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Best Dog Beaches & Vacations Part 1

Best Dog Beaches & Vacations Part 1

Summer is here! We are on the hunt for the best dog friendly beaches and vacations. Look out for our 4 part series covering the Best Dog Beaches & Vacations in the United States.

Here are some great dog-friendly beaches (Part 1 of 4):

 

A summary of the beach or location is included below, but you’ll have to go to our specific pawtivity listing or destination guide for more information.


 

Sanibel Island, FL

Sanibel Island is consistently rated as one of the best beach destinations in the United States. With it’s pristine white beaches and abundance of shells, it’s no wonder why so many people love the beaches here. To top it all off, Sanibel Island is dog friendly year-round. Save this destination on your pawtivity list (for members) to check off later!

 

Block Island, RI

Block Island is one of the most dog friendly towns offering 17 miles of dog friendly beaches. You’ll have to take a ferry to get there, but consider Block Island to be you and your dog’s own private paradise. There’s plenty of biking, hiking, and beaches.

 

Fort De Soto Park & Dog Beach, FL

Fort De Soto Park is a great place to take your dog over the weekend for a little camping, hiking, and off-leash fun. Dogs are only allowed off-leash wtihin the dog beach. Otherwise, they must be on leash.

Dog Beach
 

San Juan Island, WA

San Juan Island has great beaches, but they offer so much more. Beaches allow fire pits so it’s a great place to spend the day and night. San Juan Island is actually one of three islands in the area. All are great spots to go whale watching, kayaking, hiking, and biking. Feel like taking a break from the beach? Visit a lavendar farm or vineyard with your dog!

 

Mission Bay Park / Fiesta Island, CA

Mission Bay Park / Fiesta Island is probably one for local for San Diegans, but we do like the thought of having an off leash dog beach and on its own island. It’s doggy heaven to us. There’s 27 miles of shoreline to play in and plenty of water sports and rentals around.

Mission Bay Park - San Diego, CA
 

Do you have any other recommendations for dog friendly beaches? Or suggestions on other things to do at the beaches we mentioned above?

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


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Related Pawtivities: Dog Park, Swimming, Beach Camping, Hiking, Biking, Running, Play Tug, Play Frisbee
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Sports-Water, Swimming, Beach, Great Outdoors, Outdoor Play, Sightseeing, Travel

Block Island, RI

Block Island is one of the most dog friendly towns offering 17 miles of beaches that are dog friendly all year round! Dogs must be on leash. There’s about 15 different beach areas to visit on the island.

The main tourism website has maps of the area for bike paths, walking trails, and beaches. If you want to go biking, consider going on the 7.5 mile loop to see the whole island.

For an awesome view, go to Mohegan Bluffs accessible via the Mohegan Trail located at 289-, 291 Spring St, New Shoreham, RI 02807 (GPS Coordinates 41.153137, -71.555193 Map). Some also go here to surf and swim.

Grace’s, Dorry’s and Cooneymus Coves offers one of the best places to watch the sunset. It’s also great if you want to go somewhere uncrowded and rather private. Vistiors come here to fish, but it’s not the best for swimming. Another great beach to fish is Charlestown Beach.

If you are looking for a swimming beach some beaches to consider include: 1) Baby Beach – great for kids, 2) Fred Bensen Town Beach – for all day beach lounging and swimming or 2) Ballard’s Beach if you want alcoholic drinks and food.

Other beaches may be more suitable for sightseeing, clamming, surfing, or snorkeling. For hiking trails, consider one of the options from Block Island Family Vacations. They have a great collection of maps and descriptions of each trail. If we were to pick the best for dogs, we would say to check out Elizabeth Dickens Trail for some hiking and beach walking, Nathan Mott Park & Turnip Farm to see some wildflowers, and Rodman’s Hollow for an easy trail that’s marked.

To get to Block Island, you’ll need to take a ferry. You can purchase tickets from The Block Ferry Island. Dogs are allowed on ferries but must be on leash and kept outside. Some hi-speed ferries may permit dogs in carriers only.

Looking for lodgings? Start here.

