DOG BEACHES OF THE EASTERN SEABOARD

This page is dedicated to providing a resource for anyone who loves to take their dogs to the beach. I have been talking about compiling a list like this for years. Several people have dared me to do it. With the distribution potential on the Web, it finally seems worthwhile. This (first) list focuses only on ocean (barrier) beaches with only a few inferences to bay-side beaches and a handful in the Gulf.

This list attempts to catalog all of the places from Maine to Florida where dogs are allowed on the beach for at least some part of the year. Please know that this is a labor of love for me and not a commercial site with no ties to any of the municipalities that are listed. Cliff and I have visited many of the beaches listed; others we have not. The summary table is based on information collected over the years and (where possible) was updated from Web sources in 2001 and 2004. But I do not have a research staff updating the information.

DISCLAIMER: Municipal and park policies change all the time. Please check with any park/township that you will be visiting to confirm the information provided here before making any travel plans. Some of the commercial sites listed at the bottom are a good place to start. Please also realize that this list is in no way complete, so please do not be offended if your township or favorite beach is not listed. (I just haven't gotten to verify it yet!) This is a work in progress and it will be growing and changing as I acquire new information. Anyone reviewing this list PLEASE email me if you notice any errors or have beaches to add. I would like to include nice bay-side beaches, particularly on barrier islands. Thanks…..I hope this is helpful!
One last note: if you do send me correction or additoins, please be as complete as possible and remember to tell me what STATE you're talking about!

We are now CELEBRATING 7 YEARS OF GRASS-ROOTS DOG BEACH INFORMATION EXCHANGE ON THE WWW!
Thanks for you input!!   Last updated: June 8, 2008




There are a few basic principles that I need to lay out before we jump to the table.
Beaches fall into about 4 basic categories:

Private (beach clubs, private ownership)
Municipal
State/County
Federal (National)

Each of these types is governed differently and the rules vary widely. In general, private beaches are just that: off limits (unless you are pals with the owner). National seashore areas fall under the general rules of other national parks and forests but can have some site-specific time of year restrictions for certain areas to be protective of sensitive plants and wildlife. Dune grasses, nesting shorebirds (piping plovers), colonial waterbirds (terns, skimmers), and even sea turtle hatchlings can be at risk. State and County beaches generally follow the rules of the State or County Park system, although there are a few exceptions. I found a several wonderfully compiled lists of the state and federal rules for dog access on the Web and have listed them after the table. The lists generally include dog regulations for all sorts of parklands, nationwide and some include links to the web sites of the various state and federal management agencies so you can confirm the current status of dog regulations. I have summarized the barrier beach information by state for the eastern seaboard. Check out the links for more comprehensive lists.

Rules for municipalities vary widely. There are some that allow dogs on all year long, others that have time of day restrictions during the peak tourist season, others that exclude dogs entirely during the tourist season, and some that never allow dogs, period. Municipalities that are known to allow dogs to use their beaches are listed below. In general, most do allow off-season usage, but the "season" varies widely. Most beaches have leash restrictions, which includes a length of lead. Where possible, these details are noted below. A general rule of thumb for beaches, regardless of type, is that dogs are typically not allowed in the guarded (bathing) areas during the tourist season. Unguarded beaches tend to draw fewer people but also tend to have fewer amenities (e.g. restrooms!)

LEAVE ONLY PAW PRINTS
I would remiss if I didn't say one final thing. Dogs love beaches and I enjoy nothing more than seeing a dog enjoying a beach. It used to be that more beaches were open to our furry friends, but irresponsible owners have ruined it for us and for future generations of dogs and their buddies in many areas. PLEASE be respectful of any beach that allows dogs or we run the risk of losing them. Keep your dog under control at all times and PICK UP after your dog.

