Frequently Asked Questions


 Weddings on Sunset Beach

Dreaming of getting married on the beach? Congratulations & Best Wishes!

We are so pleased you have chosen Sunset Beach for your ceremony.

Here are a few things you need to know . . .

  • You may get married on the public strand as long as you do not obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Please remember and inform your guests that no vehicles are permitted on the beach.
  • No glass is permitted on the beach. You may have chairs as long as they are removed by sunset.
  • The Gazebo is public property and, therefore, may not be rented. However, you may hold your ceremony in the Gazebo. You may have decorations but they may not include lights of any kind for safety reasons.
  • While you may use the Gazebo, please remember that it is a public entry to the beach and while most people will respect your ceremony some may need to use the beach access.
  • There is no permit required from Town Hall to hold a wedding on the beach strand.

Please feel free to email us at or phone us at 910-579-6297 if you have any questions.

And once again, Congratulations & Best Wishes!

 Beach Information

Over the years, the popularity of our beach with both visitors and permanent residents, has grown to the point that we now need to ask all who use the beach to help maintain its charm and beauty for the future. To help us preserve and protect this wonder of nature so you and your family can enjoy it this year and your grandchildren and their families in the future, we ask you to abide by a few rules.

We have instituted these solely for your safety and the protection of the environment. Our goals are to preserve the family atmosphere of Sunset Beach and add to your enjoyment and relaxation during your visit. Click here to view a full list of our ordinances.

Again, welcome to Sunset Beach and have a safe and relaxing visit with us.

Mayor and Town Council of Sunset Beach
  • Please keep off the dunes - they are turtle nesting grounds and protect the Island during storms.
  • While we welcome your dog joining you on our beach, we do have rules about when and under what circumstances.
    1. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.
    2. From the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, dogs are not allowed on the beach from 8 am through 6 pm.
    3. It's no fun to have wet, sandy dogs shaking on you while you are sunbathing, and for health and safety issues, we ask that you please remove any feces promptly and deposit them in the trash receptacles.
  • Fireworks and laser pointers are not permitted.
  • Please do not litter. Trash receptacles are conveniently located for your use.
  • Use only plastic containers or cans on the beach. For your safety, glass containers are not permitted.
  • For everyone's safety, do not launch or recover motorized watercraft from the beach.
  • Surfing is not permitted from 5th Street to 32nd Street.
  • Please do not block the public accesses to the beach. Emergency vehicles must be able to access the strand.
  • Because we are a turtle sanctuary, all personal property must be removed from the beach strand at dark and not returned until sunrise each day so that turtles can come ashore unobstructed. This also ensures safe walking on our beautiful shore at night.
  • Bonfires, charcoal and gas grills are not allowed on the beach or within ten (10) feet of a residence as they may cause fires.
  • All vehicular traffic is prohibited from the beach strand.
  • Sleeping or camping on the beach strand after dark is not allowed.
  • If you dig holes in the sand, please refill the sand to prevent visitors from being hurt and to ensure that turtles may come ashore without danger of falling in the hole.

The Town of Sunset Beach has instituted these rules (ordinances) primarily to protect the environment and to add to your enjoyment and safety while you are visiting with us. Our beach is patrolled during the day, but it is not guarded. Please exercise good judgment when swimming in the ocean.

Welcome to Sunset Beach, have a great visit, and please, leave only your footprints in the sand!

 Dogs on the Strand

The Town of Sunset Beach recognizes the special relationship between owners and their dogs and, therefore, allows dogs on the beach at designated times and dates. Owners have a responsibility to properly leash their dogs and to pick up after them. Not doing so will result in citations. Not cleaning up after your dog presents health hazards to humans and is detrimental to our beach and our ocean. Please act responsibly.

  1. Notwithstanding the provisions of #96.20, it shall be unlawful for an owner or another person to permit his/her dog to be on the beach strand between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. from the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day through Labor Day, whether or not the dog is leashed and under the control of the owner or some other person.
  2. After 6 p.m. and before 9 a.m. from the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day through Labor Day, dogs are permitted on the strand if leashed and under the control of the owner or some other person assuming responsibility for the owner.
  3. After Labor Day and before the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day, dogs are permitted on the strand if leashed and under the control of the owner or some other person assuming responsibility for the owner.


Ordinance § 96.33 Cleaning Up After Pets

  1. Any person owning, keeping, possessing or harboring any pet shall carry in plain view bags and utensils to promptly remove and dispose of all feces left by the pet on any public property and on any private property not owned or lawfully occupied by such person within the Town of Sunset Beach and shall promptly remove said feces left by said pet.
  2. Violation of Section 96.33 shall be a misdemeanor punishable as provided in GS 14-4. In addition, any person violating this section shall also be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $100 for each separate and distinct offense, which shall be payable within 72 hours of being cited for the violation.

Please click below to print and post the Dogs on the Strand Regulations in your rental property.

 Fire Department

Why does the fire department flow water from my fire hydrant so often?
The Sunset Beach Fire Department tests all fire hydrants in the district twice a year. Fire hydrants are tested to ensure they are in working order and have enough water pressure to provide a sufficient flow for fighting a fire. No shrubbery, trees, or other obstructions are permitted around the hydrant within 36”.

How do I request a tour of the fire station?
To request a tour of a fire station or to schedule a fire engine visit to your site, call 910-579-2456.

