Magazine  >  Issue 44  >  Top 10 FIDO Friendly Beaches

Top 10 FIDO Friendly Beaches

The dog days of summer are upon us! Visions of sand castles, ocean waves, SPF, and your canine BFF delight. We’ve scoured the country for the Fido-friendliest seashores on which to play Bowser beach blanket bingo (or take long walks with toes and paws in the sand). So pack a basket, leash, suntan lotion and a canteen of water: Summertime’s upon us and Fido says Surf’s Up!

Photography Susan Sims
Photography courtesy Huntington Beach Dog Beach

Huntington Beach, California
There are beaches and then there are those with Dog in their name, imploring us to wag our tails in the direction of Huntington Beach Dog Beach. Aptly located about 10 miles from Disneyland, this beach is an amusement park of sorts for Fido. Leash-less and living large is how Fido will feel sinking his paws into the sand. Doggie alfresco diners abound in the area, so Fido and his guardian can cool down after a hot day of surf and sand.

Carmel-by-the Sea, California
Wish we all could be California dogs might just ring true when visiting this very Fido friendly beach. Leave preconceived notions and leashes in the car because Fido is free to frolic off lead under voice control. So Fido-friendly is this beach area that they have their own newspaper, Doggie Gazette. Nearby Carmel Fountain is for dogs only and many stores along Ocean Avenue allow Fido to shop inside with his guardian. Keep the outdoor spirit flowing after a day at the beach and dine alfresco at one of the many Fido-friendly restaurants in the area.

Susan Kimmelman Off-Leash Dog Beach
(Montrose Dog Beach), Chicago, Illinois
Dogs are welcome to channel their inner puppy and head for sandy beaches from the waves of Montrose Dog Beach. Ensconced in shallow waters for the smaller Fido ‘guppies’ and rougher waters for the braver pooches, this beach has something for everyone in Fido’s family. Leave the leash at home (or at least in the car) and be sure to pay your $5 fee for a dog beach tag. If visiting Chicago, you’ll want to make a trip to this fun-in-the-sun getaway for the canine member of your entourage.

Dog Beach, Ocean Beach, California
Year round off lead: four words to delight any Fido-friendly beachgoer’s ears. This rings true at the popular Dog Beach in beautiful Ocean Beach. This section of beach is located at the north end for canines to let loose and lap it up. Ocean Beach is a small community located a few miles northwest of San Diego. Off-leash is a dog’s Disneyland, and with 38 acres to explore, this beach has been open to Fido since 1972. Keep the good karma swimming and please pick up after your pet.

Del Mar Dog Beach (Also known as North Beach), Del Mar, California
From 29th Street to the Solana Beach border, leashed dogs are permitted from June 15th through Labor Day. From Labor Day through June 14th, Fido is welcomed to explore the beach leash-free under guardian voice command. Looking to mingle with like-minded Fido folk and their furry friends? Del Mar Dog Beach is a very social and easygoing, clean beach where dogs can play amidst the ocean’s surf. Pay attention to high tide periods so you can sink paws into sand and not rocks.

Coronado Dog Beach
, Coronado, California
Draw paw circles in the sand at this beachy find near the Naval Air Station. Fido is welcome to channel his inner surfer, as Coronado Dog Beach is leash-less. Restrooms for humans on premises and a water spigot at the entrance to wash sandy paws. The beach is far enough from the road to feel safe and close enough to the ocean to catch a wave. The Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog competition is held nearby as Fido takes to the water to surf.

Town of Duck Beaches
, North Carolina
Beaches aren’t public access, so for those traveling with Fido, you’re in for unleashed luck in Duck! Dogs are permitted to play on the town’s beach under voice control of their watchful guardian. Fido is allowed off lead on Duck’s beach year-round. Due to their lack of public access, the beaches tend to be less crowded and more intimate. In fact, the Travel Channel’s annual America’s Best Beaches List ranks Duck’s beach amongst the highest. With its miles of clean beaches and surrounding shops and activities, not only is this a Fido-friendly beach town but a great vacation getaway.

Fort DeSoto Dog Beach
, Fort DeSoto, Florida
An entire section of this Fido-friendly beach is totally leash-free! In addition to having fun in the beach sun, Fido is welcome to visit Paw Playground and play to his heart’s content. Wash sandy paws and cool Fido off with a frolic in the water or borrow the hose available on site. “Fido’s dream beach come true,” “family and Fido-friendly to the max” and “clean and serene” are all comments beachgoers have shared about this tail-waggin’ find!

Cape San Blas beaches
, Florida Panhandle/Gulf County
Some areas like Fido on their beaches, but the sandy coastline of Cape San Blas says they LOVE dogs on their beaches! Nearby pet-friendly rentals add to the convenience and hospitality extended to canine travelers. Fido is allowed to take in the ocean air ANY time, as there are no set “dog” hours. Several restaurants in the Apalachicola area welcome Fido, so hit the surf and refuel on the turf.

Dog Beach (Bonita Beach Road), Lee County, Florida
Bring soda for your thirst and expect SOODA when you arrive. SOODA is Save Our Off Leash Dog Area, and is a group of local volunteers who maintain this beach. Beach size varies according to tide and time. Located in the coastal tideland area of south Lee County, this leash-less beach is the perfect place to leave pawprints in the sand. The county’s honor system trusts that Fido will be under guardian command, and as always bring waste bags.

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