18 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in the US

Dog Vacation, Dog on Beach, Pet Friendly Travel
Jena Ardell / Getty Images

When planning your next beach vacation, look for a destination where you can bring your dog along for fun in the surf and sand. From big-city lakefronts in the Midwest to uninhabited barrier islands in the Southeast, many beaches across the country welcome furry friends year-round and offer amenities ranging from dedicated cleaning stations and water fountains to fenced-in runs for pups to frolic and socialize untethered. Whether you’re visiting the wide, sugary-sand beaches of the Atlantic, the craggy, wind-swept shores of the Pacific, or lakefronts in between, we’ve rounded up the top 18 dog-friendly beaches in the United States.

01 of 18

Montrose Dog Beach, Illinois

Goldendoodle runs into Lake Michigan in Chicago
Deanna Kelly / Getty Images
Montrose Dog Beach, Illinois, USA

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago is a sandy, four-acre haven for pups. For entry, all dogs—including those owned by non-Chicago residents—must show proof of vaccination and obtain a Chicago Dog Free Area (DFA) permit and registration tag from a local veterinarian. The park is fenced on three sides, and dogs can roam off-leash from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Amenities include a hose-down area and free waste bags, courtesy of Montrose Dog Owners Group (MonDog), which maintains the park and accepts visitor donations for beach upkeep.

02 of 18

Jupiter Dog Beach, Florida

Summer Beach Time!
Holly Hildreth / Getty Images
Jupiter Off-Leash Dog Beach, 48 Ocean Blvd, Jupiter, FL 33477, USA

Running for 2.5 miles along the Atlantic in northern Palm Beach County, this off-leash beach is the largest of its kind on the East Coast—perfect for pups to play in the sand and surf untethered. Dogs must remain on leash from the parking lot to the beach, and there are poop bag stations at multiple sites along the route so visitors can abide by the area’s “leave no trace” policy. Because the space is shared with other beachgoers, dogs should be well-mannered and well-socialized to enjoy off-leash privileges.

03 of 18

Coronado Dog Beach, California

Four Golden Retrievers
paule858 / Getty Images
Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118, USA
Phone +1 619-522-7342

Dogs can romp in the sand or splash in the waves under the backdrop of the iconic Hotel del Coronado in this leash-free dog park, located across from Sunset Park on Ocean Boulevard in San Diego. Street parking is free in the surrounding neighborhood, and there’s a dog-washing station for easy post-play clean-up. While in the neighborhood, stroll down Orange Avenue or kick back and relax on one of Coronado’s many dog-friendly restaurant patios.

04 of 18

Fort DeSoto Park, Florida

German shepherd running on beach with a frisbee, Fort de Soto, Florida, United States
meaghanbrowning / Getty Images
FT De Soto Park, Florida 33715, USA

Composed of five interconnected islands and the largest park in Pinellas County, St. Petersburg's Fort DeSoto has a dedicated “Paw Playground” for visiting pets. The area has two grassy dog parks—one for larger pups, one for smaller ones—plus a quarter-mile, off-leash Dog Beach for furry friends to frolic freely along the sugary-sand shores. Take advantage of park water stations and hoses for quick clean-up before roving (on-leash) nearly 1,200 acres of hiking trails that wind through Fort DeSoto's wetlands, palm trees, and mangroves.

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05 of 18

Block Island, Rhode Island

Serene new england beach
nico_blue / Getty Images
Block Island, New Shoreham, RI 02807, USA

Unlike other area beaches, which only allow pets during the off-season, beaches on Block Island—located just 12 miles from mainland Rhode Island—are open to leashed pooches year-round. After hopping on the free ferry to the island, dogs and their humans can explore 17 miles of coastline, including Sandy Crescent Beach and the craggy Mohegan Bluffs. Dogs are allowed at many restaurants, hotels, and points of interest, including the grounds of the Southeast Lighthouse, the highest structure of its kind in New England.

