The Most Dog-Friendly Beaches Around the Country
From coast to coast, you can leash up your buddy and lap up some fun in the sun together.
The only thing better than a play day at a gorgeous, sandy beach is one that allows your dog to go with you. "Just like people, running, swimming, and playing at the beach can be great exercise for your pets," explains KT Boyle, DVM at Banfield Pet Hospital. "Yet, just as our human family members practice safety measures on the water, you must also take necessary precautions to help keep your pets safe." Along with being mindful of the temperature outside, Boyle says it's important to ensure that your pet always has access to fresh water and a shaded area to cool down. "Drinking too much salt water can be detrimental to your pet's health. If the beach is located at a lake, talk with your veterinarian ahead of time about potential lake toxins such as blue-green algae."
There are many beaches around the country where you and your pooch can go for a swim. Generally, beaches permit dogs on a leash during certain hours or in certain areas (go to the locale's website for specific rules), but there are exceptions. Bring a current dog license and proof of up-to-date vaccinations, and head out to one of these seaside spots.
Willard Beach in South Portland, Maine
Let Floppy roam free during dawn and dusk off-leash hours at this South Portland, Maine, spot. Then snap her picture with the Ram Island Ledge lighthouse as a backdrop.
Wildwood Dog Beach in Wildwood, New Jersey
East coast dog parents, rejoice: We found an impressive oceanside dog beach that's within three-hours driving distance of New York City! Located in Wildwood, New Jersey, the Wildwood Dog Park & Beach features both a fenced-in dog park—complete with a two-story fire hydrant—that your pooch can play in—as well as a dog beach where they can take a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. "Never let dogs go into the water unattended as not all dogs can swim," says Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer at the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago, Illinois
At Chicago's Montrose Dog Beach, pups can romp off-leash from sunrise to 11 p.m. As the Windy City's first off-leash beach, the Northwest corner is a fenced area that offers free dog waste bags and a wash-off area. Before you go, be sure to pick up a Chicago Park Dog-Friendly Area tag from a local vet.
Atlantic Beach in Bogue Banks, North Carolina
See Spot splash his reflection in the crystalline waters at this Bogue Banks, North Carolina, destination. He can air-dry on a leashed walk along nearby Elliott Coues Nature Trail, which traverses dunes and a maritime forest.
Jupiter Beach in Jupiter, Florida
If you're searching for a pet-friendly beach in the Miami area, look no further than Jupiter Beach in Jupiter, Florida. Located just 20 miles north of West Palm Beach, well-mannered dogs are permitted to roam off-leash across this two-and-a-half mile stretch of scenic sand—as long as they're under their owner's direct supervision. Even better, waste bags are provided at every crossover along the beach, so cleaning up after your pooch is a breeze.
South Padre Island in South Padre Island, Texas
Pups can explore 30-plus miles of shoreline at this Texas locale—and ride the waves, too: South Padre Surf Company's golden retriever, Archer, will happily demo how to hang twenty.
Warren G. Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Beach in Seattle, Washington
Interested in taking your dog to a beach somewhere in the Pacific Northeast? As the only dog park in Washington that connects to a beach, The Warren G. Magnuson Park Off-Leash Dog Area offers six acres of land for your four-legged friend to run around in, as well as access to pet-friendly swimming spots in Lake Washington for your pooch to cool off in.
Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, California
If off-leash dog beaches are more your speed, plan a day trip to Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, California. Los Angeles County's only legal off-leash dog beach, your dog can roam freely throughout the four-acre stretch of sand—as long as you remain close behind them. However, it's important to note that Rosie's isn't dedicated solely to canines, so it's a good idea to keep Fido on a leash until you reach a less crowded stretch of sand to ensure he doesn't bother other beachgoers.
Baker Beach in San Francisco, California
Planning a day trip with your dog somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area? Make a stop at Baker Beach. Located just a mile south of the Golden Gate Bridge, this beach is the perfect place to snap an Instagram-worthy photo of your pooch and the popular landmark. Just remember that dogs are only allowed to roam free within certain areas of the beach, so you'll want to keep a leash handy at all times when visiting.
Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, California
More Leashed and Off-Leash Beaches
Looking for another adventure? Splashing off-leash is encouraged at these spots, too: Canine Beach at Bozeman Ponds in Bozeman, Montana; the town beach in Duck, in North Carolina's Outer Banks; and San Diego's Coronado Beach.
Pups can run free from 7 a.m. to dusk at Fort Myers' Dog Beach, in Florida, where you can wash off sandy paws at the doggy showers. Leashed dogs will find miles and miles of cliffside beaches along the Cape Cod National Seashore. Just steer clear of any areas that are lifeguard-protected and of any posted locations during shorebird nesting periods.