The Best Beach in Every State for Pups (and Humans)

. 16 min read


Things your dog loves in the summer: Spouting fire hydrants, any of your (seedless) watermelon that fell on the ground and digging holes in the sand and splashing in the ocean. So make this season extra special for your pup by taking him to the best beach in your state to get his paws wet.

Alabama: Dauphin Island

alabama
mosesthepapillon

Dogs on a leash are allowed on the public beach, near the Red School House and the old fishing pier, year round. So grab an extra long leash and get ready to roll around in the sand and surf.
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Alaska: Bishops Beach

alaska
lucaselliottart

Just two blocks from Old Town, you and your favorite four-legged child have miles of beautiful beach right at your fingertips (and paws). Remember, you are in the Alaska wilderness, so keep small breeds on leash and safe from animals like eagles.
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Arizona: Lions Dog Park at London Bridge Beach

arizona
roamingrescues

The clean and grassy sectioned-off area is located right over the famous Bridgewater Channel. This park has water features and wading pools for pups, but if you want to try the real thing, leash up your pup to play in Lake Havasu.
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Arkansas: Gulley Park

arkansas
mia.and.rey

Take a soak in the clean pond (on-leash) in this beautiful park. The lush, green landscape is great for a sunny walk or just to relax in the shade. There’s even trails with distance markers so you know how far you’ve traveled—ya know, in case you forgot your FitBit at home.
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California: The Original Dog Beach

california
beachcanine

It’s one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States. But your dog won’t have all the fun. Here, people and pups can enjoy the soft sand of Ocean Beach. Psst: It’s one of the only 24-hour dog beaches in town.
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Colorado: Union Reservoir

colorado
joule_bug

The great off-leash area is located just south of the reservoir, a 736-acre body of water carved out during the last glacial age and one of only a few natural lakes in Colorado. If your pup can handle a boat, a rental might be the ideal way to get some and some splashes in, too.
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Connecticut: Hammonasset Beach State Park

connecticut
mila_mishkabear

The beach belongs to the humans during the summer; but come November through April, it becomes a little slice of doggie heaven with a wonderful new pathway taking you all the way through the park without any car traffic.
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Delaware: Fenwick Island State Park

delaware
peppa__pup

It may cost $10, but when you see the look on Roscoe’s face, it will totally be worth the Hamilton. Think: Expansive, sandy shore and crashing Atlantic waves that will keep your pup happy for hours.
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Florida: Jupiter Off-Leash Beach

florida
lyla_the_pupper

In the designated section, a 2.5 mile stretch of beach from marker #25 at Marcinski Road going north to marker #59 on the south end of Carlin Park, means your fun-loving canine is free to roam his little heart out—off-leash to boot!
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Georgia: East Beach (Saint Simon Island)

georgia
thecuriouscaseofbenjaminbitten

East Beach is a calm little beach with delicate waves, so it’s great for any dog getting used to the ocean for the first time. Not a swimmer? You and your pup can play one awesome game of Frisbee fetch in the rolling sand dunes and sea grass.
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Hawaii: Kailua Beach Park

hawaii
suekaoru

White sands, turquoise water—you’re not dreaming, Bruno; you’re in Hawaii. But don’t fret, the waves here are much calmer in this part than you might see on the North Shore. Another plus? No rocks. We know you have sensitive paws.
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Idaho: Dog Beach Park

idaho
happytailsntrails.idaho

Get in your (yes, you, human) exercise on the ten-minute trail to this little, secluded gem that can be found on Serenity Lee Trail in Sandpoint. The water has a sandy bottom and is protected from the boat wake—so it’s perfect for puppies or senior dogs.
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Illinois: Montrose Dog Beach

illinois
alexander_lapointe

Who said city dogs don’t love a romp around in nature? If you’ve got a furry friend with you, make your way to Chicago’s first off-leash dog beach (woof!). It’s fenced off, and there’s even a dog-wash area.
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Indiana: Kemil Beach

indiana
jennalynnelach_

The vast and open shoreline (all 15 miles of it) of the Indiana Dunes State Park will quash anyone’s coastal snobbery. Even better: The beaches east of the park (Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach and Lake View Beach) are open to pets. We love Kemil in particular since it just has a peaceful vibe to it. But if you really want zen, get there early.
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Iowa: Thornberry Dog Park

iowa
zacharystancil

It’s not exactly a beach beach, but this off-leash wonderland has a large pond about 15 feet deep for use by all dogs. Is Annie Oakley afraid of the deep end? There’s a shallow wading pool, as well.
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Kansas: Shawnee Mission Dog Beach

kansas
fitnessbyjill

It’s a sprawling field with multiple trails through wooded paths and a recently improved waterfront (aka a small beach built just for doggies). In other words: a 53-acre off-leash paradise. We’re not in Kansas anymore. Well, actually, we are. And Toto’s have the time of his life.
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Kentucky: Green River Lake State Park Beach

kentucky
apd_7

Let Bourbon frolic through the wilderness (on leash, of course) on the shores of an 8,200 acre lake that's known for great swimming. Then pitch a tent and camp out overnight when your pup's tuckered out.
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Louisiana: Raising Cane's Dog Park at Kiroli Park

