The Best Dog-friendly Beaches in the U.S.
With summer approaching, you’re probably looking forward to going to the beach with your best friend — your four-legged best friend, that is. The one who would love to run through the sand, splash in the water, shake it off, and then do it all again. More families are taking their pets along on vacations, and finding beaches that permit dogs (cats don’t seem too fond of beaches) can be an important factor in selecting a destination.
“Pets are taking on an ever-important role in American lives, and for many of our residents, our pet-friendly homes are a key reason they choose to lease their home with us,” Marnie Vaughn, vice president of operations for Invitation Homes, told Travel + Leisure. That's why the house rental site decided to dig into the best dog-friendly beaches across the United States.
The beaches were chosen based on feedback from locals and cross-checked on sites like BringFido.com and local government/city pages. They considered leash laws, rules on pets being allowed in the water, and having designated dog areas.
Dog Beach: Fort Myers Beach, Florida
From 7 a.m. until dusk, seven days a week, dogs may run free at this beach. There are doggie shower stations to rinse your pooch before leaving (always a good idea). Parking is free, and they do not allow alcohol or glass containers. Owners are requested to clean up after their dogs.
Fort DeSoto Beach Park: Tierra Verde, Florida
Dogs are allowed on the beach in a designated area of the park. There are also two fenced-in areas for large and small dogs to run free and use the dog showers. In other parts of the park, dogs must be on a leash no longer than six feet. Drinking water is available. Dogs must be at least four months old and be licensed and vaccinated.
Jekyll Island Beach: Jekyll Island, Georgia
Leashed dogs are allowed on Driftwood Beach, with leashes no longer than 16 feet. Dogs are not permitted to run free out of concern for the protection of nesting migratory birds and sea turtles. Dogs are also permitted “anywhere north of South Dunes Picnic Area,” although the beaches are narrow and may be inaccessible at high tide.
Topsail Beach and Topsail Island Beach: Topsail Beach, North Carolina
Dogs are allowed from May 15 until September 30, but they must be on a leash no longer than 25 feet. At other times of the year, no leash is required, but dogs “must be under voice command of a responsible person.” Dog owners are reminded to “scoop the poop” and may be fined for leash or cleanup violations.
Double Bluff Beach: Whidbey Island, Washington
Double Bluff requires leashes in the grassy picnic and barbecue areas. Further out towards the beach, “leashes are optional for well-behaved dogs.” Doggie showers are available.
Rosie’s Dog Beach: Long Beach, California
The Dog Zone is along Ocean Boulevard between Roycroft and Argonne Avenues, but it is not fenced in and is not a dedicated dog beach. Dogs are permitted between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day. Dogs must be under visual and voice control, and owners must have a leash to use whenever the dog is outside the Dog Zone. No food of any kind is permitted.
Del Mar Dog Beach: Del Mar, California
Nine months of the year, from the day after Labor Day until June 15, dogs are able to run here under voice control of their owners. During summer months, they must be leashed, with a leash no longer than six feet. Dog Beach, also known as North Beach, is nearly half a mile long, north of 29th Street to the border with Solana Beach.
Warren Dunes State Park: Sawyer, Michigan
Warren Dunes, on Lake Michigan, is a 1,952-acre park with three miles of shoreline. Two and a half miles of shoreline allow pets, and they can swim in the lake. In all areas of the park, pets must be on a six-foot leash and under a handler’s control at all times.
Montrose Dog Beach: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago’s first legal off-leash beach, the Dog Beach is located on the northwest corner of Montrose Beach. It’s open during all regular Chicago Park District hours, from sunrise until about 9 p.m. A DFA (Dog Friendly Area) tag is required for all dogs, and the tag can be obtained for $10 at most vets in the city as long as all shots and licenses are up to date. Owners must clean up after their dogs immediately and use a leash coming into and leaving the beach.