One thing we’ve learned since we adopted Hana is that for being a Labrador, she’s not a big fan of lakes or rivers. So imagine our surprise during a work trip to San Diego last year when we discovered she LOVES the beach and the ocean! So now whenever we are traveling near the coast, we always search online to find some of the best dog beaches in the area where we can take her. Whether you are traveling like us, or are living in a given state or city, you may be looking for best places to take your dog for a stroll or for some fun in the sand and water. So here’s a quick breakdown of some of the best dog beaches in the USA – including a couple of Hana’s favorites!
** We’ve organized alphabetically by State name to help make it easier to search.
California Dog Beaches
The Original Dog Beach – San Diego, CA
This is one of the most popular beaches in San Diego where you can take your dog without a leash all year round. And it is the very first dog beach that Hana ever visited – and we just couldn’t get over how much fun she had! What makes this beach so great is that it has all types of breeds of dogs and so your dog will have fun interacting with many dogs, running on the beach and swimming in the ocean in one of the last true dog beaches in California. If you are planning a trip to San Diego, also be sure to check out our list of fun things to do in San Diego!
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Huntington Dog Beach – Huntington, CA
When you are in California and searching for dog beaches, then Huntington Dog Beach always comes up as everyone’s favorite dog beach in the Los Angeles area. This is a great dog beach for locals and travelers alike. They even have dog surfing events held here every year. How cool is that?! We actually visited this beach during a day trip when we were staying at an RV park near Disneyland and Hana really enjoyed it.
Del Mar Dog Beach – San Diego, CA
The Del Mar Dog Beach in California is an amazing place that you just have to visit if you are a dog owner in San Diego. It has excellent beaches full of dogs running around taking a dip in the sea and barking at dolphins and surfers. You get to meet with like-minded people, play volleyball on the sand courts and enjoy some great backdrops that would make for great photos.
Fiesta Island Off-Leash Dog Park – San Diego, CA
The Fiesta Island Park is one of San Diego’s best beaches that you absolutely need to visit and have fun with your furry baby. With up to 1.25 miles of beach, your dog will have plenty of space to frolic up and down the dunes and play in the calm water in blissful glee. It is one of the coolest beaches in San Diego.
Coronado Dog Beach – Coronado, CA
It is a heavenly spot in Coronado California that your dog will love. The sand is nice and golden and the dogs love playing in the water and running around making friends with other canines. It is a peaceful quaint beach with some great residential parking nearby.
Arroyo Burro Beach Park – Santa Barbara, CA
A quaint little spot of heaven for dog lovers in Santa Barbra in California. The beach is divided into on leash and off leash sections. If you want the dog to enjoy the water and the beach, the off-leash sections provide excellent spaces for swimming and frolicking on the sand, while the other side is a great spot for a blanket and a book or watching the sunset.
Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, California
Rosie’s Dog Beach in California is a dog lover’s paradise. There is parking in plenty nearby and then you get to enjoy a huge beach where you can have a game of fetch or just let the dog run around jumping into and out of the water and playing other doggies. There is also a running/bike path just in case you want to mix it up. Beach is so much fun.
Barker Beach – San Francisco, CA
This is another one of Hana’s favorite dog beaches! It’s a great spot located within view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. You can have your leashed dog on the beach in South Lobos Creek and without a leash but under voice control north of Lobos. The dogs will love playing on the sand and on the water in addition to playing with many dogs on the beach.
We really had a blast taking Hana around with us in San Francisco. If you are planning a visit, definitely check out our 3-day travel itinerary for San Fransisco!
Fort Funston Doggie Beach (San Francisco)
Fort Funston in San Francisco is dog heaven on earth. The dogs will love the many trails and the bushes and greenery that you have to walk to get to the beach. There are also tons of well-behaved dogs for your dog to play with on the beach.
Carmel Beach – Carmel, CA
One of the most beautiful beaches in California and probably one of the happiest places for your dog. There are dogs of all ages, sizes, and shapes splashing in the surf, running on the crystalline sand, and frolicking with each other all over the beach. With public telephone and public restrooms what’s not to love!!!
Its Beach – Santa Cruz, CA
This is a great beach in Santa Cruz that is great for your dog. It is a nice place for both locals and non-locals where you can wander together with your dog for miles. There are also tons of dogs that your canine can make friends and play with. Just above the beach is a walking path that your leashed dog should enjoy. In fact, we were staying at the Santa Cruz KOA while taking a trip in our RV of the coast, and we decided to take Hana to this beach. When we were strolling on the walking path, we stopped on the cliff overlooking the beach – Hana saw all the dogs running and playing and simply lost her mind with excitement! She couldn’t wait to get down there!!!
