25 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in USA
Dogs like to visit the beach just as much as we do, and in some cases, they love it even more. As a pet owner, few things are better than a beautiful beach that welcomes your pup to dig in the sand, splash around in the water, and otherwise have fun in the sun. From the white sand beaches of Florida to the rugged islands on the Atlantic coast, dog beaches can be found wherever people like to go on vacation. From coast to coast, here are the best dog-friendly beaches the country has to offer. Photo: otsphoto/Fotolia
»Huntington Dog Beach - CA
Stretching for approximately 1.5 miles along the Pacific Coast, Huntington Dog Beach is located on the northern end of Huntington Beach. The beach is regularly used to host special events for dogs, including canine weddings, dog surfing competitions, and a special annual corgi beach day. Signs indicate that dogs must be on a 6-foot leash, but the beach is known to locals as an off-leash beach and dogs are only ever cited by the city if deemed dangerous. Amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, and complimentary doggie waste bags, and the beach is open every day between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Contact: 100 Goldenwest St F, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, Phone: 714-841-8644
»Jennings Dog Beach - CT
Offering stunning views of Long Island Sound, Jennings Dog Beach is a large 27-acre piece of land that provides dogs with plenty of space to play on the sand and in the water. Amenities include public washrooms, picnic tables, a snack shack, a volleyball area, and sailboat racks, and the beach is wheelchair accessible. Plenty of parking is available, and a parking fee is charged to non-residents between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The beach is open to the public every day from dawn to dusk, but dogs are only permitted between October 1st and April 1st.
Contact: 880 S Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824, Phone: 203-256-3191
»Jupiter Dog Beach - FL
Accessible from two different exits on the I-95, Jupiter Dog Beach is a 2.5-mile stretch of sand that begins at beach marker 25 and goes all the way down to beach marker 60. Dogs must be controlled at all times, and visitors should be aware that the water is home to sea lice and jellyfish that can harm dogs. Owners are required to clean up after their pets, and plenty of free doggie waste bag dispensers can be found along the beach. The sand is kept clean thanks to monthly volunteer beach cleanups, which visitors are more than welcome to join.
Contact: 48 Ocean Blvd, Jupiter, FL 33477
»Jekyll Island - GA
Jekyll Island is conveniently located just of the coast of Georgia, and it's one of the best spots in the state to bring your dog on vacation. Dogs must be kept on a leash on most of island's southern beaches, as this part of the island is home to nesting sea turtles and migratory birds. However, anyone wanting to let their dog run free only needs to head north of the South Dunes Picnic Area. Some of the beaches in the north are quite narrow, so it's best if you can visit this part of the island at low tide.
Photo: Flat Nine Photo/Fotolia
»Montrose Dog Beach - IL
Found right next to the old boat launch structure on Montrose Beach, Montrose Dog Beach is widely considered to be the best dog beach in Chicago. Off-leash dogs are welcome, and there is a convenient area to rinse off your pup when it's time to head home for the day. All dogs who visit the beach are required to have city-issued DFA tags proving that they aren't going to spread diseases to other animals. The beach is maintained by a volunteer organization known as MonDog, and visitors who enjoyed their time at the beach are encouraged to make a small donation.
»Assateague Island - MD
Located in the Atlantic Ocean just off the east coast of the mainland, Assateague Island is a rugged 37-mile island split between the states of Maryland and Virginia. Animals are only allowed on the northern section of the island that belongs to Maryland; the Virginia portion of the island is a national wildlife refuge, and pets are not even permitted to enter this part of the island in vehicles. Dogs are required to be on a 6-foot leash at all times, and visitors to the beach are charged an admission fee.
Photo: Mary Swift/Fotolia
»Kennebunk Beaches - ME
Kennebunk offers three different beaches that permit off-leash dogs as long as they're under voice control: Mother's Beach, Middle Beach, and Gooch's Beach. The city works to keep the beaches as clean as possible, and pet owners are required to use the provided doggie waste bags to clean up after their furry friends. The beaches' dog-friendly hours vary according to the season: dogs are permitted all day between Labor Day and June 15th, but during the rest of the year, their access is restricted to before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Permits are required between mid-June and mid-September.
»Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area - MI
Encompassing almost 3,500 acres of land bordering Lake Michigan, the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area offers plenty of pet-friendly beaches and nature trails. Dogs must always be kept on a leash; this is especially important when exploring the sandy beaches along Lake Michigan, which are home to a species of endangered bird known as the piping plover. Dogs that love playing in the sand will also appreciate the park's sand dunes, which are approximately 3,500 years old and more than 140 feet tall. The dunes are surrounded by freshwater ponds, and many are covered with dune grass.
»Galveston - TX
Featuring 32 miles of dog-friendly beaches, the city of Galveston is the ideal vacation destination for pets and their owners. All of the beaches require dogs to be kept on a leash, but there's plenty of room for you and your furry friend to stretch your legs. The island's East Beach is one of largest in the state, and dogs can be walked along the city's beautiful seawall, which runs for more than 10 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. When it's time for a break, it's not hard to find a local cafe that will allow your pooch to sit on the patio.
Photo: BJ Ray/Fotolia
»Double Bluff Beach - WA
Found on Whidbey Island, Double Bluff Beach boasts stunning views of the surrounding mountains and downtown Seattle. The highlight of the beach is the off-leash dog park, where dogs are free to play in the sand and the surf to their heart's content. There are plenty of other beach activities for pet owners to enjoy as well; the beach stretches on for miles, and it's a popular destination for clamming, seashell hunting, and even rock collecting. Parking can be found along the side of the road, but summer visitors are advised to go early to secure a good spot.
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»Bald Head Island - NC
Bald Head Island can only be reached by ferry or by private boat, but it's an excellent vacation spot for people looking to get away from it all. It also happens to be incredibly pet friendly; there are no vehicles on the island, and dogs and other animals are welcome on the ferry. The island is ringed by 14 miles of beach, and off-leash dogs are permitted on all of them at almost every time of the year. However, this changes during turtle nesting season, when dogs must be kept on a leash between sunset and sunrise.
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»Wildwood Dog Beach - NJ
Unlike most of the other popular beaches on the Jersey Shore, Wildwood Dog welcomes dogs with open arms. The entrance to the beach is marked with a large red fire hydrant, and visitors are welcome every day between 6 a.m. and dusk. Leashed dogs are welcome on every part of the beach, and there is even an off-leash area for dogs to get some exercise and play with the other pups visiting the beach. There is no fee for admission, and beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented from the kiosks that dot the beach.
Contact: 2801-2899 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260, Phone: 609-522-2444
Photo: Jorge Moro/Fotolia
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»Rosie's Dog Beach - CA
Found in the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach, Rosie's Dog Beach was the first beach in L.A. County to permit dogs off the leash. The beach is not fenced in, and dogs must be on a leash whenever not in the designated dog zone. Visitors are not permitted to bring more than one dog per person, and all dogs are required to have collars and up-to-date vaccinations. The beach is open every day between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., and free beachfront parking is available in the first 2 hours after the beach opens and the last 2 hours before it closes.
Contact: 5000 E Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90803, Phone: 562-570-3100
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»Fiesta Island Off Leash Dog Park - CA
Off-leash dogs are welcome to roam most of Fiesta Island, and the Fiesta Island Off Leash Dog Park is no exception. The beach runs all the way around the island and can be accessed via the main road; the park is open 24/7, but vehicles are only permitted between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visitors to the beach will usually find it to be quiet and uncrowded, making it easy to enjoy the views of downtown San Diego. Facilities on the beach are limited, but free doggie waste bags are available and there are several bonfire pits available for visitors to use.
