From California to Florida to Cape Cod to Hawaii, the United States is home to some pretty amazing beaches, perfect for dips in the water during the hot summer months, or walks along the sand year round. But if you’re wanting to visit the beach with your dog, not all beaches allow dogs on them. Together with fellow travel bloggers, I’ve put together this collection of some of the best dog-friendly beaches in the USA…
Dog-Friendly Beaches in California
California is famous for its beach lifestyle, and there’s no need to leave out your dog, with plenty of fabulous dog-friendly beaches up and down the long coastline of California.
Spooner’s Cove, San Luis Obispo, CA
Contributed by Adam and Kathryn of Adventures of A+K
About halfway up the California coast sits the county of San Luis Obispo. This county is full of beautiful scenery, delicious restaurants, fun hikes and of course, an awesome dog beach!
Spooner’s Cove at Montana de Oro State Park is just a ten minute drive from the nearby town of Los Osos and 25 minutes from the town of San Luis Obispo. It’s dog friendly year round but they are required to remain on leash. They have a great campground on property that dogs are welcome at too. Parking is free and just steps from the beach!
The rocky scenery makes for beautiful photos, and creates a cove so the water is more gentle for swimming! Spooner’s Cove is a pebbly beach which makes it even more ideal for bringing your furry friend, as the clean up afterwards is much easier than being covered in sand.
Once you’re done at the beach, go for a walk with your pup on the Elfin Forest Trail. Once you’ve worked up a hunger for lunch, head into San Luis Obispo to try their iconic tri-tip sandwich at Firestone Grill. There’s a huge patio so your pup can join you for lunch!
Its Beach, Santa Cruz, CA
Contributed by Emily Wilson of Pets Around the World
Santa Cruz, California is home to Its Beach where some of the happiest dogs race around on the sand and swim in the calmer waves of the Pacific Ocean. Technically (per county website) it is an on-leash beach, however in our experience there are hardly any dogs staying on-leash.
Its Beach is just over a mile from downtown Santa Cruz. The dog-friendly area is at the base of the west sea cliffs, and they provide natural protection making the beach safer for pets to be off-leash. The beach can only be accessed by stairs. There is plenty of space to run around but is still small enough to keep dogs in recall range.
Parking can be a bit of a challenge, but it is such a great little spot that it’s worth it. Afterwards, a five minute drive back into town will provide tons of options for outdoor dining with your pup including some delicious chowder on the pier. If you are in the Bay Area, definitely put Its Beach on your day trip bucket list.
Carmel Beach, Carmel-by-the Sea, CA
Contributed by Milijana of World Travel Connector
Carmel-by-the Sea in Monterey County in California is famous as the pet-friendliest town in the USA. The town has many dog-friendly hotels, inns, restaurants, bars, shops, trails, and beaches. Besides that, water bowls and biodegradable bags are available in every corner of Carmel.
In addition, downtown Carmel Beach is called the dog-friendliest beach in the USA. The white sandy beach is a paradise for dogs. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach but under voice control. Furry four-legged friends can play freely, romp in the sand, chase the waves, sniff, explore and enjoy the sandy one-mile-long Carmel Beach.
The steep dunes-framed Carmel Beach is perfectly safe for dogs. So, you can rest and enjoy watching your dog having marvelous beach moments.
Bags for collecting dog waste, dispensers, and an outdoor shower are available just next to the beach. There is a parking lot close to the beach. But keep in mind that it can be a challenge to find parking space, especially on weekends.
Carmel Beach is in Carmel-by-the Sea Downtown on the Monterey peninsula. Carmel by the Sea is known as one of the most beautiful towns in California. As such, it is an unmissable stop on a scenic San Francisco to Los Angeles drive.
Mile Rock Beach at Lands End, San Francisco, CA
Contributed by Anu Agarwal of Destination Checkoff
Visiting Mile Rock Beach in Lands End is a great way to spend a day in San Francisco with your dog. Lands End trail is a great hike to reach the beach. The hike offers excellent coast views and views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
One of the highlights of Mile Rock Beach is its dog-friendly nature. Dogs can be off-leash in certain parts of the trail and on the beach but must be under voice control. The beach has a lot of logs and rocks and is not very large but more of a small cove. It is very popular among locals and dog owners, mainly for the Lands End hiking trail and the coastal views.
