Whether you’re looking for a wonderful stretch of sand to enjoy a long off-leash walk with your pup, or you both just want to cool down in the water on a hot day, there’s a wide variety of dog-friendly beaches in Victoria. Check out this selection of dog-friendly beaches located in Melbourne, plus both east and west of the city. Best of all, most of these beaches remain off-leash all day-long, year-round.
1. Altona Dog Beach, Melbourne
One of the best dog-friendly beaches close to the centre of Melbourne is Altona Dog Beach. Located just west of the city centre and Williamstown, this stretch of sand permits off-leash dogs all day-long, year-round.
The beachside area has been recently renovated. It features a large unticketed carpark and a new wash down area for dogs, with multiple spraying taps at different heights.
The rules for dogs have also recently changed. As well as the beach area, dogs are also allowed off-leash in the adjacent fenced PA Burns Reserve, but need to be kept on-leash on the paths to the beach plus stay out of the fenced conservation areas.
Try and visit Altona Dog Beach at low tide, so that you can wade with your dog on the extensive flats stretching a long way off-shore.
2. St Kilda West Beach, Melbourne
Another popular beach destination close to the centre of Melbourne is St Kilda. While dogs are not permitted on the sand to the east of St Kilda Pier from November to March, dogs are allowed off-leash on St Kilda West Beach all day-long, year-round.
The off-leash section starts at the end of Langridge Street and extends to West Beach Pavilion. Dogs are not allowed on the sensitive dune area, but they are also allowed off-leash on the other side of the drainage channel, alongside Pier Road to the western side of St Kilda Pier.
Dogs are also usually allowed off-leash on other stretches of nearby beaches during the winter months; see the council website for more details.
The beaches around St Kilda aren’t the cleanest, but it’s still a fun spot for your dog to play on the sand. Perhaps also take a walk with your dog on a leash along St Kilda Pier or explore the nearby St Kilda Markets on a Sunday.
3. Brighton Dog Beach, Melbourne
Officially known as Sandown Street Beach, this beach at the northern end of Brighton is best accessed from the end of Sandown Street. Designated as an off-leash beach all day-long, year-round by Bayside City Council, one of the standout features of this beach is that it is surprisingly fenced.
No wonder then that it’s such a popular spot for Melbourne dog owners to visit throughout the year, whether their dogs prefer to enjoy running on the sand or taking a paddle. The water is quite shallow, making it suitable for small dogs. Often a long sand bar is uncovered, stretching out to the marina at Middle Brighton Pier.
The one downside of this dog beach is that parking can be a trouble. There is no designated carpark and most of the local streets are permit parking. Try to visit midweek or be prepared for an extra pre- and post-beach walk.
4. Sandringham Harbour Dog Beach, Melbourne
Another popular off-leash dog beach east of Melbourne, but this time with easier parking, is Sandringham Harbour Dog Beach. Located within Sandringham Harbour, to the north of Sandringham Beach proper, this sheltered beach has also been designated by the Bayside City Council as off-leash all day-long, year-round.
There’s a number of short walking trails behind the beach, that can be used to access it, plus there’s plenty of room on the sand, especially at low tide, although be careful of the muddy sand that can get rather sticky in spots. There’s also a dog-friendly cafe at the beach.
The good news is that there’s plenty of nearby parking, but the downside is that it is ticketed between 8am and 8pm, with rather high rates. An alternative is to head to the beach during the summer months at 8pm once the parking is free and enjoy the sunset with your pup on the sand.
5. Tassels Cove, Safety Beach, Mornington Peninsula
While dogs are not permitted on many beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, particularly during the busy summer months, one of the most popular year-round off-leash dog beaches in Tassells Cove, in the suburb of Safety Beach.
This small sandy off-leash dog beach is located in between the Marine Cove and Bruce Road. A fairly sheltered beach with beautiful clean water, it’s great for dogs to enjoy a swim in the water or a play on the sand with the other pups.
Be warned that there’s only limited parking nearby, and this beach can get quite popular, so either get there early or you may need to park on the other side of the marina entrance and walk to the beach.
For a longer visit to Tassels Cove, consider following this dog-friendly walk starting at the beach, although make sure you leash your dog once your leave the leash-free area.
