The waves, the sun, the fun … what’s not to love? Going to the beach is a wonderful way to spend the day with your dog. Finding the best beach for your pooch depends on his personality — does he prefer romping in the surf or swimming in calm waters? Would he rather mix it up with other dogs or have you all to himself? There’s a perfect beach for every dog, and these are our top picks for dog-friendly beaches:
1. Assateague Island National Seashore: Maryland
The wind-swept beaches of Assateague Island, where the famous wild horses roam, stretch for 37 miles along the east coast of the United States. Dogs on leashes no longer than 6 feet are welcome here year-round.
2. Beaches of Florida’s Forgotten Coast: Florida
There’s something for everyone on Florida’s “Forgotten Coast” — including dog-friendly beaches! Cape San Blas is known for its miles of stunning white beaches, gentle surf and crystal clear water where leashed dogs are always welcome. Dogs who prefer more freedom can head to the barrier island of St. George, where the entire public beach is off-leash dog friendly, as long as pups stay within sight and sound of you and respond to voice commands.
3. Brohard Paw Park and Beach: Florida
This off-leash dog beach is a popular spot for local dogs to socialize in the clear waters of the Gulf Coast. In addition to a nice beach area, there is a fenced dog park with a shade structure, fresh water, doggie showers, benches, picnic tables and restrooms.
4. Cannon Beach: Oregon
Oregon’s coast has a few dog-friendly beaches. But none is more magnificent than Cannon Beach, which sits in the shadow of Haystack Rock. Dogs on leash or under voice control are always welcome here.
5. Carmel Beach: California
This mile-long stretch of golden sand runs from the foot of Ocean Avenue to just below the 9th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Course, and dogs are invited to frolic off leash anytime. If your dog prefers your company to other dogs, head around the point to Carmel River State Beach, where leashed dogs are invited to explore.
6. Fiesta Island: California
Just north of San Diego, this island is surrounded by the calm waters of Mission Bay and offers more than 5 miles of shoreline for off-leash dogs to explore. If your pup’s not interested in getting wet, there is also a 5.2-mile asphalt path around the island, and the park’s hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
7. Fort De Soto Dog Beach: Florida
Fort De Soto Park sits where the Gulf of Mexico meets Tampa Bay, and a quarter-mile of this gorgeous beach has been dedicated to the dogs! Pups can play off leash on the shore or enjoy a 2.5-acre fenced dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs. There’s even a doggie shower to rinse off the sand before hopping back in the car. If he’s not too tired, your leashed dog is also welcome to enjoy the park’s 7 miles of paved trails plus canoe trail.
8. Galveston, Texas
Steeped in history, this Victorian city sits on two islands in the Gulf of Mexico and boasts 32 miles of beaches where leashed dogs are welcome all day, every day.
9. Jekyll Island, Georgia
Dog-friendly beaches abound on Jekyll Island — if your dog is on leash. Our favorite is Driftwood Beach, where the ancient, gnarled trees make an unforgettable backdrop. There is also a fishing pier to explore and a lovely view of the Sidney Lanier Bridge.
10. St. Augustine, Florida
Whether you’re looking to lounge on the sand just steps from the downtown hotels and restaurants or drive to a secluded spot where you and your dog can enjoy some downtime, St. Augustine will not disappoint! Dogs on leash are welcome on all of St. Augustine’s beaches, with the exception of those in Anastasia State Park.
11. Wildwood Dog Beach, New Jersey
Heading “down the shore” in Jersey means a trip to the beach. And if you’re in search of dog-friendly beaches, too, set a course for Wildwood! You can’t miss the 25-foot fire hydrant sculpture marking the block-long area where leashed dogs are welcome, and fresh water and dog cleanup bags are also provided for your convenience. The beach is open every day from 6 a.m. to dusk.
Favorite dog-friendly beaches from our readers:
12. Duck, North Carolina — Michelle Willard
13. Sunset Beach, Cape May, New Jersey — Rose Sala
14. Rosie’s Beach, Long Beach, California — Stacey Stallard
Tell us: What dog-friendly beaches are you and your pup hitting up this summer? Tell us in the comments!
Thumbnail: Photography Courtesy of VisitSarasota.com.
This piece was originally published in 2017.
About the author: Amy Burkert founded GoPetFriendly.com, a pet travel website and blog, and travels full time with her husband and dogs. Follow them on the Ultimate Pet Friendly Road Trip — an epic tour of the most pet-friendly attractions in the United States.
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