Things your dog loves in the summer: running through the sprinkler, chomping on some fresh (seedless) watermelon, digging holes in the sand and splashing in the river, lake or ocean. So make this season extra special for your pup by taking him to the best beach in your state to get his paws wet.
Alabama: Dauphin Island
Dogs are allowed on-leash on the public beach, near the Red School House and the old fishing pier, year round. So grab an extra long leash and get ready to roll around in the sand and surf. Learn more about Dauphin Island
Alaska: Bishops Beach
Just two blocks from Old Town, you and your favorite four-legged child have miles of beautiful beach right at your fingertips (and paws). Remember, you are in the Alaska wilderness, so keep small breeds on leash to stay safe from animals like eagles. Visit Bishops Beach
Arizona: Lions Dog Park at London Bridge Beach
The clean and grassy sectioned-off area is located right over the famous Bridgewater Channel. This park has water features and wading pools for pups, but if you want to try the real thing, leash up your pup to play in Lake Havasu. Plan your visit to Lions Dog Park
Arkansas: Gulley Park
Take a soak in the clean pond (on-leash) in this beautiful park. The lush, green landscape is great for a sunny walk or just to relax in the shade. There are even trails with distance markers so you know how far you’ve traveled—ya know, in case you forgot your FitBit at home.
California: The Original Dog Beach
It’s one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States. But your dog won’t have all the fun. Here, people and pups can enjoy the soft sand of Ocean Beach. Psst: It’s one of the only 24-hour dog beaches in town.
Colorado: Union Reservoir
The great off-leash area is located just south of the reservoir, a 736-acre body of water carved out during the last glacial age and one of only a few natural lakes in Colorado. If your pup can handle a boat, a rental might be the ideal way to get some splashes in, too.
Connecticut: Hammonasset Beach State Park
The beach belongs to the humans during the summer; but come November through April, it becomes a little slice of doggie heaven with a wonderful new pathway taking you all the way through the park without any vehicle traffic. Plan your trip to Hammonasset Beach
Delaware: Fenwick Island State Park
It may cost $10, but when you see the look on your dog's face, it will totally be worth the Hamilton. Think: Expansive, sandy shore and crashing Atlantic waves that will keep your pup happy for hours. Learn more about Fenwick Island State Park
Florida: Jupiter Off-Leash Beach
In the designated section, a 2.5 mile stretch of beach from marker #25 at Marcinski Road going north to marker #59 on the south end of Carlin Park, means your fun-loving canine is free to roam his little heart out—off-leash to boot! Visit Jupiter Beach
Georgia: East Beach (Saint Simon Island)
East Beach is a calm little beach with delicate waves, so it’s great for any dog getting used to the ocean for the first time. Not a swimmer? You and your pup can play one awesome game of Frisbee fetch in the rolling sand dunes and sea grass. More about East Beach
Hawaii: Kailua Beach Park
White sands, turquoise water—you’re not dreaming, Bruno; you’re in Hawaii. But don’t fret, the waves here are much calmer in this part than you might see on the North Shore. Another plus? No rocks. We know you have sensitive paws. Say Aloha to Kailua Beach Park
Idaho: Dog Beach Park
Get your (yes, you, human) exercise in on the ten-minute trail to this little, secluded gem that can be found on Serenity Lee Trail in Sandpoint. The water has a sandy bottom and is protected from the boat wake—so it’s perfect for all dogs from puppies to senior dogs. Learn more about this park
Illinois: Montrose Dog Beach
Who said city dogs don’t love a romp around in nature? If you’ve got a furry friend with you, make your way to Chicago’s first off-leash dog beach (woof!). It’s fenced off, and there’s even a dog-wash area.
Indiana: Kemil Beach
The vast and open shoreline (all 15 miles of it) of the Indiana Dunes State Park will quash anyone’s coastal snobbery. Even better: The beaches east of the park (Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach and Lake View Beach) are open to pets. We love Kemil in particular since it just has a peaceful vibe to it. But if you really want zen, get there early.
