Pawprints In Sand: Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches

photo credit: Chris Griffith

(DOGS/LIFE WITH PETS) As the temperature rises, who doesn’t love to bask in the sun and splash in the cool ocean? A day at the beach is perhaps the most classic summer fun, and it just isn’t fair for man’s best friend to be left out. Luckily, there are many fantastic seaside spots that Fido – and you – will love. Check out this list of the top 10 cool beaches to enjoy a hot summer’s day with your pooch! — Global Animal

boy with dog on beach

Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches

1) Del Mar Beach San Diego, California

For good reason, Del Mar is one of the most popular beach communities and San Diego County. Great beaches, fairgrounds, horseracing, and a quaint, upscale village provide plenty of activities for everyone. Powerhouse Park, with a full playground, is especially nice for families with young children. Beachgoers can also find good, cheap eats at Roberto’s taco stand on Carmel Valley Road, overlooking Los Penasquitos Lagoon. Plus, the song Dog Beach Boogie helped this beach’s ranking.


2) Fort DeSoto Beach, Florida

Dr. Beach judged this beach 2005 Best Beach in America and we voted best beach for dogs. Showers and drinking water are provided. Enter the front gate by the parking lot, take your dog off-leash, walk through the L-shaped park to the back gate. Go out the back gate, down a short sandy path and onto the perfect beach for dogs and people.

3) Dog Beach, California

Doggie nirvana.  Your buddy will have tons of company at this popular spot near San Diego. In fact, people may be outnumbered.

Happy Dogs Play Frisbee on one of the Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches4) Cape San Blas, Florida

Just 35 miles south of Panama City, but feeling as if it is worlds away, Cape San Blas beaches are peaceful, not overdeveloped; in fact, you can sometimes walk a mile or two in the off season without seeing another dog…or person.  The state park at the end of the cape was named 2002 Best Beach In America by Dr. Beach (a real person, not a doggie…but most doggies would agree).

Dogs catch some waves at one of the top 10 dog friendly beaches
5) Carmel City Beach, California

Only a short walk from the village of Carmel, the Carmel Beach is a beautiful and popular escape, with hotels and restaurants in walking distance. Other pet friendly beaches are close by, too.

6) Hunting Island, South Carolina

Doggie and people heaven on earth.  At low tide, the beach on Hunting can literally appear to be a mile wide, with tidal pools and remote stretches rarely found today. This State Park is located near the golf resort island of Fripp, and near Beaufort, SC.

A Dog splashes in the surf at one of the Top 10 Dog Friendly Beaches7) Fort Funston National Park, California

Fort Funston is a popular San Francisco dogwalking location. Most visitors walk the paved Sunset Trail, a north to south route on the bluff, and reach Ocean Beach via Fort Funston’s northern section. Fort Funston’s stretch of Ocean Beach is where you’ll see scores of dripping wet dogs, romping across the sand with driftwood stick in their mouths. Please note that there are some leash restrictions at this park during certain seasons for the protection of endangered wildlife in the area.

8) St. George Island, Florida

>No wider than a mile at its widest point, and located near renowned historic towns in the Florida Gulf, there is plenty here for man and man’s best friend.

Photo credit: Chris Griffith

9) Ft. Fisher State Recreation Area, North Carolina

Just outside of Wilmington, NC, this beach allows dogs in all areas except swimming areas with lifeguards.
Happy Bulldog enjoys a day at the beach

10) Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint, Oregon

If your pooch isn’t fond of windsurfing, no matter.  This windsurfers’ paradise will suit them just fine. Located just outside of Oregon State Park boundaries, south of Gold Beach.

Honorable Mention:

Beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Here, all beaches are dog-friendly!

More Pet TV:



  1. Your extremely vague title for #3 (“Dog Beach, California”) is ridiculous. Google that phrase and see how many dog beaches come up. Also, the specific beach you’re referring to isn’t near San Diego, it’s in San Diego. It’s in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach, to be exact. And your #1 (“Del Mar Beach San Diego, California”) is not in the city of San Diego, but in a separate city called (you guessed it) Del Mar. Can we correct these titles to be a little more accurate?

  2. I would have to say that a beach near where I live in Portugal is extremely dog friendly. And the restaurante (Restaurante Castelejo) there is frequented by a lot of my dog friends. The beach is Castelejo in the Algarve. You can see a bit about some of the dogs there at my blog ( but I haven’t really done a post about the beach. I’ll try to put one up soon.