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Are Dogs Allowed on Wrightsville Beach? Full Details

Are Dogs Allowed on Wrightsville Beach? Full Details

Are you considering taking your dogs for a walk on Wrightsville Beach? However, you may run into a problem. 

You see, if you were of the opinion that you could venture anywhere you wanted with your dog, then that’s not the case.

Instead, a number of restrictions may often exist that restrict your ability to go to the beach with your dog.

The sad part is you may end up with a fine if you break the rules. So, the easiest way to counteract that is to know where you stand when visiting the beach with your dog.

Sadly, it’s not the case that you have full access, even though you may feel that you should. In this instance, we will focus on just one beach, and that is Wrightsville Beach.

So, what should you expect if you plan on visiting there? Can you go to the beach with your dog?

wrightsville beach

The Answer

The rules surrounding taking your dog onto Wrightsville Beach are actually pretty clear. So, the answer is you can indeed take your dog to the beach, but only at a certain time of the year.

You see, there is a complete ban on dogs on Wrightsville Beach during the peak season, which means all of basically Spring and Summer.

However, you can venture onto the beach with your dog in the typical low season, and at that point, you will face no restrictions.

More On the Peak Season Ban

According to the rules set out by the local authorities, the peak season ban lasts from April 1 all the way through to September 30.

That does come across as pretty clear cut as to when you cannot go to the beach with your dog. So, it’s easy to avoid running into problems.

Also, this ban exists no matter the time of day. Some beaches elsewhere in the country allow people to go to the beach with their dogs if it’s early in the day, or the last thing at night.

However, that is not the case here as you cannot visit the beach even if it was first thing in the morning.

One other important point to mention is that the local authorities also include the area beside Mason’s Inlet Area in their regulations.

So, do realize that it’s easy to stray into areas that you should not visit if you are not careful.

Why the Ban?

It’s also clear as to why they decided to ban dogs during peak season. Wrightsville Beach can attract a number of people on any given day, and having dogs running around is not seen as being conducive to allowing other people to have a great time.

Having dogs running around freely is then viewed as problematic. Also, there’s the potential for mess, and nobody wants to try to deal with that when on a busy beach.

dog running on beach

More On the Low Season 

So, it’s easy to see when you can visit the beach with your dog. It’s any time of the day from October 1 through to March 31. However, even during these times, you need to understand you have rules and regulations to follow.

However, don’t stress about these rules. They are actually the type of rules you would expect to see no matter where you go with your dog.

What you will also discover when you travel to the beach with your dog is the local authorities have included some dog-friendly fountains.

That does mean you need not worry about getting your dog a drink. This has already been provided to them.

What this means is you can access the beach any time from sunrise to sunset during these months.

You can spend as long as you like on the beach during these times just as long as you clean up after yourself, or clean up after your dog.

The Rules

The first rule to mention is connected to the use of a leash. Your dog needs to remain on their leash at all times. You have no exceptions to this particular rule. 

Please don’t think that your dog is so well behaved and trained that they do not require a leash. While your dog could behave themselves, it makes it easier to have a blanket ban on all dogs to stop any potential confusion.

Another major rule is the need to clean up after your dog. Once again this is something you must do. However, they do make sure you have a number of receptacles available to dispose of their mess once you have cleaned up.

Also, they do provide waste bags at these stations. That does make a difference if you have managed to forget to bring your own. So, you have no excuse not to go ahead and clean their mess.

In addition, they will expect your dog to behave and not make excessive noise. Even though it’s not directly listed in their rules, you could find yourself in a position where you need to leave the beach if you fail to control your dog.

The aim here is to produce a pleasant space for people to explore with their dogs. Having a dog causing too much noise and chaos is not their idea of a pleasant space.

One final rule, which also applies to humans, is that you cannot walk on the dunes. Avoid them at all costs, and you should then not run into any possible issues or problems.

dog shaking sand

What Happens If You Break the Rules?

If you break the rules, then you may find yourself needing to pay a fine. This fine is set at $250 for a first offender. If you continue to break the rules, then stricter punishments may then occur. 

It’s worth noting that this fine of $250 is higher than you will tend to find elsewhere. It does show the strength of feelings that locals have when it comes to keeping their beach clean and clear of dogs during the busy times.

Also, there is a park ranger who deals with this type of thing, and people do end up caught if they break the rules. However, they do provide you with ample warning, so there should be no reason why, or indeed how, you fall into making this type of mistake.

So, What Can You Do On the Beach?

You must remember the need for your dog to remain on its leash at all times. That does mean you have some restrictions on what you can then do with your dog. 

While walking your dog on the sand is clearly one activity, there’s nothing stopping you from allowing them to run into the water.

The local authorities have no rules or restrictions on what you can do with your dog while there just as long as you follow a couple of rules in place.

For the local authorities, their main focus is on making sure the beach is a safe place to visit.

Their aim is to ensure dogs, and humans, are well behaved at all times. However, do remember you should not leave any holes, or trash, or light a fire. 

Exceptions to the Ban

As you may expect, there is an exception to the ban, and it’s all to do with service dogs. If you do own a service dog, then you can venture onto the beach at any time of year with your dog beside you.

Now, that’s no surprise as rules and regulations do exist that prevent people from discriminating due to a disability. Going to the beach with your dog is also covered by these rules.

That does mean you may see an individual on the beach. However, if you look more closely, then you will spot that they are indeed working and helping their owner in some manner while on the beach.

Also, police dogs in a working capacity can also appear on the beach at any given time. However, this is not something that occurs on a regular basis, so you may never even encounter this at any point.

Aside from those two possibilities, no other dog is ever allowed on the beach during the peak season. 

Overall Conclusion

So you can take your dog to Wrightsville Beach, but only during the low season. You cannot take your dog to the beach from April 1 through to September 30. 

However, you still need to follow a few simple rules when it comes to the time of year when access is indeed allowed. Following them is easy, and you can access the beach at any time of the day. 

Just please avoid the peak season and consider going to another beach where dogs are perhaps allowed at different times during peak season.

These beaches do exist, but you need to still understand that rules and local laws do change, and do so very quickly.

But you can still make full use of the beach during the low season. We recommend trying to take advantage of the space available whenever you can. It’s a wonderful way of spending time with your dog, so get out there when possible.

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