13 Dog-Friendly Beaches on the Central Coast of NSW

The Central Coast is home to a huge number of beaches, and luckily many of them are dog-friendly. There’s a wide range of beaches, ranging from surf beaches through to calm beaches on Broken Bay and Brisbane Water. Take your pick from the following Central Coast dog beaches for a fun outing with your dog…

Dog-friendly Shelly Beach

Looking for more things to do with your dog on the Central Coast? Check out my dog-friendly Central Coast guide

Dog-Friendly Ocean Beaches on the Central Coast

There’s no shortage of wonderful dog-friendly ocean-facing beaches on the Central Coast. Although your pup is probably not up to hitting the waves for a surf, they’re the perfect place for a refreshing walk and a paddle in the shallows.

Check out these options from north to south…

#1 Budgewoi Dog Beach, Budgewoi

A spectacularly rugged yet beautiful beach close to Lake Munmorah, also known as Lakes Beach, this beach has a large off-leash area to allow dogs to run free to their heart’s content.

The off-leash area stretches for 600m between Ocean Street and the northern car park, with dogs not allowed outside this area.

#2 North Entrance Dog Beach, The Entrance North

A section at the northern end of the North Entrance Beach allows off-leash dogs, alongside Matron Simpson Reserve. Access the off-leash area to the north of the surf club – search for the “North Entrance Dog Beach” pin on Google Maps, at the end of Leonard Street. The off-leash area extends north to Wyuna Avenue.

A relatively quiet beach, this beach is best to visit when the tide is lower, otherwise there’s not much beach left at high tide.

North Entrance Dog Beach
The quiet North Entrance Dog Beach close to low tide

#3 North Shelly Beach, Toowoon Bay

Based on the day that I visited North Shelly Beach, this large surf beach is equally as popular with local dog owners and surfers when the swell is up. While the waves are usually gentle close to shore, be careful to not let your dog paddle out too far!

Dog-friendly Central Coast - North Shelly Dog Beach
Shelly Beach is a popular Central Coast dog beach

On Google Maps, search for “North Shelly Beach Dog Beach”. The off-leash section extends from the beach access stairs, where there’s plenty of free parking, south to the northern beach access walkway off Shelly Beach Road, adjacent to the golf course.

#4 Forresters Beach, Forresters Beach

The northern half of this beautiful Central Coast beach has been designated off-leash, to the north of the access path. (I’ve seen some reports that the southern end is off-leash, but the signs at the access path are quite clear!)

Forresters Beach Access Path
The access path down to Forresters Beach

This wide, sandy beach has a large area for dogs to run around on the sand, especially when the tide is low. Thanks to the stairs down to the beach, they’re also well away from the road. Just be careful of the waves that can be rather rough on some days.

Forresters Beach with Dog
Enjoying the sand on dog-friendly Forresters Beach

#5 Wamberal Beach, Wamberal

While dogs are naturally not allowed off-leash on the popular Terrigal Beach, head just north to the southern end of Wamberal Beach, where dogs are allowed off-leash all day long.

Running parallel to the section of Ocean View Drive, the off-leash area starts north of the entrance to the Terrigal Lagoon and extends north to Surfers Road. Double check the exact start and end point on the local signs.

Wamberal Beach
An off-leash section of Wamberal Beach

#6 North Avoca Beach, North Avoca

There’s an excellent off-leash dog beach at Avoca and North Avoca Beaches, on either side of the lagoon that lies in between the two beaches.

Avoca Beach Lagoon
Checking out the lagoon in between Avoca and North Avoca Beaches

The off-leash section of North Avoca Beach starts at the View Street beach access, while only a short section of Avoca Beach is off-leash, north of the Shark Tower. Note that dogs are prohibited south of this point, even if they are leashed.

Aovca Beach Dog Signs
Dogs are only permitted on part of Avoca Beach

There’s a handy carpark off Ficus Avenue next to the lagoon, next to the “Dogs of Avoca Park” pin on Google Maps. Then choose between a paddle in the waves or in the calm lagoon.