06 of 18

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Still Standing. Driftwood Beach.
Daniela Duncan / Getty Images
Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527, USA

Four-legged friends are welcome along the 10 miles of pristine coastline on this Georgia barrier island year-round. Dogs must be kept on leashes no longer than 16 feet and stay off sand dunes. Splash in the water or wander through Jekyll’s iconic Driftwood Beach, a spooky and sandy stretch on the island’s northern end lined with eroded tree trunks and branches from the former maritime forest. The laid-back island also has several dog-friendly restaurants, including Sunrise Grille, where you and your pup can relax in the shade on a covered patio.

07 of 18

Huntington Dog Beach, California

Beach Family With Dog
Layland Masuda / Getty Images
20211, Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach Bike Trail, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, USA
Phone +1 714-841-8644

This scenic, off-leash dog beach, located 1.5 miles along the Pacific Coast Highway between Orange County's Goldenwest Street and Seapoint Street is a local favorite. Because of the busy highway, dogs must remain leashed from the parking lots to the beach, which is located on a lower bluff, buffered from traffic, and open year-round between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Area amenities include drinking fountains for dogs and their human companions as well as free waste bags, restrooms, and picnic tables. After frolicking in the sand, visit one of several local pet-friendly restaurants, including Pacific Hideaway inside the Kimpton Shorebreak Resort and The Park Bench Cafe, both of which have dedicated dog menus.

08 of 18

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Scenic view of labrador retriever enjoying time at the beach,Cannon Beach,Oregon,United States,USA
Vikas / 500px / Getty Images
Cannon Beach, OR, USA

Featured in popular films like "Twilight," this small coastal city just 90 miles northwest of Portland is renowned for its expansive shorelines and towering Haystack Rock. Dogs who are leashed or responsive to voice commands are allowed on the 1.5-mile stretch of beach, which is wide and flat with plenty of driftwood for dogs to play fetch. Pups are also permitted on the seaside trails of nearby Ecola State Park—just make sure they’re leashed to avoid encounters with local wildlife like deer and elk. Like many other dog-friendly beach destinations, Cannon Beach restaurants are equally accommodating to four-legged companions. Try Warren House Pub, which has a large outdoor patio.

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09 of 18

Island Beach State Park, New Jersey

Small trees and plants dot New Jersey Island Beach State Park in order to protect the fragile ecosystem and sand dunes as seen from an aerial drone image
Jorge Moro / Getty Images
Island Beach State Park, Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734, USA
Phone +1 732-793-0506

One of the largest undeveloped beaches on the north Atlantic coast, this 10-mile swath of Jersey Shore beach permits canines on leashes no longer than 6 feet year-round. Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily—and 7 a.m. on summer weekends and holidays—the 3,000-acre park has eight trails that wind through maritime forests, tidal marshes, and rolling sand dunes. Visitors should be aware that dogs are not allowed on the swimming beach, and are advised to bring hydration and waste bags for their canine companions.

10 of 18

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Aerial view of Emerald Isle, North Carolina looking North along the beach
Kyle Little / Getty Images
Emerald Isle, NC 28594, USA

One of several dog-friendly beaches that dot the state’s Crystal Coast, Emerald Isle has 12 miles of soft, sandy beaches along the green-hued Atlantic for canines to splash and walk year-round. Dogs must be leashed at all times, and plan on bringing your own bags to dispose of waste. Post-beach, visit Muttigans, a local coffee shop and pet store that sells toys, organic food, and snacks.

11 of 18

Dog Beach at Pier Park, Florida

33753-000-000, Panama City Beach, FL 32413, USA

Located in Panama City Beach, this pet-friendly destination stretches 400 feet along the shimmering emerald waters across from Pier Park. It's open daily from sunrise to sunset, and dogs must stay on a leash at all times. After walking on the white sand, head to nearby Frank Brown Dog Park, which has three fenced-in playgrounds for off-leash pups to zoom around and meet new friends, plus 2 miles of pet-friendly paths.

