Queensland is home to some beautiful beaches and luckily they aren’t all just for humans. There’s also plenty of dog-friendly beaches to go around, although the number of off-leash dog beaches varies greatly from region to region.
If your dog loves to visit the beach, try to visit some of these beautiful dog-friendly beaches, stretching from the Gold Coast to the Far North Queensland. Most of these beaches are off-leash all day long, but in some areas your dog may need to stay leashed at least part of the day.
1. Palm Beach Dog Beach, Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is famous for its beaches and one of the best dog-friendly beaches on the Gold Coast is the Palm Beach Dog Off-Leash Beach. Located at the southern end of Palm Beach, not far from Coolangatta, this large off-leash dog exercise area covers both part of Currumbin Creek, then wraps around to the ocean-facing beach.
Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach all day long. Check out the multiple signs erected with maps showing where dogs are permitted off-leash, particularly as the southern side of the Currumbin Creek entrance is off-limits to dogs. (Or simply follow the arrows from the carpark…)
Read more about visiting Palm Beach Dog Beach
2. The Spit Dog Beach, Gold Coast
At the other end of the Gold Coast is another terrific off-leash dog beach, that if anything is even more popular with dog owners. The Spit Dog Beach is located on the eastern side of the Spit in Southport, just north of Seaworld. The off-leash area starts from the access point opposite Muriel Henchman Park and extends north to the seaway rock groyne.
There’s a large carpark at the northern end of the off-leash area near the Seaway Kiosk. Naturally the sand is busier down this end. However, there’s the advantage of the dog wash down area with hoses next to the access point, plus your pup would love a post-beach doggy ice cream from the kiosk.
If the waves along the beach are too intimidating for your pup, there’s also the convenient option of heading to the other side of the spit, where the sheltered waterway of the Marine Stadium has an off-leash area on the eastern side.
Find out more about dog-friendly places to visit on the Gold Coast
3. Woorim Beach South, Bribie Island
The beaches around Brisbane aren’t the great for humans or dogs, with most of the off-leash dog beaches in Brisbane consisting of sandy mudflats. However, for a beautiful stretch of golden sand beach close to Brisbane where your dog can run off-leash for kilometres on end head to Woorim Beach South on Bribie Island.
This off-leash dog beach on Bribie Island is located in between Woorim Beach and Red Beach. For the easiest access (once your’ve driven across the handy bridge to Bribie Island), head to the end of Lowry St in Woorim. The off-leash section starts immediately south of the access point, plus there’s a convenient dog wash down area at the carpark.
Alternatively, head to Red Beach on the southern side of the island. There’s a short section of on-leash beach starting at the first carpark, before the off-leash section starts. The beach is relatively calm, especially at the Red Beach end, although Woorim Beach is technically a “surf” beach.
Check out the full list of dog-friendly beaches in and near Brisbane
4. Stumers Creek Beach, Coolum, Sunshine Coast
Further north along the Sunshine Coast there’s no shortage of beautiful sandy beaches, with plenty of options available for dogs and their owners.
One of the best off-leash dog beaches is Stumers Creek, on the northern side of Coolum. As well as a huge expanse of sand and the crashing ocean waves, there’s also the calm waters of the lagoon where the creek meets (or almost meets) the sea, perfect for doggie paddling.
The off-leash area extends between beach access points 67 and 72, with no time restrictions. But most dog owners head to the carpark next to the creek, where there’s a convenient dog wash down area.
5. Sunshine Beach North, Sunshine Coast
One of my favourite beaches on the Sunshine Coast is the pretty Sunshine Beach. Tucked in just south of the Noosa National Park (where unfortunately dogs can’t join you for a walk), it was sheltered from the westerly wind, although the sea was too rough for swimming on the day we visited.
Dogs are allowed off-leash on the northern end of the beach, starting from Seaview Terrace North, near the small carpark, up until the national park boundary. On the day we visited, there were plenty of locals relaxing on the sand, enjoying the sunshine, with their pups by their side.
6. Noosa Spit, Sunshine Coast
For a beach around Noosa that is better suited for dog paddles and swims, head to Noosa Spit at Noosa Heads. Dogs are allowed off-leash on a large section of the spit that extends into the Noosa River, plus the beaches with their calm waters on either side.
There’s not that many signs indicating when you’re entering the off-leash area, so it’s a good idea to check out the map on the council website. Alternatively, search for “Doggy Beach” on Google Maps which will lead you to the popular dog swimming beach on the northern side of the spit, although I found the beach larger on the southern side when I visited.