Contact: 1590 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109, Phone: 619-525-8213
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»Fort Funston Beach - CA
Fort Funston Beach is best known as a destination for hang gliders, but it's also a wonderful off-leash dog beach despite the fact that the area is often quite windy. Visitors and their dogs are discouraged from swimming as the currents can be extremely strong, but there are plenty of excellent hiking trails to enjoy, including some that lead up to the top of the sandy 200-foot bluffs that border the beach. Dogs are permitted on the trails as long as they're under the control of their owners, but pet owners should be aware that horses are sometimes seen on the trails.
Contact: Fort Funston Rd, San Francisco, CA 94132, Phone: 415-561-4700
Photo: Yuval Helfman/Fotolia
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»Fort De Soto Park - FL
Encompassing more than 1,100 acres spread out over five tiny, interconnected islands, Fort De Soto Park offers beaches, forests, and plenty of nature trails. Leashed dogs are permitted in almost every part of the park, but the highlights for pet owners are the quarter-mile-long off-leash dog beach and the enclosed 2.5-acre dog park. Doggie showers are provided for pups of every size in the dog park for when it's time to rinse off the sand, and dogs who would enjoy exploring the rest of the park are welcome to join their owners on the park's 7 miles of trails.
Contact: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., St. Petersburg, FL 33715, Phone: 727-582-2267
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»Sanibel Island - FL
Only 25 miles away from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is a beautiful barrier island dotted with lighthouses and luxurious resorts. The island has a number of beaches to offer, but the most popular with pet owners is Algiers Beach in Gulfside City Park. Dogs must be kept on an 8-foot leash, but there is plenty of space for pets and their owners to move around and get some exercise. An hourly fee is charged for parking, and beach amenities include a shady picnic area, boardwalks that provide easy access to the sand, and public barbecue grills.
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»Fisherman's Cove - NJ
It can be quite difficult to find a dog-friendly beach in New Jersey, especially during the peak summer months, but Fisherman's Cove is a hidden gem that welcomes dogs all day long as long as they're kept on a leash. Like most other beaches on the shore, this one tends to get busy, but there's usually plenty of space for dogs to play. Sitting on the Manasquan Inlet, the park offers several hundred feet of beachfront and more than 50 acres of marshland that pets and their owners can explore. Admission is free, and the park is open from 7 a.m. until sundown.
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»Port Jefferson Public Beach and Dog Park - NY
Port Jefferson offers more than 2 miles of beautiful shoreline, but nowhere is better for pets and their owners than Port Jefferson Public Beach and Dog Park. The walking path that runs along the beach is the perfect place to stretch your legs and give your dog some exercise, and it provides direct access to the beach for when your furry friend is ready to go play in the sand or the water. Once you've had enough of the beach, head to the doggy bakery down the street to pick up a special treat for your pet.
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»Montauk Beach - NY
One of the most popular weekend vacations spots with visiting New Yorkers, Montauk boasts miles of white sandy beaches. The beaches' dog-friendly hours change according to the season; between mid-May and the end of September, dogs are only permitted on the beaches before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m., regardless of whether or not they're on a leash. However, dogs are welcome to run free on the beaches during all other times. There are also several beautiful trails that pets and their owners can explore, including the Point Woods Loop Trail, which has excellent ocean views, and the area around Montauk Point Lighthouse.
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»Cannon Beach - OR
Cannon Beach is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in Oregon, and it also happens to be one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the country. A unique dog show takes place here every October, but the beach is a great destination at every other time of year as well. There are miles of sandy oceanfront to explore, and dogs are permitted to run free as long as they're kept under voice control by their owners. Visitors are sure to work up an appetite while visiting the beach, and many of the nearby restaurants have oceanfront patios that welcome pets.
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»Block Island Beaches - RI
Situated just off the coast of Rhode Island, Block Island is a tiny but beautiful island with more than its fair share of wonderful beaches. Dogs are permitted on all of the ferries that go to the island, and pet owners will be delighted to find that many of the area's hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals welcome dogs. However, leashes are required on every part of the island; this rule is enforced particularly heavily during the later part of the spring, as this is when the local piping plovers make their nests on the beaches.