#7 Copacabana Beach to Macmasters Beach, Copacabana

The southern end of the Copacabana Beach allows off-leash dogs, to the south of the patrolled area. There’s signs at the access points that indicate whether dogs are allowed – keep on driving until you reach the area where dogs are permitted.

Copacabana Beach
Dogs are allowed off-leash on the southern end of Copacabana Beach

The off-leash area extends south to the northern half of Macmasters Beach, past the lagoon in between the two beaches. Go for a walk along the long golden stretch of sand. Dogs also commonly swim in the lagoon, but be wary of pollution after rain.

Copacabana Beach Walking with Dog
Walking along Copacabana Beach towards Macmasters Beach

#8 Putty Beach, Killcare

A long strip of Putty Beach on the southern side of Killcare is an off-leash dog beach. Access the off-leash section by parking in the carpark on Beach Drive, with the off-leash section starting on the eastern end of the carpark, the opposite end to the surf club.

It’s also possible to access the off-leash section of beach by parking at the carpark near the intersection of Beach Drive and Grandview Crescent, then following the access path (keeping your dog on a leash until you reach the beach). The off-leash area ends before you reach the Putty Beach carpark.

Note that much of the surrounding area is located in the Bouddi National Park, where dogs are strictly not permitted.

Dog-Friendly Bay Beaches on the Central Coast

For a gentler beach experience, head to one of the dog-friendly Central Coast beaches located along the shores of Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River. Inside the bay, the water is generally calmer, although a swell can still reach Umina Beach.

Additionally, I’ve included one off-leash dog park on the shores of the Brisbane Water, which is also a popular swimming spot for dogs.

Check out these beaches from west to east…

#1 Patonga Beach, Patonga

The small village of Patonga is tucked away on the southern outskirts of the Central Coast. The main stretch of Patonga Beach is off-leash 24/7, from the jetty to the Meroo Avenue boundary sign.

Patonga Beach Dogs Off Leash Sign
Dogs are allowed off-leash on part of Patonga Beach

This is one of my favourite dog-friendly beaches on the Central Coast thanks to the calm and clean waters of the lower Hawkesbury River. The perfect spot to head before or after for lunch is The Boathouse Hotel Patonga, opposite the jetty. Dogs are welcome in the large outdoor area.

The calm waters of Patonga Beach
The calm waters at Patonga Beach

#2 Pearl Beach, Pearl Beach

The northern end of Pearl Beach permits dogs off-leash. Note that the water here can be quite rough, so it’s best to stick to zoomies on the sand, and leave the dog paddling for other beaches, at least for smaller dogs.

#3 Umina Beach, Umina

The southern end of Umina Beach is a very popular dog beach on the Central Coast. The off-leash section is in between the Berrima Crescent Car Park and the beach access track opposite Umina Beach Skate Park.

#4 Ettalong Beach, Ettalong

The whole length of Ettalong Beach is a dog-friendly beach, although dogs need to stay leashed along parts of it.

For the off-leash section head to the southern side of Ettalong near Ettalong Beach Point. The off-leash section starts around Kourung Street and stretches south. I haven’t yet visited this beach with my dog and the online map isn’t clear, so double check where the off-leash section ends.

#4 Illoura Reserve Dog Park, Davistown

Not your usual dog beach, this Central Coast dog beach is located on Brisbane Water, in the suburb of Davistown. Head to the off-leash dog park accessed from the end of Mirren Avenue.

The off-leash area covers the whole of the point, with a small sandy beach. It’s a great spot for your dog to swim in sheltered waters, especially if they aren’t that confident in the water.

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About the Author

Photo of Shandos & Schnitzel

Shandos Cleaver is the founder of Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel. She has travelled extensively with her Miniature Dachshund, Schnitzel, including to 33 countries across Europe, every state and territory of Australia except Tasmania, and 10 of the United States. She’s passionate about providing inspiration and information to others wanting to travel with their dogs, whether close to home or internationally.

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