 


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Block Island | Rhode Island
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Biking, Swimming, Beach

Best Dog Friendly Vacations for Spring & Early Summer

Best Dog Friendly Vacations

Find the best spring & early vacations for you and your dog – see lush waterfall landscapes, wildflowers, and beat the heat of the desert landscape!

1. Acadia National Park, Maine
2. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
3. Kootenai National Forest, Montana
4. San Juan Islands, Washington
5. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada
6. Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
7. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
8. Coyote Buttes / The Wave, Arizona
9. Paria Canyon & Buckskin Gulch, Arizona / Utah
10. White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
11. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Colorado
12. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
13. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
14. John Muir Wilderness, California


1 Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park is consistently rated as one the nation’s best national parks, especially for hiking and camping. Terrain extends from the beach to the mountains so there’s a lot to do. The park is located in Bar Harbor, Maine. Acadia is one of the most picturesque parks – so you’ll surely enjoy some majestic views, green evergreen trees, beautiful ponds, and a stunning sunrise if you go early. Don’t miss Cadillac Mountain, Mount Desert Island, and Jordan Pond. The city of Bar Harbor is also dog friendly if you want to stay for a weekender. While the park is beautiful anytime of year, you can come across some rain and fog during spring months. Still worth it to get a glimpse of almost untouched, pure serene beauty. Read our listing for more information.

Hiking - Acadia National Park, Maine

 

2 Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located in Peninsula, Ohio just outside Cleveland, Ohio. It’s an amazing park for those that live in the area simply because you can do so much there, including some wonderful dog friendly hiking trails. Other things you can do with your dog include camping, fishing, biking, running, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. The Cuyahoga River runs through the park which brings a lot of water features and waterfalls to explore. Read our destination guide for more information.

Cuyahoga National Park

 

3 Kootenai National Forest, Montana

Kootenai National Forest is located in Montana and Idaho, and borders Canada. Sub-alpine scenic views will leave your breathless as you hike near cliffs, giant cedars, and large fields. There’s a lot to here from hiking, camping, biking, fishing, camping, and even morel mushroom picking. Winter adds in some snowshoeing or cross-country skiing fun. Read our listing for more information.


 

4 San Juan Islands, Washington

North of Seattle, Washington sits that San Juan Islands. Many come out for some whale watching, kayaking, hiking, and biking. It’s a great place to just go exploring, go on a romantic getaway, and see some different scenery than the typical lush forests and mountains of Washington. Love art? There’s a small community of artists here along with some fabulous food and fun. Read our listing for more information.


 

5 Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nevada

Come out in the spring or early summer to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. You’ll see a whole new world in the Mojave Desert and avoid the hot tortuous heat of the summers . Enjoy breathtaking views of red and orange sandstone cliffs and wildflowers dotting the landscape. You may also come across some petroglyphs or an oasis in the middle of a the desert. Read our destination guide for more information.

Sedona, AZ Red Rock

 

6 Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah

Ever hike or drive on a salt flat? Come on out to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Tooele County, Utah and dazzle your senses. You’ll likely see nothing for miles, but will be mesmerized and enchanted all the same by start white beauty of the salt flats. Don’t forget your sunglasses! It’s best to avoid the area during later summer as it gets very hot. One of the busiest times of the year is during Speed Week, when racers actually race on the flats. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time seeing all the classic hot rods that come out that week. Read our listing for more information.

Bonneville Salt Flats

 

7 Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah is one of the truly majestic areas that is dog friendly! It’s a great place to go backcountry camping and hiking. You’ll see so many sedimentary rock formations, arches, waterfalls, and mystical slot canyons. Avoid the summer heat by going in the spring or summer. It’s just too hot for the dogs. The best times to go are early spring and fall. Read our listing for more information.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

 

8 Coyote Buttes / The Wave, Utah

Coyote Buttes / The Wave is located in Utah (Kanab, UT). This is one the greatest adventures for you and your dog. Get out an see colorful, swirling sandstone rock formations. Don’t forget to take some memorable photos too in one of the most photographed landmarks in the United States. You’ll need advanced planning as entry to the area is by lottery only. Read our destination guide for more information.

