Dogs leashed on the beach
Coasts

A Comprehensive Guide to South Carolina Beaches for Dog Owners

Whether you live on the coast or you’re simply in town for a visit, it can be difficult to navigate the patchwork of rules and regulations regarding dogs on the beach--but not any more! This comprehensive beach guide for dog owners aims to simplify the process of finding the perfect South Carolina beach to enjoy with your furry friends.
Coasts

A Comprehensive Guide to South Carolina Beaches for Dog Owners

Whether you live on the coast or you’re simply in town for a visit, it can be difficult to navigate the patchwork of rules and regulations regarding dogs on the beach--but not any more! This comprehensive beach guide for dog owners aims to simplify the process of finding the perfect South Carolina beach to enjoy with your furry friends.

The alphabetical list below summarizes any posted rules regarding dogs on the beach, and provides a link to the information source and/or relevant contact information as available. When no rules are posted, Audubon South Carolina provides recommendations as appropriate.

In addition to knowing the rules, it’s helpful to understand why they’re in place. Often, it’s to align with tourist season and increased visitors to the beach. But in the best cases, rules are in place to protect the declining shorebird and seabird populations that rely on these beaches for survival.

Shorebirds and seabirds view dogs as predators, so as friendly as your pup may be, the mere sight of your four-legged friend can cause birds to flee their nests, putting eggs and hatchlings at risk of perishing from heat or predation. It just takes a few minutes of mom and dad off the nest for eggs and chicks to die in the hot summer sun. Dogs also increase bird fatalities during spring and fall migration. Because dogs view humans and dogs as predators, they waste precious energy flying to escape when you approach, which means they spend less time eating and resting up for their multi-thousand-mile migration.

Regardless of the posted rules, if you see a flock of birds on the beach, or signs that indicate a nesting area nearby, please maintain your distance, keep your dog leashed at all times, and do your best to not to disturb the birds. Their lives, and populations, depend on it!

This list was developed in June of 2020. Please contact nolan.schillerstrom@audubon.org with any relevant updates to posted rules or regulations.

ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve 

Dogs must be under control at all times in the Reserve core area. As an important place for birds to rest and nest, the Reserve beaches are not suitable for dogs.

Bay Point Island

There are no rules posted online about dogs on Bay Point Island, but it is a designated Important Bird Area for shorebirds and seabirds. With vulnerable bird populations on the island, Audubon encourages island visitors to leave dogs at home.

Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve

No dogs allowed.

Botany Bay Plantation

No dogs allowed on the beach or on the causeway to the beach.

Botany Island

Botany Island is a private beach with no rules posted online.

Bull Island

No dogs allowed.

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

No dogs allowed on refuge islands or on the pier at Garris Landing.

Capers Island Heritage Preserve

No rules posted online. Visitors are encouraged to contact Lauton Sutley with questions: 843-953-9354,

SutleyL@dnr.sc.gov.

Cedar Island Point (Santee Coastal Reserve Beach)

No rules posted online.

Cherry Grove Beach

May 15 – September 15: dogs are not allowed on the beach 9 AM – 5 PM. Dogs are allowed on the beach any time the remainder of the year, but must remain on a leash, not to exceed seven feet in length, and under control at all times.

Coligny Beach Park (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM and 5 PM. April 1 – Thursday before Memorial Day, and Tuesday after Labor Day – September 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Dogs must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary

No dogs allowed.

Daufuskie Island

Because of the abundance of wildlife, please keep your pet on a leash for their safety when exploring the island, however pets can run free on the beaches at any time.

Debidue Beach

Dogs must remain on a leash at all times when on or along the beachfront from 9 AM – 7 PM year round.

Deveaux Bank

No dogs allowed.

Dewees Island

Dewees Island is a private community open to residents and guests of residents only.

Dogs are allowed on the island but should only be off leash on the beach between Marshmallow Walk and Willow Walk. All dogs, even those on leashes, should be kept away from the shorebird nesting areas at the ends of the island in the summer months once the sun is up. Avoid walking above the high tide line and dune areas, which threatened shorebirds use for shelter, nesting and raising young.

Edingsville Beach

Edingsville Beach is a private beach with no rules posted online.