You can park for free at the Lands End Lookout parking lot. The hike to access the beach starts at the Lands End Lookout Visitor Center. The trail follows the rugged coastline and gives you beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the rocky cliffs.
Huntington Dog Beach, Huntington, CA
Contributed by Shandos Cleaver
Huntington Dog Beach is terrific dog-friendly beach south of Los Angeles, perfect for a beach day with your pup. The dog-friendly section of the beach starts at Goldenwest Street and extends north to Seapoint Street, about 1.5 miles away. Best of all, leashes are strictly optional on the beach!
There are multiple carparks located along the beach, each charging a few dollars per hour. Be careful to stick to the formed access paths down onto the beach, so that you don’t exacerbate the erosion along the coastline. Also keep your dog on a leash until you get to the sand – I was surprised to discover resident squirrels in the adjacent reserve!
Even if it’s not quite swimming weather, Huntington Dog Beach is still a great place to have a long walk along the sand with your pup, or organise a get-together with other pups. Both drinking fountains and dog waste bags are provided, with donations welcome.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Oregon
There’s no shortage of dog-friendly beaches to visit along the coast of Oregon, thanks to the entire stretch of coastline being public land, with no stretches owned by private homes or hotels. These are some of the best dog beaches in Oregon…
Cannon Beach, OR
Contributed by Jessica Schmit of Uprooted Traveler
Cannon Beach is one of the most iconic beaches along the Oregon Coast, thanks to its towering sea stack, Haystack Rock, which rises 235 feet over the Pacific’s crashing waves below. Beyond just being beautiful, though, Cannon Beach is quite dog friendly!
Dogs are welcome on its wide sandy shores, so long as they’re leashed or under voice control by their owners. While on the beach, you and your furry best friend can play in the waves, have a bonfire right on the sand, or watch one of the best sunsets in the country together.
There’s tons of other things to do in Cannon Beach with your dog – for example, check out Public Coast Brewing, which has funky beers, like peanut butter and jelly stout, and a dog-friendly patio or, alternatively, try out any of the beautiful hiking trails at Ecola State Park. This park offers beaches, coastal forests, and stunning views—just remember that your pup must stay on a leash at all times!
Secret Beach, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, OR
Contributed by Melissa from Hello Wanderlust Family
Secret Beach is a hidden gem nestled in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, providing a secluded and serene atmosphere for you and your furry friends. To reach this hidden paradise, you can access it via the trailhead off Highway 101.
While Secret Beach can be visited year-round, the summer months offer the best swimming experience. Plan your visit during low tide to ensure plenty of beach area to roam with your dog.
The beach itself is an alcove, creating a secluded feel and reducing the risk of your dog venturing too far. However, be aware that reaching the beach requires scrambling over some rocks at the base of the trail. When we visited, we didn’t know about the rock scrambling and our dog was scared. But with a little coaxing, he navigated it just fine.
Overall, Secret Beach is a hidden paradise worth exploring with your leashed dog. It is free to visit and has a small parking area just off the road.
Seaside Beach, Seaside, OR
Contributed by The Sisters Who Voyage
Visiting Seaside Beach with your trusty pup is one of the best things to do while exploring the Oregon Coastline. This small but close-knit community has gorgeous sandy shores, pet-friendly hotels and inns, delicious restaurants, and dog-friendly pubs.
One of the best parts is how pet friendly the area is, and you’ll be happy to know that, for the most part, you don’t have to worry about leashing up your dog while playing on the beach. As long as they are friendly, well trained, and you’re a responsible owner who cleans up after them and always pays attention.
This is especially important as there will be other dogs and children, so you want to watch the scenery and ensure your dog gives others space and has good recall.
Personally, every summer, we make a road trip out to visit with our Miniature Dachshund. Parking can be tricky as it’s street parking, but we always find a spot, even during the busy months. We like to end the day at a dog-friendly eatery; one of our favorites is Ruby’s Roadside Grill, which also offers canine cuisine like a beef patty or hotdog.
