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15 Dog-Friendly Beaches Your Pooch Will Love

Pack up your beach umbrella, water bowl, and leash—it's time for some fun in the sun.

American Pit Bull Terrier Walking On Sea ShoreTara Gregg/Getty Images

Beachin’ with dogs

With seasons changing, people are packing up their cars and heading to the best beaches in the U.S.! While going over all beach essentials, one can’t forget the most important thing to bring: your dog! It can be hard to find places that are suitable for your furry friend as restrictions may apply. These are some of the dog-friendly beaches both of you will love while soaking in all the sun’s rays.

Whether you’re going for a day or finding beach house rentals, your time at these beaches is bound to be filled with endless fun. From the East Coast to the West Coast, take on the summer heat and head to one of these dog-friendly beaches for some rest and relaxation. Spend your time relaxing in a beach chair by the ocean or at a dog playground and enjoy the view! (Just don’t forget the sunscreen for your pup).

fortdesotoBrian Lasenby/Shutterstock

Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the most dog-friendly beaches in Florida, Fort De Soto State Park not only welcomes pets on the sand, but also has special Paw Playgrounds for big and small dogs with shade and water stations. Dogs must be leashed when they enter and exit the beach, but can enjoy the water and sand off leash with their owners the rest of their visit. In a survey, Fort De Soto was one of Invitation Homes’ Top 10 Dog Beaches, where factors such as leash laws, whether pets can go in the water, what times of the year pets are allowed on the beach, and whether there is a pet-only section were evaluated. “For anyone who lives near the beach or takes their pet on vacation, there is nothing like seeing the joy of your ‘best friend’ frolicking in the sand,” says Marnie Vaughn, vice president of operations in Florida.

RELATED: Best Florida Beaches Locals Want to Keep Secret

Sunset moment at the Del Mar BeachBibi's Photography/Getty Images

North Beach, Del Mar, California

Proudly dog-friendly since it was founded in 1959 (they even have a blog written by a dog named Scooter extolling their friendly virtues), Del Mar, near San Diego, extends a friendly paw to dogs and owners. With pets allowed on all two miles of shoreline nine months of the year, and all year on North Beach, it’s usually referred to as “Dog Beach” by local pet owners. This pup-friendly seaside locale can be found north of 29th Street, stretching up to the border of Solana Beach. Dogs can be off leash and under “voice command” from Labor Day through Memorial Day, and on leash during the busy summer months.

RELATED: The Best Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations

Wildwood LifeboatCarl Kaminski/Getty Images

Wildwood, New Jersey

This Jersey Shore town, best known for its amusement-filled boardwalk and expansive free beach, is now also a dog-friendly beach getaway! Look for a stretch of sand dedicated to pups and their owners marked by a 25-f00t-tall, fire-engine red hydrant (a gift to the city from Morey’s Piers) decorated with bones, dog paws, and a squirrel perched on top. “During warmer days, remember to keep your pet hydrated; bring a collapsible bowl and fresh water,” reminds Kurt Venator, Chief Veterinary Officer, Purina.

RELATED: 28 Safety Tips to Keep Your Dog in Top Shape This Summer

Nags Head, North CarolinaFloridaStock/Shutterstock

Nags Head, North Carolina

Dogs are allowed on the sunny shores of this resort area 365 days a year as long as they’re on a leash no longer than ten feet. Most importantly, both the town and other beachgoers are happy to see pets enjoying the beach. Even the local ice cream stand keeps dog-friendly frozen treats on hand!

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Jekyll Island Beach, GeorgiaDavid Byron Keener/Shutterstock

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Most of the ten miles of white sand beaches on the Georgia coastline here are dog-friendly, with the exception of Glory Beach, which is a bird sanctuary. Great Dunes Beach, Jekyll Island’s most popular beach for families, is our top pick here. The 20-acre beachfront park is easily accessible with ample parking, public beach access, and several picnic pavilions. Dogs are welcome year-round on leashes no longer than 16 feet.

RELATED: 15 Dog Park Etiquette Rules You Should Never Break

Long Beach California skyline, beach, palm treesdszc/Getty Images

Long Beach, California

If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches in the Los Angeles area, Rosie’s Dog Beach can’t be beat for off-leash sand fun (it’s the only beach in the L.A. where dogs can run free). The beach is open daily 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach, on Ocean Boulevard between Roycroft and Granada Avenues.