Monterey State Beach – Monterey, CA
Great beach for a romp with your furry friend in Monterey California. While rules state that your dog should be on a leash, they are not strictly enforced and you can find a quiet spot for your dog to romp in the surf, run on the sand and indulge in all manner of silliness on the beach. Of course, it also has a good amount of driftwood, stones, and shells if you are a collector.
Delaware Dog Beaches
Fenwick Island State Park – Fenwick Island, DE
Fenwick is a great dog beach in Delaware where you can have fun with the whole family. The park is full of turf and surf recreational opportunities and dogs are allowed on the surf, fishing beaches and throughout the park, though they need to be on a leash and well behaved.
Florida Dog Beaches
Brohard Paw Park & Dog Beach – Venice, Florida
No list of dog beaches would be complete without mentioning our absolute favorite beach (which is almost quite literally in our backyard!). The charming beach town of Venice, Florida is home to Brohard Paw Park. This fenced-in dog park connects with a fenced walkway down to Brohard Dog Beach! This large stretch of gorgeous sand is just south of the Venice public fishing pier and the famous Sharkey’s Restaurant. It’s an off-leash dog beach, and Hana absolutely loves running and playing here. It’s especially perfect to sit back in a chair and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico with the pier in the background.
Check out the video below of our visit to this beach earlier this week at sunset!
Fort De Soto State Park Dog Beach – St. Petersburg, Florida
An AWESOME place that we stumbled across during our winter of traveling in the RV all around Florida was Fort De Soto State Park, just south of St. Petersburg, Florida. This place is absolutely beautiful and they have a wonderful area for dogs. In fact, it might be one of the most dog-friendly state parks that we’ve visited!
They have a huge fenced-in dog park area where dogs can run and play in the soft grass (I mean, really big). Then you can exit out the fence and walk over to the beach. This is a pretty long area of beach on the channel side of this island, and it’s totally leash-free. So the pups can run and play all they want! They also have a gorgeous campground area – but it books up fast. We highly recommend staying here or just stopping by for the day!
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Fort Walton Beach Dog Park – Fort Walton Beach, Florida
At Liza Jackson Park in Fort Walton Beach, this is another great area in Florida where you can take your dogs to play in the water. It’s technically a bit of a beach, even though it’s not the open ocean but instead, it is the calm waters of the intercoastal waterway.
The Fort Walton Beach dog park is a lovely park with 2 separately fenced areas for bit and small dogs. Then you can walk outside the fenced part to the “beach” area along the water. There are plenty of signs letting you know that it’s ok to let your dogs off-leash to run and play here. It’s a small area, but it’s open and the dogs love to run and play!
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Jupiter Beach – Jupiter, FL
This is a must visit beach for locals and travelers alike. It is spotlessly clean and your dog can chase balls, catch a Frisbee and run up and down the beach full of dog lovers. There is free parking for beach visitors on a lot at the intersection between Marcinski Road and Ocean Boulevard.
Dog Beach Pier Park – Panama City Beach, FL
Dog Beach Pier Park is the best dog beach in Panama City Florida that travelers and locals alike will love. It is quite a small area of beach of only about 75 feet, where you can have fun with your dog. The space is just enough for the dog to romp about and you have a washing stand to get the sand off the dogs’ paws at the entrance.
Haulover Beach Park – Miami, FL
One of the most popular dog beaches in Bal Harbor. Dogs are welcome on the beach from 8 am to 3 pm and it is fun to watch your furry friend run free in the sand and take a dip in the ocean. There is paid parking at $2 a vehicle, and also drinking fountains, picnic tables and shade tree where you can relax alongside your dog.
Bonita Beach Dog Park – Fort Myers Beach, FL
Bonita Beach is technically near the “Lovers Key” area just south of Fort Myers. It’s an excellent beach in Fort Meyers because your dog will absolutely love rolling around in the sandy beaches and swimming the calm shallow waters of the Gulf. There are no leashes or fences and the dogs can freely play and mingle as you make friends with other dog lovers on the beach.
Hana really enjoyed the wide-open spaces of this beach and not really having any restrictions for where she could go. She had a ton of area to run and play as much as she wanted.
