Dog-Friendly Beaches on the East Coast

 Monday Jun 03,2024
By  Lancaster Puppies

The beach is a classic summer destination that’s even better with your dog by your side! While not all beaches are dog-friendly, our list below covers East Coast beaches where dogs are allowed year-round. To avoid overheating, mornings and evenings are the best times to visit the beach with your dog as the sand and asphalt will be cooler. You can also buy waterproof dog shoes to protect your dog’s paws against hot sand, asphalt, and broken shells.

When visiting the beach with your canine friend, remember to bring fresh water for drinking, an umbrella or tent for shade, doggy bags, your dog’s current rabies tag, and your dog’s leash. No matter the location, you must always be respectful and pick up after your dog.

Black dog on a leash held by a person stands on a beach.

Bayview Beach - Saco, Maine

Part of a 7-mile stretch of beach, Bayview Beach is a favorite seaside location among dog owners. Dogs are allowed on the beach all day long, however, from April 1st to September 30th all dogs need to be on leashes that do not exceed 12 feet in length. During the off-season from October 1st to March 31st, dogs can be off-leash if they are under voice and sight command.

Occasionally, parts of the beach will be visibly restricted to protect nesting birds and endangered wildlife. No matter the time of year, owners must keep their dogs at least 100 feet away from these wildlife protection areas. Bayview Beach features entrance mats to improve accessibility for all, as well as a beach wheelchair that’s available upon request by the Saco Parks and Recreation Department.

View Bayview Beach’s Website

Provincetown Dog Beach - Provincetown, Massachusetts

Known as an incredibly dog-friendly town, Provincetown has multiple dog-friendly beaches and an off-leash dog beach. Other P-town beaches where dogs are allowed on leashes are Herring Cove, Breakwater Walk, and Race Point Beach. Depending on the season, certain areas or beaches may be restricted due to nesting shorebirds, but there is plenty to do in Provincetown and multiple beaches to choose from. Provincetown is full of dog-friendly shops and restaurants, even their ferries allow dogs! The town is also home to the Pilgrim Bark Park, a dog park with 2 fenced-in sections separated by breed size.

Provincetown has something for everyone. Other activities in this artistic and historic town include whale watching, sailing, nature trails, dune hiking, biking, local tours, local shopping, live theater, museums, art galleries, independent film screenings, and many seasonal events.

View Provincetown’s Website

Kitty Hawk Beach - Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Kitty Hawk Beach is dog-friendly throughout the year. Between the Friday before Memorial Day and the day after Labor Day from 10 am to 6 pm, dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet long. Outside of these summertime dates, dogs are allowed on longer leashes that don’t exceed 12 feet in length. During the off-season, dogs can be off-leash if they respond to commands, their owners stay within 30 feet of them, and they don’t bother the public or wildlife. The town of Kitty Hawk is full of fun activities like kiteboarding, hang gliding, jet skiing, kayaking, parasailing, wakeboarding, tubing, surfing, golfing, surf fishing, camping, boating, and crabbing

View Kitty Hawk Beach’s Website

White West Highland Terrier dog sits on rocks on a beach and looks into the camera.

Nags Head Beach - Nags Head, North Carolina

Located in the Outer Banks, Nags Head Beach is accessible to dogs and their owners throughout the year. This dog-friendly beach requires dogs to be on leashes that are no longer than 10 feet long. Nags Head is full of activities for all ages and group sizes. These activities include boating, jet skiing, fishing, kayaking, surfing, local shopping, local tours, dolphin watching, beach bonfires, mini-golf, and various watersports.

View Nags Head Beach’s Website

Crystal Coast Beaches - Crystal Coast, North Carolina

The Crystal Coast is a beautiful dog-friendly getaway that spans the southern part of the Outer Banks. With 85 miles of shoreline, Crystal Coast has tons of dog-friendly beaches to choose from! These beaches include Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Indian Beach, and Pine Knoll Shores. Dogs are required to stay on leashes throughout Crystal Coast and its dog-friendly beaches. Additionally, dogs are not allowed in lifeguarded sections at Atlantic Beach.

Crystal Coast has countless land and water activities that all ages can enjoy. These activities include fishing, boating, surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, parasailing, diving, biking, local shopping, local tours, hiking, an aquarium, and museums.