Edisto Beach

May 1 – October 31: dogs are allowed on Edisto Beach but must remain on leash. November 1 – April 30: Dogs are allowed off leash. Doggy-waste bags are available at almost every beach access.

Folly Beach

May 1 – September 30: dogs are not allowed on the beach 10 AM – 6PM. October 1 – April 30: dogs are allowed on the beach.

Year round, dogs must stay on a leash and under control while on the beach, but running, walking, fetching, and swimming are allowed. Please note that no dogs are allowed at Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve on the northern-most tip of the island.

Folly Field Beach (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM and 5 PM. April 1 – Thursday before Memorial Day, and Tuesday after Labor Day – September 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Dogs must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

Fish Haul Beach Park (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day – Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM – 5 PM.

Dogs must be on a leash at all times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife

Fripp Island

Dogs are allowed on the beach but should remain on leash. Please keep dogs away from standing water and tidal pools, and prohibit dogs from going near the edges of all the lagoons on the island, as alligators frequent these areas.

Garden City Beach

May 1 – Labor Day: dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10 AM – 5 PM. Year round, dogs must remain on hand-held leash, not to exceed seven feet in length, and under control at all times.

Georgetown County Beaches

Dogs must be leashed from 9 AM – 7 PM. Dogs that are not leashed during other hours must be under voice control and owners must be able to demonstrate voice control to a law enforcement officer if asked.

Harbor Island

Dogs are allowed on the beach but must be on a leash and away from the bird nesting areas. There are several dog waste bag dispensers around the island for convenient pickups.

Horry County

May 1 – Labor Day: dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 AM – 5 PM.

Any animal on the beach must be on a hand-held leash not to exceed seven feet in length and under the control of the person having custody of the animal.

Hunting Island

Dogs are not permitted on the tip of North Beach past the posted markers to protect critical shorebird habitat. Pets are allowed in most other outdoor areas provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash not longer than six feet. Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife.

Huntington Beach State Park

Dogs are allowed on Huntington Beach State Park year-round. All dogs must remain on a leash no longer than six feet at all times. Please clean up after your pet. Dogs are allowed on the south end of the beach.  Dogs are prohibited in buildings, including Atalaya, and on the north end of the beach. The north end extends from the beach access at the north parking lot to the jetty.

Isle of Palms

April 1 – September 14: dogs are allowed off leash 5 AM – 9 AM. September 15 – March 31: dogs are allowed off leash 4 PM – 10 AM. Dog owners must have leash in hand, have their dog under voice command and must clean up excrement.  At all other times, dogs must be on leash and under complete control, even in the water.

All dogs that live or visit the Isle of Palms must be vaccinated against rabies and have a metal license tag attached to its collar with the name of the licensed veterinarian who provided the vaccine. Dog owners must also have a valid certificate of rabies vaccination readily available at all times.

Kiawah Island

Dogs are allowed on the beach year round with restrictions based on area, season, and time of day. Dogs are prohibited year-round in critical habitat areas located on each end of the island.

The area between the eastern boundary of the Beach Club and the Ocean Course Clubhouse allows dogs off leash, but under control, year-round 7 AM – 7 PM. Dogs must be leashed in this area 7 PM – 7 AM.

For the remainder of the beach, dogs must be leashed at all times March 16 – October 31. Between November 1 – March 15, dogs are allowed off leash 7 AM – 7 PM everywhere on the beach except in the critical habitat area. Dogs must be leashed 7 PM – 7 PM.

Owners must always remain with their pet, have the pet under control, and have in their possession a leash in the event that there is a need to leash their pet, or if requested by other beachgoers or by Beach Patrol. Electronic leashes are prohibited.

Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve

Dogs are not allowed.

Litchfield Beach

Litchfield Beach and North Litchfield Beach are pet friendly with leash requirements for all dogs between 9 AM – 7 PM. For other times, dogs may be off-leash if they are trained for voice command, to be demonstrated to law enforcement officer if asked.

Morris Island

There are no rules posted for dog use on Morris Island, but Audubon highly recommends leaving your dog at home when visiting this common nesting site for Least Tern, Wilson’s Plovers, and American Oystercatchers.

Myrtle Beach

May 1 – Labor Day: dogs are allowed on the beach or boardwalk before 10 AM and after 5 PM. The day after Labor Day – April 30, dogs are allowed on the beach or boardwalk any time of day. 

