The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches You and Your Pooch Will Enjoy
As a dog lover, it’s only natural that you want to take your dog with you wherever you go. Yet, some areas, like national parks and most beaches, are no-go zones for canines.
Some of the reasons behind this are to protect the environment and to prevent the dogs from coming to harm.
The main reason is to give people the space to enjoy the beach. Most people love dogs, and if we all took our best friends to the beach with us, things would soon get out of control.
It’s hard to believe, but around 9 % of people suffer from an irrational fear of dogs. Since the seaside is for everyone to enjoy, it’s only fair that dogs aren’t allowed on the most popular ones.
Fortunately, there are plenty of dog-friendly beaches where you can spend time with your dog in the USA. Here’s where to find them.
Lovers Key Dog Beach, Florida
Florida has a long coastline, which means more beaches to enjoy with your dog. At Lovers Key State Park, you’ve got the double whammy of having a beach within a protected area where Fido can roam free.
You’ll find these emerald waters and golden sands just south of Fort Myers on a barrier island that used to be inaccessible from the shore. Now, a short drive across the new bridge brings you to doggie heaven complete with a rinse station for sandy paws.
Jupiter Dog Beach, Florida
Jupiter Dog Beach takes up 2.5 miles of shoreline from Carlin Park to the Juno Beach Lifeguard station. That makes it the largest dog-friendly beach on the East Coast. You’ll find it at the beach crossovers marked 25-29.
Friends of Jupiter have been the custodians of this area for over 20 years and there are even free doggie droppings bags up for grabs on site. Jupiter Beach is open year-round for dogs and their human companions.
Fort Desoto Beach Park, Florida
This St Petersburg Beach provides both a seaside playground as well as a fenced-in play area for dogs. These grassed sections feature separate areas for big and little dogs. Each has its own water station.
The entrance to the beach is at the southeast corner of the grassy dog park. All dogs must be on a leash when entering and exiting the park, but they can run free on the sands and in the play areas.
Huntington Dog Beach, California
Huntington Dog Beach is one of California’s best dog beaches. The volunteers that maintain this place have gone out of their way to ensure this beach is the stuff of doggie dreams.
There’s plenty of space to play, with the entire section of shore from Seapoint Avenue and 21st Street dedicated to dogs. The rules state that dogs should be on a leash, but no one complains about well-socialized, well-trained, obedient dogs romping around freely.
You’ll find this beach along the Pacific Coast Highway and it’s open from 5 AM to 10 PM daily.
Del Mar Dog Beach, California
California is a welcoming place for dog lovers and Del Mar is no exception. With over two miles of beachfront open to dogs, your pooch is bound to get more than their daily share of exercise during an outing here.
North Beach is the most popular section of Del Mar Beach for pet owners and has thus earned the name Dog Beach. The beach is just north of 29th Street close to Solana Beach.
The clean sand, vast waters, coastal bluff, and the San Dieguito River are what hold the appeal for dogs and their owners. Dogs have free reign over this beach all year round, except during peak beach times, from June 15 and Labor Day, when you’ll need to take a leash along.
Double Bluff Beach, Washington
Backed by views over the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier, Double Bluff Beach is a treat for dog lovers. Dogs on a leash are welcome along the entire Bluff Beach stretch as well as various other designated dog areas on Whidbey Island.
There’s also a two-mile-long off-leash play area and a doggy drinking fountain. This wide sandy beach means there’s plenty of space to play and there are also piles of driftwood on the beach for sniffing and exploring.
Kitty Hawk Beach, North Carolina
The Outer Banks in North Carolina are a popular place to vacation with dogs, so its no surprise to find a great dog beach here.
Dogs are welcome to do their thing off-leash year-round on Kitty Hawk, except for the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Even then, they only need constraints between 10 AM and 6 PM.
The Atlantic Ocean can get a little rough at times, so always keep an eye on your dogs if they love to head out into the water.
Bald Head Island, North Carolina
If you like to have the beach all to yourself, Bald Head Island offers the perfect escape. The island’s accessible only via ferry or private boat and a favorite getaway for those who want to avoid the crowds.
There are no vehicles allowed here, but dogs are welcome. Here they’ll have over 14 miles of beach to enjoy leash-free almost year-round. During the turtle nesting season, from mid-July to late September, you’ll need to keep your dog on a leash between sunset and sunrise.
8th Avenue Dog Beach, New Jersey
Asbury Park is a haven for dog-lovers with many dog-friendly facilities. Foremost of these is the official dog beach at 8th Avenue which welcomes people and their pets all day long.
From Mid May to Mid September dogs may only roam off-leash in the early morning and evenings but the rest of the time dogs have carte blanche on the sands.
Leashed dogs can join you for a walk along the boardwalk afterward and many of the restaurants along this strip welcome dogs.
Block Island Beach, Rhode Island
There’s only one beach in New England where dogs can play freely all year round. The rest of them are all off-limits once the holiday crowds arrive.
Block Island is a small island off the coast of Rhode Island and although you’ll need to take the ferry to get there, dogs ride free if they say on their leash. The entire island is exceptionally dog-friendly with hotels and restaurants welcoming furry friends but use your discretion on the busier beaches. The holiday crowds might not appreciate free-roaming canines.
It’s easy to find somewhere safe and secluded where your dog can run wild and swim safely away from the crowds.
Jekyll Island Dog-Friendly Beaches, Georgia
Jekyll Island is a great location for a dog-friendly vacation with plenty of hotels, restaurants, and beaches that welcome dogs. It’s just off the coast of Georgia so it’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of birdlife to admire too.
Beach-wise, you’ll need to keep your pup on a leash on most of the beaches, due to the birds.
If you want to let your dog run free for a while, you only need to head north of the South Dunes Picnic spot. Be advised that the beaches on this part of the island are narrow, so it’s best to visit at low tide.
Assateague Island, Maryland
Another great island destination for dog lovers, the northern Maryland side of Assateague Island is open to dogs as long as they’re constrained on a 6-foot leash.
The Virginia portion of Assateague Island is a national wildlife refuge, and dogs are not allowed in this section.
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, Michigan
Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness area takes up 3,450-acres of the Manistee National Forest on Michigan’s lower peninsula. Despite it’s protected status, this area has miles of dog-friendly beaches to enjoy.
Due to the birdlife in the area, your dog will need to remain on a leash, but they’ll love exploring the tall dunes and ponds along these lovely shores.
Kennebunk Beaches, Maine
Kennebunk has three dog beaches that allow dogs off-leash as long as they stay under control. These are Middle Beach, Gooch’s Beach, and Mother’s Beach.
There are doggie bags provided and the opening hours vary according to the season. You can take to the sands all day between Labor Day and June 15th but only before 9 AM and after 5 PM at other times of the year.
You’ll need a permit to take your dog to the beach between mid-June and mid-September.
Heading to the Beach With Your Dog
If you’re planning to try out some of these dog-friendly beaches, please make sure you know how to introduce your dog to others of its kind. An untrained, anxious dog is a danger to itself and to others.
Keep reading our blog for all the best advice on everything to do with dogs.