STATE BEACH/PARK COMMENTS
ME Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park Pets are allowed in all park locations except Sand Beach, Echo Lake Beach, Isle au Haut campground, ladder trails and inside public buildings. Must be under control and not left unattended.
ME Popham Beach Pets are allowed in all park locations except Sand Beach, Echo Lake Beach, Isle au Haut campground, ladder trails and inside public buildings. Must be under control and not left unattended.
ME State Parks Dogs are allowed on beach, off leash. Pet Friendly camping nearby.
ME Higgins Beach, Scarbourgh Dogs are allowed any time of day from 9/16 to 6/14 (under voice control or leash). From 6/15 to 9/15, dogs allowed only 5 pm to 9 am (under voice control or leash)
ME Kittery Sea Point and Crescent Beaches. Oct 1-May 14, dogs allowed off-leash under owners control. May 15- Sept 30, only dogs licensed to Kittery residents allowed on the beaches. with no dogs allowed from 10 am to 5 pm from June 15-Sept 10.
ME York Four: York Harbor Beach, Long Sands Beach, and Short Sands Beach all offer lifeguards and restrooms. Dogs allowed until 8:00a.m. and after 6:00pm during the summer months. Cape Neddick Beach allows dogs (seemingly all the time).
ME Ogunquit Allows dogs from October 16th to April 30th.
ME Wells Wells has 3 beaches (Moody, Wells Beach, and Drake Island). Dogs are allowed on all although Wells does not allow dogs from 8 am to 6 pm in summer.
NH State Parks No dogs allowed on NH State Park beaches except as noted below.
NH Rye (including the State Beaches Dogs allowed from Oct. 1 thru Friday before Memorial Day weekend (unrestricted) and from Memorial Day weekend thru 9/30 -- before 8am and after 6pm
MA Singing Beach; Manchester-by-the-Sea Dogs allowed from Oct. 1 thru Apr. 30
MA Cape Cod National Seashore Dogs allowed on beach on lead except fron May 15 to October 15. During this period dogs are prohibited on nature trails, bathing beaches, and shore bird nesting areas (often whole beaches) and the restriction extends to Nauset (town) ocean beaches in Orleans and Eastham and the Nauset Inlet and Pleasant Bay beaches during this period.
MA Cape Cod Rock Harbor Beach allows dogs off leash but is now off limits between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.
MA State Parks Dogs allowed on lead in all state parks with the significant exceptions of Gallop Island, George's Island, Halibut Pt., South Cape Beach (as well as some inland sites).
MA Provincetown The last time we were up there, all of the beaches allowed dogs on lead. Found no restrictions to the contrary.
MA Duxbury Beach Dogs allowed on beach on lead or other effective control year round, with specific area restrictions from May 1 to Sept. 15
MA Plum Island Dogs allowed on beach off lead from October 15 to May 15.
MA Nantucket Many beaches on the island are dog friendly.
MA Cuttyhunk Island (northwest of Martha's Vineyard) Entire island (including the beach) is dog friendly. Dogs should be leashed in public areas.
RI State Parks and National Beaches Dogs allowed on the beaches off-season, all day. During the tourist seasons dogs are only allowed on early in the morning and late at night.
RI Newport Dogs are allowed on the public beaches off-season.
CT State Parks and National Parks Dogs prohibited from all beaches and swimming areas, year round with one notable exception. Harkness State Park allows leashed dogs.
NY State Parks and National Parks Dogs prohibited from state beaches, year round. Leashed dogs allowed on Fire Island National Seashore, but may be prohibited from swimming beaches.
NY Fire Island Dogs allowed on the Island although many beaches may be restricted during the tourist season.
NY Montauk Beaches Dogs, on and off-leash, are allowed on the beaches anytime, except from mid May through the end of September from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.
NJ State and National Parks Dogs allowed on beaches, year round, on a 6-ft. lead. Dogs prohibited from bathing areas when guarded at Island Beach State Park and prohibited from Ocean Beaches at Sandy Hook National Seashore from March 15th through Labor Day. There is a similar restriction at Townsends Inlet State Park and Cape May State Park (April 1 to Sept. 15).
NJ Monmouth County Beaches Great dog beach on Manasquan Inlet (Fisherman's Cove) open year round. Dogs should be on lead.
NJ Ocean County Beaches Mantoloking allows dogs on lead year round but are restricted between 8 am and 6 pm from May15 to Oct 1. South Seaside allows dogs on or off lead in the off season (Septh 15 to May 15). Seaside Park does not allow dogs on beaches, year round.
