10 of America's best dog-friendly beaches

Calling all dog-lovers out there: Contrary to popular belief,  you can bring your best buddy along with you on your next beach vacation. 

Although not every beach permits dogs to accompany owners, you will find a few exceptions across America that offer rolling surf, stunning views and acres of soft, sandy beaches to run and roam.

More on perks for your pet:

Pet paradise: America's most dog-friendly hotels

Pets on a plane: Which airlines are most pet-friendly?

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7 spots where your pooch can splash, wade and swim around Atlanta

From off-leash options to doggie showers, plan to make one of these top dog-friendly beaches your next vacation destination:

Jekyll Island, Georgia (Courtesy of Mark Peloquin/Flickr the AJC)

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Bring your pooch with you to Jekyll Island, located just off the coast of Georgia, which allows leashed dogs everywhere, except for the south beaches to protect the migratory bird and sea turtle populations. You can also find many high-end hotels and resorts that allow dogs onsite.

Bald Head Island, North Carolina (Courtesy of retrored/Flickr the AJC)

Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Located off the coast of North Carolina, Bald Head Island allows leashed dogs to accompany owners on the beaches from sunrise to sunset, and then they are free to frolic without a leash after sunset with supervision.

Fort Myers Beach, Florida (Courtesy of Kyle Wrather/Flickr the AJC)

Fort Myers Beach, Florida

If you visit the secluded Dog Beach in Lee County, you can let your dog run leash-free all day. This dog-friendly locale also provides pups with doggie shower stations.

Cannon Beach, Oregon (Courtesy of Kara Kono/Flickr the AJC)

Cannon Beach, Oregon

At Cannon Beach in Oregon, one of the most picturesque beaches in the country, you can let your dog roam leash free, as long as you follow "ocean shore" rules - supervising and keeping your dog under control the whole time.

Port Jefferson, New York (Courtesy of getgr8pics/Flickr the AJC)

Port Jefferson Beach and Dog Park, New York

When visiting New York, let your dog run it out at Port Jefferson Beach and Dog Park, where canines can canoodle leash free.

Sundling Park, Michigan (Courtesy of Jeff Camilleri/Flickr the AJC)

Sundling Park, Michigan

Don't miss out on bringing your dog with you on your Lake Michigan vacation. Dogs are allowed on-leash at Sundling Park, which features stunning grassy dunes and sandy beaches.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida (Courtesy of Kristen Wacht/Flickr the AJC)

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Travel just north of the New Smyrna Beach peninsula and you'll hit Smyrna Dunes Park, a 73-acre beach that allows leashed dogs to tag along with their owners.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Courtesy of Tony DalSasso/Flickr the AJC)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you're planning a trip to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, bring your dog along for the ride. Dogs are allowed on-leash before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. during peak season, and any time from Labor Day until the end of April.

Willard Beach, Maine (Courtesy of Meg Hatch/Flickr the AJC)

Willard Beach, Maine

Located just 5 miles from Portland, Maine, Willard Beach lets dogs run off-leash from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and again from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. during peak season, and any time during the offseason.

Montauk Beach, New York (Courtesy of cisc1970/Flickr the AJC)

Montauk Beach, New York

Visit Montauk Beach with your dog on-leash during the peak season from May 15th through September, and off-leash any time during the offseason as long as you keep him/her under control.

Remember to keep your furry friend safe on the beach:

When deciding to bring your canine companion along with you on vacation, it's important to follow a few rules to ensure the comfort and safety of your dog and other beach goers.

Keep these pet safety tips in mind on your next trip:

  • Bring a bowl
    You don't want your dog to become dehydrated or start sipping something that could hurt him. Make sure to bring along a bowl that you can fill with fresh water for your dog.
  •  Bring a beach umbrella
  • Dogs can get overheated, just like humans, so bringing a beach umbrella can provide your pooch with sun protection and an area of shade to cool off.
  •  Don't forget the doggy bags
  • Nobody wants to step in dog poop at the beach. If you're bringing your dog along, make sure to clean up after him as much as possible.
  •  Give your dog swim lessons
  • Not every dog automatically knows how to swim properly. Before an unfortunate incident occurs, make sure you test out your dog's swimming ability before allowing him to dive into the ocean.

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