View Crystal Coast’s Website

Topsail Beach - Topsail Island, North Carolina

The town of Topsail Beach is accessible by car along the coast of North Carolina. Dogs are allowed on Topsail Beach and its town all year round with a few restrictions. From May 15 through September 30, your dog must be on a leash that doesn’t exceed 20 feet in length. From October 1 to May 14, dogs are allowed on the beach off-leash but must be responsive to voice commands. Visitors to Topsail Beach can enjoy a skating rink, mini-golf, local shopping, local tours, sunset cruises, an oyster farm, a sea turtle rescue center, fishing, boating, surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, and seasonal events.

View Topsail Beach’s Website

Small black and white Schnauzer dog on a leash stands on rocks at the beach.

Freeman Park - Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Freeman Park is dog-friendly all year round; however, dogs must be leashed when visiting anytime between April 1st through September 30th. From October 1st to March 31st, dogs can go off-leash as long as they are under voice command and their owners stay with them. Along with allowing dogs throughout the year, Freeman Park is also unique in permitting four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach. That being said, if your vehicle is all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive, you’ll have to park farther away and walk to the beach.

Freeman Park also has spots on the beach that can be reserved for overnight tent camping. From October 1st through March 31st, visitors can set up contained campfires on certain areas of the beach. Additional park activities include horseback riding, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, crabbing, and surfing.

View Freeman Park’s Website

Bald Head Island - Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Bald Head Island features 14 miles of beaches, marshes, and trails. Rental homes are available on the island, many of which are dog-friendly. To get to Bald Head Island, you’ll need to take a 20-minute ferry ride in which your dog can ride alongside you. No vehicles are allowed on the island, but you can navigate the island with trams, golf carts, and bikes. Your dog is free to explore the island with you, just make sure you keep them on a leash that’s shorter than 10 feet in length. Island activities include hiking, kayaking, beachcombing, fishing, crabbing, paddle boarding, and island tours.

View Bald Head Island’s Website

Kiawah Beachwalker Park - Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Kiawah Beachwalker Park is the only beach open to the public on Kiawah Island. From March 16 through October 31, dogs are allowed on the beach and in the park if they are on a leash. From November 1 through March 15, dogs are allowed off-leash but must be under control and respond to commands. Park amenities include beach rentals, picnic tables and grills, changing rooms, bathrooms, and showers. Other activities on the barrier island include kayaking, nature tours, sunset cruises, horse-drawn carriage rides, fishing, golfing, biking, paddleboarding, surfing, and seasonal events.

View Kiawah Beachwalker Park’s Website

Hunting Island Beach - Beaufort, South Carolina

Hunting Island in South Carolina is a perfect weekend or week-long getaway where your dog can join you. Dogs are allowed almost anywhere on the island but must be responsive to commands and kept on a leash that doesn’t exceed 6 feet in length. Restricted areas where dogs are not allowed include the pier, inside the lighthouse, in the cabin area, and at the tip of North Beach, which is home to protected wildlife. Additionally, any dogs that are disruptive to visitors and wildlife will be asked to leave. Island and beach activities include paddle boarding, tubing, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, camping, boating, volleyball, island tours, hiking, lighthouse climbing, and seasonal events.

View Hunting Island’s Website

Person sitting and petting a Golden Retriever on a beach.

Jekyll Island - Jekyll Island, Georgia

Jekyll Island is a perfect vacation spot where your dog can join you! Jekyll Island is home to multiple dog-friendly beaches: Corsair Beach Park, Oceanview Beach Park, St. Andrews Beach Park, Great Dunes Beach Park, and Driftwood Beach. All dog-friendly areas on Jekyll Island require your dog to be responsive to commands and on a leash that doesn’t exceed 16 feet in length. However, not all areas on Jekyll Island are dog-friendly, so pay attention to posted signs and notices.

Many beaches and parks on Jekyll Island are accessible to people with physical disabilities and offer shaded pavilions with picnic tables and grills. Oceanview Beach Park is especially accessible with ADA-accessible bathhouses, parking spaces, beach entry points, and beach wheelchairs. Jekyll Island isn’t short on things to do. Activities on Jekyll Island include hiking, volleyball, bocce ball, museums, wildlife tours, golfing, a water park, kayaking, paddleboarding, playgrounds, biking, fishing, boating, camping, horseback riding, a turtle rehabilitation center, and many seasonal events.