NJ Long Beach Island Beach rules vary by township but (where allowed) dog use is genarlly excluded from May 1 through Oct. 1. Surf here. However, we found Beach Haven to be very dog friendly through Mid-May. Two of the large hotels on the beach (Seashell and Engleside) welcome dogs prior to Memorial Day and after Sept. 30 and dogs are allowed on the beach, off-lead. There is a year-round dog beach on the bay side in Beach Havenat the end of Taylor Ave. The is also a bay beach at the end of Joan drive in Long Beach township that allows dogs open from Oct. 1 through Mid-May.
NJ Brigantine Island Brigantine has a dog beach on the northern end of the island that allows dogs year round, on lead
NJ Atlantic County Ocean City allows dogs from Oct. 1 to April 30.
NJ Cape May County Avalon/Stone Harbor allow dogs anytime between Oct. 1 and Feb. 28. Otherwise restricted. North Wildwood allows dogs from Sept. 16 to May 14. C Cape May Beaches allow dogs only from November through February. Higbee Beach WMA: dogs allowed year round on leash.
DE State and National Parks Dogs allowed on beaches on lead, year round. Restricted from bird nesting areas from April through September.
DE Lewes No dogs are allowed on any beach strand between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. any day between May 1st and September 30th
DE Dewey Beach Need a $3 license, but dogs allowed from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m., year round.
DE Rehobeth Dogs are prohibited on the beach from April 1 through October 31.
MD Assateague Dogs allowed on the National Seashore, year round, on lead. However they are not allowed in the State Park at the north end.
MD Ocean City Animals are not allowed on the beach at any time between May 1 and September 30. Otherwise they are allowed on the beach, on lead.
MD/VA Bay beaches Most of Maryland's and Virginia's Bay beaches are private or State Parks, which exclude dogs. In Maryland: Point Lookout State Park (St. Mary's County and Quiet Water Park (Annapolis) do have dog beach areas. Talbot County has a small (off-leash) dog beach area in Claiborne, near the boat launch. Here is and article on the Top 10 Chesapeake Bay Dog beaches
VA State & National Parks Dogs allowed on state and National Beaches (Assateague), year round, but must be on a 6-foot lead and are restricted from primitive areas. Dogs prohibited from Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge.
VA City of Virginia Beach From Memorial Day to Labor Day, pets are not allowed on public beaches from 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. For the beach areas west of the boardwalk, no dogs allowed at all during those time periods. Otherwise they are allowed.
NC State and National Parks Dogs allowed in all state parks on a 6-foot lead. Dogs excluded from swimming areas of Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cape Lookout National Seashore has some area restrictions on dogs, but have reports of dogs allowed on Southbanks.
NC Wrightsville Beach Leashed dogs allowed on beach from October 1 through March 31
NC Southern shores Dogs allowed on beach in off season (after Labor Day but before Memorial Day)
NC Kitty Hawk Dogs are allowed on the ocean and sound beaches, year round, but must be controlled at all times. From June 1 to Sept. 1, dogs must be o a 6-foot lead from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
NC Kill Devil Hills Dogs allowed on the Beach from mid-Sept. to mid-May
NC Nags Head Dogs allowed on the Beach year round on a 10-foot lead.
NC Currituck County Dogs that are under the owner's control allowed on all beaches, year-round.
NC Ft. Fisher SRA; Pleasure Island Dogs allowed on a 6-ft. leash.
NC Carolina Beach: Freeman Park Dogs that are under (voice) control allowed on beach.
NC Oak Island (mouth of the Cape Fear River) Dogs allowed on the beach year round on lead
NC Town of Oak Island Dogs allowed on beach, year round. Must be on lead March 16-Oct. 14, but are allowed off lead under (voice) control from Oct. 15 to Mar. 15
SC State and National Parks Dogs allowed in state parks on a 6-foot lead but only on the beaches between 5pm and 9am.
SC Hilton Head Leashed dogs allowed, year round
SC Charleston Beaches Except for Folley Beach (which is restricted from May 1-Sept 30), leashed dogs allowed, year round
SC North Myrtle Beach Dogs on lead allowed year-round except between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. from May 15 through Sept. 15.
