“As soon as I start sniffering the salt air near Atlantic Beach, I can’t wait to feel the sand in my paws and the wind in my floof. But North Carolina’s pupper-friendly central coast is about more than sand and surf, though. You can watch wild horse-frens on the beach, take a boat ride alongside dolphin-frens, then settle in for yappy hour at a restaurant patio. And be sure to lead your hooman toward the shops, because I can never have enough collars – and I know you can’t either.”
– Mo, North Carolina’s
dog travel agent
Pet-Friendly Hotels COME & STAY
1 Atlantis Lodge
1 Atlantis LodgeAtlantic BeachSee on map
All good doggos know this is the place to stay on the Crystal Coast – a hooman newspaper even named it extra pupper-friendly. You can splish splash in the ocean all day, then do zoomies in the fenced dog park with new frens. No matter how many holes you dig in the sand, you’ll stay floofy all vacation long – an on-site dog wash station lets your people keep you picture pawfect.
Dog-Friendly Things To Do PLAAAAYYY
2 Crystal Coast Beaches
2 Crystal Coast BeachesCrystal CoastSee on map
Someone say W-A-L-K? Again? Get ready to double your walkies. The Crystal Coast’s south-facing Atlantic, Emerald Isle, Indian and Pine Knoll Shores beaches all welcome puppers year-round. Keep your best frens leashed at all times and make sure to avoid the designated hoomans-only sections near the lifeguarded areas on Atlantic Beach. Treato: These are among just a few places on the East Coast where the sun rises and sets over the same water. (Expect your pawparazzi to stop for LOTS of pictures.)
3 Island Express Ferry
3 Island Express FerryBeaufortSee on map
Do you an adventure! Together, you and your hoomans will scout for shells and sand dollars, or you’ll watch for wild horse-frens running along the shore. Island Express Ferry offers doggo-friendly tours of Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout, which will have you splorin beaches, sniffering around a lighthouse or simply enjoying the view from the boat in the best seat of all – next to your best frens.
4 Fort Macon State Park
4 Fort Macon State ParkAtlantic BeachSee on map
Here’s your chance to play in a real fort with rock walls for climbing, grass for rollin and cannons for sniffin. One tip though – the cannon balls are not for fetchin! Right next to the fort, walk your hooman over to the Elliott Coues Nature Trail. You’ll feel the sand in your paws as you go hikin toward an ocean view.
5 Swansboro Historic District
5 Swansboro Historic DistrictSwansboroSee on map
Spend an unforgettable day bonding with your best frens in this picturesque town. Guide your hoomans through streets lined with 19th-century homes, play fetch in waterfront parks or find a quiet beach for a picnic. While you’re here, send up an awoo for Singer, the woofer hero who roamed Swansboro in the Nicholas Sparks novel The Guardian.
6 Cruise the Neuse Boat Tours
6 Cruise the Neuse Boat ToursNew BernSee on map
Ahoy, aqua doggos! If you’ve never raced on top of the water without having to shake off or get your ears wet, this is the place to try it. Jump aboard a boat for a 90-minute tour of the Neuse and Trent rivers. You and your hoomans will see historic New Bern from the water, and you may even spot dolphin-frens and bird-frens like cranes or herons. Remind your hoomans to bring snacks: Cruises offer a bring-your-own-treato policy, which I fully endorse.
Dog Boutiques & Souveniring SOUVENIRING
6 Beaufort Pet Provisions
6 Beaufort Pet ProvisionsBeaufortSee on map
Aqua doggo need a float coat? Hungry woofer out of food? This store has everything your hoomans need to keep you safe and well fed at the beach. While your hoomans learn from the experts here about the healthiest doggo foods, you can make frens with shop doggos Luci and Bell. Afterward, reward your hooman with a local beer next door at Fishtowne Brew House. Doggos love this spot for its front porch!
7 Nauti Paws Pet Boutique
7 Nauti Paws Pet BoutiqueNew BernSee on map
Who’s a good doggo? Yes, you are! That’s why you deserve homemade treatos, a new toy, or maybe a coastal-inspired collar and leash set to wear on your vacation walkies. For the hoomans who can’t get enough of doggos (can you blame them?), the shop offers pupper-themed artwork and accessories to bring home in memory of your big trip together.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants DOGGOS GOTTA EAT
8 MuttigansEmerald Isle and Swansboro
“Paws and enjoy life” is the motto here, and the vibe will help you do just that. Let your best frens settle in with a latte, wine or beer, while you shop the selection of treatos and toys. Treatos for you and your buddies? It’s no wonder this was hailed as one of America’s Coolest Pet Stores.
9 Front Street Grill at Stillwater
9 Front Street Grill at StillwaterBeaufortSee on map
After sniffin out some treatos at Beaufort Pet Provisions, help your hoomans track down a place to refuel just down the street. There’s a patio outside, but if it’s chilly and rainy, the outdoor Rhum Bar is enclosed and heated for an especially cozy place to hang out. The power of my puppy dog eyes even got me a truffle fry. And because it’s always yappy hour somewhere, be sure to stop for a drink while you tail tap to some sounds and make some of your own (awooo!) at Backstreet Pub.
10 Idle Hour Biergarten
10 Idle Hour BiergartenAtlantic BeachSee on map
Just steps from the beach – this sand floor patio feels like a playground for puppers. There’s a swing, comfy chairs, fire pit and all kinds of chow hoomans love to drool over (local craft beer, scratch-made burgers, tacos and more). Loonnng stretch – it’s the perfect place (and always the perfect time) to do a little idling.
11 Morgan’s Tavern and Grill
11 Morgan’s Tavern and GrillNew BernSee on map
This historic tavern is more than 700 years old! (That’s 100 in hooman years.) It’s always patio weather here – fans in summer, heaters in winter and a covered roof mean that you and your best frens can dine al fresco just about any day. The servers know just what doggos like. They keep the rounds of water comin, and they may even have treatos for good woofers like you.
12 Jack’s Waterfront Bar
12 Jack’s Waterfront BarMorehead CitySee on map
Get close to the water without risk of a bath bamboozle! While your hoomans toast the sunset, you can enjoy the waterfront breezes on the patio. Doggos are also welcome inside downstairs for checking out live music on the weekends or putting your paws up and watching a game with your best frens.