Louisiana
jessierhodeseveritt

With running waterfalls and fountains, it may not be an actual beach, but it’s the perfect place to cool off from the Louisiana heat. Does your pup need more entertainment? Take her with you to the fishing ponds, botanical gardens or nature trails.
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Maine: Long Sands Beach


Early pup gets the beach. Get here before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m. during summer hours to let David Bonie go wild (on leash). It’s especially dog-friendly when low tide (check here for tide schedules) where hard-packed sand makes for easier running.
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Maryland: Assateague Island

I sea why you and mom love this place #beachday #whatupbeaches

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There’s a special area permitted for dogs, but they have to be on a six-foot leash at all times. Keep an eye out for the wild ponies that roam the seashores feeding on saltmarsh cordgrass, dune grasses, bayberry twigs, rosehips and persimmons.
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Massachusetts: Hatches Harbor Trails

Salty dog. #hatchesharbor #provincetown #beagle #beaglesofinstagram #beachdog

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Cape Cod summer livin’ isn’t just for two-legged folks! This salt marsh is especially great during low tide if your pup happens to dabble in the art of chasing birds. Better yet, you can get in some touristy action by walking during to the Race Point Lighthouse during low tide.
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Michigan: South Higgins Lake State Park

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Yep, there are more lakes in Michigan besides, ya know, Lake Michigan. This hidden gem has fenced off areas for dogs to swim in crystal clear water and lounge on the soft sands. Make sure you practice your Portrait Mode skills because the sunsets make for a great holiday card background.
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Minnesota: Minnesota Point

Ruby shows she's "Mans best friend" daily. I love this pup!

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Beach combing, bird watching and the ruins of Minnesota Point lighthouse—all things to keep you busy while your pup explores the shore.
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Mississippi: Ocean Springs Beach


Walk this clean and calm beach (and nearby Biloxi Bay Bridge) with your pup as you look for some treasures to add to your seashell collection.
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Missouri: Stephens Lake Park

Oooh, a waterfall to lay in #saintbernard #hikingwithdog #stephenslakepark

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Walking paths, great scenery and free poop bags! You’ve got the great trifecta at this 116-acre park with plenty of action including a boardwalk and “spraygrounds” (chlorinated recycled water activated by push button).
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Montana: Bozeman Pond Canine Beach

Yadis type of lake day.

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It’s small, but it’s got that off-leash area that a high-energy dog needs and a pond to let him cool off after all that running. Plus, the Montana mountain backdrop never hurt anyone's Instagram like count, right?
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Nebraska: Ta-Ha-Zouka Park


A great off-leash park with a sprouting fountain? Buster might pick this spot over a regular ol’ beach any day. If you’re a real outdoorsman, consider camping here for a weekend and fishing in the stocked pond. Learn more

Nevada: North Zephyr Cove Beach


If you can swing it, bring Bella to this sandy shore during the week when it’s less busy for some disc golf, hiking and absolutely epic views of this lake right smack in the mountains.
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New Hampshire: Jenness State Beach


With its gentle slope and nice sand, Jenness Beach is a lovely respite for both you and your pup. Unfortch, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach from May 1 to September 30. But come fall and winter, it’s their personal playground (on leash, though!). Learn more

New Jersey: The Wildwood Dog Beach


Having trouble finding this spot? Just look for the 25-foot fire hydrant. Yep, this place was made just for your pup. There’s even separate area for small dogs and big dogs, so you can seriously just let them loose and do their thing.
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New Mexico: Abiquiu Dam and Lake

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This 5,200-acre reservoir sure beats that kiddie pool in your backyard. (No offense.) Make a whole weekend of it by camping and boating on the grounds and vast waters. Learn more

New York: Lake George Dog Beach


What’s a family beach day without everyone in the fam? At this secluded, sandy beach, you can all take a break from the heat in the cool, clean waters of Lake George. This beach is especially great for avid four-legged swimmers as the water is shallow up to about three meters, until there’s a drop-off. Learn more

