If you can’t bear to go anywhere without your four-legged friend, you probably find it pretty tricky to head off on a beach vacation. Many beaches have strict rules around bringing animals along for the fun, leaving you stuck on the sidewalk while other families play in the sun. If your furry friend loves frolicking in the waves and you’re looking to catch a tan, head to one of these great dog-friendly beaches in the United States.

The Original Dog Beach- San Diego, California

San Diego is a great family-friendly vacation destination with tons of fun activities and things to see. If your dog is just as much a part of your family as your kids, rest assured that San Diego has more than enough beach space for him to roam along with you. The Original Dog Beach is located at the northern end of Ocean Beach, and it’s totally dog-friendly. Your dog can run around without a leash (provided they’re able to get along with the many other dogs who like to play there) and you can even visit the Dog Beach Dog Wash to clean them up at the end of the day.

Dog Beach- Key West, Florida

If you’re planning to visit the beautiful clear water and tranquil beaches of Key West anytime soon, make sure you bring your pup along for the ride. Dog Beach is a pebbly spot of the coast with plenty of space for your dog to roam around and explore the beach. There’s also a great little pet-friendly café by the beach where you can grab some lunch after your dog is tuckered out.

Brohard Paw Park- Venice, Floria

This beach has everything a dog could wish for, from doggy showers, leash posts, dog drinking fountains and special fenced off areas for smaller dogs to keep them save from intimidating larger pets. The area is totally separated from the rest of the beach to give your dog the chance to run around freely, and there’s plenty for humans to do too, including boardwalks, picnic benches and showers. Bring your dog along and soak up that Florida sun.

Oak Island Beaches- Wilmington, North Carolina

Located 30 miles south of Wilmington, Oak Island is a beautiful relaxing getaway with several beautiful pet-friendly beaches. Dogs do not have to be kept on a leash, and you’ll see all different breeds of furry friends playing together in the surf. The atmosphere at Oak Island is also perfect for families, with plenty of wide open spaces and a quiet, laid back atmosphere.

Bonita Beach Dog Park- Fort Myers, Florida

Let your doggy roam free at this beautiful beachfront dog park in Fort Myers. The whole beach is entirely off-leash and the owners of the beach even provide complimentary bags to help you clean up after your pup. This is more than just a dog park- it’s a stunning secluded beach with calm, shallow water and soft white sand. The beach always has a friendly, fun atmosphere and is a popular gathering point for dog lovers. You can even see tiny islands in the distance, creating a truly exotic vacation feel.

Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area- Manasquan, New Jersey

For those located in the North East, there are still opportunities to take your dog on a nice beach walk without being kicked off the sand. The Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area allows dogs on the beach as long as they’re on a leash. This beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach is great all year round for taking walks and letting your dog splash in the waves- just don’t forget your leash!

Image: “Brohard Paw Park: Venice, Florida” by T Sheppard on Flickr.