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
This stunning cottage is situated in a unique location, offering private access to the 80 acres of the estate of Plas Glyn-y-Weddw (Woodland & Grassed areas). The estate nestles in an idyllic corner of Llanbedrog extending down to the beach. Paddo...
The Holding Ground is a pretty detached beach front property set in the seaside village of Torcross. The house has been sympathetically refurbished to a high standard whilst preserving its original features, a large open fireplace with wood burnin...
Keiss Harbour House is a stunning, contemporary-styled house on the edge of the Caithness village of Keiss, some 12 miles south of John O'Groats. The five bedrooms and spacious reception rooms make it ideal for entertaining groups of friends or fa...
Sevena cottage has all the charm of a beautiful country home, yet is situated just minutes from glorious winterton beach.
Inside: the cottage is delightful, with natural wood floors throughout, a wood burning stove and three cosy bedrooms i...
This contemporary self catering white sand holiday cottage is only a five minute walk from the beautiful beach of Camber Sands and just a short drive from historic Rye.
Harbour Lights at White Sand is perfectly located on the East Sussex/Kent bor...
This unequally updated bungalow has 3 double bedrooms and sleeps 7. In two of the rooms there are double beds, double wardrobes and enough space for a travel cot if needed. The third bedroom has a large bunk bed with a double on the bottom and a s...
Brynhenllan Cottage is a traditional stone Pembrokshire cottage situated in the Pembrokeshire National Park close to the sea and local beaches. The cottage is small but has a comfortable, spacious sitting room with an real open fire at one end and...
Sarnia cottage offers spacious accommodation with open plan lounge/kitchen/diner, a wood burning stove and a bright sun lounge. The cottage has been recently renovated and decorated to a high standard. Fully equipped including dishwasher, washing...
A secret house, with light, space and sea views, luxurious although with a ‘beach shack’ vibe. Charm and wit are in evidence!
Zalia Wight is the latest addition to the small collection of private, luxury holiday homes in the Zalia Retreats portf...
The main open plan living area with fully fitted kitchen and aga is on the first floor with the focal point being a large double window with breath taking views over Loch Alsh towards Skye. There are two double bedrooms on the first floor and a fa...