The Best Pet-Friendly Beach Towns in America

Posted by Billy Francis

For generations, two- and four-legged tourists have flocked to the coast in search of ocean smells, golden sands and laid-back vibes. But some beachfront destinations are more welcoming to furry friends than others. Whether they’re unveiling huge murals of pups downtown or throwing pet-friendly events on the sand, these beach towns go above and beyond for the canine community.

Dunedin, FL

“Did you know they renamed this town after me?” Photo by @a.pretty.penny

Dunedin is affectionately known by four-legged residents as “Dogedin.” When you pay the town a visit, Fido will soon discover why. Murals for Mutts on the exterior wall of Skip’s Bar & Grill displays the nickname surrounded by colorful paintings of local celebrities (aka the city’s canine population). After enjoying a beer at the downtown watering hole, head to Honeymoon Island State Park. You and your pooch can explore the nature trail and access the beach on the southern side. Before you hit the road, stop by Marina Cafe at Bon Appetit for tapas on the patio overlooking the water.

Stay with your sun-seeking Shepherd at one of the many dog-friendly vacation rentals in Dunedin, like this Downtown Dunedin B&B. The suave interior and fenced backyard make this home away from home the cherry on top of your trip.

Cannon Beach, OR

“We have miles and miles of beach to enjoy!” Photo by @adventuresof_jade_

Grab your dog’s leash and head to Cannon Beach, a magical town for mutts. Hike the pet-friendly coastal trails of Ecola State Park and enjoy a first peek at Haystack Rock, one of the state’s most recognizable landmarks. Get a closer look of the amazing rock formations from Cannon Beach, one of our favorite beaches on the West Coast. Four-legged beachcombers are welcome to roam and play here off-leash if they are under voice control. The long, sandy shore is also the setting for Dog Show on the Beach, an annual gathering of people and pups. When the fun in the sun is said and done, you can discuss your next trip over a pint on the patio at Public Coast Brewing Co.

Cannon Beach has no shortage of pet-friendly rentals. Stay steps from the stacks at this cozy cabin by the water.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

“Three’s company!” Photo by @emi.and.jojo

Carmel-by-the-Sea is another West Coast wonder that’s been attracting the attention of canine tourists for years. Let loose on Carmel Beach, where swimsuits are mandatory but leashes aren’t. After playing on the golden sand and meeting other sight-sniffers, embark on some retail therapy together at one of America’s coolest pet-friendly malls, Carmel Plaza. Shop for new garms at The Dog House and snap a memorable photo at the shopping center’s Fountain of Woof. In the evening, enjoy a romantic meal for you and your furry boo at The Forge. The canine menu at this popular pet-friendly restaurant includes “The Hot Diggity Dog” and “The Quarter Hounder.” Carmel-by-the-Sea also hosts an annual Poodle Day and Parade to celebrate our curly coated standard, toy and miniature friends.

Put your poodle’s paws up at Carmel Garden Inn, where she’ll receive a bed and bowls to use, plus tasty treats. It's one of many pet-friendly rentals in this city that loves going to the dogs.

Duck, NC

“Duck, duck, goose!” Photo by @12thstreetportraits

Duck is part of the picturesque Outer Banks, a string of islands off the coast of North Carolina. Dogs are welcome on every single Duck beach without a leash, as long as they are under voice control. That gives Fido 7 whole miles to run and play. Elsewhere in the town, your leashed pup can join you on the boardwalk, at The Waterfront Shops and The Duck Trail, a 6-mile long, multi-use path that traverses the entire length of town. Looking across the water from the shore is great, but it’s nice to get a different perspective. Outer Banks Kayak Adventures invites visitors to explore on a kayak or stand up paddleboard tour. All that walking, playing and paddling can be thirsty work, so swing by Sweet T's Coffee, Beer & Wine to indulge in your beverage of choice on one of two pet-friendly patios.

When it’s time to duck out for the night, you'll have plenty of pet-friendly rentals to choose from. Waddle over to this soundfront house to relax on the peaceful balcony overlooking the water.

Huntington Beach, CA

“I promise I’ll look at the camera this time … psych!” Photo by @brettfragerofficial

Huntington Beach is a ballin’ beach town your pooch is going to love. Surf City is home to the awesome Huntington Dog Beach. Unclip your pup's leash and watch him sprint across the golden sand for 1.5 miles. When he sees the surfers carving the waves, he’ll be inspired to try it for himself. Good Kharma Surf Instruction can help him realize his dream. The “paw-some” school improves obedience and gets four-legged surfers ready to hang 10. If he takes to it like a dog to water, he can challenge some of the world’s best canine surfers at Surf City Surf Dog® Competition held annually on the beach. Commiserate or celebrate with your pup at the place in Huntington Beach where everybody knows his name, Sit Stay Cafe.

