Northern Virginians who love both the beach and their pets are in luck: The state offers several dog-friendly beaches that are perfect locations for a day trip in the sand with your four-legged friends. Here, details on 10 of our favorites.
Located in Virginia Beach and roughly three and a half hours from Fairfax County, First Landing State Park is just close enough for a weekend trip but far enough away to help you escape your daily stressors. Note that First Landing State Park allows dogs on the beach as long as it’s not a designated swimming area, so pay attention to signage. // 2500 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Virginia Beach opens the beach at the North End above 42nd Street and the South End in the Sandbridge area before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. And, throughout the rest of the year during the off season, dogs are allowed full access on the beach as long as they are leashed, so keep this location on your list for year-round adventures with your pooch. // Throughout Virginia Beach
This beach in Norfolk has time restrictions from Memorial Day through Labor Day. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., dogs are not allowed on the beach, but this spot is perfect for sunrise and sunset walks with your pup. And, throughout the off-season, dogs are welcome on the beach at any time of the day. // 100 W. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk
Want to take Fido somewhere he can run around leash-free? Head to Charlottesville and hit the sand at Chris Greene Lake Park. It has a 1-acre, fenced-in area for dogs to play off the leash, as well as roped water access for swimming with your dog. // 4748 Chris Greene Lake Rd., Charlottesville
If you and your family would rather go camping by a river instead of the beach, but still want to bring your four-legged friend along, then consider the New River Water Trail, which allows dogs to roam and swim leash-free. Plus, the New River Trail State Park has public boat landings and campgrounds that are also pet-friendly. // Throughout Giles County
Before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. from April 1 through Labor Day, take your dog for a walk on Cape Charles Beach. Plus, throughout the rest of the year when you just need a break and some time near the water (regardless of the temperature), you can bring Fido with you at any time from September to April. // Throughout Cape Charles
Also located in Cape Charles, Kiptopeke State Park has a designated pet-friendly beach, open for leashed dogs to play around in at any time of the day. The camping area, lodges, and the cabins at the park are also dog-friendly. Even better? The park has plenty of dog-friendly trails too for extra-long walks and time spent with your favorite pet. // 3540 Kiptopeke Dr., Cape Charles
Head to the shore of the Chesapeake Bay with your pups for a day in the sun. Haven Beach, located in Matthews County, has a pet-friendly shoreline, swimming areas, and more. // Located in Matthews County
This beach is close to home in Stafford County and is a popular location for families and their dogs wanting to have fun on the Potomac River. Dogs are allowed on the shoreline and to swim in the water, too. // 2846 Brooke Rd., Stafford
A day trip to Leesylvania State Park is doable for all Northern Virginians, as it’s located just a little south in Woodbridge. The sandy strip of shoreline at the park welcomes all dogs, as long as the leash is no longer than 6 feet. // 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Dr., Woodbridge
This story was originally published July 6, 2020.
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