SC Myrtle Beach No dogs allowed on the beach between 21st Ave. N. to 13th Ave. S. during any time of the year. Leashed dog are allowed on the rest of the beach year round except from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. from May 15 through September 15.
SC Edisto Island Dog Friendly town and beach. Leashed dog are allowed on beach, year round.
SC Isle of Palms Leashed dog are allowed beach, year round.
SC Surfside Beach Leashed dogs allowed on the beach from Sept. 16 through May 14. Excluded during summer.
SC Sullivan Island Leashed dogs allowed on the beach with the following restrictions/exceptions: MUST HAVE A TAG ISSUED BY CITY OF SULLIVAN BEACH. Summer (beginning April 1), dogs allowed unleashed from 5 am to 10 am (if under voice control). No dogs allowed from 10 am-6pm. Leashed dogs allowed again from 6 pm to 5 am. Off season (After Labor Day??) leashed dogs are presumably allowed all day.
SC Isle of Palms (Front Beach) Leashed dogs allowed on beach year round.
GA State and National Parks Leashed dogs allowed in all state and national parks with the significant exception of Cumberland Island National Seashore
GA St. Simon's Island Leashed dogs allowed on most areas of the coast, although there are time of day restrictions during the tourist season.
GA Jeykll Island Dogs allowed, year round. No leash restrictions found.
FL **GENERAL** I'm getting reports that there are state-wide restictions on dogs on beaches in FL, but have not been able to verify the details. Confirm all details before you head out to various beaches!!
FL State and National Parks Leashed dogs are technically allowed in State and National Parks but are generally excluded from beaches and from many trails. Beaches that generally accept leashed dogs (in at least some areas) include: Bill Braggs, Don Pedro Island, Fort Pierce Inlet, Gasparilla Island, Honeymoon Island, John D. MacArthur Beach, John U. Lloyd Beach, North Shore, Oleto, Tradewinds, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Park
FL Atlantic Beach Leashed dogs allowed, year-round.
FL Hannah Park North of Atlantic Beach. Allows dogs year-round, on lead.
FL Rickencbacker Causeway (Miami) Dogs allowed year-round.
FL Ft. Lauderdale (Dog beach) Area set aside at foot of Sunrise Blvd. Fri-Sun from 5-9 pm only. Must have a permit. Another small are exists north of Sunrise Bld. just south of motels.
FL Smyrna Dunes Park and Lighthouse Point (New Smyrna Beach) Allows dogs year-round, on lead
FL Flagler Beach Allows dogs year-round, on lead.
FL Beverly Beach Camptown Allows well behaved dogs year-round, on lead.
FL Sombrero Beach (Marathon Key) & Key Largo Park (Key Largo) Only beaches currently allowing dogs in most of the Keys.
FL Sanibel Island Island is Dog Friendy
FL Estero (Fort Myers) Beach Dogs allowed in many areas (excpet state parks), on-lead.
FL Lovers Key (south of Fort Myers Beach) A dog beach managed by Lee County Parks and Recreation; allows dogs year-round. Info here
FL Tampa/St. Pete's There are several beaches in this area, most are bayside. Cypress Beach, Dana Shores, North Shore Park, Ft. DeSoto Park, Vinoy Park.
FL Howard Park, Tarpon Springs There is a dog beach along the causeway.
FL Panama City Beach Dog beach at Pier Park, near the pier.
FL St.Geoge Island Welcomes dogs
FL St. Augustine area Anastasia Island has a dog beach. Mantanzas Inlet has an area that allows unleashed dogs, Bay beach that allows dogs year-round.
FL City of Neptune Beach Dogs allowed, year-round, between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.
FL Venice, Brohard Park Dog Beach, off leash, year-round! With faucets and free baggies. (Ask at Sharkey's Restaurant).
FL Jupiter Dogs allowed on non-guarded beaches, year-round. Must be under voice control.
FL Fire Coast Area south of Jacksonville that allows dogs.
FL Cape San Blas (Between Port St. Joe and Apalachicola). Dogs allowed anytime.
FL Bonita Springs Lovers Key: Dogs allowed anytime, off leash.

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Some of the significant resources used to develop this are listed below along with some on-line pet travel resources:

National Park Service Search for details on Natinal Parks

Cape Cod "Access" site

Florida Dog-Friendly areas

Outer Banks (of NC) information

Dog Friendly Travel Excellent dog beach resource

Pet Friendly Travel New, excellent dog beach page

Southern Maine beach information

Pets Welcome

Vacationing with Pets

Dog Infomat: On-line dog park listing with links

Doggin' America Dog beach and other hiking articles and dog beaches e-book