Iowa: Thornberry Dog Park
It’s not exactly a beach beach, but this off-leash wonderland has a large pond about 15 feet deep for use by all dogs. Is Annie Oakley afraid of the deep end? There’s a shallow wading pool, as well. Learn more about Thornberry Dog Park
Kansas: Shawnee Mission Dog Beach
It’s a sprawling field with multiple trails through wooded paths and a recently improved waterfront (aka a small beach built just for doggies). In other words: a 53-acre off-leash paradise. We’re not in Kansas anymore. Well actually, we are. And Toto will have the time of his life. Plan a visit to Shawnee Mission Dog Beach
Kentucky: Green River Lake State Park Beach
Let your dog frolic through the wilderness (on leash) on the shores of an 8,200 acre lake that's known for great swimming. Then pitch a tent and camp out overnight when your pup's tuckered out. Check out Green River Lake
Louisiana: Raising Cane's Dog Park at Kiroli Park
With running waterfalls and fountains, it may not be an actual beach, but it’s the perfect place to cool off from the Louisiana heat. Does your pup need more entertainment? Take her with you to the fishing ponds, botanical gardens or nature trails. Plan your trip
Maine: Long Sands Beach
The early pup gets the beach. Get here before 6 a.m. or after 8 p.m. during summer hours to let your dog go wild (on leash). It’s especially dog-friendly during low tide (check here for tide schedules) where hard-packed sand makes for easier running. Get more info on Long Sands Beach
Maryland: Assateague Island
There’s a special area permitted for dogs, but they have to be on a six-foot (or shorter) leash at all times. Keep an eye out for the wild ponies that roam the seashores feeding on saltmarsh cordgrass, dune grasses, bayberry twigs, rosehips and persimmons. More info about Assateague Island
Massachusetts: Hatches Harbor Trails
Cape Cod summer livin’ isn’t just for two-legged folks! This salt marsh is especially great during low tide if your pup happens to dabble in the art of chasing birds. Better yet, you can get in some touristy action by walking to the Race Point Lighthouse during low tide. Take your pup to Hatches Harbor Trails
Michigan: South Higgins Lake State Park
Yep, there are other lakes in Michigan besides, ya know, Lake Michigan. This hidden gem has fenced off areas for dogs to swim in crystal clear water and lounge on the soft sands. Make sure you practice your "portrait mode" skills because the sunsets make for a great holiday card background. Visit South Higgins Lake
Minnesota: Minnesota Point
Beach combing, bird watching and the ruins of Minnesota Point lighthouse—all things to keep you busy while your pup explores the shore.
Mississippi: Ocean Springs Beach
Walk this clean and calm beach (and nearby Biloxi Bay Bridge) with your pup as you look for some treasures to add to your seashell collection. Take a stroll on Ocean Springs Beach
Missouri: Stephens Lake Park
Walking paths, great scenery and free poop bags! You’ve got the great trifecta at this 116-acre park with plenty of action including a boardwalk and “spraygrounds” (chlorinated recycled water activated by push button).
Montana: Bozeman Pond Canine Beach
It’s small, but it’s got that off-leash area that a high-energy dog needs, and a pond to let him cool off after all that running. Plus, the Montana mountain backdrop never hurt anyone's Instagram 'like' count, right? Check out Bozemand Pond Canine Beach
Nebraska: Ta-Ha-Zouka Park
A great off-leash park with a sprouting fountain? Your pup might pick this spot over a regular ol’ beach any day. If you’re a real outdoorsman (or woman), consider camping here for a weekend and fishing in the stocked pond. Plan your trip
Nevada: North Zephyr Cove Beach
If you can swing it, bring your dog to this sandy shore during the week when it’s less busy. You can enjoy some disc golf, hiking and absolutely epic views of this lake right smack in the mountains. Check out North Zephyr Cove Beach
New Hampshire: Jenness State Beach
With its gentle slope and nice sand, Jenness Beach is a lovely respite for both you and your pup. Unfortch, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach from May 1 to September 30. But come fall and winter, it’s their personal playground (on leash, though!).
New Jersey: The Wildwood Dog Beach
Having trouble finding this spot? Just look for the 25-foot fire hydrant. Yep, this place was made just for your pup. There’s even separate areas for small dogs and big dogs, so you can seriously just let them loose and do their thing. Plan your trip to Wildwood
New Mexico: Abiquiu Dam and Lake
This 5,200-acre reservoir sure beats that kiddie pool in your backyard. (No offense.) Make a whole weekend of it by camping and boating on the grounds and vast waters.
New York: Lake George Dog Beach
What’s a family beach day without including everyone in the fam? At this secluded, sandy beach, you can all take a break from the heat in the cool, clean waters of Lake George. This beach is especially great for avid four-legged swimmers as the water is shallow up to about three meters, at which point there’s a drop-off.
North Carolina: Topsail Beach Off Leash Dog Beach
Dogs can play off-leash during the off season which is October through May 14, but can still visit during the warmer months, so long as he has a 20-foot leash (maximum). You'll both enjoy this southern North Carolina beach where you might just spot some dolphins or sea turtles! Even if you pup's not “here to make friends,” that gives you plenty of time to teach him to play volleyball.