Hiking Coyote Buttes & The Wave With Your Dog

 

9 Paria Canyon & Buckskin Gulch, Arizona / Utah

Want to see some amazing slot canyons? Visit Paria Canyon & Buckskin Gulch located in Arizona and Utah. The area is best known for it’s colorful and twisted sandstone landscapes, slot canyons, tall cliffs, carved formations, and ancient petroglyphs on deep canyon walls. Each time you go, you may get a different adventure altogether. Be prepared to help you dog up canyon walls or wade through some muddy water. Dogs will need their own permit. Read our destination guide for more information.

Paria Canyon & Buckskin Gulch / Wire Pass, AZ & UT

 

10 White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Go hiking, backcountry hiking or even sledding on the white sand dunes in New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument. It is recommended to stick with marked trails, but this is one adventure you surely don’t want to miss especially if you drive through New Mexico on a road trip! Get out on an early summer road trip with your dog before temperatures really go up! Read our listing for more information.

White Sands National Monument, NM

 

11 Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, Colorado

Another sand dune you can’t miss out on is the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado. Pay attention to signs as dogs are allowed in certain areas on leash. And don’t forget to sign up for some sandboarding and sand sledding! You will need specific boards out on the dunes. Read our listing for more information.


 

12 Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

Here’s a unique adventure for you and your dog that’s one of a kind. Go to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona to see trees older than 218 million years. Trees feature colorful bands. The area is worth exploring. You can also see some petroglyphs or visit an ancient Publoan village. Read our listing for more information.

Petrified Forest National Park

 

13 Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona

The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is for the most adventurous hikers that want a breathtaking view of the desert. Or, opt for the scenic drive that goes around the park. You’ll see rock pinnacles all around you. Respect area rules and regulations, especially if you are inside the Indian reservation. Camping options are available. Read our listing for more information.

Monument Valley - Dog Friendly

 

14 John Muir Wilderness, California

Want to see some spring flowers and the best of the Sierra Nevada. Head out on a hiking and camping trip to John Muir Wilderness in California. A great beginner trail to see flowers is the Little Lakes Trail. Head on out late spring to early summer if you are going at higher elevations. Read our destination guide for more information.

John Muir Wilderness

 

Do you have any other recommendations for dog friendly vacations to take during the spring or early summer periods? 

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!


Join the Pawtivity Community. Meet Other Adventurers That Do What You Love To Do.
Sign up TODAY!

Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Backpacking, Great Outdoors, Outdoor Play, Biking, Running, Sightseeing, Sports – Water, Travel

San Juan Islands, WA

San Juan Islands is one of the islands in the San Juan County. The others are Orcas and Lopez Islands. These islands are known for whale watching, kayaking, hiking,and biking. There’s a local artist community and several lodging options suitable for families or a romantic getaway.

A great way to start your trip and see the whole San Juan County area is to go on the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. Check out the map for a great overview of the area and suggested tourist destinations (with or without your dog).

Places to Take Your Dog:
Roche Harbor / San Juan Sculpture Park: There’s a lot of hiking and walking options in this historic resort area. San Juan Sculpture Park is a 20-acre park with 125 unique sculptures and several trail where you can take a nice stroll with your dog.

Port of Friday Harbor / Jackson Beach / Dog Fountain: Go shopping and around town here. Or, go to Jackson Beach. Stop by the dog fountain where you can press a button to see water filled in a bowl exactly to your dog’s height! Definitely worth checking out.
South Beach / Cattle Point: Go to South Beach, the longest beach on San Juan. Dogs must be leashed. There’s a pebble beach and fire pits in the area. Or, head to the the southern point to see Cattle Point.

Biking: There are several options for road biking on the island. Want to see the whole island? Consider biking the 35 mile scenic loop around the island from Friday Harbor on Roche Harbor Road.

Pelindaba Lavendar Farm: Stop by for some lavendar dog biscuits. Pets are allowed on leash outside.

Eddie & Friends Dog Park: 2 acre dog park separated for small and large dogs.

San Juan Vineyards: Go wine tasting! Dogs are allowed on the grounds.

