Board votes to require permits for tent and umbrella vendors

By on December 6, 2018

(Town of Nags Head)

In a 4-1 vote, the Nags Head Board of Commissioners this week approved an ordinance requiring concierge services to obtain permits to place tents and umbrellas on the beach. The new rule also requires such equipment be placed a minimum of 50 feet from public accesses and lifeguard stands.

The move follows another ordinance the board enacted in June limiting the size of tents and canopies allowed on the beach, and requiring that all equipment be removed by 6 p.m.

Mayor Pro Tem Susie Walters cast the only dissenting vote at Wednesday’s board meeting, saying she was concerned about the town over-regulating.

“Tourism is the driver of our economy,” she said. “Eighty-five percent of people come for the beach. Let’s not make it hard for them. If we get too heavy-handed, people will go to other towns.”

At a meeting last month of the Beach Rental Equipment Committee, vendors who offer rental beach equipment discussed the proposed ordinance with town officials and had only one complaint. In the proposed version, tents and umbrellas would be allowed only from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“They all agreed that not allowing them to get the tents out on the beach for their customers until 10 a.m. would devalue their service enough that would make it not worthwhile to their customers and would most likely put them out of business,” according to minutes of the meeting.

The ordinance passed Wednesday extended the time equipment is allowed on the beach from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Vendors must now also obtain a permit to place tents and umbrellas on the beach, and register the business with the town’s tax collector.

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I hope Kill Devil Hills does something about the tents like Nags Head before the beaches become like New Jersey. One man in Jersey set up 6 tents for himself and his wife so that he didn’t have people next to him, and then others started to follow suit to establish their territory and would leave them up all day and night. Something to think about.


Please enforce the rules. Perhaps hire a banner plane to tell people to pick their stuff up. By the time Tuesday comes around 70% of people do not remove their tents, chair, tables , corn hole games, inflatables , coolers. There are plenty of people who would volunteer to police this activity. I have seen volleyball nets and tents abandoned on Saturday turnover. They languish on the beach until Public Works can pick them up. It’s overwhelming for that department.


It’s ok with me. More tents to collect at night and instead of selling them online, I’ll know who they belong to and collect a fee.


Scales has hit on something….it isn’t the vendors that are the problem, but the tourists! Make them get permits for these canopies and hold them responsible for location, proximity, set-up and take downs. Charge a nominal fee and hire someone to drive by all day and issue fines or sell permits.


Ban the tents. They monopolize the best real estate on the beach . 50’ to the access is too close


All the other business’s have permits; so why not them?

Scales of Balance

It was never the vendors…the vendors seem to have a working business model and the town nearly killed it. The vendors aren’t the problem. They get their commercial grade tents put up and taken down each day. It’s the visitors with a $70 walmart canopies that leave them out overnight to be destroyed or injure someone.


The real question is:
How many people will be impacted by the placement of the tents versus the number of people using the tent?

Visusal impact to the ocean view, shore view, and access to the water.

Tater Tot

Nags Head guvmint says “must do this” and “can’t do that”. Nags Head employees don’t and won’t enforce – because they can’t keep up with the over-regulation. Give your employees and beach users a break, or at least an amnesty for 12 months so that we can all get used to the new rules. And please don’t add any more new rules for the beach – there are plenty already and no one knows anymore what is allowed and what isn’t.


First of all, this ordinance only affects vendors who rent these canopy tents. Second, they are an obstruction for lifeguards. Third, they have often been placed directly in front of beach access points, making it difficult to access the beach for others. I once walked right through a canopy placed in such a spot and when I was confronted, I told them that I appreciated the shade along the access to the beach. They didn’t even offer me a beer!


Go to the beach any morning between 630-730am at Baltic steeet in Nags Head, then look north. As far as you can see are beach tents set up on the beach with no body around. The tents then sit unoccupied until around 11am. Then from 11-3ish are in use. Then remain empty until they are picked up. Once they are removed, go and check the area out, most are loaded with cigarette butts, plastic bottle/beer caps and other assorted small debris. It is ridiculous, and the more Saga monstrosities that pop up= that many more tents and trash.


Might this be a win for the oceanfront rental homes? Imagine you’re some poor tourist who has to rent between the highways, you get to the beach early and put your beach gear out only to be told you must move because a rental company has a permit to place a tent in your spot in front of an oceanfront rental.

I’m just wondering?

New Jersey

Whats next, “beach tags”?


State of nags head at it again


Nags Head, New Jersey!

Mike Stanfield

We’ve visited NH annually for over 30 years, and the use of canopy tents is the worst thing to happen to the beach scene. Anything that helps control them in is good! Please enforce the existing ordinance that prohibits leaving them on the beach overnight.


Let me get this right, the town is now responsible for keeping businesses in business. Will there be monetary hand outs with a business is down on their luck or just has a bad business model? Registration with the town solves nothing as they are not going to enforce the rules and besides that no one wants these huge tents on the beach. Their footprints are too big and they block views from those behind them or beside them. Why not step up and ban them.

Obx mermaid

Nags head just loves to churn up legal fees to hurt people who love the beach!