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OMG!!! I got to go to one of the best beaches. So much space and so many happy dogs. Can’t wait to come back again. 🐕🌺🏖 #labulouslife #dogbeach . . . #rescuedog #traveldog #rvdog #peanutsorpretzels #popflorida #bestdogbeach #dogbeachlover #labradorretriever #rescuelab #fulltimetraveler #surfsupdude #fortmyersbeach #fortmyersflorida
Walton Rocks Dog Beach – Jensen Beach, FL
This is 24 acres of dog heaven in Jensen Beach in Florida. The only dog-friendly beach in St Lucie County provides excellent surf and sand, and plenty of room for the dog to have some fun. You also get to enjoy incredible views, restrooms and can set up a picnic right on the beach. Great beach for the whole family!!
Vilano Beach – Saint Augustine, FL
Vilano Beach is a white sandy beach in Florida that is made mostly of ground shells. You are allowed to have your dog under voice command or if not have him on a leash. They provide free parking and the beach has great spots for some surfing and fishing alongside your furry friend.
Cape San Blas Beaches – Cape San Blas, FL
Cape San Blas is a spot of beautiful unspoiled beaches in Point Saint Joe Florida, where your dog can surf in the waves and play in the sand. There are no large crowds and while the rules say you should keep the dog on a leash, they are not so strictly enforced. It is a great vacation spot with your dog.
Stuart Beach – Stuart, FL
Stuart Beach is a beautiful spot in Stuart Florida to enjoy alongside your dog. It provides a lot to do on both land and sea as the dog can sunbathe on the cool sand or swim in the blue crystal waters. For you there are some awesome activities such as having a picnic, playing basketball, volleyball and some swimming. You will enjoy your time here.
Atlantic Beach – Atlantic Beach, FL
Delightful and dog-friendly beach in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Dogs have to be on a leash unless you are with the dog in the water. This means that you can play with the dog in the water and have a good time even though you will have to put the leash back on him once you get back on land.
Sombrero Beach – Marathon, FL
Sombrero Beach is arguably one of the best dog-friendly beaches in the Florida Keys. While the signs say not to let your dog run free, there is not much strict implementation of the rule and you can let the dog, swim and have fun in the water and in the sand while you play volleyball, picnic or just sit on the beach. We took Hana to this beach when we were staying at Fiesta Key RV Park between Marathon and Islamorada when taking a road trip down to Key West for the day. It was nice to be able to take a stroll on this beautiful beach with her!
St. George Island – Eastpoint, FL
The beach is a dog and family friendly beach in Florida. It welcomes dogs of all sizes though the dog has to be on a leash or under direct voice command. There are all manner of facilities including basketball courts, playground, and covered pavilions if you want to have a picnic. The dog will love walking the surf and so will you.
Georgia Dog Beaches
Jekyll Island Beach – Jekyll Island, GA
Jekyll Island Beach on Beach View Drive in Georgia is one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the state. On the Southern beaches, your dog can run around on the beach, frolic in the sand and swim in the sea and make friends with other dogs. The beaches also provide excellent photo ops for kids and dogs alike.
At this particular beach, Hana’s favorite thing to do was sneaking up on the little beach birds and then suddenly chasing them as fast as she could. She never caught them, but it was cute!
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Illinois Dog Beaches
Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago, Illinois
Montrose Dog Beach is a must do for any dog lover owner. It is a great beach with shallow enough water that the dogs will love playing in it. It is also relatively well kept and clean for a park with so many visitors. What is even better, it also has a dog wash station charging $10 so that you can get your dog clean from all the playing. What’s not to love!!
Michigan Dog Beaches
Norman F Kruse Park – Muskegon, MI
Norman F. Kruse Park is a dog-friendly park in Muskegon Michigan. The north end of the park has been fenced to make a dog beach where your dog can enjoy playing in the water unleashed but has to be on a leash when playing on the sand. In addition, there are nature trails, basketball courts, and restrooms for the whole family.
New Hampshire Dog Beaches
Jenness Beach – Rye, NH
Great dog beach in Rye, New Hampshire where your dog can run free on the beaches and in the surf. The dog can run swim and play a good game of fetch on the town beaches during off-peak times but not in the state beaches unless it is the spring when rules are not strictly enforced. Awesome dog beach.
New Jersey Dog Beaches
Wildwood Dog Beach – Cape May, NJ
Once called the Poplar Avenue Beach, it is a top dog beach in Cape May, New Jersey. You can get there by walking under the boardwalk at Maple Avenue which takes you to the beach. The beach is partitioned and has sections for small and big dogs so that you get your friend out of its leash. There is also a gazebo where you can hang out and find protection from the hot sun.