12 of 18

Kiva Beach, California

Dog On Sandy Beach Against Blue Sky
James Fitzhugh / EyeEm / Getty Images
Kiva Beach, CA 96150, USA

This quiet beach in South Lake Tahoe has some of the destination’s best swimming—for humans and their canine companions. Dogs can take a dip without a leash, but they will need one when exploring the narrow, 200-yard shoreline. Waste bags are provided at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, and the fragile marsh zone adjacent to the sand must be avoided. Dry off post-swim with a hike at nearby Van Sickle Bi-State Park, or make new friends at Bijou Dog Park; the 38,000-square-foot space has off-leash, grassy play areas for small and large dogs, plus washing stations, drinking water, and plenty of shade.

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13 of 18

Tannery Beach, Michigan

While rocky and rugged, this public beach on Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City is open to dogs year-round from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The lack of sunbathers is good news for pups and their owners, who often have the shore to themselves, especially in the cooler months. And during the summer, the waters—popular with local canoers and kayakers—are great for splashing and cooling off on a hot day. The park even provides scoopers and bags for quick and easy clean-up. Just a few blocks north of the lake, Ridge Run Dog Park offers large and small runs for dogs to romp and socialize after a day at the beach.

14 of 18

Camp Hero State Park, New York

Camp Hero State Park

Zee Dempster / Wikimedia Commons

Camp Hero State Park, Montauk, NY 11954, USA

Located on the easternmost tip of Long Island in Montauk, Camp Hero has more than 400 acres of maritime forests, rocky bluffs, and Atlantic beachfront for humans and their canine companions to explore together. Dogs must be kept on leashes no more than 6 feet long at all times, but are permitted on all trails, including the 2.1-mile, out-and-back Battery 113 path to an abandoned radio tower. Be mindful of ticks and pack your own water and waste bags, plus your pup’s proof of rabies vaccination.

15 of 18

South Padre Island, Texas

Beach Day,Close-up of shiba inu on beach,South Padre Island,Texas,United States,USA
Gabe Lugo / 500px / Getty Images
South Padre Island, TX 78597, USA

The only tropical island in the Lone Star state, South Padre lies between the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre. Dogs are permitted year-round on the 34 miles of white sandy beachfront, but be sure to keep them on a leash and make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date before visiting. Pets and their owners also have access to restrooms and rinse-off areas by the Malaquite Pavilion, but must stay off the boardwalk and stick to the pet access trail to the beach.

16 of 18

Morris Island, South Carolina

Lighthouse on the sandy beach surrounded by greenery growth
brianjhudson / Getty Images
Morris Island, South Carolina 29412, USA

Accessible only via boat, this uninhabited island near Charleston has 840 acres of beachfront and maritime forests for dogs to roam leash-free, except during the summer seabird nesting season, when they are required to be leashed. Take the half-mile walk along the shell-lined shores to get a closer look at the island’s iconic Morris Island Lighthouse, the tallest in the state, or tour the island with Adventure Harbor Tours—pups are allowed onboard as well. Be sure to bring your own waste bags, water bowls, and snacks, as there are no facilities on the island.

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17 of 18

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Dramatic Sunset
BarbHauxwell / Getty Images
Dauphin Island, AL, USA

This tiny, 6.26-square-mile barrier island west of Gulf Shores and south of mainland Alabama welcomes four-legged friends and their owners year-round. Most public beaches, including Public Beach and East Beach, are dog-friendly, with wide swaths of tranquil coastline for pups to frolic. Dogs must remain leashed at all times, and West End Beach is off-limits: it’s a bird nesting habitat. For close-up views of migratory birds, head to Dauphin Island Audubon Bird Sanctuary, which has miles of dog-friendly hiking trails through maritime forests, marshes, and beaches.

18 of 18

Fort Funston Beach, California

Fort Funston
Yesenia Diaz-Flores / Getty Images
Funston Beach, San Francisco, CA, USA

Dogs can freely roam off-leash at this rocky beach located on San Francisco's southwest coast, just south of the San Francisco Zoo. The walk from the parking lot down the cliffside over dunes to the beach is quite steep, so make sure you and your dog are in good condition for the hike. Once there, you'll be rewarded with panoramic ocean views. Be careful of swimming, as the surf and rip tide can be dangerous at times, and bring waste bags to clean up after your pup.

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18 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in the US