Pet Parenting

How to Plan the Best Dog Beach Trip

August 10, 2021

Summertime is starting to wrap up, which means it’s time for you to catch those last few relaxing days on some sandy shores. Ready to hit the beach with your BFF? Dog beaches are the perfect destination for you and your pup to explore! They provide a great source of exercise and social enrichment for your pup. Let’s dive in...

Best Dog Beaches in the U.S.

Step one in planning for your perfect beach day: selecting your location. We’ve prepared a list with 10 of the best dog beaches across the country so that you can find the perfect beach for you and your travel companion.

Montrose Dog Beach (Illinois)

Hours

6:00AM–11:00PM

Leashed?

Off-leash, but require to have city-issued DFA tags

Montrose Dog beach is Chicago’s first and most famous dog beach that rests on the bottom edge of Lake Michigan. The beach offers a beautiful cityscape view as well as dog-washing stations complete with shampoo and conditioner. Keep an eye out for the surrounding dog food trucks with pup treats for a seaside snack!

Prospect Park Dog Beach (New York)

Hours

5:00AM–1:00AM

Leashed?

Leashed, but with off-leash play between the hours of 5:00AM–9:00AM and 9:00PM–1:00AM

Prospect Park Dog Beach was created specifically for dogs just off the shore of Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn. This dog beach is located in a famously dog-friendly park, Prospect Park, where there’s plenty of green space to explore with your pup in addition to the swimming hole. It’s the perfect place for your furry friend to get the fresh air and exercise they need in an urban setting like the city.

Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)

Hours

Open 24/7

Leashed?

Leashed

Padre Island National Seashore is a perfect beach for all nature lovers, known as the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and home to 70 miles of natural habitats and well-preserved wildlife to explore. Leashed pets are welcome on over 60 miles of the clean shores with amenities such as rinse-off showers and camping areas throughout to help you enjoy your stay.

Presque Isle State Park (Erie, Pennsylvania)

Hours

5:00AM–8:00PM

Leashed?

Leashed

Pennsylvania may have only one shore, but it’s definitely a famous and dog-friendly one! With over 4 million visitors every year, Presque Isle State Park welcomes you and your pet to romp along the trails and beaches while boating, fishing, in-line skating, enjoying the diverse wildlife and scenery, playing volleyball, and more.

Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts)

Hours

6:00AM–12:00AM

Leashed?

Leashed

Cape Cod National Seashore stretches around 65 miles in length and is home to five different dog-friendly beaches (Coast Guard Beach, Nauset Light Beach, Marconi Beach, Great Island, and Herring Cove Beach). With amenities like outdoor showers, water fountains, changing rooms, and beach campfires as well as dog-friendly towns in the surrounding areas, you and your pup are certainly in for a comfortable, relaxing beach day.

First Landing State Park Beach (Virginia)

Hours

8:00AM–Dusk

Leashed?

Leashed

First Landing State Park Beach is a historic landmark, site of the landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607, and is located in Virginia’s most visited state park. This dog-friendly shore has plenty of trails and activities for you and your pup to enjoy together, as well as unique habitats with rare plants, wildlife, and maritime forest ecology to explore.

Bald Head Island (North Carolina)

Hours

Sunrise to sunset

Leashed?

Off-leash except during turtle nesting season, from May 1 to Nov. 15, during which dogs must be leashed from sunset to sunrise.

Bald Head Island is the perfect, tranquil getaway for you and your pup to take a break from the hustle and bustle. To get there, you’ll ride a 20-minute pet-friendly ferry across the waters to a wonderful view. All 14 miles of beach on the island are pet-friendly, and there are no vehicles on the roads other than the occasional golf cart rented by visitors to get around.

Jupiter Dog Beach (Florida)

Hours

6:30AM–9:00PM every day of the week

Leashed?

Off-leash

Jupiter Dog Beach reserves a 2.5-mile stretch of sand just for dogs and pet parents so that pups can roam completely off-leash. Doggie waste bags are provided across the entire area to help you clean up after your pooch. After a day at the beach, keep the fun going by heading into town for a pampering spa treatment and plenty of dining options.

Carmel Dog Beach (California)

Hours

Open 24/7

Leashed?

Off-leash

Carmel Dog Beach is located just off of the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, cited to be one of the most dog-friendly towns in the U.S. The beach itself is an iconic and extremely dog-friendly spot. Dogs are welcome to frolic off-leash along the scenic mile-long stretch of beach, and human visitors are welcome to enjoy the smokeless fire pits installed across the coast. Then, you can take a stroll into town to enjoy dining experiences with “yappy hours” and hotels with VIP puppy treatment complete with pet blankets, bowls, doggie pick-up bags, and areas to wash off upon request.

Jekyll Island (Georgia)

Hours

Open 24/7

Leashed?

Leashed

Jekyll Island is part of the four islands of Georgia’s Golden Isles, located just off the coast. The island contains a number of beaches to explore with your pet, including the hauntingly beautiful Driftwood Beach covered with gnarled pieces of driftwood that have made their way to shore. You can hike on pet-friendly trails to get from beach to beach and discover attractions like the Great Dunes Beach Park, which is home to fun activities like volleyball, bocce ball, and surfing.

Beach Preparedness

Before you head out to the dog beach of your choosing, there are a couple of safety tips to keep in mind. Being prepared is key to maintaining your pet’s health and happiness as they enjoy their time at the beach. To remember some key tips and tricks for a well-planned beach day, you can keep this acronym in mind:

  • D- Dehydration: Make sure to have access to fresh, clean water for your pup! Saltwater and heat can quickly dehydrate your dog and cause things like beach diarrhea, so be sure to offer your pup frequent drinks.
  • I- Information: Get educated before you hop on those dunes! Do your research on the dog beach beforehand to know what kinds of rules and regulations they might have and what native wildlife to keep an eye out for.
  • G- Guidance: Your dog is going to need some guidance through the new environment and sensations that they might experience at the beach. Be sure your dog is trained to return to your side when you call them so that they don’t get lost in the crowd, and make sure they know how to swim! Pet parent pro tip: let them take exploration at their own pace and bring extra treats to incentivize good listening.
  • G- Gear: If you will be keeping your pup leashed, bring a longer leash so that your pup can play freely. Don’t forget to pack some poop bags to clean up after your pup and a towel to dry their fur and ears. Overexposure to saltwater can dry out their skin and cause itchiness, so a quick wipe down or rinse can be helpful.
  • S- Sunlight: Bright, direct sunlight causes scorching sand, blinding reflections, and sunburn for dogs with thinner hair. Prepare beforehand with a shady spot to rest and, if needed, extra tools like doggie goggles or doggie sunblock to keep your pup safe from the rays.

And to kick off your vacation, we’ve prepared a treat for you and your pup: a specially curated dog beach playlist to enjoy while exploring those dunes! Check it out here.

Planning a trip with your furry friends is a rewarding experience when properly prepared for. With your location set and these tips and tricks in mind, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. We wish you happy beaching from the Diggs family! Don’t forget to share photos of your beach adventures with us on our social pages, @DiggsPet.

The Diggs Team

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