Beach Zoomin: Doggo Adventure by Boat, Golf Cart, Ferry & Paw
“Get ready to ZOOM! There’s nothing quite like getting to run full-out, off-leash on a doggo-friendly beach. It gives me 5 o’clock tongue. Every. Single. Time. Then I cool off by hopping aboard a ferry (with a built-in breeze) to go splorin a remote island. And while I love a car ride at home, here I get to go 4x4 beachin! Once you and your hoomans experience North Carolina’s southern coast, you’ll never want to leave. So, extend your stay in a downtown ‘bed and snack’ or a beachside cottage.”
– Mo, North Carolina’s
dog travel agent
COME & STAY
1 Bald Head Island Vacation Rental
1 Bald Head Island Vacation RentalBald Head IslandSee on map
Live like a local pupper in doggo-friendly condos and cottages on Bald Head Island. With no cars allowed on the island, you’ll get around by the power of your paws or riding in a golf cart, your snoot in the ocean breeze. Check out options at Tiffany’s Beach Properties, Bald Head Island Rentals and Bald Head Island Limited Vacation Rentals.
2 Nacho Mama’s Bed and Snack
2 Nacho Mama’s Bed and SnackWilmingtonSee on map
Guests have stayed in this B&B for nearly 200 years – it’s the oldest in Wilmington – but now it’s a place for in-the-know puppers and their hoomans. Each room is a private residence with its own kitchen and living area, and you’re only a two-block walkie to the sights and restaurants of the riverwalk. Instead of traditional breakfasts, hoomans receive a collection of tasty snackos (sharing with doggos required).
3 Bald Head Island Ferry
3 Bald Head Island FerryBald Head IslandSee on map
If you’ve never sniffed the scent of saltwater from atop a great big ferryboat, I highly recommend it. Hop aboard this one to head for an adventure on the quaint Bald Head Island. Go splorin on a nature tour with your hoomans, frolic on a doggo-friendly beach and see Old Baldy, North Carolina’s oldest standing lighthouse. This might even top that day I got two breakfasts.
4 Freeman Park at Carolina Beach
4 Freeman Park at Carolina BeachCarolina BeachSee on map
Adventure doggos, here’s your beach. Ride shotgun in a 4x4 joyride or go full borkdrive in the surf. Either way you’ll feel the wind in your floof, and during the offseason (October through March), you don’t need to leash your hoomans. Plus – it’s cooler then anyways. Hook, Line and Paddle, a shop with a few area locations, rents kayaks and paddleboards for a do-your-own adventure or group tour. (Forget your pupper float coat? No fear, the shop sells them.) A bit farther away, Topsail Beach offers doggo-friendly beaches that go leash-free in the offseason, too. Countdown to zoomies in 3 … 2 …
5 Boat Ride to Masonboro Island Reserve
5 Boat Ride to Masonboro Island ReserveWrightsville BeachSee on map
Do you an ocean-faring adventure! Leave the land doggos on shore, rent a boat and take to the water with your best frens. You’ll head to the biggest undisturbed barrier-island system in the area, full of sea turtles, birds and other sea creatures. Your hoomans must be leashed, but your journey will be wide open.
6 Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington
6 Ghost Walk of Old WilmingtonWilmingtonSee on map
Ready for a borkin big scare? Hear ghost stories, see haunted homes, visit burial grounds and protect your hoomans against a frighten. If your best frens prefer movies to mayhem, try the Hollywood Location Walk to see locations and memorabilia from Wilmywood’s film and TV hits, like Pawson’s Creek, A Walkie to Remember and Snoozle with the Enemy.
DOGGOS GOTTA EAT
7 Java Dog Coffee House
7 Java Dog Coffee HouseWilmingtonSee on map
You wake up wagging, but your hoomans need help. Lead them here to power up with caffeine and breakfast snackos before your big day. Doggos are welcome inside and on the patio with treatos and full water bowls. Make frens with other beach doggos while your hoomans get the sleepies out of their eyes.
8 Fishy Fishy Café
8 Fishy Fishy CaféSouthportSee on map
After a day of splorin, keep the menu of sniffs comin with dinner out on the water, including a front row seat to the sunset. Show your hooman how to make the mostest of every second on this doggo-friendly patio with servers who bring water bowls to visiting puppers. Tip: The manager is your fren (that’s the one who keeps the treatos).
9 The Brewer’s Kettle
9 The Brewer’s KettleWilmingtonSee on map
Fill ‘er up at this old 1950s service station that now offers fill-ups of craft beer and fine wines. Your best frens can relax with tasty beverages – and maybe even one of their many cigar options – while you relax on the patio with the other doggos.
10 Sandpiper Coffee & Ice Cream
10 Sandpiper Coffee & Ice CreamBald Head IslandSee on map
It’s hooman law: Each day of vacation begins with coffee and ends with ice cream. Here, your best frens can get both. Settle down at a patio table or take a short walkie to the beach to enjoy an oceanfront view with your latte or cone. If you want goodies to take back to your hotel, hit Maritime Market Café to grab treatos or dinners to go.