Best Dog-Friendly Beaches

by Sundays

We’ve put together this guide so you can get right to the fun part–planning your summer getaway with your best four-legged friend.

The weather is right for setting off on a long beach trip, and dog parents are all searching for the best dog-friendly beaches. A beach is just not as enjoyable without sandy paws, doggie-paddle fetch games, and random but cute dogs you just met sharing the shade under your beach umbrella.

So where are all these amazing dog-friendly beaches? We’ve put together this guide so you can get right to the fun part–planning your summer getaway with your best four-legged friend.

Dog-Friendly Beaches on the East Coast 

When you think of beaches, Florida is probably the top destination that comes to mind. It makes sense–there are tons of beaches, and plenty that are dog-friendly. But don’t overlook these other top spots along the east coast.

Florida: Haulover Park, Miami

10800 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33154

Forget about South Beach (dogs are not welcome there!). Look just north of Miami Beach, and you’ll find a place where dogs are not only welcome but can run free off-leash. It’s pretty much a beach made for dogs, but of course, you’re welcome to come along. Haulover Beach has lifeguards on duty year-round and plenty of white sand, blue waters, and wet fur. There’s also a dog park with separate areas for small dogs and big dogs near the parking lots.

Things to note: 

  • There’s a fee of $5 per car on weekdays, and $7 per car on weekends and holidays.
  • Keep your dog between lifeguard towers 2 and 3. 
  • Dog beach hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • You can get to the dog beach area from parking lots 3 or 4.

Florida: St. Augustine Beaches

If you’re looking for an all-around dog-friendly vacation spot, St. Augustine is the place to go. Dogs are allowed on every beach there except Anastasia State Park, but they must be on leash at all times. There’s a good reason for this, though. From April to August, plenty of birds come to breed along St. Augustine beaches, and sea turtles come to shore to make their nests from March through October. Sea turtles and their nests are protected by law and marked off with signs. Keep your dog on a leash and away from these areas, and you’ll be fine.

The city of St. Augustine is also pretty dog-friendly, with plenty of restaurants, places to stay, tours, and attractions where you can take your dog along with you.

Things to note: 

  • Most beaches have public parking lots with showers where you can wash your dog off.
  • Fill any holes your dog digs. Sea turtles and hatchlings can get trapped in these on their way to the water.
  • A couple of beaches allow horses: Frank B. Butler County Park (Butler Beach) and Crescent Beach.
  • Some beaches allow cars to drive on the beach or in certain areas of the beach.

South Carolina: Pawleys Island

323 Myrtle Avenue, Pawleys Island, SC 29585

If you were looking to go to Myrtle Beach with your pup, you may want to reconsider and head to Pawleys Island instead. From May 1 through Labor Day, Myrtle Beach only allows dogs on the beach before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. 

But just half an hour south, you’ll find Pawleys Island, where dogs are allowed year-round on the pristine beach. The only catch is that from May 1 through Sept. 30, they do have to be on a leash, even in the water. Pawleys Island is a small island that’s less than 4 miles long and prides itself on being laid-back and unpretentious.

Things to note: 

  • It can be hard to find parking or public restrooms.
  • There is only one restaurant open to the public on the island that serves food at set times twice a day. But just over the causeway, there are plenty of places on the mainland.

New Jersey: Longport Dog Beach

Ocean Dr, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08244

At this dog-friendly New Jersey beach, your dog is sure to meet their new best playmate for the day. And with all the super-friendly dog lovers there, you’re sure to meet plenty of people to talk to. Your dog can be off-leash on the sand and in the water, so this place may be best for dogs that like other dogs and people. There are mixed reviews on how people-friendly the beach is because there are no trash cans for dog waste and no public restrooms. Parking is also known to be limited, so go early or later in the day.

Things to note: 

  • Bring bug spray to keep the biting flies away from June through August.
  • You may have to hike a ways to find parking.
  • Don’t forget poop bags, and an extra plastic bag to put them in until you can find a trash can.

Massachusetts: Provincetown Dog Beach

55 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657

Provincetown, or P-Town, sits at the northern end of Cape Cod, and it’s been called one of the most dog-friendly places you can visit in the United States. It’s also a famous LGBTQ destination and welcomes people and dogs of all kinds. The dog beach is a smaller beach with soft sand and shallow water that’s perfect for playing with your pup. If you’re lucky, you may get to see horseshoe crabs or seals! Just keep in mind that they do have rules for all town-owned beaches about when dogs can be off-leash.

Things to note: 

  • Parking is $2 per hour and pretty easy to find.
  • From Memorial Day through November 1st, dogs can only be off-leash 6-9 a.m. or 6-9 p.m. From November 2nd through the day before Memorial Day, they can be off-leash 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Dog-Friendly Beaches on the West Coast 

California: Dog Beach at Ocean Beach

San Diego, California, 92109

This dog-friendly beach is actually one of the first beaches to officially allow dogs to be leash-free, and they haven’t stopped their dog-loving commitment over the years. This beach even has its own Dog Beach Committee that helps maintain and protect the spot for your best dog buddy’s enjoyment. Many locals bring their dog here, and there are plenty of repeat visitors from out of town. 

If you’re looking for a dog-friendly 4th of July celebration, there’s also no better place than Cannon Beach. They have a fireworks-free event that features a parade instead, not only for dogs but also wildlife and veterans to enjoy a stress-free night.

Things to note: 

  • There are large parking areas with plenty of parking.
  • Make sure your dog is up to date with their vaccinations. 

Oregon: Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach boasts that it’s “one of the best places in the country” if you’re a dog. Not just one of the best beaches, but places. That’s because they’ve not only got an amazing dog-friendly beach, but also critter-filled hiking trails that any pup is sure to enjoy. Many people travel across the country to see Haystack Rock, a giant hunk of rock just off the shore that was formed by lava. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants, coffee shops, and hotels in Cannon Beach that love when you bring your four-legged friends along. 

Things to note:

  • To be off-leash, your dog needs to be well-behaved around people, pets, and wildlife, and come back to you when you call them.
  • Hotels can be expensive, and there may be areas where dogs are not allowed–always ask before you book.

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