All in all, visiting Seaside Oregon with your pup will surely be a blast, just don’t forget to bring doggy bags!
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida
The 825 miles of coastline in Florida is nearly as long as the California coast, with a huge variety of beaches along both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Take your pick from these excellent dog-friendly beaches in Florida for a fun day out with your pup.
South Brohard Beach, Venice, FL
Contributed by Dawn of Culture Feasting
Brohard Paw Park is a dog park with a beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is the only beach in Sarasota County where dogs are allowed. Not only are they allowed, but welcome, and they can be off-leash, which is awesome.
This white sand beach is just as beautiful as all the Sarasota public beaches. Plan to pack up your family and all your beach supplies because both dogs and people can swim and spend the whole day here.
Parking is great on the one hand because it’s free, but not so great because the lot is pretty small. Venice is a big retirement community, as well as having residents who are seasonal snowbirds. This means that it can get pretty crowded from January through May.
The entrance to the park is double-gated for safety. It’s a nice shady area with picnic tables and restrooms. You’ll find poop bags and disposal cans handy. The park has showers for you and your dog to get the sand off before returning to your car.
After spending time at Brohard Beach, we always make a point to stop and eat at The Old Salty Dog in Venice for a meal. Dogs are always welcome on the deck, where you can enjoy a cool drink overlooking the marina.
Fort DeSoto Dog Beach, St Petersburg, FL
Contributed by Tori of Tori Pines Travels
The city of St. Petersburg, FL is an extremely dog friendly destination. With unlimited outdoor restaurants and activities and numerous dog friendly hotels, the Fort DeSoto Dog Beach is the icing on the cake!
Fort Desoto Park is located 20 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg. It costs $5 per car to enter, and with so much to do, it’s worth every penny.
The dog beach is open year round and is always full of furry friends! They are not required to be on leash, and the dogs may roam (the dog beach section) as they please. The beach is not fenced in, but just steps away are two fenced in dog parks for those who prefer to have an enclosed space.
Parking is just steps from the sand and is included with the price of admission.
After the beach, grab a leash and head down the trail to the historic fort. Learn the history, watch the fishermen out on the pier or grab something to eat at the snack bar. Finish off the day back in St. Petersburg at the Dog Bar, one of the best bars in St. Petersburg, FL!
Dog Beach at Pier Park, Panama City Beach, FL
Contributed by Candice of Exploring the Gulf
Dog Beach at Pier Park in Panama City Beach is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Florida! This is a clean beach where pups can feel free to splash around while remaining leashed and under control. Also, remember to pick up after your pet to keep the white sand beach in the best condition possible.
This beach is located along the west side of Russell-Fields City Pier, near Pier Park. It’s typically pretty relaxed and free of large tourist crowds. The beach even features a hose that can be used as a shower to clean your pup’s body and paws after a day of frolicking in the sand and water.
The best thing about this beach is the other beachgoers and their pets. Everyone is happy to have the chance to enjoy such a wonderful dog beach with the furry friends they love most!
Keewaydin Island, Naples, FL
Contributed by Lori of Travlinmad
One of the most unique dog-friendly beaches in the USA can be found in southwest Florida. Thankfully, for dog lovers, it’s also one of the most beautiful and natural beaches in the Sunshine State as well, certainly one of the best beaches in Naples.
Keewaydin Island is a barrier island nestled between busy Naples and Marco Island, but because it is only accessible by boat, the exclusive nature helps keep the island pristine and rustic, the way beaches used to be.
In an area known for its gorgeous white sand beaches, Keewaydin is undoubtedly a bucket list beach, so hop on a boat or water taxi with your dog and spend the day shelling and exploring the island.
During the perfect-weather winter months when temps hover around the mid-80’s, the water is perfect for swimming and the Gulf of Mexico is calm. You’ll also find snack and ice-cream boats anchored onshore where you can grab a refreshment. Dogs must be leashed on the beach but can swim without one.
Mickler’s Landing, St Augustine, FL
Contributed by Sam Opp of Find Love and Travel
Mickler’s Landing and Beachfront Park is a great addition to your St. Augustine itinerary that both you and your pup will love.