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»Morris Island - SC
Best known as the home of the Morris Island Lighthouse, Morris Island is an uninhabited island that sits in Charleston Harbor. The island can only be accessed by private boat, but for visitors who don't have a boat of their own, some local companies offer 3-hour pet-friendly boat tours out to the island. While dogs are running free on the island's beautiful beaches, their owners can keep themselves entertained by watching the water for dolphins and combing the sand for shells. Because the island is undeveloped, visitors must bring enough food and fresh water for both themselves and their pets.
Photo: Nickolay Khoroshkov/Fotolia
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»OB Dog Beach - CA
The OB Dog Beach was one of the earliest official dog beaches in the country, and it's still one of the most popular with locals and visitors alike. Sitting on a sandy spit at the mouth of the San Diego River, the beach is located on the northernmost end of Ocean Beach City Beach. All breeds of dog are welcome, but animals must have up-to-date vaccinations and collars tagged with current licenses issued by the County Department of Animal Services. Dogs and people are welcome to visit the beach 24/7, and plenty of parking is available.
Contact: Ocean Beach Bike Path, San Diego, CA 92107, Phone: 619-236-5555
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»Coronado Dog Beach - CA
Tucked in between two United States’ Naval Base beaches, Coronado Dog Beach is a beautiful white sand beach perfect for sunbathing and splashing around in the waves with your furry friend. The dog area is approximately 1.75 miles long and can be found on the western side of Coronado Beach; dogs are not permitted on any other part of the beach regardless of whether or not they're on a leash. Visitors are welcome to explore the tide pools on the beach and there are also plenty of amenities, including fire pits, washrooms and showers, picnic tables, and a volleyball area.
Contact: Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118, Phone: 619-522-7342
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25 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in USA
- Huntington Dog Beach - CA, Photo: Courtesy of InfiniteSumLTD - Fotolia.com
- Jennings Dog Beach - CT, Photo: Courtesy of haydnd - Fotolia.com
- Jupiter Dog Beach - FL, Photo: Courtesy of Katherine - Fotolia.com
- Jekyll Island - GA, Photo: Courtesy of Flat Nine Photo - Fotolia.com
- Montrose Dog Beach - IL, Photo: Courtesy of akoaco - Fotolia.com
- Assateague Island - MD, Photo: Courtesy of Mary Swift - Fotolia.com
- Kennebunk Beaches - ME, Photo: Courtesy of Kristina - Fotolia.com
- Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area - MI, Photo: Courtesy of Ian - Fotolia.com
- Galveston - TX, Photo: Courtesy of BJ Ray - Fotolia.com
- Double Bluff Beach - WA, Photo: Courtesy of cynoclub - Fotolia.com
- Bald Head Island - NC, Photo: Courtesy of airobody - Fotolia.com
- Wildwood Dog Beach - NJ, Photo: Courtesy of Jorge Moro - Fotolia.com
- Rosie's Dog Beach - CA, Photo: Courtesy of Eberhard - Fotolia.com
- Fiesta Island Off Leash Dog Park - CA, Photo: Courtesy of places-4-you - Fotolia.com
- Fort Funston Beach - CA, Photo: Courtesy of Yuval Helfman - Fotolia.com
- Fort De Soto Park - FL, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Sanibel Island - FL, Photo: Courtesy of captiva - Fotolia.com
- Fisherman's Cove - NJ, Photo: Courtesy of kridtanat - Fotolia.com
- Port Jefferson Public Beach and Dog Park - NY, Photo: Courtesy of Viktoria - Fotolia.com
- Montauk Beach - NY, Photo: Courtesy of felixbruno - Fotolia.com
- Cannon Beach - OR, Photo: Courtesy of Michal - Fotolia.com
- Block Island Beaches - RI, Photo: Courtesy of ArenaCreative - Fotolia.com
- Morris Island - SC, Photo: Courtesy of Nickolay Khoroshkov - Fotolia.com
- OB Dog Beach - CA, Photo: Courtesy of annaav - Fotolia.com
- Coronado Dog Beach - CA, Photo: Courtesy of oneinchpunch - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of otsphoto - Fotolia.com
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