At the Beach — April 1, 2016 at 5:00 am

7 Top Dog-Friendly Beaches in America

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No beach excursion is complete without a man’s best friend. Although dogs are not allowed on every U.S. beach, most coastal cities allot at least one dog-friendly beach. If you’re searching for the best of the best, look no further than these seven best dog-friendly beaches in America.

Fort Funston’s Beach, San Francisco, CA
This bay area beach has a relaxed dog policy, which is not found elsewhere in the region. In fact, it’s the only area in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area where dogs can run around leash-free. The mountainous backdrop and the crashing waves make Fort Funston’s a playground for all four-legged friends. It’s definitely a hotspot for local dog owners and you can access the beach on the paved Sunset Trail. 

Fort Myers Dog Beach, Fort Meyers, FL
This beach is the only leash-free beach in the area. It’s the perfect place to play catch and let your dogs take a quick dip into what looks like a swimming hole—the water is shallow and stands still. The best feature is the doggie shower station so your car or home will be free of sand.

Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is popular with surfers, sunbathers, seafood restaurants and dogs. Also known as Dog Town USA, Fancy Dog Magazine chose Huntington as the most dog-friendly, mid-sized city in America. If you want pooch paradise, take a trip to Huntington Beach.

Kitty Hawk Beach, North Carolina
Kitty Hawk allows dogs to run leash-free as long as they stay within 30 feet of their owner and do not disturb the beachcombers. Keep an eye on the city’s website for seasonal policies. Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, all dogs must remain on leash.

Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago, IL
Chicago summers are hot and humid. There’s no better way to cool off than to take a dip into Lake Michigan. On the northwest corner of Montrose Beach is the dog-friendly area. Here, dogs can roam leash-free and swim in the lake. The beach gets crowded during the summer, especially on weekends.

Cannon Beach, Oregon
This Oregon coast town is busy year-round with locals who want to enjoy the summer sun or a good winter’s read inside a beach cabin. Dogs can also run around the beach and Haystack Rock leash-free. Nearby trails are also popular for a nice walk or jog in the park.

Hunting Island, South Carolina
Hunting Island is the perfect place for a remote getaway with miles of coastline to explore. Dogs are allowed on the beaches and campgrounds, but are not permitted inside park buildings, cabins or cabin grounds. Dogs must stay on leash and should not disturb the wildlife. Besides those rules, there is much freedom to be found throughout the island. At some beaches, you and your best friend may be the only occupants for miles.

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