dog playing on beach
Most dog-friendly beaches require dogs to be leashed during the busy summer months but relax the leash regulations during the off season. © Anthony Lee / Getty Images

11 Top Dog-Friendly Beaches

Searching for the best spots on the sand for Spot and all his friends? We’ve got a list of the top dog-friendly beaches in the U.S.
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You know the saying … a dog is a man’s (and woman’s!) best friend. So, it’s no surprise that pet parents not only love their furry friends at home, but they also enjoy taking them on vacation —especially trips that involve romps on dog-friendly beaches.

Are you looking for a dog-friendly beach to visit? From California to Florida, from the Redwood Forest to Gulf Stream waters, Dogster found these popular dog-friendly shorelines the entire family can enjoy.

Dog-friendly beaches in California

Carmel Beach

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

One of the things that dog owners love to hear is “off-leash” and this Central California beach with breathtaking views is just that. However, there are a few rules: Your pup must answer to voice cues and the leash must go back on when walking along the scenic pathway. Dog waste bags are available at the top of every stair access to the beach. Even the town is pet-friendly with an area to warm-shower your pup after the romp through the sand. Many businesses provide doggie treats and water as you shop, while some restaurants will seat your dog with you.

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

San Diego, California

This sunny SoCal dog beach is considered one of the first official leash-free beaches in the country. Ocean Beach Town Council’s Dog Beach Committee, created in 1972, continues to ensure that any and every dog breed is free to run and play off leash with the surfers and beach goers, having fun in the sun together. One way the committee does this is making sure members are always maintaining and improving Dog Beach so its legacy is forever protected.

Dog-friendly beaches in Florida

Causeway Islands Park, Bowman’s Beach and Gulfside Beach (aka Algiers Beach)

Sanibel Island, Florida

Located off the Gulf of Mexico, these dog-friendly beaches provide a place for the entire family to stay together — your fur-kid, too. The three beaches offer different amenities for you and your dog to enjoy, such as hiking trails, surrounding greenery and shell hunting. Rules include dogs being kept on a leashes that are no more than 8-feet and cleaning up after your dog. In town, there are many dog-friendly restaurants and accommodations to choose from. For a change of scenery, the island features several activities, including nature walks on three different trails in the nearby J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and pet-friendly fishing charters.

Fort De Soto Park (Paw Playground)

St. Petersburg, Florida

Fort De Soto is an island located at the entrance to Tampa Bay on Florida’s west coast. A park that once was used by the U.S. military is now a go-to for pet parents wanting to take their dog for a swim and play on the sand. The playground and beach offer separated fenced areas for large and small dogs and a redesigned beach area for both leashed and unleashed dogs. It’s common to see pups swimming in the Gulf of Mexico waters with their human parents and playing on more than 700 feet of shoreline. When done, it’s off to the pet cooling stations complete with dog-level water fountains and showers.

Dog beaches in New England

Block Island Beaches

Narragansett, Rhode Island

All beaches on Block Island welcome leashed dogs year-round, as opposed to only during the off-season, which runs from Oct. 1 to March 31. Starting with the ferry ride from the mainland, dogs are welcome in this quaint New England community. Pups can walk 25 miles of trails and when done, the whole family can head over to one of several restaurants that are pet-friendly, too. And of course, when the waves of the Atlantic come calling, dogs are welcome to romp and play on the sand and in the ocean.

Dog-friendly beaches in New Jersey

Wildwood Dog Park and Beach

Wild Wood, New Jersey

Open from dawn to dusk, this popular dog-friendly beach goes the extra mile in making pups and their owners know they are welcome. First, the added “dog” to its official name is a clue. Second, beachgoers are greeted with a 25-foot-tall fire hydrant adorned with dog paws and bones. Finally, the beach park provides clean up bags and fresh water for your dog. On the dog park side of the beach, unleashed pups can run and play to their hearts’ content.

Longport Dog Beach

Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Although some online blogs claim that this is one of the few beaches in New Jersey where leashes are not required, the Longport police department website promotes it as a beach where leashed dogs are welcome off-season. Doggie parents are asked to bring their own water and waste bag as the beach doesn’t provide trash service.

Dog-friendly beaches North Carolina

Caswell Beach and Oak Island

New Brunswick Islands, North Carolina

Why visit just one dog-friendly beach when you have six to choose from? The New Brunswick Islands are located on the northeast corner of the state and provide several beaches that cater to dogs and their owners. While pup moms and dads relax in the sun, their furry kids can run to their hearts’ content on the sand and in the warm Atlantic Ocean. The islands also offer lots of dog-friendly bed and breakfast inns, hotels and vacation homes. Dog rules vary by beach, particularly during the popular summer months. But, after Labor Day to May 1, beach regulations relax with some dog beaches offering off-leash hours. Check the website for updates.

Oak Island Park

Oak Island, North Carolina

Leashed pups are allowed year-round on this beautiful, pet-friendly shoreline that stretches for miles. Unleashed pups are permitted Oct. 16 through March 15, or year round at the nearby dog park, in this vacation favorite and there are even several motels and hotels that welcome your fur-kid with open arms. People are required to bring their own waste bags and pick up after their pup.

Dog-friendly beaches in South Carolina

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

This beach is one of several on the island that welcome dogs and their owners, as long as everyone is following the beach’s rules. Off-leash dogs are welcome from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. From 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. all dogs must be on a leash. The downside is canines are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and a dog permit is required.

Edisto Beach

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

Found on the eastern coastline of the state, Edisto Beach is known for being a beach that gets overlooked by the general public, but only because it’s an hour outside of the more popular beach areas. It is only during the “summer months” — May 1 to Oct. 31 — that a leash is required. The rest of the year, dogs can be off leash as long as they respond to voice cues from their pet parents.

The owner of two pups — Mocha, a Weimaraner, and Kaika, a Terrier mix — Lisa Weyer says she loves to spend time with her dogs at both Heceta Beach and Seal Beach along Oregon’s coast. Lisa said although neither beach offers any dog-friendly amenities, there’s easy parking and miles of coastline, which keeps her pups busy and happy.

Beach days with your dog can be fun as long as you follow basic safety guidelines on both the water and the sand. Rules change throughout the year, so before visiting one of these dog-friendly beaches, check the city’s websites for updates to local regulations.

Don’t forget these beach-going accessories on your next dog beach outing

  1. Wunderball fetch toy
  2. My Dog Nose It sunscreen
  3. Paw Print Tote

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