Check out my full guide to the dog-friendly Sunshine Coast
7. Urangan Foreshore, Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay is well known for its beautiful coastline, and luckily there’s a number of dog-friendly off-leash options available. While some of the off-leash sections have time restrictions, one of the best 24-hour off-leash beaches is a section of the Urangan Foreshore.
The off-leash section is located at Urangan in between the Margaret Street and Churchill Street groynes. While not that large, there was plenty of room for the few dogs on the sand and in the water on the day we visited. Alternatively, if you head to the beach before 8am or after 3pm, dogs are allowed off-leash on the larger area of foreshore further along between Urangan Pier and the Aquarium.
Thanks to the shadow of Fraser Island, the waters are quite calm, perfect for small and large dogs to enjoy.
Find out more about visiting Hervey Bay with a dog
8. Woodgate Beach, near Bundaberg
If you’re visiting the Bundaberg region with a dog, unfortunately there’s not that many off-leash dog beaches. Dogs are strictly prohibited from a number of beaches due to their importance as turtle breeding grounds, such as Mon Repos. On some beaches dogs are permitted on-leash, but for an off-leash beach head 40 minutes south to Woodgate Beach.
This long beachside village stretches for almost 5km along the coast. Dogs are allowed on-leash along the main stretch of beach, plus off-leash at either end. On the northern end, the off-leash section starts about at the northernmost residence (about 350m north of the boat ramp) and extends to Theodolite Creek. The easiest access point is the small carpark where Theodolite Creek Drive bends close to the beach.
At the southern end of the beach, the off-leash section starts 50m south of the most southerly pedestrian beach access point, although don’t expect a sign. It stretches all the way to 200m north of the Burrum River entrance.
If you’d prefer to head to a beach closer to Bundaberg, our pick of the on-leash options was Elliot River Beach at Elliot Heads, which may now be off-leash, although a community consultation is taking place.
Check out more dog-friendly sightseeing ideas for Bundaberg
9. Agnes Water Beach
Agnes Water is famous for having the most northernly surf beach in Queensland, and luckily it’s not just reserved for surfers and swimmers. Stretching for kilometres, while dogs are naturally not allowed in the bathing area at the very southern end of the beach, they are allowed along the rest of the beach.
Immediately north of the bathing area, starting on the left-hand side of the access pathway, dogs are allowed on-leash for about 2km along the beach. Once you get to Surf Club Avenue, where there’s a carpark and access point, dogs are allowed off-leash along the rest of the beach, which extends for kilometres further.
Head for a long walk along the sand with your pup, or just enjoy a paddle in the waves.
Check out more dog-friendly ideas for visiting Agnes Water
10. Lammermoor Beach, Yeppoon
The Yeppoon area is home to some beautiful beaches, and luckily most of them allow dogs off-leash. However, the default rule is for beaches to allow off-leash dogs only before 8am and after 4pm, unless otherwise signposted. There are two beaches that allow off-leash dogs during the day, but only on weekdays, and not at all on weekends.
My pick of the dog-friendly beaches around Yeppoon is Lammermoor Beach. This beautiful length of sand stretches for over a kilometre just north of the Keppel Bay Marina. However, you’ll need to visit before 8am or after 4pm to allow your dog off their leash, otherwise they’ll need to be kept leashed. During the middle of the day, you can instead let your dog off leash at the nearby Olive Dorey Park on Clayton Road.
Find out more about visiting Yeppoon with a dog
11. Bucasia Beach, Mackay
The Mackay region is once again a region where there are only time-restricted off-leash dog beaches. However, this doesn’t apply to all beaches, but only two of the many beaches in the Mackay area, as well as one beach in nearby Sarina.
My pick of the two Mackay beaches where dogs are allowed off-leash is Bucasia Beach, along Mackay’s Northern Beaches. It’s a beautiful, wide sandy beach with gentle waters.
The off-leash section is located in between Williams Avenue and Symons Avenue. Dogs are only allowed off-leash from 5am to 8am and 5pm to 8pm, and should be leashed the rest of the day. Although locals were quite relaxed about following this rule when I visited…
Check out my full guide to dog-friendly Mackay
12. Hideaway Bay Beach, Whitsundays
The Whitsundays are home to some beautiful beaches, although most of them are located off-shore on islands where dogs aren’t allowed. For the most beautiful dog-friendly beach in the Whitsundays, forget about Airlie Beach and instead head 40 minutes north to Hideaway Bay.
