Top Dog Beaches in New Jersey

26 Aug

I recently have been taking Pedro to the beach! He loves to look around at all the people and watch the birds. Chihuahua BeachHe even went for his first swim and surprisingly, just before I put him in the water, the dog instincts kicked in and he started paddling away. It is important to note that not all beaches allow dogs so you should check with the local beach site prior to your departure. Below I have complied a list of my Top Dog Beaches in New Jersey.

  • Sandy Hook aka Gateway National Park

    • I used to go to Sandy Hook as a child. I remember returning in my teens and being a little less than impressed. Recently I gave it another shot and must say that it is really a wonderful destination. There is a $15/car fee to get into the park during the summer season. On the off-season entry is free! The park is broken out into several parking areas, most with restroom facilities and outdoor showers. Dogs are not allowed on the ocean side and can only be brought to the bay side beaches. The good news is the bay side is pretty nice and just a short walk across the main road from the parking lots. There is also a mini road/trail for those who want to walk the stretch of the park, ride a bike etc. One of the lots has food trucks, but other than that you will need to bring your own food and drink because there are no other concessions. Don’t forget to bring a trashbag too because there are NO TRASHCANS in the park. They ask you to bring all trash back out with you. This is a state park and may hit capacity if you leave too late – be sure to check the website to make sure spots are still available/park is open. This site is good for more info:


  • Island Beach State Park

    • Just a short drive away from the famous Seaside boardwalk where The Jersey Shore was filmed and the roller-coaster fell into the Atlantic, Island Beach State Park or IBSP is a nice change from the touristy annoyance of Seaside. This park, like Sandy Hook, charges a per car admission of $10/car for NJ drivers and is set up by a single main road with various parking lots about every half mile.  The first few lots are for swimmers, have restrooms by the large parking area, and are monitored by Life Guards. Dogs are not permitted at these “swimming beaches” during the summer season.  I prefer to drive down to the lots in the late teens (#18). Be prepared, the farther down the island that you go, the fewer spots per parking lot until they get to about 10 spaces or so. You will also need to hike through a mini trail and climb a sand dune to get from the parking area to the beach, so don’t expect to be lugging a cart full of beach gear because there is no level pathway. The walk however,  is worth it because since there are only a few spots allocated per entrance…. it means fewer people at the beach. It allows for a nice calm day. If you have a small dog like me, he may not be able to climb the dunes and go through the sandy trail so be prepared to carry them.  If you need to use the restrooms, you will have to drive back to one of the first few lots to use the facilities or showers.   If you are lucky enough to have a dune buggy permit you can drive on the beach and an entrance to do so is not far from the gate! There are also several trails and a bike lane on the side of the road. Dogs are not allowed on the bird trail. This is a state park and may hit capacity if you leave too late – be sure to check the website to make sure spots are still available/park is open. If you do find that they are closed when you get there – they usually open it back up around 230 or so.  Check out this Facebook page for more info.

For a list of more dog friendly beaches visit:

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