Does Fido hear the beach calling? From a fire hydrant as big as a building to a hotly contested surf competition, the East Coast has a sandy spot suitable for every dog. So, grab your flip flops, pack your canine sunscreen, and enjoy a beach day with your best friend at these stretches of sand that welcome dogs to play for free. If you are interested in other parts of the country, hang ten at these dog-friendly beaches on the West and Gulf Coasts instead, or explore the shores of these rivers and lakes that welcome pups.
Posted by Billy Francis
1. Wildwood Dog Park and Beach
Wildwood Dog Park and Beach was built just for canines. A giant red fire hydrant is the park’s siren call to pups. The dog section of the beach is fenced in for Fido to run free, although a leash is required outside the boundaries. There’s a sandy walkway that leads to the dog run area where you’ll find shaded spots, agility obstacles, and open spaces for fetch. The separate areas for large and small dogs allows pets of all shapes and sizes to feel comfortable playing in the sand. After jumping through a huge tire or navigating a tunnel embedded in the sand, your pooch can cool down at the water fountain.
Wildwood Dog Park and Beach is open all day, every day. Don’t put your head in the sand and miss securing a room at the popular Sand Box Motel. Four-legged guests receive a treat, food mat, and bowls to use during their stay, and rooms have hardwood floors for easy cleanup.
2. Haulover Beach Park
Thinking of spending a weekend in dog-friendly Miami? Haulover Beach Park is a pristine stretch of sand located off scenic A1A in Miami Beach. You and Fido can join the droves of beach-loving pups for off-leash fun between towers #2 and #3 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day of the week. If your pooch prefers the zoomies on grass instead, he can visit the dog park adjacent to the shore. While he makes new pals, you can still enjoy ocean views between the palms from the fenced area. In addition to a water station inside the park, hot dogs can cool down with a refreshing frozen treat from Doggy Ice Pops, a local dog-friendly food truck that’s been known to frequent the “pupular” area.
Haulover Beach Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset, but access for furry friends is only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ocean views aren’t just found on the beach. Reserve this oceanfront apartment and experience stunning sunsets over the water from the double balcony. Inside, the apartment has hardwood floors for easy cleanup and plenty of space for Fido to sprawl after a long day of play.
3. Bald Head Island
Fido will need to pull on his captain’s hat for the voyage to Bald Head Island. Hop on the pet-friendly ferry in Southport and enjoy a tranquil 20-minute crossing to the island. The 14 miles of golden beach here are all pet-friendly, although pups must be leashed. Instead of walking, navigate the island in a golf cart from Cary Cart Company. Learn about the island’s unique ecosystem that includes pristine beaches, a maritime forest, and salt marsh on a pet-friendly Island Nature Tour with Bald Head Island Conservancy.
Bald Head Island is accessible by boat or ferries which leave on the hour, every hour from Deep Point Marina. Enjoy views of both of the island’s lighthouses from this pet-friendly Oceanfront Oasis. After a day at the beach, walk up the private boardwalk to your home away from home, then relax in the hammock on the deck and watch the ships go by as the sun sets.
4. Jupiter Beach
The dog-friendly section of Jupiter Beach allows mutts to romp off-leash on more than 2 miles of pristine golden sand. Calm, clear waters make this the ideal destination for pups who want to practice stand up paddleboarding on the open water or try surfing for the first time. In fact, the beach has previously been the setting for the annual Hang 20 Surf Dog Classic, which includes events like canine surf competitions, a Bark and Brunch, dog bikini contest, vendor village full of cool souvenirs for Fido, and a blessing of the animals.
Jupiter Beach is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week. Spend the night just steps away from the sand at Casa Amor. This beautiful condo is a great place to hang Fido’s leash at the end of a day making waves with the crowds.
5. Bay View Beach
Bay View Beach in Saco is a real diamond in the sand. One of the few pet-friendly beaches in Maine that allows dogs to hang out all day, two- and four-legged visitors will love this charming corner of New England. The fine white sands and gently sloping shoreline make it the ideal place for a doggy dip. Pets must be on leash from July to August from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rest of the year and at all other times, dogs can roam off-leash as long as owners have their leash in hand. Waste bags are provided at a number of entrances to Bay View Beach.