You won't have to hunt for dog-friendly digs in Huntington Beach. Gaze across the water from this enchanting pet-friendly villa’s stone balcony.

Provincetown, MA

“More like ‘Paw-vincetown,’ amIright?” Photo by @jessicataylorl7

Provincetown has been dog-friendly since day one, when an English Mastiff and Springer Spaniel arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. Nowadays, the beautiful seaside town is a destination for pooches of all shapes, sizes and interests. Pups who love to be by the water don’t have to trek for miles to reach Herring Cove, a huge stretch of shoreline with trails through luscious meadows. The quaint town on the northern tip of Cape Cod is also home to Pilgrim Bark Park, one of the most epic dog parks in the U.S. This pretty spot doubles as an outdoor art gallery filled with sculptures designed by local artists. Following an afternoon of fetch, let Fido meet the less furry locals aboard a Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown Whale Watch.

Pet-friendly homes away from home abound in Provincetown. Tuck your dog in at The Tucker Inn, a refined choice with a fenced backyard.

Virginia Beach, VA

“Who’s afraid of Virginia Beach?” Photo by @phat.humphs

Virginia Beach is where Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. The beautiful estuary offers stunning coastal views and fine stretches of shoreline. With 20 miles of trails and a beach that welcomes pups year-round, First Landing State Park Beach is a good place to start your adventure. Make sure you see it all by reserving a pet-friendly cabin at the beachfront campground. Your pooch can avoid sandy paws but still get those beach views with a stroll on Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Along the way, stop by Catch 31 for some delicious seafood on the patio. Dogs are also allowed to wander on the beach without a leash during the off-season.

Extend your vacation in Virginia Beach with a stay at a dog-friendly rental, like this super-cheap and affordable converted barn.

Wildwood, NJ

“I’m going to need backup to pee all over that thing!” Photo by @leonardodimeatballs

Wildwood is by no means the most dog-friendly place on our list. For example, pups aren’t allowed on the boardwalk at any time, which would usually be a huge red flag for a list of pet-friendly beach towns. However, the resort city on the New Jersey coast is the location of one of the best dog beaches on the East Coast! Fido will be able to spot Wildwood Dog Park and Beach from a mile away by the recognizable gigantic red fire hydrant that sticks out of the sand. This fenced space allows dogs to roam freely and play on the awesome agility equipment inside. Leash him back up and go for a walk on the larger beach before relaxing on the patio at Dogtooth Bar & Grill for a warm welcome and nice evening meal.

When it's time to turn in for the night, settle in at a neighborly pet-friendly vacation rental. Your furry friend will feel right at home at The Wildwoof Beach Bungalow.

Long Beach, WA

“Oh, you meant this Long Beach!” Photo by @beachhousewa

Long Beach is steeped in history and tradition. Fido can learn all about it on the Discovery Trail, first blazed by Lewis and Clark. You’ll come across a basalt monolith, a gray whale skeleton and the 19-foot bronze sculpture known as Clark's Tree. Afterwards, hit nine holes at Peninsula Golf Course. Unlike some dog-friendly golf courses, your pooch can wander off-leash by your side while you play. Follow up your tee time with tea time at The Cove Restaurant, which overlooks the course. While you snack on a sandwich, your dog can pick her favorite treat from the "Doggietizer" menu.

Get a good night's rest at a cozy dog-friendly rental in Long Beach. Fido can drift away upon the gentle waves at this unique oceanfront home, which comes with its own volleyball court and a room full of board games for rainy days.

Port Aransas, TX

"This beach is big enough for the both of us." Photo by @jennasuehome

Your furry “paw-tner” will get a Texas-sized welcome at Port Aransas. This Gulf of Mexico hotspot is brimming with sun, sand and southern charm. Port Aransas Beach welcomes dogs to stroll along the sand on a leash, but if you’re looking for some serious fun without one then pay a visit to Port Aransas Dog Park. Play freely at this recreational area with a cool pool, shady spots for sunny days and separate areas for small and large pups. When you’ve worked up an appetite, swing by Stingrays for a meal on the patio near the water.

Snore with your Schnoodle at a vacation property in Aransas. The beach is just a short walk away from this luxury beach retreat.

Which beach town will you and Fido visit first? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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