– Kayaking / Whale Watching: Some outfitters allow dogs. Call in advance. Two to consider are San Juan Outfitters and Western Prince.

– There are so many more places and dog friendly restaurants in the area.

San Juan’s Visitor Bureau doesn’t have a physical office. You may contact them at info@visitsanjuans.com or (888) 468-3701 x1. You can also stop by the Chamber of Commerce for information, but call in advance before you go at (360) 378-5240.

Check out the San Juan website for a list of dog friendly accomodations. Ferry rides are dog friendly.


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Friday Harbor, WA | San Juan County | Washington
GPS Coordinates:48.534279, -123.015728 Map
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Biking, Whale Watching

White Sands National Monument, NM

White Sands National Monument, NM

The White Sands National Monument is another one of those adventures that you need to do with your dog! The white sand is actually crystallized gypsum created when water in the area evaporates. The area is surrounded mostly by mountain ranges. Combine that with wind and you get some really neat white dunes for a desert-like landscape.

Entrance fees to the park are $5 for adults over 15 years old. Call ahead to (575) 479-6124 ext. 236 or check online to make sure the park is open as they close periodically when there is testing done by the White Sands Missile Range nearby. Dogs must be on a 6 foot leash. You must pick up after your dog. The best time to go is on a clear, dry day outside of Monsoon season in early July through mid-October. The park does offer events and programs for visitors. Check out the calendar for more information.

Go early in the day or late in the day to avoid some of the heat as it’s better for your dog. Don’t forget to catch a magnificent sunrise and sunset view.

It is recommended to stay on the five trails that clearly marked. You may find it hard to backtrack your steps if you wander off. Most trails are very short. The one we would recommend for dogs is the 1.5 hour, 2 mile round-trip Backcountry Camping Trail because you’ll really get to the dunes. You will have to climb on some steep dunes so make sure you and your dog are fit enough to do so. Bring a sled with you to go down the dunes as your reward for grudging the uphill climb. The Playa Trail is also great if you want a short easy trail. Mind other people on the trails, which include hikers and runners.

Backcountry camping is available with a permit and available at the visitor center. Camping here probably isn’t best if you are a beginner. The park provides some tips so that campers are prepared. Remember to bring a lot of water with you.

Don’t want to get out of your air-conditioned car? Cars are allowed on the dunes on Dunes Drive which heads out from the visitor center. Take a break and get out of your car for awhile and go sledding! Biking is also allowed on Dunes Drive.

Neat Tidbits: The White Sands National Monument is the world’s largest gypsum dunefield!

Take a photo of you dog at the White Sands National Monument!


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Alamogordo, NM  | Otero County  |  Chihuahuan Desert  |  New Mexico
Activities: Hiking, Walking, Camping, Sledding, Biking, Sightseeing

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park, AR

Take a relaxing trip to Hot Springs National Park and soak up in a thermal pool of water. This isn’t the typical national park that you think of. For starters, it’s more like a mini-resort where you can get pampered with modern spa services or relax indoors. Dogs are allowed, however, outdoors on trails and at the campground. They are not allowed in any buildings, including Fordyce Bathhouse (visitor center) or any of the 8 bath houses available for services on Bathhouse Row.

You can walk with your dog outside on Bathhouse Row and on the Grand Promenade. Several trails extend out in the park where you can take your dog. We don’t have a recommendation for a particular trail, but one that caught our eye was a 10 mile Sunset Trail. We think that the harder the workout, the more you will appreciate the relaxation that follows! Camp at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, where on-site reservations are on a first-come, first-serve basis only. Hotels are plentiful in the surrounding area.

What trail did you end up going on with your dog? How was it? Would you recommend it to others?


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Hot Springs, AR  |  Ouachita Mountains  |  Garland County  |  Arkansas
Activities: Spa, Bath House, Hiking, Camping

Bonneville Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT

Did you know that dogs can sniff 1,000 times better than we can? No wonder they are always sniffing around everywhere.

Dazzle all the senses by taking your dog to the Bonneville Salt Flats for some stark white, serene beauty that’s out of this world. You’ll be the only living beings, as nothing can grow in the area. If you look around, you may spot some sculptures or art that others have added to the area.

