Nags Head board approves more limits to tents on the beach

By on June 6, 2018

(Town of Nags Head)

New rules approved by the Nags Head Board of Commissioners Wednesday are aimed at discouraging beach-goers from hogging territory by spelling out the allowable size and spacing of canopies and tents.

The ordinance amendment was approved by the Board of Commissioners Wednesday.

A 2014 ordinance already requires beach-goers to remove personal items, including tents and canopies, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Towns have taken the step because so many tents were being left behind overnight to reserve space or abandoned after visitors leave.

Ocean Rescue and emergency workers in Nags Head can also direct where tents or canopies are placed to allow a path for emergency vehicles and lines of sight for lifeguards.

The latest amendments limit the size of tents and canopies to an area of 12 feet by 12 feet and a height of 9 feet. It also requires them to be spaced at least 10 feet apart.

“This ordinance is designed to further the public safety objectives of the original ordinance by controlling the overall size of equipment used on the beach,” a summary on the agenda for the Board’s meeting Wednesday said.

“Additionally, large parties frequently use multiple tents and canopies to control large sections of beach, which are often unoccupied for portions of the day. This ordinance would establish spacing requirements to limit this practice.”

Commissioners had asked the planning staff to write the amendment.

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Recent posts in this category


  • Mike Gaskill

    I wish my life was so meaningless all I had to worry about was someone placing a tent on a beach that everyone owns. This isn’t a public safety issue , this is ‘I live here so it’s my beach issue “. Grow up . I’ve never seen such a group of self entitlement ego maniacs as the ‘locals” here in Dare county. I say locals because 95% of you aren’t from here or born here. Neither is your transplanted offspring

    Thursday, Jun 7 @ 9:28 am
  • OhioBricker

    You have to have rules (even if they aren’t strictly enforced.) Unfortunately, people aren’t going to be considerate just because they should be. These rules seem reasonable to me. I hadn’t used a tent until last year. Now I can’t imagine going to the beach without one. But I do understand the complaints about them.

    Thursday, Jun 7 @ 10:47 am
  • Sue

    You “just ban them altogether” people don’t understand the need for shade at the beach with kids and family. It’s hot and dangerous to stay in the sun full tilt all day long, regardless of your sunblock protection. And if you live here and go the beach frequently, you would also know that umbrellas are useless with any kind of strong wind.

    Thursday, Jun 7 @ 10:58 am
  • JD

    We have a family group of 60-70 and use 3 tents. To stay close to one another. They really want us to spread out 10’ apart? Seems like we’ll be bothering more people by doing that.

    Thursday, Jun 7 @ 1:25 pm
  • Pj

    Good one Mike Gaskill, You can thank the North Carolina tourist bureau folks for telling all the out of state folks to come to the OBX, out of state and mainland folks for the most part just seem to ruin the beaches with trash, cig butts, and so on, the same way that they have ruined the beaches up north. The canopies/tents/umbrellas are least of the problems,People need shade.

    Thursday, Jun 7 @ 3:02 pm
  • nigel

    What a first world problem!

    Who is going to enforce this rule? Lifeguards? Deputies? I would rather the lifeguards continue to watch swimmers, and deputies have far more pressing issues.

    What a waste of time.

    Friday, Jun 8 @ 6:18 am
  • Bud

    Should not be coming here with 60-70 people..
    If you require shade than don’t go to the beach, or go when it is nice out like 6am-11, and then 5pm-dark.

    Friday, Jun 8 @ 6:51 am
  • Really?

    So Nags Head builds all of those McMansions, crams them full of people and now complains about too many people crowding the beach?? Really? What a clown town!

    Friday, Jun 8 @ 7:58 am
  • Scott

    @surf123 I have to completely agree. We all grew up with just an umbrella, or nothing at all, or we didn’t go. Your kids will be fine, just like the kids were fine 40 years ago without all of this nonsense. If it’s that big of a deal, don’t go.

