It takes a lot of planning to take the family dog on a family beach vacation.  Finding the right location and accommodations can be tough.  The Atlantis Lodge on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is a family destination that more than meets the needs of families with pets. 

Photo:  History Buff Traveling Mom

Photo: History Buff Traveling Mom

The Crystal Coast is made up of a chain of islands along the southern Outer Banks that has been a popular seaside vacation spot since the 1920s.  Many beaches, campgrounds and resorts do not allow dogs so you need to do your research when visiting this area. There are many vacation rental properties along the coastline but you have to book early because very few of them accept pets and many of those are on the higher price range.

Photo:  Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Located in Atlantic Beach, the family-owned Atlantis Lodge is a veritable jewel in the crystal crown for dog owners. The first thing you notice when you drive up to the hotel is that the grounds are well-kept and lush. The other thing you notice is that there are a fair number of canine guests.

Upon checking in you will find a welcome gift for you and your pooch along with the rules regarding pets. The hotel runs a tight ship and does not allow excessively barking pets —and in fact we heard very little barking at all during our stay. It also expects guests to be responsible and clean up after their four-legged friends. The hotel makes this part easy.

Photo:  Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Amenities for Humans and Canines

Puppy Potty: Pooper scoopers are positioned in buckets all around the property.  Owners are expected to scoop and chuck the contents into the brush that surrounds the property and was designed for this purpose.  Its more environmentally friendly than little plastic bags and more pleasant than bags accumulating in smelly garbage pails.

Sandy Pups: For humans, there are hoses and an outdoor shower to rinse off after leaving the beach. For dogs, the hotel provides a raised doggy tub that has a harness attached so you can rinse fido off without stooping or struggling to keep the dog in the tub.

Swimming: The beach on the crystal coast is clean and beautiful and so dogs must be kept on leashes, unless they are swimming in the ocean. The hotel also has a pool but for sanitary purposes – no dogs are allowed. The hotel provides beach chairs and umbrellas as well as some beach toys for kids.

BBQ and patio: The hotel offers guests the use of a BBQ and provides a patio with tables and chairs for families on a budget or just those who wish to dine with their dog.

Recreation room: On the top floor of the hotel overlooking the ocean is a game room with a pool table, books and board games that is great for a rainy day or a break from the sun.

Photo:  Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Rooms

This is not a luxury hotel.  There are no marble bathrooms or designer furniture here but the rooms are bright, clean and airy, all have lovely ocean views with a balcony, the furniture is maintained and updated. Our room had an efficiency kitchen with tables and chairs, which was perfect for preparing breakfast and light lunches and washing dog bowls.

But more than the rooms and the amenities, there are a lot of happy dogs and families here. The atmosphere is very welcoming and relaxed and the room rates do not break the family budget.

The Crystal Coast is a lovely set of islands with ample restaurants and activities for families. The beautiful beaches and warm water make it a great family vacation destination.  The Atlantis Lodge lets you

What to Know Before You Go

  • Bring your own beach towels as these are not provided by the hotel.
  • Make sure your pet has preventative flea and tick treatment before taking them on any vacation. In heavily tick populated areas you may also want to consider a Lyme disease vaccine.
  • When traveling with our pet we always bring an extra sheet or blanket to put on the furniture so we don’t have to worry about it getting dirty or sandy if our pup should jump on it.
  • This is a popular summer destination but if you go at the end of the summer, when school has started, you will always get a chair at the beach.
  • When taking your pet on a road trip consider safety on the road.