The Bonneville Salt Flats was once a gigantic lake that covered most of Utah. The lake dried up leaving minerals behind, including gypsum and halite (salt). Today, the salt flats now measure an area of about 12 miles by 5 miles. The Bonneville Speedway, towards Wendover, NV, is an area designated for motor sport races.

To get to the Bonneville Salt Flats, take exit 4 off the I-80 between Salt Lake City and Wendover, NV. The best place to stop is 10 miles east of Wendover where there is a rest area. From November to May, the salt flats are actually wet. Given hot summer heat, it’s probably best to go with your dog late spring, early summer or early fall. If you do go during summer, go early or late in the day and catch the sunrise or sunset. Don’t forget to bring paw protection, water, sunglasses and sunblock with you!

You can actually drive on the salt flats, but avoid areas that are wet as the salt crust may actually be muddy underneath. Please note that salt can be damaging and even corrosive to your car. At times, the area may be closed off to cars but you’ll have to look for posted signs.


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Tooele County | Utah
GPS Coordinates: 40.79527778, -113.8277778 Map
Activities: Walking, Sightseeing

Tide Pool

Cabrillo National Monument, CA

Want to go exploring some great tidepools? Head over to Cabrillo National Monument (San Diego ,CA), located at the tip of Point Loma Peninsula. The area is not very dog friendly, however, the tidepools are worth a trip.

Dogs are allowed on the Coastal Trail that goes to the tidepool area and leashed at all times. Dogs may not walk on Cabrillo Road or on any other trails in the park.


 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: San Diego, CA  |  California
Activities: Beach, Walking, Tide Pool

Monument Valley - Dog Friendly

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, UT

Monument Valley (Oljato-Monument Valley, UT) is famous for its sweeping views of desert floor. Rock pinnacles, molded by wind and water, extend towards the sky for a breathtaking experience. There is a 17 mile scenic drive that goes through the park open April – September 6:00am – 7:00pm and October – March 8:00am – 4:30pm. Allow about 2 hours for the scenic drive. Park entrance fees are $20 per car for up to 4 adults. Learn more about hours and fees.

Dogs are allowed on leash at all times in the park. Hikers and campers need a backcountry permit. Campers should be experienced. An alternative option is to go to the Gouldings campground and lodge.

Trails in this area are moderately strenuous to strenuous. Trailheads are not maintained well, so use a gps device. Visitors should be advised to find out conditions during wet weather. The area is still part of an Indian reservation, so please respect rules and regulations. The Wildcat Trail is the only self-guided trail (Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 36.985333, -110.113350) that will take you past Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte. For guided tours of the area, call to inform about pet policies – many are small service providers and may have a case by case basis for pets.

GPS Coordinates: 36.9980285,-110.1006514 Map

What did you do at Monument Valley? If you camped or hiked, where did you go? How did you prepare and any tips for others going to Monument Valley?

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Location: Oljato-Monument Valley, UT | San Juan County | Utah
Activities: Camping, Backpacking, Hiking, Walking

Go Desert Camping With Your Dog

Desert Camping

The desert is a beautiful place to go camping with your dog. Many go for some great hiking or to see a majestic desert sunset. Others go to see unusual wildflowers or to visit cliff formations and old cliff dwellings. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent some ATVs and dirt bikes, go rockhounding for geodes and minerals, go rock climbing, or gallop around the desert on a horse or jeep tour.

Winter is a great time to go desert camping as temperatures feel like a mild summer instead of in the triple digits. Along with the beauty of desert camping comes the extra preparation involved. You will need plenty of fresh water and some type of shade to protect against daytime heat. Chances are your dog is not used to the unusual and sometimes poisonous wildlife and plants in the desert. Make sure your dog is on leash and obedient to your commands – it’s best not to let your dog roam around freely or poke around in any dark crevices. Let him snuggle next to you at night! Don’t forget to set up camp on high ground away from water sources.

Did you see anything interesting in the desert? Take a picture of the sunset or sunrise with your dog!

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Camping, Biking, Hiking, Walking, Sightseeing