Dogs love trips to the beach. It has it all -- wide open spaces for running and playing, water to swim in, sticks to chew and fetch, and fascinating smells to discover. As a dog owner, the beach comes with special challenges and rewards. You'll experience the great joy of walking on the sand with your dog, watching your puppy get tuckered out by a day of playing and swimming. But you'll also need to find a beach that's dog friendly and make sure that you and your pup follow certain important rules of etiquette.
Not every beach allows dogs, especially near and in big cities. Some beaches allow dogs but require that they be on a leash during their visit. While most beaches in the U.S. and Canada do not allow dogs, there are hundreds of dog-friendly beaches on each coast. The key is to do your research before you go and find a place where your furry friend will be welcomed.
On the West Coast, you'll find a number of dog-friendly beaches. In California, head to Kings Beach in Lake Tahoe, Long Beach in the Long Beach area, Pacific Grove in Monterey, and Laguna Beach or Corona Del Mar in Orange County. San Diego has four dog beaches (Coronado, Imperial Beach, La Jolla, Ocean Beach), and the Bay Area has Half Moon Bay, Pacifica beach, and Pescadero beach. Oregon has dog-friendly beaches in Cannon Beach, Coos Bay, Depoe Bay, Newport, Rockaway Beach, Yachats, and many other seaside towns. In Washington state, visit Bainbridge Island, Blaine, Everett, Federal Way, Ocean Shores, Edmonds, Port Angeles, and the beaches of the San Juan Islands.
The East Coast offers dog beaches up and down the seaboard. In Florida, head to Amelia Island's Fernandina Beach, Dog Island, Fort Myers, Key West, Pensacola, Miami, Naples, and the three dog beaches of Tampa Bay (Dunedin, St. Petersburg, and Tampa). The Carolinas offer dog beaches at Cape Fear, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, Charleston (four beaches), Edisto Beach, Myrtle Beach (Murrells Inlet), and on Hilton Head Island.
Further north, you can visit Brooklyn beach, Long Island's Montauk beach, Cape May Point, Manasquan, and Newport. Southern Rhode Island has four dog beaches (Charlestown, Narragansett, South Kingston, and Westerly), and Cape Cod offers eleven, including Barnstable, Chatham, Sandwich, Truro, and Wellfleet. In the Boston area, check out Manchester beach. There are also two dog beaches on Marthas Vineyard. Maine offers beaches at Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport, and South Portland.
Etiquette at the Beach
If you're headed to a beach that allows leashed dogs, be sure to follow the rules. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. When people disregard leash laws, local municipalities are more likely to close the beach to dogs altogether, ruining the fun for everyone.
If your beach allows off-leash dogs, be sure your dog will respond to your verbal commands. In other words, your pup must be able to come when you call it, even if it's engaged with another dog or investigating a great-smelling bit of beach debris.
Bring poop bags with you and be vigilant about cleaning up after your dog. No one enjoys a poopy beach! This is another reason why beaches are often closed to dogs. Do your part to keep your beach dog-friendly by being a responsible dog owner. Many beaches impose fines on people who don't clean up after their dogs.In general, keep your dog from being a pest. Don't let it race up to small children who might be afraid. Don't let your dog shake itself dry next to sunbathers and picnickers. Keep your dog from visiting other beach-goers, especially if they're eating. And if you can, visit the beach with your dog in the early morning and evening, when the beach is less crowded.By taking a few precautions and keeping courtesy in mind, you and your dog can have a fabulous time at the beach and be welcomed by everyone. Once you find a great dog beach, you'll want to do your best to keep in dog friendly, so you can your pup can visit again and again