North Carolina: Topsail Beach Off Leash Dog Beach


Herbie can play off-leash October through May 14 on this southern North Carolina beach where you might just spot some dolphins or sea turtles! Even if Herb’s not “here to make friends,” that gives you plenty of time to teach him to play volleyball. Learn more

North Dakota: Lake Sakakawea State Park


There are scenic trails for hiking or biking or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, but we have a feeling your dog will also love the lake surrounded by well-maintained campgrounds and trees. Learn more

Ohio: Salt Fork State Park

Dreaming about the dog beach 🌊

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Lots of grass + lots of lake = epic game of fetch. The rural landscape includes forested hills, open meadows and misty valleys threaded by numerous streams. It’s basically like *Homeward Bound*…but you’re in the adventure together. Learn more

Oklahoma: Edmond Dog Park at Bickham-Rudkin Park

I love my family ❤️🐶❤️🐶

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Five acres for running free and off-leash! And yep, that includes plenty of lake time in this park where your dog will have ample opportunity to socialize while cooling down. Get doggie paddling.
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Oregon: Cannon Beach

What’s your dogs name? 🐶 ✌🏼

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Bring your own little Goonies squad to cool off and splash in the waters—or at least for the photo opp in front of this famous cinematic spot from the cult classic.
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Pennsylvania: Misty Pines Dog Park


If your pup’s a star swimmer, give her some practice on this epic pond and dock, where she can dive to her heart’s content. Less prolific swimmers can take lessons with the school that runs that park (and word on the street is that it’s totally worth it!). Learn more

Rhode Island: Compass Rose Beach


Buddy can play in the surf year round at this beach in North Kingstown. Sure, it’s a small shoreline near an airforce base…but those views of the bay and the picnic area? Those are worth it. Learn more

South Carolina: Morris Island


You gotta take a boat to get here, but once you’re on this unspoiled jewel on Charleston Harbor, off-leash beach walks on this uninhabited island—as well as seashells and shark teeth—are yours for the taking.
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South Dakota: Braeburn Park


The small beach off of Rapid Creek is shallow enough for small dogs, too (but there aren’t fences, so if your pup’s a squirrel chaser, keep him on leash).
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Tennessee: Old Hickory Lake Park


Pack a picnic to enjoy as your four-legged child splashes away in the lake in this Nashville favorite where you can bird watch, fish, and spend the entire day—bring a cooler for the on-site grills.
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Texas: Port Aransas Beach

Shell we dance?

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Look, they just do it bigger in Texas. As in, you can rent a golf cart and drive it all over the town and beach. Once you find your spot, the clean sand and clear water will be calling Cowboy’s name. Learn more

Utah: Willow Creek Park


Take Hugo on an off-leash hike through the two-miles of Run-a-Muk trails through sage brush flats and stands of aspen trees. Then cool off in this pond, open all summer long. Or play fetch on the gigantic green lawns.
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Vermont: Starr Farm Park Beach


This new addition to the Burlington park system was built with your pup in mind—that includes a dog agility course and a dog park pool. But, if Riley wants the real thing, keep her on leash to explore the sandy beachfront together.
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Virginia: First Landing State Park Beach


Keep an eye on designated doggie swimming areas and everyone, but mostly your pup, will be happy as a clam on the Chesapeake Bay with calm waters and wonderfully uncrowded shores.
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Washington: Double Bluff Off-Leash Dog Beach


Two miles of off-leash shorelines and ocean specifically set aside for you, Colonel Rufferton. We hear the views of Seattle, Mount Rainier and the shipping lanes from here are especially awe-inspiring. There’s even an on-site washing station. Learn more

West Virginia: Fitzpatrick Park (Beckley)

🐶🌲

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Dogs are welcome guests, but they must be on-leash at this beach. (Small price to pay for some fresh water fun and wild geese chasing, right?) It’s also a great pond to do go fishing—just make sure Fitzy doesn’t scare away the schools. Learn more

Wisconsin: Point Beach State Forest

I’ve been staring at the edge of the water 🌊

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Easy parking for you; plenty of birds for Riley to chase at this quiet, serene and wide open area surrounded by lush forest—it has that rugged, overgrown vibe that will bring you straight back to nature. Learn more

Wyoming: Morad Park


If you hike the ten-mile Platte River Parkway (good for you), make sure you stop to cool off in the shallow river bend. And then let Cooper run around again. After yapping and playing with all the other dogs here, your pup will be utterly exhausted the rest of the day.

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