Bayview Beach welcomes dogs all day, every day. Reserve a room at nearby Comfort Inn Saco Old Orchard Beach. This welcoming hotel loves dogs of all sizes who come to stay. Before bedtime, cruise to the coast and let your pooch loose at Old Orchard Beach Dog Park.
6. Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is the closest thing to a Floridian beach outside of the Sunshine State. This popular destination requires dogs to be leashed on the sandy beach, but this shouldn’t dampen spirits too much. From the sand, you can enjoy views of the Atlantic on one side and the huge SkyWheel on the other. During peak season, dogs are only allowed on the beach at certain times. Fortunately for summer visitors, pups are never restricted from using popular dog parks near the beach, Barc Parc South and Barc Parc North.
From May 1 through Labor Day, Myrtle Beach allows dogs on the beach before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m., and on the boardwalk from 5 to 10 a.m. From the day after Labor Day to April 30, dogs are allowed on the beach at any time of day. Don’t feel like mingling with mutts at the public dog park? DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront has a private fenced space for guests only. Dine out with your dog at the hotel restaurant with ocean views.
7. Morris Island
Morris Island is a secluded, unspoiled gem off the coast of Charleston that's only accessible by boat. Once you find safe passage to the island, dogs under voice command are free to walk off-leash on the beaches that stretch for miles around the shoreline. When the tide is out, the sands reach Morris Island Lighthouse, which dates back to 1876. You might even spot dolphins swimming in the waters around the historic site. If you don’t have your own boat, call Adventure Harbor Tours and join the Morris Island Tour which will also cruise past Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out. The tour includes a guided walk around the island.
Free access to the island is only available for visitors with their own boats. Stay near your vessel to the island at Hotel Indigo Mount Pleasant. Four-legged guests receive treats at check-in and are free to wander the grassy space around the hotel on a leash.
8. Sombrero Beach
Sombrero Beach is the perfect setting for you and your best friend to relax into island life. Whether he wants to sling sand on the natural beach or splash in the shallow surf, this is the place to make your dog’s summer dreams come true. Pups are welcome at all city parks in Marathon but must always be on a leash. You’ll find free parking along the street, shady pavilions with grills, and outdoor showers for humans and canines to wash off excess sand before continuing your dog-friendly Florida Keys adventure. Has Fido always wanted to meet Flipper? After his day at the beach, make your way to Dolphin Research Center to see dolphins and sea lions up close.
Sombrero Beach is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lounge with your Labrador at Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club. Experience the other side of the Keys from the pet-friendly patio of the resort’s restaurant, then take an afternoon stroll to Marathon Community Park.
9. East Hampton Main Beach, NY
Are you gearing up to spend a weekend in the dog-friendly Hamptons? This popular seaside getaway frequented by New York’s elite is just a few hours away from the Big Apple on Long Island. Whether you and your best friend are in the market for a luxury second home or just visiting, you'll want to check out the pet-friendly beaches in the Town of East Hampton. The rules vary from beach to beach, depending on when you visit, but the main beach welcomes dogs off-leash during off-season. Marvel at the mansions that line the beach, rub shoulders with local designer dogs and live the high life at this pristine stretch of sand.
From May 15 to September 15, dogs are not allowed on town beaches from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or village beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, they are permitted on the beach between those hours if they are within 500 feet of a paved road on town beaches and 300 feet on village beaches. From September 16 to May 14, dogs are allowed at all times.
Since he's here, Fido is going to want to stay somewhere in style. Check in at Baron’s Cove at Sag Harbor, which is just a stone’s throw from pet-friendly beaches, and ask about the “Travels with Charley Package.”
10. Jekyll Island
The Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia round out our favorite east coast dog beaches, and what a place to drop anchor. Jekyll Island, one of coastal Georgia’s gems, is home to a couple of beaches for Fido to explore, and each offers something different and unique. True to its name, Driftwood Beach is covered in driftwood trees in a variety of shapes, giving it an eerie and wild aesthetic. On the other hand, Jekyll Island Beach is a wide, expansive beach that gives dogs plenty of space to walk and marvel at the kites in the sky. You can get from beach to beach on the 25 miles of pet-friendly trails that weave around the island.
Jekyll Island's beaches are open all day, every day. Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island is a top-rated pet-friendly hotel just a short walk from Great Dunes Beach Park, another sandy hangout spot on the island. If you don’t feel like visiting the beach again, there’s a grassy relief area on the property.