While there isn’t too big of a shortage of dog beaches, there is something left to be desired with a lot of them. Some are not properly maintained or are very small, making for a trip to the beach that is just OK. Here are 10 of the most amazing dog friendly beaches in the U.S. They’re worth the trip.
1. Fiesta Island Off-Leash Dog Beach (San Diego, CA)
For as many beaches as there are in Southern California, off-leash dog beaches are few and far in-between. Enter Fiesta Island, an off-leash haven for saltwater loving pups in the Mission Bay area of San Diego. Most of this large sandy island is completely leash free, and the calmer bay waters are perfect for dogs who simply want to swim.
(Learn more about Fiesta Island.)
2. Fort Myers Beach (Fort Myers, FL)
From 7 a.m. until sundown, dogs are allowed to be off leash at this Florida beach. Fort Myers also has convenient doggie shower stations to rinse your pooch off after a romp in the sand. You know what makes this doggy beach even better? Free parking.
(Learn more about Fort Myers Beach.)
3. Rosie’s Dog Beach (Long Beach, CA)
Although not an entire beach, the large dog zone along Ocean Boulevard is a puppy paradise. Dogs are allowed off leash, as long as they are under visual and voice control. This beach tends to be very crowded, so it may not be the best idea to bring an aggressive or socially anxious dog here. For the social butterflies, however, this is the perfect beach.
(Learn more about Rosie’s Dog Beach.)
4. Montrose Dog Beach (Chicago, IL)
Not all doggy beaches are by the ocean. Chicago’s first off-leash beach rests on the edge of Lake Michigan with a beautiful city backdrop. A DFA (Dog Friendly Area) tag is required for dogs who want to come to this beach and can be obtained for $10 from most vets in the city, so plan ahead if you are visiting the Windy City.
(Learn more about Montrose Dog Beach.)
5. First Landing State Park Beach (Virginia Beach, VA)
Although this state park beach requires dogs to be on leash, dogs reportedly have a blast at this beach. Visitors report that it is hardly ever crowded, and dogs are allowed to be on the beach at any time of day. While some people have risked letting their dogs off leash here (with no real issue), it is important to follow the rules of the beach to avoid fines.
(Learn more about First Landing State Park Beach.)
6. Oak Island Beaches (Oak Island, NC)
Oak Island is off the coast of North Carolina and is accessible with a bridge – no ferry required. The beaches are very family and pet friendly, allowing well-behaved dogs off leash to do their thing. If you are looking for a quiet and relaxing beach to visit with your pup, this is it.
(Learn more about Oak Island Beaches.)
7. Fenwick Island State Park (Fenwick Island, DE)
At the North end of this beach is a designated stretch for dogs year round. During the off-season, dogs are allowed on the entirety of the beach. Visitors have reported that their dogs have had a blast playing on the clean, uncrowded beach.
(Learn more about Fenwick Island State Park.)
8. Block Island, Rhode Island Beaches (Block Island, RI)
12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island is a magical place where doggos can run free and play at the island’s various beaches. While it takes a ferry ride to get there, your leashed dog gets to ride for free with you. Leashed dogs can go to ANY of the island’s beaches, and there are certain areas where pups can run free and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean.
(Learn more about Block Island.)
9. Edisto Island Town Beach and State Park (Edisto Island, SC)
Only an hour’s drive from Charleston, this town is a haven for dogs and their humans who love the outdoors. There are plenty of dog-friendly B&B’s and camping grounds, so you can make a beach weekend of it. While your dog is welcome year round on the mile and a half of beach, rules require them to be on a leash. Visitors have reported this is a clean, fantastic beach with lots of other outdoorsy activities for you and your pup.
(Learn more about Edisto Beach.)
10. Lake George Dog Beach (Lake George, NY)
This dog-friendly beach doesn’t only boast a gorgeous and clean lake, but has fresh water and treats for your pup as well! This dog beach is often crowded, visitors report that most doggy guests are well-behaved and monitored. Leashes are required, but there is no length requirement, so you and Fido can run free with a 30 foot leash.
(Learn more about Lake George Dog Beach.)
Yes, there are a lot of dog beaches, but good ones are becoming harder and harder to find. In order to insure the good dog beaches we have do not disappear, we have to take care of them. ALWAYS clean up after your dog anywhere in public, especially at a beach. Be sure to keep a vigilant eye on your dog to prevent unwanted dog aggression happening between your pup and a new friend. Follow all the rules of the beach, even if everyone around you isn’t.
What dog beaches have you visited? Would you recommend them? Let us know in the comments!