At all times, dogs must be on a leash seven feet or shorter, and you must pick up and properly dispose of droppings.

North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Due to the sensitive nature of the colonies, areas behind bird nesting signs are closed from April 1– October 15 each year providing sufficient time for the chicks to fledge.

North Myrtle Beach

May 15 – September 15: No dogs allowed on the beach 9 AM – 5 PM. Please note that certain parts of North Myrtle Beach that restrict entry for pets. Leash law is in effect at all times and maximum leash length is 7 feet. Dog owners must pick up and properly dispose of waste.

Parris Island

Dogs are not permitted to run free, and must be leashed or under the immediate physical control or voice command of its owner or the owner’s representative, who should remain in the vicinity of the animal. Full or mixed breeds of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and canid/wolf hybrids are prohibited aboard Marine Corps installations.

Pawley’s Island

Dogs are allowed on the beach year round. May 1 – September 30: dogs must be on a leash and under complete control, even in the water, between 8 AM and 8 PM.

Owners must always have a leash in hand, have their dog under voice control and pick up after them.

Port Royal Beach (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM and 5 PM. April 1 – Thursday before Memorial Day, and Tuesday after Labor Day – September 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Dogs must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

Pritchard’s Island

With restricted access, Pritchard's Island is maintained by the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Its mission is limited to research. There are no dog rules posted online.

Santee Point (southern tip of Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center)

Dogs are prohibited anywhere on the island year round.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island’s beaches are dog-friendly, with numerous restrictions.

Dogs are prohibited year round in the Restricted Area (Red), which begins at a line extending from Boardwalk #1 (Community Center Boardwalk) to the Atlantic Ocean and continues in a northeasterly direction to Captain Sam’s Inlet.

Dogs must remain on a leash at all times in the Limited Restriction Area (Yellow), which begins approximately 300 yards northwest of a line extending from Boardwalk #9 (Pelican Watch Boardwalk) to the Edisto River and continues in a northwesterly direction to Privateer Creek.

On all other areas of the beach, known as the General Beach Area (Green), dogs must remain on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM April 1 – September 30. October 1 – March 31, dogs may be off leash, but effectively controlled by a competent person, at all times.

Please note that leashes must be made of cord, rope, strap, chain or other material effective for restraining the type and size of animal to which it is attached and must be no more than 16 feet in length, secured to the animal’s collar or harness, and continuously held by a competent person physically capable of restraining the animal. Animals under voice control, or under control of remotely operated devices (such as electronic collars), are considered to be off leash.

When off leash, a competent person must control the dog from entering any area on or adjacent to the beach in which a pet is prohibited, destroying or damaging any property, attacking or threatening to attack any person or any other animal or pet in any manner, or being a nuisance to other beach goers.

Shute’s Folly Island (Castle Pinckney)

Landing on Shute’s Folly is not recommended.

Singleton Beach (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM and 5 PM. April 1 – Thursday before Memorial Day, and Tuesday after Labor Day – September 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Dogs must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

South Beach (on Hilton Head Island)

Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day: dogs are not permitted between 10 AM and 5 PM. April 1 – Thursday before Memorial Day, and Tuesday after Labor Day – September 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 AM and 5 PM.

Dogs must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal's excrement. It is illegal to allow pets to chase or harass wildlife.

Sullivan’s Island

May 1 – September 30. Dogs can be off leash from 5 AM. to 10 AM., on leash from 6 PM to 5 AM. No dogs are permitted between the hours of 10 AM and 6 PM. October 1 –  to April 30: dogs can be off leash from 5 AM to noon and on leash from noon to 5 AM.

Dog Licenses are required for all dogs on Sullivan's Island streets, private property or beaches.

Surfside Beach

May 15 – September 15: dogs and other domestic pets are not permitted on the public. September 16 – May 14: leashed dogs are allowed on the beach.

Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Beach

Dogs are prohibited year round anywhere on the island.

Tomkins Island

Closed to public use (no landing, no dogs, no camping) year-round.

Turtle Island National Wildlife Management Area

No rules posted online.

Tybee National Wildlife Refuge

Tybee National Wildlife Refuge is closed to all public use. Dogs, cats, and other pets are not permitted.

Waite’s Island

No rules posted online.

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