 that doesn't include thousands of road-clogging tourists – has no off-leash parks at present, but a $4.47 million renovation of the local Ocean Isle Beach Park has plans for an off-leash dog park, as well as many human-oriented activities, such as playing fields, fitness equipment, playgrounds and pickleball courts, which is an amalgamation of ping-pong, tennis, and badminton.
Strictly speaking, you have to make it to one of the six islands of Brunswick County to get to a beach that permits dogs off-leash, but the beauty of the area and the isolated hours will make it a highlight of your vacation if you go. After all, just you and a couple of like-minded dog owners, sand crabs, surf, and a sunrise sounds fairly grand by anybody's standards.
Because each area has its own hours and rules, we have listed them separately here. Bald Head Island allows dogs off-leash but supervised any time of day from November 15 to May 1 only. Dogs must be leashed the rest of the year due to turtle season.
Sunset Beach allows dogs on a leash that must be 10 feet long or shorter each day before 8:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Ocean Isle Beach allows leashed dogs before 9:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Oak Island allows dogs off leash from October 16 through March 15 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on public beaches. For the rest of the year, dogs must be leashed. Holden Beach allows only dogs on leashes and no dogs at all are allowed on the beach from May 20 to September 10.
Caswell Beach allows dogs off leashes from sunrise until 9:00 a.m, so long as they are under control. In addition, dogs are permitted off leashes from October 1 to April 30 from 3:00 p.m. until sunset. The rest of the year, leashed dogs are allowed, as long as they are not bothering others.