Beaches have been popular family vacation destinations for decades, but unfortunately, not all watery retreats are animal-friendly. Luckily, there are a number of dedicated Dog Beaches that cater specifically to the furry and four-legged. Whether you’re all about relaxing or staying active, everybody loves a beach vacation, and a run through the sand followed by a swim in the ocean is the perfect way to keep your entire family in shape throughout the summer months; what pet-parent wouldn’t skip their boring workout to catch some waves with their favorite dog? We’ve chosen our top-ten favorite dog-friendly beaches in the United States and Mexico, all of which are great for day trips or longer stays. Try one out, then write and tell us what you think!


Town of Duck Beaches, Town of Duck, North Carolina


Regularly listed as one of America’s Top-Ten dog-friendly beaches, this quiet North Carolina spot allows for leash-free play on the designated beach area, and much of the surrounding area is accommodating to travelers with pets. Dogs and their parents are even invited to participate in the town’s annual 4th of July Parade through a sponsorship by Outer Barks, a dedicated luxury pet store on the Outer Banks.

dog beach funny

Cannon Beach, Oregon


Oregon is known for being a pet-friendly vacation destination, and beautiful and secluded Cannon Beach is no exception. Many of the shops and cafes in this quaint beach town permit animals as long as they are either on-leash or under voice control. A pet-parent from Seattle notes the “amazing views….and great sunsets” offered at this picturesque spot.


Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan, New Jersey


Although this Monmouth park is dedicated to managing the habitats of displaced native plant and animal species, locals refer to Fisherman’s Cove as “the dog beach.” This is a great place to visit if you have a family with varied interests, as the park supports saltwater fishing, sunbathing, ecological education, wildlife spotting, and of course — family pet playtime! Dogs must be leashed while in the conservation area, but the Monmouth park system provides off-leash retreats at the nearby Thompson Park in Lincroft.


Ft. De Soto Paw Playground, St. Petersburg, Florida


This dedicated dog park is one of the best in the nation, and prides itself of having thought of everything. There are separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, so your pet can play in a safe, leash-free environment without fear of being the big fish in a small pond. There’s also a special leash-free beach, complete with puppy-showers and available drinking water, so no family members are left behind when it’s time to catch some waves. Visitors to the Paw Playground frequently refer to it as a “puppy paradise,” and it’s easy to see why!


San Diego Dog Beach at Ocean Beach, San Diego, California


Touted as “the original dog beach,” this leash-free southern San Diego destination was established in 1972, and visitors can’t get enough! After you’ve had enough fun in the sun, you and your canine companions can grab a bit at one of the city’s many animal-friendly restaurants or catch up on your beauty rest at a local hotel — many of which allow pets.

funny dog surf

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, Illinois


This midwestern spot, affectionately known as “MonDog,” was started in the summer of 2000 by a group of Chicagoans with a common passion — walking with their friends, both two- and four-legged, on Montrose Beach. The park provides leash-free water access, and provides guests with a comprehensive list of Dog Beach Etiquette and Safety Rules. Frequent visitors to the dog park and join as members and get a stylish MonDog t-shirt to show their support for dog-friendly beaches!

Land’s End Arch, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico


Land’s End Arch is one of the Top 10 Dog Beaches in Mexico. Named for the Arch of Poseidon, the massive rock formation at the southernmost point of the Baja peninsula, where pets and their parents can walk during low-tide, getting a glimpse of what the earth might have looked like millions of years ago.


Dyker Beach Park, Brooklyn, New York


This 200+ ­acre park, conveniently located near Brooklyn’s Belt Parkway, is a great daytime retreat for city dogs and the humans who love them. This urban beach features both large, expertly-designed dog runs as well as designated off-leash areas, providing playtime options for dogs of all personalities. If you have a smaller dog, it’s best to keep them close by at all times, as this park is frequented by larger breeds due to its ample space.


Doggie Beach at New Smyrna, New Rochelle, New York


The Doggie Beach at New Smyrna is perfect for fun-loving pet families who want plenty of space to play in the sand without dealing with complicated leash restrictions. The area is mostly fenced to ensure that there are no escapees, and the combination of rock formations, sand, and surge make it an ideal place to do some exploring. Be sure to check the tides before you go, as the available play area is far larger during low-tide.

Cat off a hot tin roof and in the shade...
They even allow cats! Cat off a hot tin roof and in the shade…

First Landing State Park, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia


Located near the historic Chesapeake Bay Bridge, this animal-friendly state park offers great opportunities for sport and sightseeing. Spanning almost 3,000 acres and featuring a boat launch, trails for biking and hiking, as well as campsites and cabins for overnight visits, this is a great place for a weekend family vacation. Visitors also have access to nearby Virginia Beach’s shopping and dining attractions, many of which allow pets, although dogs must be kept on-leash on the beach.


Adopt a Senior Pet!
Baby Hope Diamond LOVES the beach!

Remember to always check local leash and vaccination laws before you travel to any dog beach, and always keep extra food, water, and a first-aid kit in your car in case of emergencies!


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