| ||Where Can I Take My Dog To The Beach?|
It is hard to imagine many places a dog is happier than at a beach. Whether running around on the sand, jumping in the water , digging a hole or just lying in the sun, every dog deserves a day at the beach. But all too often dog owners stopping at a sandy stretch of beach are met with signs designed to make hearts - human and canine alike - droop: NO DOGS ON BEACH. Below is a quick traveling tour of America's beaches with each state ranked from the most dog-friendly (****) to the worst (*).
DOGS ON ATLANTIC OCEAN BEACHES (traveling North to South)
The rocky coast of Maine (***) is mesmerizing to look at but doesn't leave much room for sandy beaches. Dogs are generally banned from the beaches at the many small state parks along the Maine coast, but dog owners will find more friendly sands on the town beaches. Around Portland, the state's biggest city, and the tourist towns of the Southern Coast dogs are often allowed on the beach anytime Labor Day to Memorial Day and in the mornings and evenings during the summer. The spectacular Acadia National Park is one of America's most dog-friendly national parks but does not allow dogs on its beaches.
It is lucky for dog lovers that New Hampshire (*) has only 18 miles of coastline. State beaches and parks don't allow dogs on the sand at all. If you must stop in New Hampshire, try the Grand Island Common in New Castle or Foss Beach in Rye during the off-season from October to late May.
Around Boston, the beaches of the North Shore are off-limits to dogs during the summer but other towns in Massachusetts (****) are more generous - dogs are usually allowed year-round with restrictive hours in the summer. Cape Cod, however, is the best destination for beach-loving dogs in New England. Cape Cod National Seashore, America's first national seashore, allows dogs on the beach anytime outside the swimming areas (and not on the trails). The curviture of the Cape limits sightlines down the beach and gives the park the impression of being comprised of a series of dune-backed private coves. The two tourist islands off southern Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, are both extremely dog-friendly - on Nantucket, dogs can even take the shuttle to the beach.
The beaches of Rhode Island (**) are kept dog-free during the summer but if you take the ferry to Block Island, dogs can enjoy the black sand beaches throughout the year. In Newport, you can take your dog on the fabled Cliff Walk (poop bags are provided at the trailhead) through the backyards of America's rich and famous. The hike begins at Bailey's Beach, which welcomes dogs from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
The sandy beaches of Connecticut (*) are not known for being dog-friendly. But many aren't that friendly to people either, with restricted access being common. If your dog is hankering to try the benign waves of the Long Island Sound, stop in Groton.
Dogs are not allowed to experience America's most famous beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn. The further east you go out on Long Island the more dog-friendly New York (**) becomes but whether on the north shore or south shore you can find a place to get your dog to the sea. Dog owners must pass on the prime destinations at Jones Beach and Fire Island National Seashore until reaching the Hamptons, where the tails of surf-loving dogs will start wagging. Many towns in the Hamptons offer dog-friendly sand and at Montauk, on the very tip of Long Island, several beaches allow dogs year-round, including Gin Beach on the Block Island Sound.
The wide, white-sand beaches of the Jersey shore are some of America's most popular and there isn't much space for a dog to squeeze into in the summertime. Most of the beaches in New Jersey (***), including the Sandy Hook Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area, open to dogs in the off-season. Summertime visitors should take their dogs to Island Beach State Park, one of the last undeveloped stretches at the Jersey Shore. Pets are allowed on the non-recreational beaches in this ten-mile oasis. Dogs will never get to trot down the historic wooden planks of the Atlantic City boardwalk, however - no dogs are permitted on the beach or boardwalk of the Grande Dame of America's seaside resorts. Dogs are also not allowed anywhere in the Victorian village of Cape May but dog lovers can travel south of town to Sunset Beach, a sand strip at the southernmost point of the Jersey shore that is actually on the Delaware Bay. In the water offshore of "Dog Beach" are the remains of the Atlantis, a unique concrete ship built to transport soldiers in World War I.
Off-season, the sandy beaches in Delaware (****) are a paradise for dogs. Two state parks, Cape Henlopen and Delaware Seashore, both welcome dogs between October 1 and May 1. During the summer season dogs can also share the beach with their owners on select stretches of sand in Delaware state parks. In Cape Henlopen, the 80-foot high Great Dune is the highest sand pile on the Atlantic shore between Cape Cod and Cape Hatteras. The concrete observation towers standing as silent sentinels along Delaware beaches were built to bolster America's coastal defenses during World War II. Summer vacationers can take dogs on the Dewey Beach town beach in the mornings and evenings. Along the Delaware Bay just north of Cape Henlopen you can find several beaches that offer frisky wave action and wide swaths of sandy beach - and best of all there are no restrictions against dogs on the bay beaches.
The Assateague Island National Seashore is the prime destination for dog owners heading for the beach in Maryland (***). The undeveloped dunesland permits dogs year-round on the beach and in the campgrounds (but not on the short nature trails). Keep your dog alert for the wild ponies that live on the island. Its neighbor to the north, Assateague State Park, often celebrated as one of the best state parks in America, is off-limits to dogs. If you are not roughing it on your trip to the Maryland seashore, nearby Ocean City allows dogs on the beach and boardwalk between October 1 and May 1. Traveling along the Chesapeake Bay, dogs are banned from the thin beaches in Maryland state parks. Exceptions are the small beach in the former amusement park at North Point State Park and the beach north of the causeway at Point Lookout State Park.