Top Dog Beaches in the U.S.

You can imagine it clearly – jogging along a picture-perfect coastline with the waves lapping at your bare feet, hair tousled by the wind, and your faithful canine companion galloping alongside you. Except…dogs aren’t allowed on most beaches! That dream goes up in smoke. Of course, it’s silly – dogs are much better behaved than most human beings. Humans litter, pollute, and just aren’t very polite in public spaces. As long as there’s an obliging human picking up the poop, what’s the big to-do? Well, unfortunately we must do as the law commands, so here are some places around the country where Spot can run and play to his heart’s content.

Leo Carrillo
Malibu, California

Just north of lifeguard Tower 3 you and your dog can run and play around in the sand and in the water. Just be careful of foxtails. Best yet, the biker hangout Neptune’s Net is just a 20 minute walk north of Leo Carrillo. You can get a hamburger and a soda after romping around on the beach. If you can’t find parking along PCH, paid parking is $12. The beach is closed from 10 PM to 8 AM. For more information, visit the state park website.

Ocean Shores Beach
Ocean Shores, Washington

This beach in the Northwest is clean and has plenty of space for your dog to run free. It may be a little chilly, being that much closer to the current from Alaska, but it is a peaceful and safe place to bring your entire family, fur-kids included. To access the beach, take Butterclam Street SW.

Stewart Beach
Galveston, Texas

For those living the Gulf Coast life, Stewart Beach has everything to make a trip memorable. It’s an RV park and campground on the beach. While alcohol isn’t allowed on the premises, your leashed dog is! If you’re driving, be prepared to shell out around $10 for a car and just under $20 for an RV.

Walton Rocks
Jensen Beach, Florida

This small beach can get some traffic during the high season which is winter for Florida. However, being off the beaten path and somewhat secluded makes it less crowded than other beaches. There’s usually plenty of parking. Dogs can run off-leash also. Make sure you keep an eye on your dogs as the beach can get cluttered with stringy seaweed and the waves can be strong.

Freeman Park
Carolina Beach, North Carolina

North Carolinians must love their dogs because there are so many dog-friendly beaches to choose from in this state. Freeman Park is one of the highest rated. There are certain times of the year you can let your dog run free. From October 1 to March 31 dogs can be off-leash. For the rest of the year you must have them on a leash. Don’t forget to bring your own poop bags; these accessories are not provided and you will be asked to show them to the proper authorities if asked.

Wells Beach
Wells, Maine

For the state on the northeastern tip of the U.S., there are plenty of dog beaches with a caveat. Wells Beach is one of these although it is highly rated among dog lovers. From April 1 to June 15 leashed dogs can be on the beach. From June 16 to September 15 dogs can only be on the beach from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. If you observe these rules, you’ll have a great time here!

Beach Etiquette

To keep these public places open to our beloved dogs, help all of us by observing the rules. Always bring poop bags even if you know the beach provides them. Pick up after your dogs (poop bags aren’t just for show) and throw them in the proper trash cans. Don’t leave the used poop bags on the ground for the custodians to pick up.

If your dog is not good around people or other dogs, don’t bring him during peak seasons. Try to get him acquainted with the beach when it’s free and clear of people. Being courteous to other people and picking up after ourselves is the best way to keep the privilege of dog-friendly beaches!

By Gabrielle Allemeier


About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.