6. Ventnor Dog Beach, Phillip Island
Another popular beach destination close to Melbourne is Phillip Island. The island is now home to three dog-friendly beaches, including one that is off-leash all day long year-round, located in Ventnor.
The Ventnor Dog Beach is located in between the ends of Ventnor Beach Road and Graydens Road, and is also known as Graydens Road Beach. At both street ends there’s a handy car park with signage showing the limits of the off-leash dog exercise area.
The day that we visited this beach was quite windy, so we just had a quick off-leash walk. However on calmer days the water looks quite promising and calm.
For details on all the dog restrictions on Phillip Island, including the other off-leash time-restricted beaches and on-leash beaches, check this website. Note also that when dogs are allowed off-leash, they still need to remain under effective control and need to be put back on a leash within 50m of any signed wildlife refuges.
7. Woodside Beach, Ninety Mile Beach
Heading further east, one of the most dog-friendly stretches of coastline in Victoria is the western half of Ninety Mile Beach. Basically the entire stretch of coastline between Port Albert and Loch Sport permits off-leash dogs (in contrast to the towns around Lakes Entrance where dogs are often required to be leashed on beaches).
One popular beach spot to visit with your dog is Woodside Beach, at the western end of Ninety Mile Beach and just a 45 minute south of Sale. Dogs are allowed off-leash all along Woodside Beach, except for in the playground area. Note that dogs still need to stay under your effective control.
For a pet-friendly beach vacation, stay opposite at the pet-friendly Woodside Beach Caravan Park. Alternatively, it’s a great beach to visit if you’re staying at the extremely dog-friendly Best Friend Holiday Retreat in the Tarra Valley, at 35 minute drive away.
8. Fishermans Beach, Torquay
Heading west of Melbourne to the Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road, there’s not so many beaches that have been designated as off-leash beaches all day-long, year-round. One excellent dog-friendly beach as long as you visit during the winter months or early or late in the day is Fishermans Beach in Torquay.
Fishermans Beach permits off-leash dogs all day-long during the cooler months of the year, but from December to February plus over Easter, off-leash dogs are only permitted on the sand before 9am or after 7pm, and are prohibited the rest of the day.
As the beach is ocean-facing, the water is cleaner than inside Port Phillip Bay, but may be too rough for more than a dog paddle on the edge. Afterwards, stop off at The Salty Dog Cafe, next to the access path to the beach. The cafe is very popular with dog owners, and there’s plenty of water bowls amongst the outdoor tables where dogs are permitted.
9. Lorne Dog Beach
Lorne is one of the most popular seaside towns along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, about a two hour drive west of Melbourne. While the main patrolled section of beach prohibits dogs, dogs are allowed off-leash on other parts of the beach at Lorne either year-round or during certain times.
The year-round off-leash dog beach at Lorne is located north of Doble Street. On Google Maps, search for “Lorne Dog Beach”. Additionally, the section of the beach north of Grove Road and south of Bay Street permits dogs at certain times.
During the busy months from December and February and over Easter, dogs are only permitted off-leash on the sand before 9am or after 7pm, and are prohibited the rest of the time. During other months dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach all day-long, as long as they are under effective control.
If you follow the Bert Alsop Track from the main dog beach south over the Swing Bridge, you’ll reach the dog-friendly Swing Bridge Cafe, a great spot for brunch or a coffee.
10. Logans Beach, Warrnambool
Heading further west, Warrnambool is a popular spot for dog owners to stay along the Great Ocean Road, thanks to many pet-friendly accommodation options. Whether passing through or staying for longer, a fabulous dog-friendly beach to visit is Logans Beach.
Logans Beach is located just below the popular Logans Beach Whale Watching Platform, on the eastern side of the Hopkins River. This beach is off-leash all day-long, year-round. Dogs are also permitted off-leash year-round on the other side of the Hopkins River until Flume, plus in Blue Hole Reserve along the eastern side of the Hopkins River between April and November (and on-leash the rest of the year).
With wonderfully soft golden sand, it’s a terrific beach for taking a walk with your pup. The most popular swimming spot is at the river’s mouth. Just be careful that the currents off-shore can be strong and the waves large at times.