Wrightsville Beach, situated just east of Wilmington, North Carolina, is a popular vacation destination for families due to its spacious beach and numerous fun activities. From surfing to fishing, and sunbathing, Wrightsville Beach offers something for everyone. However, if you’re a dog owner who loves taking your furry friend to the beach, you may be wondering if Wrightsville Beach is a dog-friendly destination.
The answer is both yes and no. Dogs are permitted on Wrightsville Beach, but there are conditions and restrictions that must be followed, failure to do so can result in a fine. Therefore, before your visit, it’s essential to get familiar with the rules and regulations to ensure you and your dog can have a great time.
The first condition to keep in mind is that you must visit Wrightsville Beach during the off-season if you want to have fun on the beach with your furry friend. Dogs are not allowed on the beach during summer, even after the sun starts setting, which is usually allowed on other beaches. Even when dogs are permitted, from October through March, they must be leashed at all times. If you don’t adhere to these rules, you may be fined $250.
In addition to these rules, there are other essential guidelines to consider when visiting Wrightsville, with or without your dog. Firstly, you must avoid disturbing the sea turtles that nest on local beaches occasionally. Visitors are forbidden from collecting, harassing or harming them, and this can be a significant temptation for a curious dog. Secondly, parking for visitors is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and it may be limited during busy times. Thirdly, owners will need an appropriate container or bag to dispose of any waste properly. Lastly, keep an eye out for hot sand as even in the spring and fall, the sand can become hot and burn your dog’s paws.
Despite these conditions, dog owners who wish to visit Wrightsville Beach with their furry friend need not despair as many motels, hotels, and vacation rentals in the Wrightsville Beach area are pet-friendly.
However, keep in mind that if you’re traveling with a service dog instead of a pet, you do not have to worry about many of the restrictions mentioned above. A service dog is defined as a dog trained to assist the owner with their disability, such as guiding a blind handler or pulling a wheelchair, alerting a deaf handler, or protecting an owner who may be having a seizure. A service dog is considered a working dog, not a pet, and emotional support and therapy dogs are not considered service dogs and, therefore, not permitted. All service dogs must be harnessed and leashed and be under control. If the handler’s disability prevents them from using these devices, reasonable accommodations can be made. A service dog may be requested to leave the premises if they are not housebroken or are out of control.
If the conditions for visiting Wrightsville Beach with your furry friend are unsuitable for you, there are a few dog-friendly beaches close to and around Wrightsville that are worth a visit.
For example, Freeman Park on Carolina beach allows you to bring your dog while on a leash from April 1st to September 30th. From October 1st to March 31st, you can let your dog off the leash as long as you are nearby and your dog responds to voice commands. Topsail Island is another popular choice for dog owners. It’s one of only two beaches in the area that allows dogs to run free during the off-season, as long as your dog responds to voice commands and is well-trained. However, from May 15th to September, all dogs must be on a leash in designated areas. Similarly, Kure Beach permits dogs on the beach while on a leash from October to March.
While visiting any beach with your furry friend, there may be some potential dangers that you should be aware of as a responsible dog owner. Here are the top 10 tips to keep your dog safe at the beach:
1. Don’t allow your dog to drink seawater. Always bring fresh water and a water bowl along with you.
2. Don’t let your dog consume any food scraps. Bring enough food and snacks for your dog when visiting the beach.
3. Protect your dog from the sun, especially on sensitive areas such as its ears and nose.
4. Be mindful of hot sand. You can provide your dog with booties, which will also help protect them from sharp rocks and shells.
5. Even a well-trained dog will tire faster when swimming in the ocean, so always keep an eye on them. Try not to let them swim too far out because they don’t understand the dangers of the currents or how tired they are until they have gone too far.
6. If your dog loves water, consider a life vest. It will help keep them afloat and keep you at ease if your dog takes off into the water.
7. Keep an eye out for sharp objects such as fishing hooks and broken glass. Keep checking on your dog to make sure it hasn’t been injured.
8. Take regular breaks, especially in the heat. Rest, cool down and hydrate.
9. Never let your dog wander out of your sight. You never know what potential danger it may encounter.
10. Wash all the sand and seawater off your dog after your trip as seawater can contain a plethora of microorganisms that may harm your dog.
In conclusion, Wrightsville Beach can be considered dog-friendly to some extent, as dogs are permitted on the beach during the off-season, provided they are leashed at all times. However, due to the restrictions and conditions, some dog owners may prefer to visit the nearby dog-friendly beaches of Freeman Park, Topsail Island, and Kure Beach. Nonetheless, as a responsible dog owner, don’t forget to follow the top 10 tips to keep your dog safe at the beach, and enjoy your visit to the beautiful North Carolina coast with your furry friend.