Dogs love outdoor adventures, especially Labrador Retrievers. And the beach can be a wonderful place for you and your dog to have some exercise and fun together!
Since Labs typically love the water, excel in retrieving, and have boundless energy, taking your dog to the beach can be a great way to share a fun adventure in beautiful surroundings.
Though the United States has 95,000 miles of coastline, you’ll find that many beaches don’t allow dogs, making it hard to find a great place to share the beach experience with your pet.
Whether you’re headed out on vacation and want to take your dog along, or just looking for a dog beach to explore, we’re going to help by giving you the 11 Best Dog Beaches in the USA to visit, including many we’ve personally visited with Labrador Retrievers.
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Read on for our recommendations of the best beaches for dogs in America, as well as some helpful tips to make the most of your day on the coast.
Fort De Soto, Florida
This white-sand beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast just west of Tampa is one of our favorites.
We’ve personally visited it with our Labradors and can vouch for its perfect location, ample parking, and amenities. There’s also a dog park nearby if you happen to need a fenced area to run off some energy for your dog before (or after) you head out to the sand.
Dogs are allowed off-leash here, though we highly recommend you keep them on leash unless you’re certain their recall is flawless. There are a lot of beautiful distractions here, including other dogs and many exotic birds in and around the water.
We once had one of our rescue Labradors take off down this beach and pretend not to hear us calling, chasing, and racing after him. This is the same Lab who took off on a doggie adventure and once ran away to Buffalo Wild Wings.
Luckily, we got him back quickly, but take it from us: running in soft sand is a LOT easier for a Labrador with four paws than a human with two!
Hollywood Dog Beach, Florida
Hollywood has a separate, dedicated dog beach that is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the afternoon and early evening. Many of the eastern Florida Atlantic beaches restrict dogs, including Miami Beach, so it’s great to have a special dog beach option here in Hollywood.
You’ll need to pay for admission to get access to this dog beach, and be sure to double-check the hours of operation before you go.
Cape San Blas, Florida
This beach is located in the Florida panhandle, facing the gorgeous and warm Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful white sand runs all along this wide stretch of beach, and just like the rest of the Florida panhandle beaches, this one is beautiful.
There are no hour restrictions or passes to purchase to bring your dog here. Leashing is required for your dog on this beach at all times.
Jekyll Island, Georgia
This beautiful island is a bit of a sleepy secret, which is why we happen to love it! That feeling of having an island practically to yourself, plus its dog-friendly atmosphere, makes it a perfect spot for the Labs of Labrador Wise. Jekyll Island tends to remain quiet and uncrowded compared to its more popular neighbor, St. Simons Island.
Located just east of Brunswick, Georgia, about an hour south of Savannah, Jekyll Island has miles of dog-friendly beaches. You’ll need to pay for a day pass to get onto the island (less than $10), but it tends to keep the crowds very low, and after arriving on the island it’s free to take your dog to the beach.
Leashes are required for your dog, and there is one section that’s marked near a protected area where dogs aren’t permitted, but otherwise, you’ll have plenty of places to walk and explore around the island with your Labrador.
The Westin Jekyll Island is also a gorgeous dog-friendly hotel, including allowing large-breed dogs like Labs, so you can stop and have a drink, dinner, or stay the night with your pup after a long walk on the beach.
Nags Head, North Carolina
Nags Head is located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with dunes and golden sand for you and your dog to enjoy. This is another beautiful beach we’ve visited and can recommend for its interesting scenery and unique feel.
Dogs must remain leashed here and cannot be on a leash longer than 10 feet, so while you may not be able to play fetch with your Lab in the water here, this is a great location for walking and splashing through the surf while enjoying the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Wildwood Beach, New Jersey
Wildwood is located on the Atlantic Ocean along the tip of the south Jersey shore. You’ll find both a dog beach and a dog park here, with the dog beach open from dawn to dusk.
It’s a lively and fun area for both dogs and humans. It’s free to visit and your dog must remain leashed on the beach.
Provincetown Beach, Massachusetts
Provincetown Beach is located on Cape Cod Bay in New England, just east of Boston. This entire Provincetown area is proud to be a dog-friendly community, so you’ll find many activities and locations that welcome you with your dog. Dogs are even allowed on the ferry here and in many of the hotels and shops.
The dog beach here has certain dates and times where your pet is able to be off-leash, so be sure to check their updated schedule to find out when your Lab would be able to run and play fetch in the water.
South Padre, Texas
Located at the very tip of southern Texas, South Padre Island is a famous sunny spot for vacationers. This destination on the Gulf of Mexico is a popular location for people and dogs, and you may see many other happy pups playing in the water and on the beach while you’re there.
There is a leash law, so please keep your dog on a leash at South Padre Beach at all times. This stretch of beach can also get very busy and crowded with a lot of people and can be a HUGE party spot, so keep that in mind when planning your trip if your dog isn’t a fan of parties.
Huntington Dog Beach, California
Huntington is a great dog beach in Orange County, California, about an hour south of Los Angeles. Huntington Beach is comprised of several beach spots running the stretch of coastline between Seal Beach and Newport.
The entire Huntington Beach area is known as “Surf City USA”, and all of the beaches are beautiful spots for watching sunsets, taking leisurely strolls, and even taking wedding pictures (we had ours there!).
The dog beach section of Huntington is a specially-designated dog area just north of the more-famous Huntington State Beach.
You may have to pay for metered parking along Pacific Coast Highway, and you might have to circle around waiting for a spot if you happen to be there at a busier time, such as the weekend, when many of the locals go.
Coronado Dog Beach, California
Coronado Island is off the coast of San Diego in southern California, and is famous for its Hotel Del Coronado. The dog beach is located near North Beach and the US Naval Station.
You’re allowed to take your dog off-leash on the beach section, which is wonderful for happy Labs who love to play in the water and retrieve. Parking is free, though like all things on Coronado Island is limited, so plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your adventure.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a great beach for dogs. Located on the Oregon coast facing the Pacific Ocean, this beach has a more rugged coastline and forested surroundings rather than a sandy, golden beach like the ones further south in California.
At Cannon Beach, well-behaved dogs are allowed to play off-leash under the supervision of their owners. This can be a great beach for Labradors to run, play, and retrieve in the water. Its cooler temperatures may also help your Lab enjoy their time in the outdoors more than the hotter beaches found further south.
Tips Before You Go to the Dog Beach
- Don’t let your dog drink the salt water, it’s very unhealthy and can cause dehydration
- Make sure you bring your dog’s leash, even if the beach doesn’t require it, and that your dog has current ID tags (even if your pet is microchipped)
- Bring plenty of fresh clean water and a collapsible or travel water bowl
- Bring doggie cleanup bags to make sure any messes are immediately taken care of
- Keep an eye on the weather and temperature and be careful to make sure your dog does not overheat, including on hot sand or hot pavement
- Talk to your veterinarian about what vaccinations might be needed or recommended in advance
- Don’t forget to bring many toys and tennis balls if you’re planning to play fetch on a beach that allows your dog to be off-leash
Wrap-Up: 11 Best Beaches for Dogs in the USA
Taking your dog to the beach can be an amazing and fun adventure for you both! With a little preparation, you can have a relaxing time and give your Lab a unique experience for exciting play and exercise.
America has some amazing and beautiful beaches, and many of them are available to share with your dog. If you’re looking to take your Labrador or another beloved dog along with you on a beach excursion, we recommend these 11 fantastic dog beaches in the United States for your next adventure!