How can I get a copy of a fire report?
Fire reports may be obtained from Station 1 located at 102 W. Shoreline Drive, Monday thru Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm.

Does the fire department service fire extinguishers?
No, the fire department does not service fire extinguishers. There are private fire protection companies that offer those services. They can be found in the phone book.

Where can I purchase a fire extinguisher?
Portable fire extinguishers can be purchased at a wide variety of retail stores. Home improvement centers and hardware stores generally carry adequate selections from which to choose.

What is the best kind of fire extinguisher for my house?
A multi-purpose fire extinguisher is best for any home. Look for the rating to be at least 2A:10B: C on the label. This extinguisher can be used on any type of fire commonly found in the home. It will often be labeled A-B-C.

Where can I purchase an evacuation ladder?
Escape ladders for residential evacuations from the second floor areas can be found at most home improvement centers or through online fire safety websites.

 Police Department

Can the police check my house while I am on vacation or away?
Yes. You can obtain the House Check Form from Town Hall and the Police Department or click here to view and complete the House Check Form online. 

Can a golf cart be operated on the streets in Sunset Beach?
Golf Carts may not be operated on any Town, County, or State road in North Carolina unless the driver has a valid driver’s license and the vehicle has been registered and inspected by DMV. Golf carts may only operate on roads with speed limits designated under 35 mph, but may cross over a roadway that is of a higher speed. 

Are fireworks legal in Sunset Beach?
All fireworks are ILLEGAL and they could carry a penalty of $100.00 and/or 30 days in jail.

How can I get a copy of a police report?
You may come by the Police Department, Monday–Friday, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm to pick up a copy of a police report or you may call us at (910)-579-2151 and we will be happy to mail or fax you a copy.

Can I get my fingerprints made at the Police Department?
Yes. We fingerprint Monday–Friday, 10:00 am -2:00 pm for $15.00 per session. Please remember to bring a picture ID with you.

Who do I call if I have an animal complaint?
Please call the Sunset Beach Police Department with any animal control issues. Brunswick County Animal Services will not come inside the city limits to handle animal calls.

Are dogs allowed on the beach strand?
Dogs are not allowed on the beach strand between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm beginning on the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. After Labor Day and before the Friday immediately preceding Memorial Day, dogs are permitted on the beach strand if they are restrained. You must also clean up after your dog.

Are weddings allowed on the beach strand or gazebo?
Yes. But remember, any chairs, decorations, etc. must be removed from the beach immediately following the ceremony.

 Building Inspections Department

How Do I Know If a Building Permit Is Required?
The following list is a guideline only. It is not all-inclusive to projects that may require a permit. In addition to the list below, if any structural work is altered or replaced a permit is necessary. Due to the fact that our jurisdiction is located in a high wind zone and a large portion of the area is also located in a floodplain it is advisable that you contact the Inspections Department prior to beginning any work without a permit.

  • Additions to any structure
  • Back Flow Preventors/RPZ Valves
  • Change in Occupancy for a Commercial Use
  • Decks (new or repairs)
  • Demolition of any structure
  • Docks and/or Bulkheads
  • Driveways/Concrete/Pavers 
  • Fences
  • Fire Sprinkler(s)
  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
  • New Construction: Residential and Commercial
  • Pools
  • Renovations/Remodels: Residential and Commercial 
  • Roofing and/or Siding
  • Signs
  • Storage/Accessory Structures
  • Windows and/or Doors

When Do I Hire A Licensed Contractor?
A licensed North Carolina General Contractor is required for the building of or improvement to a structure when the cost exceeds $30,000.   An electrical contractor is required in the event of any installation, maintenance, alteration, repair work, wiring, wiring devices, appliances or equipment.   A licensed Mechanical or Plumbing Contractor is required for the installation of, or change out of a heating and air system, water heater, duct work, gas line and/or fuel piping, or other related projects.

Are There Rules For Erecting A Sign?
Click here to view the Town of Sunset Beach Ordinances, Signs and Outdoor Advertising Structures, Sections 151.110 – 151.120 for all signage regulations.

What are the set backs for my property?
Set back information for residential zones is available in the Sunset Beach Code of Ordinance, click here to view the Ordinances. For information on Commercial or Multi-family setbacks contact the Inspections Department.

During What Hours Is Construction Permitted?
Work may take place between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day and 7:00 am till 8:00 pm the remainder of the year. No work will be allowed on any Sunday anytime of the year.

Can You Give Me A Referral For A Builder Or A Contractor?
The Inspections Department cannot make referrals, however, if you have questions about any contractor, contact the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors.

Do I Need A Permit To Cut Down Trees In My Yard?
Yes, you are required to obtain a Fill and Grade permit. Once a permit application has been submitted an inspector will come to your property and assess the trees to be cut. There is no charge for this permit.

I Have A CAMA Permit; Do I Still Need A Building Permit From Sunset Beach?
Yes. The Sunset Beach permits are separate from CAMA permits. Be sure to provide a copy of your CAMA permit and two (2) sets of plans when submitting your application.

Where Can I Purchase The North Carolina Code Books?
Books may be purchased through the following websites:, or a Community College Bookstore.

Do Permits Have Time Limits Attached?
Yes. A permit shall expire six (6) months after the date it is issued if the work has not started. Once work has started, if it is discontinued for a period of twelve months, the permit will immediately expire.

I Am Opening A Business, Do I Need A Business License?
No, but you will need to apply for a Change of Occupancy Permit with the Building Inspections Department.