While here, you’ll quickly discover that there are a variety of fun activities to partake in at the beachfront park. If you’re visiting with your furry friend though, you should head straight to Mickler’s Landing.
Mickler’s Landing is a free public coastal beach with a gorgeous unspoiled natural habitat and 20-foot high sand dunes to experience. Not only will your dog love exploring this area and spending time in the ocean, but you can also have fun hunting for shark teeth and spotting wildlife.
The beach cannot be easily accessed by bus, so driving is your best bet, and they have free car parking spaces available. At certain times of the year, you can drive directly onto the beach. The beach also has showers and bathroom facilities that are perfect if you want to get some of the sand off your pup.
The rules are that dogs should be kept on leashes and should also be picked up after.
Jupiter Dog Beach, Jupiter, FL
Contributed by Ashley Jansen of Jetset Jansen
A great place for some sun and sand with your furry friend is the Jupiter Dog Beach in South Florida. Jupiter has a big dog community and this spot of sand is one of my favorite Jupiter beaches, not only because it’s dog friendly, but because it’s a really pretty area.
The designated dog section is between beach markers 25-57 which is just north of the Juno Beach pier. Another great thing – you can park anywhere along the beach road for free. There are walkways at each of the markers that lead to the sand with trash cans and doggy bags. You can also find showers to wash the sand off of your inevitably very sandy dog.
It’s an off-leash area year-round and the pups love it. Our cockapoo, Rocky, will chase his tennis ball all the way up and down the beach and then take himself to the ocean when he needs to cool off!
Honeymoon Island, FL
Contributed by Paula of Paula Pins the Planet
If you’re a dog owner looking for a beach getaway, Honeymoon Island dog beach in Florida is the perfect destination. Situated in Honeymoon Island State Park, this beach provides a beautiful backdrop for you and your furry companion to have a great time together.
To ensure the safety of all visitors and create a harmonious environment, dogs must be on a leash, but they can be unleashed when playing in shallow calm water, as long as they are well-behaved.
The beach is spacious, allowing ample room for dogs to socialize and make new furry friends. Important rules include having up-to-date vaccinations for your dog, leashing them especially when entering and exiting the beach, and cleaning up after them.
The parking is easy to access and the small fee for entry to the park is worth the beautiful surroundings. If you’re looking for a nice place to relax after spending time at the beach, Café Honeymoon is nearby and has a dog-friendly patio.
As a dog owner myself, I love bringing my furry friends here every weekend. In my opinion, Honeymoon Island dog beach is the best dog beach in the USA and our little piece of paradise.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in South Carolina
Heading north to South Carolina, there’s no shortage of subtropical beaches to visit, including some great dog-friendly beaches to hit up.
Coligny Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC
Contributed by Erin of Savannah First-Timer’s Guide
If you’re interested in a dog-friendly beach in the South Carolina Lowcountry, Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island makes a great choice.
Even though dogs are welcome on all of Hilton Head’s beaches, there are a few rules to follow:
- During peak tourism season, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, dogs shouldn’t be on the beach from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- From the beginning of April to Memorial Day and from Labor Day to the end of September, dogs can be on the beach, but should be leashed from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Any other time, dogs can roam freely but should be under voice control.
Hilton Head is located near the southern tip of South Carolina, and the free Breeze trolley stops at Coligny Beach. Nearby Coligny Plaza is within easy walking distance of the beach and is loaded with dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and shops!
Expect friendly pets to get lots of attention on Coligny Beach! It’s a popular area with plenty of kids who love to pet puppies.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Massachusetts
While the water may be chillier along the coast of Massachusetts, there are still plenty of beautiful beaches, especially at Cape Cod. Find out more about visiting the beaches of Cape Cod with your dog…
Cape Cod Beaches, MA
Contributed by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler
Cape Cod on the Massachusetts coast is known for its scenic beaches and picturesque small towns. Dog-friendly Cape Cod beaches offer the perfect opportunity for dogs and their owners to enjoy the dunes, sun, and surf together.