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Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, San Francisco, California, USAAlexander Spatari/Getty Images

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

One of our favorite national parks for dogs is also one of the best beaches for pets in the San Francisco area. Trails, beaches, and open spaces are accessible to dogs off leash who respond to voice commands.

RELATED: 12 Pet-Friendly National Parks You Need to Visit with Your Dog

Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer, MichiganAnne Kitzman/Shutterstock

Warren Dunes State Park, Sawyer, Michigan

The two-and-a-half miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan include friendly beaches that allow dogs. Rover can swim in the lake waters and walk and play on the sand on a six-foot leash.

RELATED: I’ve Taken My Dogs on Dozens of Road Trips—Here’s What I Wouldn’t Travel Without

Hollywood Beach, Floridafotomak/Shutterstock

Hollywood, Florida

This retro cool beach is home to the Broadwalk which runs two-and-a-half miles along sun-kissed beach. You can bike, stroll, people-watch at outdoor cafés, or check out one of the most dog-friendly beaches in Florida. If it looks familiar, it’s where parts of the dog beach scenes in the movie Marley & Me were filmed.

RELATED: 30 Best Pet-Friendly Hotels in America

Provincetown, Massachusettsholbox/Shutterstock

Provincetown, Massachusetts

Named “Dogville USA” by the Dog Channel, this charming Cape Cod beach destination, an easy ferry ride from Boston, is the ideal vacation spot for your furry friend with countless pet-friendly restaurant patios, dog parks, and leash-free beaches.

RELATED: 7 Photos That Prove There’s Nothing Better Than Being a Dog on Cape Cod

Kew Balmy Beach, TorontoIgorsky/Shutterstock

Kew Balmy Beach, Toronto

Toronto is only a 90-minute flight from 60 percent of the United States, making it a popular summer destination for its beautiful “beaches” neighborhood just east of the friendly city’s bustling downtown. Kew Balmy Beach, one of four city beaches, is not only a pet owner favorite, it’s also earned a Blue Flag Beach designation for its high water and environmental standards. At the Silverbirch off-leash area, dogs can run and play in the sand and water every day of the year.

RELATED: The 15 Best Beaches to Visit

Double Bluff Beach, Whidbey Island, WashingtonBelen Strehl/Shutterstock

Double Bluff Beach, Whidbey Island, Washington

A nature lover’s paradise, this wide sandy beach has views to the south of Mount Rainier, bald eagle sightings, bathrooms and showers, and a long stretch of off-leash dog beach for pet-filled days of fun.

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Carmel beachImage by Chris Winsor/Getty Images

Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Not only can your furry friend run off leash in certain areas, there are places around the beach that are dog-friendly too! If you’re looking for a quick lunch after spending hours under the sun, you and your pup can head to local restaurants that offer food approved for dogs. Spending days here? Stay at one of the hotels nearby where amenities apply to both you and your dog!

RELATED: 10 Beaches with the Warmest Water in the World

Coligny Beach Park, Hilton Head, South Carolina

This dog-friendly beach allows your dog to enjoy the water and sand all year long! Hilton Head also offers places where you can escape the summer heat. Eating and staying nearby can be enjoyable for you and your canine companion. While some restrictions apply through various times and weeks of the summer, your dog can splash through the water and enjoy the sea breeze.

RELATED: Does Your Dog Need Sunscreen?

Empty Boardwalk on South PadreJeff R Clow/Getty Images

South Padre Island, Texas

Take your dog to this white sand beach to enjoy the water and escape the Texas blaze. Looking to get some shade? Enjoy a pet-friendly cabana where you can enjoy the scenery while staying protected. Bring a leash, water, and your dog’s vaccination records just in case you might need them! Cool down and unwind on this island where sunshine stays for 300 days!

RELATED: 14 Beaches That Are Better in the Fall


Melissa Klurman
Melissa Klurman is a freelance travel writer and editor with more than 27 years experience who reports on travel trends around the planet for Reader's Digest. Winner of a Lowell Thomas Gold Award for excellence in travel writing, she started her career as an editor at both Frommer’s and Fodor’s travel guides, then went on to write about travel for many publications including Family Traveller, Parents, and Working Mother magazines. More recently she has been a contributing editor at Saveur, Islands, and Caribbean Travel and Life and a senior contributor at Travelocity. A New Jersey native, ice cream addict, and a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan, Klurman lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband, son, and rescue dog.

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