This stunning yet quiet stretch of coast north of Airlie Beach is home to a beautiful beach, with crystal clear waters where locals feel safe swimming. (Crocodiles can still be a risk this far south, mostly along the mainland.) Not that you’ll need to share the beach with more than a handful of people…
According to the council website, the official off-leash section starts after the rocks at the eastern end of the beach and extends around to the “island”. However, the signage at the beach isn’t clear and on the day we visited, other dogs were off-leash on the main stretch of the beach.
13. Kings Beach, Bowen
The other dog-friendly destination in the Whitsundays region that you must visit is Bowen, home to multiple off-leash dog beaches. My favourite out of the multiple dog-friendly beaches is Kings Beach, in between the centre of Bowen and Rose Bay. A long sandy beach, on the day we visited the water was shallow and calm, great for dogs large and small, although double check for any reports of crocodiles in the area.
The easiest way to access Kings Beach is by following the signs from the Bowen town centre to Flagstaff Hill, then parking in the carpark just past the hill, at the southern end of the beach. Alternatively, you should also be able to access the beach from the southern side of Rose Bay. There’s also an access road to the middle section of the beach, but it’s unsealed and was rather corrugated on the day we visited.
Check out my full guide to visiting the Whitsundays region with a dog
14. Mission Beach
I couldn’t compile a list of the best dog-friendly beaches in Queensland and not include Mission Beach, although unfortunately there aren’t any off-leash dog beaches or other areas in the Mission Beach area, perhaps due to the local presence of both cassowaries and crocodiles.
However, it’s still totally worthwhile to visit Mission Beach and South Mission Beach and go for a stroll along the beautiful shores with your dog on leash, ideally around low tide when the tropical beach edged by palm trees is wonderfully wide, with plenty of room for everyone, including landing skydivers.
Perhaps also head to the southern end of South Mission Beach and walk along the Kennedy Walking Track, with dogs on a leash permitted. After 300m of easy boardwalk you’ll reach the small but picturesque Lovers Beach. Just check the local signs for any recent reports of crocodiles – during our visit a crocodile had recently been spotted at South Mission Beach.
Check out my full guide to dog-friendly Mission Beach (including tips for cassowary encounters)
15. Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas
Finally, if you keep on heading north, you’ll soon reach the beautiful beaches of the Cairns and Port Douglas region. It’s hard to choose just one beach, but Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas is a must-visit dog-friendly beach.
The long sands of Four Mile Beach run along the southern side of the tropical resort town. While dogs aren’t allowed on the easternmost part of the beach, close to the surf club, there’s an off-leash section at the western end, plus dogs are allowed on-leash along the section in between.
The off-leash dog exercise area starts at the access track at Four Mile Beach Park and extends south to approximately Martin Scullett Drive, on the southern edge of town. Curiously, when I visited in 2021, I didn’t spot any signs indicating this, only one sign indicating dogs should be on leash.
Regardless, follow the lead of locals allowing their dogs off-leash and let your pup enjoy a run on the sand and a paddle in the water (as long as there haven’t been recent sightings of crocodiles). At the Cowie Street entrance, there’s a handy hose for washing down your dog.
Find out more about dog-friendly beaches and sightseeing near Cairns
Keeping Your Dog Safe on Queensland Beaches
There’s a few dangers that you need to be aware of on Queensland beaches, particularly those in the Tropical North. Firstly, on beaches north of Gladstone, there is the risk of saltwater crocodiles. This is more pronounced near creek mouths, or in murky water.
Check the local signs and speak to locals before letting you dog close to the water. If crocodiles have been recently spotted at beaches, signs are erected warning of this. But if in doubt, don’t even let your dog paddle in the water, and instead stick to walking on the sand with your pup.
Another risk north of Agnes Water are marine stingers, which are a danger to dogs as well as humans. While humans can swim at stinger-net protected beaches, these are naturally off limits to dogs. The most dangerous period are the summer months, but these can be present year round. If stingers are around, keep your dog out of the water.
Finally, no matter which part of the Queensland coast you visit, be aware of the dangers of hot sand on bare paws. Check the temperature of the sand on hot days before allowing your dog to walk on the beach. You can buy booties for your pup, or just head to the beach during the cooler parts of the day. And encourage your pup to drink from the dog water fountains at most dog-friendly beaches!
2 thoughts on “15 of the Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Queensland”
I can vouch for Crocs near Mission. Im new to the area and seen a 3 metre Croc loitering around the stinger net at south mission beach, before Christmas 2021.
That sighting confirmed for me no swimming for my border collie and myself,as soon as I moved here.
Its such a shame, the beaches here are beautiful.
Wow, thanks for the warning! It’s hard to imagine when you’re just a visitor.