Our Beach

While Enjoying Duck’s Beaches, Be Safe, Be Courteous, Be Green; Keep it Beautiful and Clean.

Duck is nationally recognized as one of the “Top 15 Family-Friendly Beaches in America.”

Click here for information on the Duck Beach Nourishment Project.

The Town of Duck neither owns nor maintains any public beach access locations. Access to our beach is limited to Duck residents, Duck renters, and their guests through privately owned and maintained locations.
The Town of Duck does not allow parking along state roads, and there are no public parking areas at beach accesses. Please check with the homeowners’ association for your vacation rental or with your rental company for beach access questions.
Vehicles are NOT permitted on our beach between March 16 and November 30 of each year.   Vehicles are permitted during the other months of the year using designated PRIVATE vehicular access points. There are no PUBLIC access points for vehicles within the town. Driving on the dunes is prohibited at all times!
The town has installed markers at various points along our beach. These markers are designed to assist beach goers in determining where they are as they are enjoying our beach, giving directions, or during an emergency. IMG_4328
For a complete copy of the Town ordinance on beach safety, click here. Click here for a PDF version of the Beach Rules sign. When visiting our beach, remember to be aware of the following:
  • All cautions and advisories issued by lifeguards are for your safety.
  • Unattended personal items, including tents, chairs, umbrellas, etc., should not be left on the beach between 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. or they may be removed as litter.
  • Removal from the beach does not mean laying them in or on the dune, under or beside beach stairs, etc. They must be removed entirely from the beach and dune system.
  • Beach tents or commercial beach equipment may not be located any closer than 50 feet in any direction from a lifeguard stand, or emergency or community beach accessway.
  • Tents may not be any larger than 12x12 or any taller than 9 feet, and guy wires may not extend beyond the 12x12 maximum size limit.
  • Two tents and/or sunshades may be tied together provided they are perpendicular to the shore. Tents and/or sunshades parallel to the shore may not be tied together nor may they be spaced any closer than 10 feet from each other.
  • Tent/chair, etc. setups must allow for a 15’ travel lane at the base of the dune for emergency access and may not be any closer than 10’ to dune vegetation or a turtle nest.
  • All shade structures must be properly secured.
  • Attend to and refill all beach holes.
  • Pets may play unleashed, but must be under the watchful eye of a guardian.
  • When red flags are flying, do not go into or swim in the ocean.
  • Dispose of all trash in proper receptacles, including pet waste.
  • See lifeguards for beach safety tips and rip current information.
  • Protect our dunes by not walking, digging, or climbing on them.
  • Utilize designated dune crossovers to access our beach, as they offer the first line of defense against wave action.
  • Report stranded sea life or sea turtle nests to the lifeguards.
  • Shipwrecks are part of our area’s history and should be reported, but not disturbed.
  • Fireworks, beach fires, and bonfires are prohibited.
  • Vehicles are not permitted on the beach between May 1 and September 30.
  • The use of personal motorized watercraft is prohibited.
  • Warnings or citations may be issued for non-compliance of these rules.
  • Remember, by working together we can keep our beach beautiful and safe.
The dunes offer our community the first line of defense against wave action. Please utilize the designated dune crossovers to access our beach.

These are in place to preserve the dune system and the beach. Dune walkovers can be fairly elaborate with benches, roofs, stairs, railings, and decking, while others are fairly simple with only decking or sand paths.

For photographs of some of the dune walkovers within Town, click here.
Lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. between May 1 and October 31. The Town contractor maintains lifeguard stations at various locations throughout the summer in addition to ATV and truck patrols.

Please heed words of caution, advisories, and/or the flying of red (no swimming) flags. They are issued for your safety!

Visit our Surf Rescue page for more information, including current lifeguard stand locations.
Please follow words of caution, advisories, and/or the flying of red (no swimming) flags as they are issued for your safety. Although the Atlantic Ocean may be inviting and look calm, be alert as conditions can change rapidly and there is constant motion beneath the surface.

Take a few precautions before swimming:
  • Swim near a lifeguard!
  • Never swim alone.
  • Wait for at least a dozen waves to break, and decide if any one of them are bigger than you would want to ride.
  • Non-swimming companions should stay in the sand well above the watermark caused by the biggest wave. Wave wash is deceptively strong and anyone playing in it should be able to swim long enough to await rescue.
  • Look for rip currents and strong shore breaks.
  • If you have been drinking alcohol stay out of the water. Alcohol can impair your judgement, breathing, coordination, and swimming ability.
  • In an electrical storm, give yourself plenty of time to leave the beach and find shelter. Storms approach quickly.
  • Do not use flotation devices or rafts as substitutes for swimming ability. Southwesterly winds can push them far from shore.

In the Currituck Sound

Motorized personal watercraft may be used in the Currituck Sound between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and must be at least 900 feet from the shore. Please obey all right-of-way, speed limit, and other rules while enjoying your time on the sound. There are no public sound launch points within the Town of Duck for motorized personal watercraft.

A few of the watersports shops along the sound have private access and rent numerous types of non-motorized and motorized vehicles in which to enjoy the Currituck Sound.

In the Atlantic Ocean

The launching or landing of motorized personal watercraft is prohibited on the Town’s ocean beach.

Nearby public motorized boat ramps which are not within the Town of Duck include: Bay Drive/Dock Street in Kill Devil Hills; Bob Perry Road/Kitty Hawk Bay in Kitty Hawk; The Whalehead Club in Corolla; and at the Harbinger Public Park in Harbinger. A list of Outer Banks boat ramps.
Our beach employs a warning system -- a large red flag flying indicates that the currents are strong and the water is unsafe for swimming.


Local safety officials determine when such conditions exist and also make the decision as to when to take the flags down. Conditions may change during the course of the day -- pay attention!

Just because red flags are not posted does not mean the ocean is safe; there is always a risk when swimming or wading in open waters. If you are concerned about the conditions, check with a lifeguard at one of the designated lifeguard stands.
Strong rip currents can start very near the beach and carry you into deep water in seconds. They are caused by a slight depression in the beach between breaking waves. The returning water will head for the depression and soon become a dangerously strong seaward flow.

If you are caught in a rip, do NOT try and swim straight back to shore. Swim parallel to shore until you feel the current weaken or let the current take you out until it weakens. Then swim back to shore at a 45-degree angle.

Rip Current Sign

For additional information on rip current safety, please visit:
National Weather Service Rip Current Awareness
National Weather Service Local Forecast