Longport Dog Beach – Township, NJ
Longport is also known as Malibu Beach or Somers Point Dog Beach is a dog lover’s paradise. Your dog can play in the water and sand and run around making friends while you lay back to enjoy the sun and sand. However, you need to bring waste disposal bags for your dog. Overall a good doggie beach.
8th Ave Dog Beach – Asbury Park, NJ
People drive for miles to bring their dogs to the 8th Ave Dog Beach, the best dog beach in NYC. It is a great place where the dog can get to play, swim, play, run and smell other dogs. It is also a great place to just lounge on the beach with your towels while the dog has fun with its new friends.
Island Beach State Park – Seaside Park, NJ
It is a great dog-friendly beach in Seaside Park, New Jersey. It is a large beach where your dog can enjoy anything from catching frisbees to digging in the sand and enjoying the surf as long as they do not go on the lifeguard areas. The beaches come with amenities such as showers, snack stands and changing areas among others.
New York Dog Beaches
East Hampton Main Beach – East Hampton, NY
A dog-friendly beach in New York City that you absolutely have to visit. Your dog will love running after frisbees while you take a casual stroll in the beach without a leash during the offseason. It is a very clean beach and you will be expected to clean up after your dog, though you are provided with plastic bags.
North Carolina Dog Beaches
Bald Head Island in North Carolina
This is one of the only beaches in North Carolina where you can unleash your dog on the beach all year round except for turtle season. With up to 14 miles of beach, the whole family can enjoy some surfing, and boogie boarding, while the dog runs around trying to catch birds. It is a great beach for dogs and the entire family.
Freeman Park – Carolina Beach, NC
Freeman Park is an excellent beach for dog and family in North Carolina. It provides easy parking if you are driving a 4×4 making access to the beach easy and convenient. You can have your dogs on the beach without a leash as long as they are under voice command and you are nearby. It is a great beach though only open to dogs from April 1st to September 30th.
Oak Island Beaches – Oak Island, NC
Oak Island Beaches is one of the off-leash beaches in Oak Island, North Carolina. Your dog will love chasing the seagulls, digging into the sand, soaking in the sun, surfing in the waves and playing with the many dogs on the beaches. It is a great beach for the whole family.
Kitty Hawk Beach – Kitty Hawk, NC
Kitty Hawk Beach is an excellent spot in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where you can spend some quality time with your dog. You need to keep your dog on a leash at all times. If the dog is not on a leash, the handler has to be holding it and ensure that they are within 30 feet of the dog at all times.
Oregon Dog Beaches
Cannon Beach in Oregon
Cannon Beach in Oregon is one fabulous beach for your canine friend. There is all manner of driftwood that the dog will love playing fetch with you on the sandy beach, chase their new doggy friends around, or dive into the sea for a swim. If you want some food, visit one of the dog-friendly restaurant patios right on the beach before going back to your dog-friendly hotel back in town.
South Carolina Dog Beaches
Myrtle Beach State Park
If you are ever in South Carolina, then you have to visit Myrtle Beach, one of its most popular beaches. The beaches allow you to bring your dogs before 10 am and after 5 pm though they need to be on a leash at all times. You also have to pick up and properly dispose of any messes made by your dog.
Isle of Palm Beaches – Isle of Palms, SC
Isle of Palms is a great spot of beach to take a furry friend for some fun even as you also enjoy yourself. You can have the dog off leash between 5 am and 8 am though you are expected to have your dog under command. You will also be expected to clean up after your dog.
Morris Island – Charleston, SC
Morris Island is an excellent spot for your dog in Charleston, South Carolina. Accessible only by private boat, it makes for a great vacation where you can go hunting for shells and shark teeth on the beach watch dolphins and take strolls with your dog without the encumbrance of a leash.
Virginia Dog Beaches
First Landing State Park Beach – Virginia Beach, VA
First Landing State Park is one of Virginia’s top beaches. It is a laid back beach that is a great alternative to the more crowded Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The beach is open to dogs all year round and there are many dogs that your Fido can make friends and play in the gentle surf with, while you lounge on a beach chair watching the sailboats cruise by.
Do You Have a Favorite Dog Beach That We Missed? Please Tell Us in the Comments!!!
There are tons of great beaches where you can take your furry friend and have some fun. If you have any other additions to add to our list, please share! We’d love to check it out for ourselves if we are in the area!
While some beaches have some restrictions, you will always find someplace to have fun with your dog and the whole family. While this is not a comprehensive list, it should definitely come in handy to find some great places to take your furry friend for a walk or go on a vacation with the whole family alongside the pup.
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