Dog off leash disturbing wildlife

Pets are allowed on the beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore, but pets must be kept under control on a 6' leash at all times. The leash requirement is for all pets - pet size, breed, or training does not matter. The leash requirement is for all islands including Shackleford Banks.

Why keep your pet on a leash?

For your pet's safety: Your pet is sharing the beach with vehicles and fishing activities that could cause accidental injury to your pet. On Shackleford, a wild horse can injure or kill a dog that is harassing the herd.

For the safety of others: Many visitors are uneasy around loose pets. Respect the rights of others who may have a fear of your pet.

For the protection of wildlife: Unleashed pets chase birds and other wildlife.

A Few Things to Remember

Some of the ferries will carry pets to the islands. Contact the ferry service directly for information. The ferry operator has the right to refuse to carry a pet.

There is little to no shade on the islands.

You will need to bring fresh water for your pet as there is little available on the island. Empty water bottles, along with any other trash, will need to be brough back from the islands for recycling and disposal.

Never leave a pet tied up and unattended.

With the exception of the Great Island Cabins, pets are not allowed inside any buildings in Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Pets in Cabins

Visitors who are renting one of the rustic cabins may keep their pet in the cabin or on the porch. Unattended pets must be kept in a crate for safety reasons. Pets should be inside at night to avoid encounters with raccoons.

Pets are not allowed inside any other buildings in the park.

Prancer and her owner kayaking in Core Sound
Prancer and her owner Rod Lubline prove dogs can have fun on a leash.

Photo by Tricia McKinney

Last updated: January 25, 2023

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Mailing Address:

131 Charles St
Harkers Island, NC 28531


252 728-2250

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