As summer approaches, what better way to beat the heat than by heading to the seashore? Before you pack up the doggie sunscreen, double check your destination is dog-friendly. Always bring plenty of water and provide some shade for four-legged beachcombers; keep an eye out for signs of heat stroke, too. A beach chair is a good idea, as excitable pups can quickly make a mess of neatly spread towels.
Aquatically adventurous pups might want some Doggles to avoid the sting of salty spray, while a dog lifejacket is a must-have. Protective booties can spare sensitive paw pads from rocks or sea urchins. For post-beach care, massage an all-natural paw balm into pads to avoid drying or cracking caused by salt and sand. Most importantly, Pick Up That Poop! Your pet’s messes are your own out in the world, so don’t forget the biodegradable doggie bags.
Rosie’s Dog Beach, Long Beach
Los Angeles County’s only off-leash dog beach is a canine haven for salty dogs. A limit of one-dog-per-person keeps crowds to a minimum; the park is open from 6am to 8pm daily. As with all dog parks, no pets under four months are allowed and dogs must have a collar with tags indicating current vaccinations and licenses.
There’s plenty of room for both two- and four-legged friends to relax at Rosie’s Dog Beach, fun for the whole family. Human pack members will get a kick out watching pups romp in the surf, while Fido will love the cornucopia of scents to sniff. Parking is plentiful but metered; arrive early and find a spot on the street for free.
Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago
One of the top ten dog parks in the country, the off-leash Montrose Dog Beach is the first of its kind in Chicago. As with any of the city’s dog parks, all pets must have a Dog-Friendly Area (DFA) tag, available at participating veterinarians in the Chicagoland area for $5. Open from sunrise to 9pm daily, Montrose borders a humans-only beach as well, so stay on the right side of the fence.
Street parking nearby can be difficult to find during peak hours – weekend mornings in the summer – so plan accordingly. Check online for any swim bans on the lake, and don’t mind the algae, an important food source for local birds. Keep a close eye on escape artists – the fence has several gaps and doesn’t extend into the lake.
Magnuson Park Off-Leash Area, Seattle
The city’s largest dog park also has the only off-leash dog beach. Described by Yelp reviewers as “Disneyland for dogs,” Maguson Park’s off-leash area is roughly 9 acres of dog-friendly trails, fields and beach. The shores of Lake Washington are typically Pacific Northwest – no white sand and palm trees here. A separate area for small or shy dogs makes Magnuson Park the perfect spot for Fidos of all shapes and sizes.
Seattle’s winter and spring can leave gravel paths muddy, so bring your rain boots November through March. A fluffy towel is a post-park essential to clean muddy paws and bellies; bring a spare for a doggie burrito to avoid the sniffles. Check a map of the park for best parking options, which can get slim during peak hours; street parking may be your best bet.
Bark Beach, Miami
Voted the city’s best dog park, Bark Beach is the only off-leash beach for dogs in Miami. Located next to North Shore Open Space Park – which is dog-friendly, leashed of course – Bark Beach is open Friday through Sunday, 3pm to 7pm. There is a $5 fee to visit the dog beach; all dogs must have a collar and rabies tag, while pet parents must keep a leash handy.
This dog-friendly beach is definitely for the fitness enthusiast, with nearby jogging trails and exercise stations. Pack a lunch to eat at one of the picnic pavilions, or grab a bite on the pet-friendly patio of a nearby eatery – BringFido.com recommends Burgers and Shakes.
Kirk Park Beach, Montauk
Montauk’s best-kept secret, this hideaway is renowned for its secluded nature and relaxing atmosphere. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches from May 15th to September 30th from 9am to 6pm, so plan accordingly. Over 500 feet of pristine beachfront gives you and Fido plenty of sand to share, but keep your pup in eyesight at all times.
Public parking costs $15; steal a spot at a nearby grocery store for a quick jaunt to the beach. Check out some of Montauk’s other dog-friendly beaches if you find Kirk Park not your scene.