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Dog-Friendly Beaches & Tips

by Kristy Alpert

Travel With Your Buddy

You and your dog's friendship has already soared to new heights; now it's time to take the fun to sea level with a visit to the coast. With plenty of dog-friendly beaches across the nation to choose from, there's sure to be a spot in the sand for both of you.

When you arrive, keep in mind a few guidelines of basic dog-beach etiquette and ideas for a fun and safe time:

  • Remember to clean up after your dog; after all, a clean beach is a fun beach.
  • Don't forget fresh water! You and your dog will get thirsty as you play.
  • Keep your friendly dog from visiting other beach-goers unless it's a welcomed visit.
  • Pack a few floating toys for some fun on sand and surf!
  • Bring along proof of vaccinations and your dog's ID tags.
  • Bring along an umbrella and some soft towels so you both have a shady, comfortable spot to rest and relax.


Here are five great beaches across the nation. Before you visit, check about policies, hours, and anything you need to know before you go.


  1. Big Reef Nature Park

    Galveston, TX 77550

    Located on Galveston's East Beach, this nature park welcomes you and your leashed dog to explore the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico. From nature trails to tidal marshes, the Big Reef Nature Park is teaming with endless possibilities of adventure.

  2. Jackson KOA

    Jackson, MN 56143

    Miles of luxurious sand line this beach, creating a nice, cushioned terrain that's perfect for strolling with your leashed pal. Head off the beach for a short shopping trip or to sit at one of the outdoor cafés.

  3. Montrose Dog Beach

    Chicago, IL 60657

    This stretch of sand is Chi-town's only off-leash beach, giving your dog plenty of room to romp around inside the fenced area. Like all designated "dog-friendly areas" in Chicago, a DFA tag is required to enjoy this beach. The tags are five dollars per year and are available at participating Chicago Veterinary offices.

  4. Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

    Samoa, CA 95564

    With 300-acres of land to explore, you and your dog could spend the day hiking, surfing, fishing, and beach-combing … off leash! The unique sand dune formation creates a great environment for bird watching with your pal while enjoying the salty sea air.

  5. Camp Hero State Park

    Montauk, NY 11954

    You and your leashed dog can enjoy this park year round, and with 415-acres to explore, you may have to make two trips. The landscape includes heavily wooded areas, a long expanse of beachfront, and an historic military installation. Bring your dog for an exciting day in the sand and to gaze at the ocean vistas and bluffs rising from the beach.

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