North Dakota: Lake Sakakawea State Park
There are scenic trails for hiking or biking or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, but we have a feeling your dog will also love the lake surrounded by well-maintained campgrounds and trees. Visit Lake Sakakawea
Ohio: Salt Fork State Park
Lots of grass + lots of lake = epic games of fetch. The rural landscape includes forested hills, open meadows and misty valleys threaded by numerous streams. It’s basically like "Homeward Bound"…but you’re in the adventure together. Check out Salt Fork State Park
Oklahoma: Edmond Dog Park at Bickham-Rudkin Park
Five acres for running free and off-leash! And yep, that includes plenty of lake time in this park where your dog will have ample opportunity to socialize while cooling down. Get doggie paddling at Edmond Dog Park.
Oregon: Cannon Beach
Bring your own little Goonies squad to cool off and splash in the waters—or at least for the photo opp in front of this famous cinematic spot from the cult classic. Visit Cannon Beach
Pennsylvania: Misty Pines Dog Park
If your pup’s a star swimmer, give her some practice on this epic pond and dock, where she can dive to her heart’s content. Less prolific swimmers can take lessons with the school that runs the park (and word on the street is that it’s totally worth it!). More info about Misty Pines Dog Park
Rhode Island: Compass Rose Beach
Buddy can play in the surf year-round at this beach in North Kingstown. Sure, it’s a small shoreline near an air force base…but those views of the bay and the picnic area? Those are worth it.
South Carolina: Morris Island
You gotta take a boat to get here, but once you’re on this unspoiled jewel on Charleston Harbor, off-leash beach walks on this uninhabited island—as well as seashells and shark teeth—are yours for the taking.
South Dakota: Braeburn Park
The small beach off of Rapid Creek is shallow enough for small dogs, too, but there aren’t fences, so if your pup’s a squirrel chaser, keep him on leash.
Tennessee: Old Hickory Lake Park
Pack a picnic to enjoy as your four-legged child splashes away in the lake at this Nashville favorite. You can bird watch, fish, and spend the entire day—bring a cooler for the on-site grilling. Plan your trip
Texas: Port Aransas Beach
Look, they just do it bigger in Texas. As in, you can rent a golf cart and drive it all over the town and beach. Once you find your spot, the clean sand and clear water will be calling your dog's name. Visit Port Aransas Beach
Utah: Willow Creek Park
Take Hugo on an off-leash hike through the two-miles of Run-a-Muk trails through sage brush flats and stands of aspen trees. Then cool off in this pond, open all summer long. Or play fetch on the gigantic green lawns. Learn more about Willow Creek Park
Vermont: Starr Farm Park Beach
This new addition to the Burlington park system was built with your pup in mind—that includes a dog agility course and a dog park pool. But, if your dog wants the real thing, keep her on leash to explore the sandy beachfront together.
Virginia: First Landing State Park Beach
Keep an eye on designated doggie swimming areas, and everyone (mostly your pup) will be happy as a clam. The Chesapeake Bay offers calm waters and wonderfully uncrowded shores.
Washington: Double Bluff Off-Leash Dog Beach
Two miles of off-leash shorelines and ocean specifically set aside for your dog. We hear the views of Seattle, Mount Rainier and the shipping lanes from here are especially awe-inspiring. There’s even an on-site dog washing station. Check out Double Bluff
West Virginia: Fitzpatrick Park (Beckley)
Dogs are welcome guests, but they must be on-leash at this beach. (It's a small price to pay for some fresh water fun and wild geese chasing, right?) It’s also a great pond to go fishing—just make sure your pup doesn’t scare away the schools. Visit Fitzpatrick Park
Wisconsin: Point Beach State Forest
Easy parking for you and plenty of birds for your dog to chase at this quiet, serene and wide open area surrounded by lush forest. It has that rugged, overgrown vibe that will bring you straight back to nature. Stroll through Point Beach State Forest
Wyoming: Morad Park
If you hike the ten-mile Platte River Parkway (good for you), make sure you stop to cool off in the shallow river bend. And then let your dog run around again. After yapping and playing with all the other dogs here, your pup will be utterly exhausted the rest of the day. Learn more about Morad Park
This article was adapted from the Ollie blog. Ollie delivers freshly made human-grade meals to dogs across the country, tailoring the recipes to their nutritional needs. Want to try it? Go to myollie.com to access a special 50% off discount on your first box.
Photo by flickr photographer Michael Stokes