    In fact, I think they should bring back beach driving year ’round. It wasn’t until this place became so inundated with people that they stopped beach driving in the summer months. Just because they are too dumb to not walk out in front of a car, doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to suffer.

    Friday, Jun 8 @ 12:02 pm
  • Mare

    Vacation groups of 60-70 people? Incredible! Rent your own island???

    Friday, Jun 8 @ 8:48 pm
  • Forbes Kennedy

    I had been going to OBX from 1987 to 2016. I admit I am from Philly (then Charlottesville, VA). I have really watched the “Jersey-ization” of the OBX devolve over the past 10 years or so. The customers in the supermarkets less friendly; the tourists more nasty; more cars-spilling-out-of-driveways because of over occupancy in rentals. We actually wanted to buy a retirement home in Corolla, but not anymore.

    This tent issue on the beaches seems like a natural regression in the OBX as a vacation spot. I am not superstitious by nature, but think that sometimes things are a “sign.” Our final “sign”? When Kelly’s–which was our favorite place for a capstone dinner on our two week vacations–closed and a supermarket was planned to replace it.

    Does one need any more of an omen?

    Saturday, Jun 9 @ 7:36 am
  • Beachgirl

    I’ve seen those tents as well as umbrellas go flying in the wind. Saw one tent smack into a family without a tent. We never used one. If you shouldn’t be in the sun wear a hat and sun protected clothing or don’t go. The tents are people’s way of saving space. And shame on Saga for putting the tents up to reserve for families. It’s a public beach, and if I want to sit I will. Regardless of the tent saying reserved. If no one is under it then to bad. I think tents should not be allowed. They,re dangerous and look terrible

    Saturday, Jun 9 @ 12:27 pm
  • voidLess1

    Carpetbagger mentality……….shame we are forced to police.

    Saturday, Jun 9 @ 5:44 pm
  • Bud

    Saga Destruction..

    Monday, Jun 11 @ 5:44 am
  • donny

    the main problem is the tent rental companies, they set them up at 6-7am everyday then take them down between 5-7pm every evening (sometimes don’t take them down). Half the time or more the tents are unoccupied.

    Monday, Jun 11 @ 7:28 am
  • rsgundersen

    Was on the Kill Devil Hills beach for 3 days this past weekend and many were left up overnight. There a number of canopies that exceeded the law. Glass bottles should also be banned and ANYONE littering should be fined.

    Monday, Jun 11 @ 9:04 am
  • JB

    We stayed in Nags Head just a few weeks ago. Watched a large group put up a tent just over from us. In the evening, they only took the tent cover off and left the frame out there all night. No reflectors or anything warning it was still there. This is what is dangerous. While most people think it should be OK, it’s really not. What’s the point in having rules for safety if they are not going to be followed. I have been beside public beach entrances and watched as families come out and set up as many as 3 tents to have their little party area. For a renter right on the beach front it was hideous to watch.
    Storms come up all the time and high tide can get quite rough at times too…and yes can get high enough to carry things back out in the ocean. This causes more pollution and yet it can be controlled.
    For all of you who talk about your little ones needing to be out of the sun or even people who are sensitive to the sun, let me ask you…what did people do before these tents were ever invented?

    Monday, Jun 11 @ 11:54 am
  • Mike Gaskill

    This beach was destroyed years ago by the carpet baggers. Now they buy a house , start a restaurant or some other meaningless business , and raise their flag. Pretty soon they run for local office. Clawing and fighting for some ‘authority” to pass an ordinance to limit something. House size , business location , plastic bags , chain restaurant etc. they have ruined the entire beach. So no one wants to be around old snobby Yankees waiting to kick the bucket. That’s what Florida is for. They think they own the place now. Look at Virginia Beach , ocean city and the jersey shore. What a joke . This crowd has been foaming at the mouth for a chance to impersonate a true southerner for years.

    Tuesday, Jun 12 @ 12:24 pm