Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches in the United States – as voted by our readers here at PawsTravel.
#1) Fort DeSoto Beach, Florida
Dr. Beach judged this beach 2005 Best Beach in America and we voted best beach for dogs. Showers and drinking water are provided. Enter the front gate by the parking lot, take your dog off-leash, walk through the L-shaped park to the back gate. Go out the back gate, down a short sandy path and onto the perfect beach for dogs and people.
#2) Cape San Blas, Florida
Just 35 miles south of Panama City, but feeling as if it is worlds away, Cape San Blas beaches are peaceful, not overdeveloped; in fact, you can sometimes walk a mile or two in the off season without seeing another dog…or person. The state park at the end of the cape was named 2002 Best Beach In America by Dr. Beach (a real person, not a doggie…but most doggies would agree).
#3) Del Mar Beach San Diego, California
For good reason, Del Mar is one of the most popular beach communities and San Diego County. Great beaches, fairgrounds, horseracing, and a quaint, upscale village provide plenty of activities for everyone. Powerhouse Park, with a full playground, is especially nice for families with young children. Beachgoers can also find good, cheap eats at Roberto’s taco stand on Carmel Valley Road, overlooking Los Penasquitos Lagoon. Plus, the song Dog Beach Boogie helped this beach’s ranking.
#4) Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara, CA
This is the only beach dogs are allowed at in Santa Barbara. Dogs must be leashed until you cross the slough. This beach runs below the Douglas Family Preserve and it begins east of the slough at Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s) Beach, and stretches almost to the steps at Mesa Lane. The fallen eucalyptus trees are considered the eastern boundary. The park Size is about 1.5 miles of beach. Restrooms are located behind the restaurant in the parking lot. More Info
#5) Fort Funston State Park, California
Fort Funston is a popular San Francisco dogwalking location. Most visitors walk the paved Sunset Trail, a north to south route on the bluff, and reach Ocean Beach via Fort Funston’s northern section. Fort Funston’s stretch of Ocean Beach is where you’ll see scores of dripping wet dogs, romping across the sand with driftwood stick in their mouths.
#6) Dog Friendly Cannon Beach – Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is recognized by its well-known landmark, Haystack Rock, located to the southwest of downtown Cannon Beach, near Tolovana Park. This igneous rock has an elevation of 235 feet, and is often accessible at low tide, especially in the summertime. There is a small cave system that penetrates the rock and can be seen from the coastline. The rock is also protected as a marine sanctuary, Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and events are not allowed within 100 feet of either side of the rock.
#7) Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is known to people around the world as Surf City USA because of its wide sandy beaches, historic pier surfing competitions and consistent swells. For dog lovers and dog’s alike the city goes by another name: DogTown USA! Thanks to the readers of Dog Fancy Magazine, it’s official: Huntington Beach has been chosen as the most dog-friendly mid-size city in America in recognition of its commitment to making the city a true pooch paradise.
#8) Nags Head, North Carolina
Plentiful public beach accesses and accompanied parking can be found along the Nags Head oceanfront. Two public fishing piers, the Nags Head Fishing Pier, and the Outer Banks Fishing Pier in South Nags Head provide sweeping access to the copious species of fish that make their home off our sandy coast. Incorporated in 1961, Nags Head has the longest municipal stretch of oceanfront at 11 miles, and with 6.5 square miles within its borders, the town is physically the largest on the Outer Banks. Often the name Nags Head is used loosely to ascribe the Outer Banks region in the national media.
#9) Oak Island Beaches near Wilmington, NC
The town of Oak Island boasts 65 public beach accesses on miles of sandy beaches and hundreds of pet-friendly properties to rent. Oak Island offers many places to take your pet – beaches, waterways, public parks, towns with their pet-friendly dockside walkways. At most public access points to water, dog owners will find poop-bags and dog drinking water, but it’s always best to bring a reserve of both just in case the supply is depleted. Also, while you will surely feel tempted to let your dog run free across the waves, remember that honoring the leash law protects your beloved pet as well as providing peace of mind to other guests and residents. For everyone’s protection including your pet’s, the leash law is strictly enforced on the island and in most townships, so whether your pet needs a short leash or is capable of behaving well on a retractable one, be sure that you have brought along the right leash for your wonderful four-legged family member.
#10) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Michigan
The Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including the 1871 South Manitou Island Lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district. In 2011, the park was named by ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”.
Anne’s Beach on Lower Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys
Anne’s Beach is on Lower Matecumbe Key in the Florida Keys. This beach is dedicated to local environmentalist Anne Eaton. There are 2 parking lots approximately 1/4 mile apart on US-1 at MM 73. Anne’s Beach features a shallow swimming area, covered picnic tables, boardwalk and bathroom facilities. Most visitors stick to the beach areas near the parking lots. This Keys Beach is located on the Atlantic Ocean, but there is almost no wave action, due to the wide expanse of shallow water typical for Florida Keys beaches. Visitors can enjoy the clear and warm waters year round. Warning: Nude Bathers May Be Present
Montrose Dog Beach – Chicago, Illinois
The Montrose Dog Beach is Chicago’s first legal off-leash beach. This dog beach is located on the Northwest corner of Montrose Beach (the point closest to the city). Just follow Wilson Avenue until it curves to the left at the lake. Look for the big corrugated steel walls of the old Boat Launch, and you’re there.
Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint, Oregon
If your pooch isn’t fond of windsurfing, no matter. This windsurfers’ paradise will suit them just fine. Located just outside of Oregon State Park boundaries, south of Gold Beach.
First Landing State Park – Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
One of the finest state parks you’ll find anywhere features an ocean-type beach at the mouth of the Chesapeake. You can easily hike with your dog for over an hour on the beach with views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and ocean-going vessels in view the entire time according to Hike with Your Dog.
Dog Beach – Key West, Florida
There are only a few small beaches on Key West, but Dog Beach is a Bring Fido favorite. Dogs will have some fun in the sun here, but be sure to keep a close eye on your pup, as this is a rocky beach. After getting a little exercise on the beach, head over to Louie’s Backyard, which is located next door to the Dog Beach and is a pet-friendly place to grab a refreshing beverage.
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