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Beach Etiquette 101 on Ocean Isle Beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

*Updated July 2023

You may have noticed these days it appears that good manners and etiquette have gone by the wayside. So maybe it is time for a little refresher on the proper beach etiquette and to review a few of the local ordinances and laws that visitors to Ocean Isle Beach need to know. So, let’s get started with everything you need to know and share to have a great beach experience during your Ocean Isle Beach, NC vacation. We thank you in advance!

Local Ocean Isle Beach Rules and Regulations

Ocean Isle Beach, like most beaches, has certain rules and regulations to ensure visitors have a safe and fun time while still protecting our beautiful beaches and wildlife. Here are five rules that visitors and vacationers need to know before arriving in OIB. For a complete list of Ocean Isle Beach rules click here.

1. STAY OFF THE DUNES.Preserve fragile dune vegetation. ($100 fine).

2. ABSOLUTELY NO FIREWORKS – N.C. State Law $500 fine. Sky lanterns are also prohibited.

3. NO DIGGING HOLES on the beach strand larger than 16″ deep x 5’ wide. Shovels (other than toy shovels intended for use by children) are prohibited on beach strand. Holes must be attended to at all times and filled back in before leaving the beach strand or 7pm, whichever occurs first.

4. ALL DOGS MUST BE LEASHED OR FENCED AT ALL TIMES. No dogs are allowed on beach strand from 9am to 6pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No dogs allowed at any time in Public Access/Parking Areas. Pooper Scooper Ordinance in effect.

5. NO CABANAS, TENTS, OR AWNINGS are allowed on the beach at any time. Umbrellas, *infant pop-up tents (*no larger than 46”L x 36”D x 36”H), and wind-powered sunshades (one continuous pole—fabric no larger than 160 sq ft) are permissible. All beach equipment and personal items must be removed from the beach strand on a daily basis. In order to keep our beach safe and clean, all items left unattended and remaining on the beach between the hours of 7pm to 7:30am will be classified as abandoned and removed and disposed of by the Town. All beach equipment shall be set at least 10 feet from any sea turtle nest or dune vegetation and cannot be placed seaward of the nest. (Subject to civil penalty of $50 for each offense.)

Also Remember These 8 Beach Etiquette Tips

Seagulls on beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

1. Don’t feed the seagulls

It may be fun for the birds, but all it does is create a spectacle and disrupts the fun for the humans. Not to mention seagulls are not the cleanest animals. Another important reason not to feed them is that the foods we feed them are actually harmful to them. Let the birds live a bird’s life and eat what they naturally find in nature.

Paddleboarders on water | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

2. Careful when riding the waves

The ocean is vast but when the waves are big the surfers, bodyboarders, SUP, and kids splashing about in the waves can cause things to get a little hectic. When in the water be aware of surfers who may not see you swimming in the water. If surfing, take care to avoid areas with fishermen and kids to prevent any unwanted collisions.

Leashed dog on beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

3. Clean up after your pets

Nothing is more disgusting than finding pet waste on the beach. Of course, we all love our favorite four-legged friends on Ocean Isle Beach,but proper etiquette is to make sure to clean up all pet waste. Do not bury your dog waste on the beach. Nobody wants that surprise while digging a sandcastle. Pooper scooper laws are in effect for a reason.

Trashcan on the beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

4. A clean beach is a happy beach

This is probably the most important rule—and also the one most frequently violated. Don’t litter. Every year thousands of visitors come toOcean Isle Beach, and each visitor needs to remember to do their part to keep the beach clean. Remember to put all trash in the available trash cans or carry out your waste. Don’t forget that littering is a crime and punishable by a steep fine.

Music with speaker on the beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

5. Keep the music down

Sure, you’d like to enjoy your music, but your beach neighbors might not enjoy the same music. Try and keep your music low enough so your neighbors don’t have to listen to your favorite music. Better yet, consider using earphones. While you may like the party vibe atmosphere on the beach, not everyone does. Be considerate of those around you so everyone can enjoy the beach.

Child filling in a hole in the sand | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

6. Fill in your holes

If you (or your kids) are digging a hole in the sand, make sure to fill it back up before you leave to prevent anyone from falling in and getting hurt. You should do this regardless of how deep you dig. Leaving holes can also cause problems for our sea turtles. By filling in the holes, you help prevent loses in the sea turtle population.

Little girl walking on busy beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

7. Keep your distance

If you arrive at a busy time and the beach is crowded, try to find a spot that will not disturb anyone. Choose a place that is not too close to anyone, being careful not to walk too fast and accidentally kick sand on people lying down. Yes, this is a common occurrence, especially when you have kids who are excited and just want to play. Be a good neighbor on the beach.

No smoking sign on beach | Williamson Realty Vacation Rentals Ocean Isle Beach NC

8. Nobody likes secondhand smoke

Smoke in the right spot. No one wants to inhale secondhand smoke. Many beach towns in the area have designated spots for smokers to do their thing. That’s the place to go. If you do smoke, please make sure to police your butts. Cigarette butts are considered litter. Help us keep the beach clean.

Now is the perfect time to plan your next Ocean Isle Beach vacation. All you have to do is click the button below to explore our extensive inventory of well-appointed beach vacation homes and condos. If you’d prefer talking to one of our friendly and knowledgeable reservationists, give us a call at 800-727-9222.

What is your Best Beach etiquette tip?

Let us know in the comments below!

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