The Cape Cod National Seashore has many welcoming beaches for dogs on Cape Cod. While pets are not allowed on life-guarded beaches in the summer, leashed dogs can pass through to access the miles of shore and surf spread out on the Cape. In the off-season even more beaches are open to dogs and their owners. Parking is available at each National Seashore beach for a fee.
Town beaches in Provincetown allow dogs to have off-leash fun in the mornings and evenings. Plus, after a day at the beach with your dog you can enjoy the cute dog-friendly village of Provincetown. Many businesses including restaurants, hotels, and stores welcome dogs. Dogs might also enjoy the Pilgrim Bark Park to socialize with their friends.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in Hawaii
While Hawaii may be the most difficult part of the USA to travel to with a dog, once you’re in Hawaii and experience its beautiful beaches with your dog, you’ll never want to leave…
Lanikai Beach, Oahu, HI
Contributed by Trysta of This Travel Dream
Lanikai Beach, located on Hawaii’s beautiful island of Oahu, is undoubtedly one of the best dog-friendly beaches in the United States.
With its pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and welcoming atmosphere, Lanikai Beach is perfect for everyone, including your furry friends.
While Lanikai Beach doesn’t have designated parking, free street parking is available! However, Lanikai Beach is arguably the best beach on Oahu, and parking can be a bit competitive. We recommend arriving early, preferably before sunrise, to ensure a hassle-free visit. Trust me, witnessing the sunrise here is spectacular, with gorgeous views of the Mokulua Islands adding to the site.
Dogs are required to be on a leash at all times to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. However, it’s worth noting that we have observed some dogs off-leash during our visits multiple times.
So pack your beach essentials, grab your pup’s leash, and head to Lanikai Beach for sun, sand, and wagging tails. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery, embrace the aloha spirit, and create unforgettable memories with your four-legged companion!
Dog-Friendly Beaches on Lakes
There’s no need to head to the coast to enjoy a visit to a dog-friendly beach in the USA. Check out these excellent dog beaches on the shores of lakes, from Lake Michigan to Lake Tahoe..
Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, IL
Contributed by Chelsea of Adventures of Chels
A great dog-friendly beach to visit in the USA is Montrose Dog Beach in Chicago, IL. Montrose Dog Beach is located along the shore of Lake Michigan about 10-15 minutes away from downtown Chicago by car. It’s widely considered the best dog beach in Chicago.
Montrose Dog Beach is open from 6am-11pm and entrance is free. There’s also free parking available. The dog friendly area of the beach is fenced off on three sides with the lakeside being open for dogs to play in the water. Within the fenced off area dogs are allowed to play and roam off leash.
Anyone is welcome to utilize the dog beach (Chicago residents or otherwise), however, all dogs must be wearing a DFA tag. DFA tags are obtained from a vet who can confirm that your dog is healthy and up to date on their shots. If you’re visiting from another city, DFA tags from your home city are accepted.
Enjoy your visit to Montrose Dog Beach!
Lake Tahoe, CA and NV
Contributed by Nina Clapperton of Traveling With Your Pets
Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful lakes in the USA. Luckily many of the beaches along the lake are dog friendly so you can bring your dog with you no problem!
Some of the most popular beaches for dogs are Kiva Beach, Nevada Beach, Regan Beach (off-leash), and Zephyr Cove Beach. They can get crowded during summer, so try to come early in the morning to avoid the crowds or around sunset when others are out at dinner.
Although not technically dog friendly in its entirety (only at the Coon Street Dog Beach section), Kings Beach is popular with locals for letting their dogs swim on or off leash. As long as they are controlled and picked up after, enforcement allows it during the off season. When I visited friends living in Tahoe, this is where they suggested I bring my golden and he loved smashing through the icy edges of the lake in winter.
Parking is paid in Lake Tahoe, often totalling $10 for 2-3 hours depending on the lot. They fill up quickly during summer, and there isn’t much overflow room. So you may want to carpool.
Another great option is Donner Memorial State Park Beach which is nearly empty year round aside from public holidays. It’s $5-10/day to park depending on the season and the lake doesn’t freeze in winter, so it’s great for thick coated pups to splash in.
You May Also Like
- Traveling in the USA with a Dog
- Dog-Friendly Things to Do in California
- Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Florida
About the Author
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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