HomeAway travel expert
It’s often surprising how many beaches disallow dogs – especially when you believe your pooch to be the best behaved of his ilk. My basset hound is, I’m sad to say, no such companion (begging, stealing, slobbering – yeah, she’s got bad behaviour pretty much covered), but she’s still this woman’s best friend, and I love my time at the shore with her.
We’re both allowed to walk along my neighbourhood stretch in Scotland (a Blue Flag winner, might I add!) during spring, autumn and winter, but when the local population get their swimsuits and ice-creams out, ready to burn their fair British complexions to a crisp, her love of the sand and sea is no more. And it’s frustrating; I know.
But not all beaches restrict dogs: some welcome them year-round; some have curfews; some will dedicate areas solely to dog walking. Look a little further and research the beaches of Europe, and you’ll also be surprised at how many cater to dog friendly holidays. To that end, here’s my rough guide to the best pooch friendly places for beach breaks.
Top five destinations for dog friendly beaches
Dog friendly beaches in Scotland
Unless you fancy visiting me and Frankie (a.k.a Frankenstein) on the East Coast, you’ll need a little more info about where to take your dog to the seaside. Generally speaking, Scotland’s a welcoming country – and that includes receiving pets. There’s Eyemouth Beach in the Scottish Borders, where little ones can explore rock pools; Heads of Ayr Beach in (surprise surprise!) Ayr, with its farm park and adventure playground; two sandy shores in Gairloch, set amidst stunning Highland scenery; and Fraserburgh Beach, beside the Waters of Philorth Nature Reserve. All in all, you’ll find Scotland welcomes pets with open arms.
View pet friendly cottages in Scotland
Dog friendly beaches in France
Hop across the pond, and it’s somewhat of a different story when it comes to dog friendly holidays. Restrictions in France have tightened in recent years, and it seems France has only a handful of sandy shores on which you and your dog can roam free. Most, you’ll find, expect dogs to be leashed (en laisse) at all times, and many only welcome dogs outside of 8am-8pm; not so handy when you’re on holiday to drink fine French wine. That said, your best bets are Brittany and Normandy (perhaps it’s the absence of St Tropez-tan-clad tourists). In the village of Coudeville-sur-Mer, for example, there’s a long, golden stretch, ideal for leisurely walks – and the village itself is pretty as a picture.
View pet friendly villas in France
Dog friendly beaches in England
When it comes to dog friendly shores in England, there’s no doubt the West Country’s the place to be. Cornwall, Devon and Dorset are all lovely spots for a holiday – and their beaches are generally perfectly unspoilt for days out with your pooch. Dorset’s Studland Beach offers three and a half miles of sand backed by dunes, while the secluded Porthcurnick Beach in Cornwall is home to Hidden Hut (told you it was secluded!), a little beachside café that holds pop-up feast nights in summer (dogs welcome). In Devon you’ll find the fishing village of Beer, where dogs are welcome on its eastern shore. After your stroll, you’ll both be welcome at the Anchor Inn for a well-deserved bowl of water (or pint).
View pet friendly cottages in England
Dog friendly beaches in Italy
Italy is a dog-loving country. From Dog Beach (yeah, you read that right!) in San Vincenzo, Tuscany, to Bau Beach (Italian dogs don’t bark – they bau!) in Rome, there are lots of options open to holidaymakers travelling with pets. One of the best choices is La Spiaggia di Pluto, in Bibione – it’s a recent development only an hour and a half from Venice. But whether Italy is friendlier to dogs than us or not, it’s important to remember its weather is infinitely supreme – your dog might suffer in the heat. Haven’t heard of dog sunscreen before? Consider it, as well as bringing water with you – I laugh when I see my friend quenching her Tibetan spaniel’s thirst with a bottle of Evian, but she has the right idea.
View pet friendly villas in Italy
Dog friendly beaches in Wales
Every single beach in Pembrokeshire welcomes dogs – and there are over 50 to choose from. Wide expanses; rocky coves; secret bays; golden swathes: you’re spoilt for choice in Wales. That said, some of Pembrokeshire’s beaches do have restrictions in the summer, but usually just during sunbathing hours (if you’d call going to a Welsh beach in summer a chance for sunbathing!). The Gower Peninsula is also very popular for pet friendly holidays, and home to Rhossili Bay – voted the number one dog friendly beach in the UK. It offers three miles of pale-amber sands, amazing surf, and tall grassy cliffs of wildflowers.
View pet friendly cottages in Wales
When browsing for your perfect property, simply select 'More Filters' from the top of the page. From there, simply check 'Pet Friendly' from the 'Property Details' section. For more info, check out Nearest Beach
to find dog friendly beaches in the UK. For Italian dog friendly destinations, Explore Italian Culture
is a great resource, and this helpful blog
lists all beaches that welcome dogs in France (but is, unfortunately, in French – time to perfect your online translation skills!).
Main image by Peyri Herrera
Image 1 by graham mcallister
Image 2 by Ian McKellar
Image 3 by Peter Burgess
Image 4 by Michela Simoncini
Image 5 by Chris_Parfitt
Pet Friendly Beach Holiday Homes
Built in 1876 and recently imaginatively and tastefully renovated this 5 star converted chapel overlooks the village green in the quiet Dorset village of Sturminster Marshall and is just a short walk from a welcoming pub. The sophisticated acco...
The Barn is a cosy studio in a recently converted detached barn, once used as a workshop to a nearby tin mine. This eco friendly property is adjacent to a footpath offering some of the most incredible walks or rides that the National Park has...
These two delightful holiday retreats are in a secluded location, nestled amongst the soft hills of the picturesque Avon valley in Devon, close to the river that flows through this beautiful part of the South Hams and conveniently just a few mi...
Slipway House is a fine three storey house set back from the ferry slipway on the water’s edge, with magnificent views of the River Dart and across to Dartmouth. At the end of a row of period houses, it is ideally placed for both Kingswea...
Situated on the edge of the popular village of East Prawle at the southernmost tip of Devon, Skippers is an impressively spacious and comfortable holiday home just a stone’s throw from the coast. Formally a modern coastguard cottage it bo...
Sandycoombe, one of a pair of terraced cottages, has been lovingly refurbished and cleverly extended with a raised decking area overlooking a secluded garden and tree lined landscape. Set in a quiet location in the village of Aveton Gifford in ...
Piers Lodge is a bijou studio cottage, perfect for two and situated centrally between Salcombe and Thurlestone, adjacent to both roads that lead to these two ideal holiday destinations, their wonderful beaches and the superb coastline of the So...
Buckland Court is located in delightful South Hams countryside 1.5 miles from the historic village of Slapton, with its world famous nature reserve, 3 mile beach and excellent real ale pubs. Dartmouth and Kingsbridge are within 15 minutes drive...
This superb, well appointed, character cottage is situated in the centre of the pretty village of Thurlestone, an ideal family holiday location. Tastefully furnished
and decorated to a high standard with a great open fire, the cottage off...
Honeysuckle is a charming cottage retreat with low beams and feature fireplace, yet refurbished to a tasteful and contemporary manner. Situated down a quiet lane in the sleepy hamlet of Tredinnick, a short drive into the countryside from the fi...