View Jekyll Island’s Website

St. Augustine Beaches - St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine has 42 miles of shoreline with multiple beaches that allow dogs; however, your dog must remain on a leash at all times. These dog-friendly beaches include St Augustine Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach, Crescent Beach, Vilano Beach, and Butler Beach. Dogs are not allowed in Anastasia State Park as this area houses protected wildlife. The beach also has a large shaded pavilion, a fishing pier, a sand volleyball court, a splash park, showers, bathrooms, and playgrounds. St. Augustine isn’t short on adventures and things to do. Local activities include nature tours, historic tours, boutique shopping, farmers’ markets, golfing, boating, sailing, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, nature tours, an alligator farm, and swimming with dolphins.

View St. Augustine’s Website

Golden Retriever standing on a beach with the ocean in the background.

Fort De Soto Dog Park & Beach - St. Petersburg, Florida

Fort De Soto Park has a large section of beach where dogs are allowed off-leash. In addition to a dog beach, the park has 2 fenced-in spaces, both leash-free and size-separated. The dog park and dog beach are connected with the beach entrance located southwest of the park. Fort De Soto’s dog beach has plenty of space for you and your dog to enjoy, measuring around 2 football fields in size. The park provides fresh drinking fountains, dog showers, and free doggy bags.

This designated dog beach is the only beach area where dogs are allowed in Fort De Soto Park. Outside of the beach areas, dogs can join their owners throughout the park as long as they are on a leash that doesn’t exceed 6 feet in length. The park offers paved trails, disability-friendly parking spots, playgrounds, bathrooms, shaded picnic pavilions, a boat ramp, and beach wheelchairs. Other park activities include fishing, camping, boating, nature trails, kayaking, nature tours, and picnicking.

View Fort De Soto Park’s Website

Walton Rocks Beach & Dog Park - Jensen Beach, Florida

Walton Rocks is a 24-acre beach and dog park where dogs can roam and play off-leash. However, if a dog is disruptive to other dogs and people, it must be kept on a leash no longer than 8 feet long. This beach is open from dawn to dusk and has bathrooms, a hose for rinsing, picnic tables, and shaded pavilions. Walton Rocks allows fishing and is known as a great surfing spot. Other dog owners recommend bringing mosquito repellent with you when you visit.

View Walton Rocks Beach’s Website

Brohard Paw Park - Venice, Florida

Brohard Paw Park combines a traditional dog park and a dog-friendly beach. The beach is off-leash; however, owners need to be conscious of signs indicating where dog access ends. The Paw Park is open from 7 am to sunset every day and has 2 fenced-in areas that keep large and small dogs separated. Brohard Paw Park provides doggy bags, trash cans, fresh water fountains, rinse stations, bathrooms, and picnic tables.

View Brohard Paw Park’s Website

Yellow Labrador Retriever running on a beach.

Jupiter Beach - Jupiter, Florida

Dogs are allowed on Jupiter Beach from marker 26 to marker 57. This 2.5-mile-long stretch of beach allows dogs to roam off-leash as long as they are friendly toward people, get along with other dogs, and are under voice command. A favorite among dog owners, Jupiter Beach is known for its clear water, clean beach, and dog-centric events. The beach features rinsing stations, bathrooms, free parking, free doggy bags, and plenty of trash cans. Jupiter Beach is perfect for paddle boarding, surfing, and jumping waves with your pup.

View Jupiter Beach’s Website

Sombrero Beach - Marathon, Florida

Dogs are allowed on Sombrero Beach all day but must be leashed. In addition to Sombrero Beach, Marathon has many dog-friendly parks and beaches. Every year from April to October, certain areas of Sombrero Beach will be sectioned off from the public and animals to protect nesting turtles. Turtle nests take up very little room on this large beach though, less than 10% according to Sombrero Beach’s website, so you and your dog will have plenty of space to roam and play. Sombrero Beach is the perfect place to spend a summer day with your dog and friends. This beautiful beach offers bathrooms, outdoor showers, volleyball courts, and shaded pavilions with grills.

View Sombrero Beach’s Website


Looking for more outdoor adventures where your dog can join you? Check out our blogs on the best dog-friendly hiking spots in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania! Follow our monthly blog to find more dog owner tips and dog-friendly spotlights.