Catching a Wave with Your Dog

Dogs love to run and play, including on the beach. However, there are some tips to follow, especially to keep dogs safe. Be sure to know whether or not to have a pet on a leash, times they are allowed on the beach and if there are permits needed.

Pet-Friendly Beaches

Knowing where to take the family, including the dogs, before going, will keep frustrations down.

Wyoming – Morad Park allows dogs to run completely free and swim through the North Platte River.

WisconsinPleasant Prairie Dog Swim at Prairie Springs Park offers a designated water park for dogs along the north shore.

Washington has 40 different beaches that dogs may vacation with the family. However, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is an entirely off the leash park that allows dogs to swim freely.

UtahWillow Creek Park, Dog Park- This park has a floating deck strictly for dogs to enjoy the water.

Texas – Katy Dog Park was made specifically with dogs in mind. This unique park has dog streams, showers and fountains for pets. There are areas specifically for large and small dogs.

Tennessee provides a dedicated pet-friendly park that allows large and small dogs to run, play and swim safely. Located in Knoxville, PetSafe Dog Park at Tommy Schumpert Park, has something for everyone.

South Carolina has over 15 dog-friendly parks and beach destinations. However, Sullivan’s Island allows pets on the beach off the leash during certain times of the day. Be sure to get a permit for the animal or else they are not allowed.

Oregon offers a lot to the family of pets. With over 20 parks and beaches to choose from, the family dog will have a good time running along the shoreline. However, an off the leash park is hard to come by. One of the few in this state is the Sandy River Delta Trailhead.

Tips for Safety at the Beach

  • Going into the water is fun, however, putting a life vest on the pet, can save its life.
  • Do not let the pets drink salt water. Keep a fresh water supply on hand.
  • Cold water should never be drunk by dogs. Keep it lukewarm to keep digestive problems down.
  • Sunscreen should be applied to nose and ears.
  • Swimming in calm waters keeps dogs out of trouble.

Bring the following to the beach

  • Dog food and water
  • Frisbee
  • Umbrella
  • Towels
  • First aid kit

Do not forget to bring bags to collect feces in once the dog has used the restroom. Be sure to have a dog collar with ID tag on at all times.


Remember, not all dogs can naturally swim. Swimming is a talent that is learned and honed with practice. Before going to the beach, teach every dog how to paddle and to be comfortable in deep waters. Breeds that cannot swim: Shih-Tzus, Daschunds, English and French Bulldogs, Terriers and Pugs.

Dogs have skin issues just as humans do. Therefore, know what causes allergic reactions and how to treat it immediately. Dogs that have terrible allergies: American Hairless Terrier, Chinese Crested, Kerry Blue Terrier, Maltese and Poodle. Make sure that all dogs are thoroughly washed once done playing on the beach.

Parks that Dogs Enjoy

Being one with nature is animal instinct for dogs. They enjoy roaming about and sniffing around to see what is out there. When booking a family vacation with the dogs, think about taking a walk through the national parks.

A Few Parks Throughout the United States

Alabama – Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail
Follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. through the historic march from Selma to Montgomery. The trail is open 24 hours a day to visitors with starting points in Selma, Lowndes County and the City of Montgomery. Pets are not allowed in visitor centers or museums, however, along the trail, they must be on a leash at all times.

Colorado – Dinosaur National Monument
Walk where the dinosaurs once roamed, enjoy a thrilling ride along the Yampa River or enjoy a night camping out at Green River. While the monument is open 24 hours a day, heed all park alerts when visiting, some roads may be closed due to inclement weather. Pets are only allowed on the trails of Cold Desert, Plug Hat, Iron Springs Bench Overlook and Echo Park, as long as they are on a leash.

Georgia – Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
The beautiful Chattahoochee River is a site for everyone to see. The park is open 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. Those wanting to see the Island Ford Visitor Contact Station will need to go between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pets are allowed only on the trails while on a short leash.

Louisiana – Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Nothing compares to walking along a battlefield trail in the South. There are six different locations to choose from. However, pets must be attended to at all times. Unfortunately, they are not allowed at the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans.

Pennsylvania – Independence National Historical Park
Enjoying the day filled with historical sites and lots of walking space for dogs. Most buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash and are not permitted inside of buildings.

Texas – Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
The United States’ 36th President wanted to make sure that his history was offered to all that wished to know about him. Pet access is very limited, however where they are allowed, they must be on a leash and must be kept away from the buildings in the park.

Virginia – Historic Jamestowne, Colonial National Historical Park
Step inside the national park where John Smith and Pocahontas brought together two different cultures. Pets may visit any place except for the visitor center and the museums as long as they are on a leash.

Nature’s beauty can be seen throughout the United States and most of it, accepts pets. For a complete listing of all parks, visit the National Park Service. Remember, follow all rules and regulations so that no fines are imposed. Lastly, if permits are required, please get them before traversing inside the parks.