When you're traveling with the family's best friend, it's important to find a dog-welcoming location that makes daily walks as much of a vacation for Spot as for the kids.When you're traveling with the family's best friend, it's important to find a dog-welcoming location that makes daily walks as much of a vacation for Spot as for the kids.
Summer means "surf’s up, leashes off!" according to the pet advocates at Petside.com, the popular online destination for pet owners and pet enthusiasts. “At Petside, we know that a day at the beach is even better when you can bring your four-legged companion, so we looked far and wide to identify America's friendliest dog beaches,” notes Joshua Fried, Director, Petside.com about their July 2009 picks.
Of course, beach walks with your family and pets are fun at any time of year and, in fact, easier and less crowded almost any time other than summer. And budget watchers should remember that walking along a beach is healthy, scenic and absolutely free.
America's Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches
What follows is Petside's choice of top beaches, in order of preference, selected mainly for their year-round, leash-free policies. Drop by their website and check out the many nominations suggested by other pet owners in case you're not traveling to any of these beaches. But if you are, note that Family Travel Forum has also ranked many as top family beach getaways with endless activities for kids… once pooch decides to take a nap.
1. Cape San Blas (Port St. Joe, Florida) has a sailing program that welcomes dogs aboard and many pet-friendly restaurants nearby to please masters and mistresses. Read more about Port St. Joe's family activities and attractions.
2. Quiet Waters Park (Annapolis, Maryland) reserves a fenced-off area as a special beach just for your pooch. Moreover, the beach sponsors the annual “Howl-O-Ween Barkin Bash” costume parade for dogs and their owners and is near the many pleasures of the Chesapeake Bay Canal area.
3. Block Island (Rhode Island) is a small dog-friendly island open year-round. The beach has a relaxed leash policy, and bans all motor vehicles, making it a safe haven for your furry friend to roam around. Learn more about Rhode Island's family attractions here.
4. Cannon Beach (Cannon Beach, Oregon) is a four mile stretch of beach along the Pacific conveniently located near a town filled with dog-friendly hotels, restaurants and shops. Dogs must stay on-leash, but the view is worth it and there are a lot of family attractions on the Oregon coast.
5 More of America's Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches
5. Fort De Soto Park (St. Petersburg, Florida) has the unique “Paw Playground,” consisting of fenced-in areas for both big dogs and small dogs. The park provides dog showers, a dog beach and fresh drinking water and is convenient to many of the two-legged St. Petersburg family attractions.
6. Carmel Beach (Carmel, California) is a picture-perfect, half moon cove on the Pacific whose pine-covered dunes slope dramatically down to a fine sand beach. The nearby city of Carmel (read more about Carmel California family attractions) has many pet-welcoming cafes and shops, too.
7. Jekyll Island (Georgia) is the Georgia family beach vacation destination where the lack of crowds and commercialization guarantee an eco-friendly getaway for your pet along its 10-miles of Atlantic Ocean beachfront.
8. Coronado Beach (San Diego, California) is one of many in the area that local dog owners enjoy off-leash early in the morning, but it's Imperial Beach that hosts the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel's crazy annual Surf Dog competition, a fund-raiser for local animal shelters.
9. Stewart Beach (Galveston, Texas) is one of Galveston's favorites for families (read about Galveston Texas family attractions), with the Gulf's signature calm water and pebbly sand. Leashes are a must as it gets very crowded midday and lots of brown bag lunches are left unattended.
10. Montrose Dog Beach (Chicago, Illinois) is the only one for miles, but this Lake Michigan romping grounds welcomes dogs (even off-leash) and their owners to frolic in the chill waters, within view of the city's skyscrapers and Chicago Illinois great family attractions.
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