Your dog is a part of your family—it’s just not a real family vacation without your furry friend. We get it! That’s why we put together some of our favorite East Coast destinations to spark your imagination. Where will you take your dog next? If you’re thinking of Atlantic waves and sandy paws, one of these beach destinations (each one full of pet-friendly vacation rental options) will be a perfect fit.
Whether you’re coming from a bustling East Coast city or you call the South home, there’s a pet-friendly East Coast spot for you. Skip the doggy daycare and bring your pal along, from the seafood grills of Maine to the ponies’ playground at Assateague Island. Your dog will thank you!
Check into your pet-friendly vacation rental and head out for the Boothbay Railway Village, where you and your dog can peruse antique cars and trains. It’s the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll; plus, the Village is known for loving canine visitors. Afterward, head to Hendrick’s Head Beach and let your pup play in the surf, or head into town, where many of the boutiques welcome dogs inside. Dinner at the Chowder House and Boat Bar is an excellent dog-friendly choice—the server might even bring a treat out alongside your meal.
Hilton Head is full of dog-friendly vacation rentals and resorts, like Palmetto Dunes, so you’ll have plenty of great oceanfront accommodation options. Once you’ve arrived, pack up your pup and head to the beaches—just be aware that dogs aren’t allowed on the shore from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during peak season (it’s probably too hot for them during those hours anyway, so you’re not missing much). Some local kayak and boat cruises even let you bring your dog on board if you call ahead of time and ask! Take your furry friend with you to the Black Marlin’s outdoor patio and grab some refreshments after an afternoon in the sun.
While many parts of Martha’s Vineyard aren’t particularly dog-friendly, Oak Bluffs seems designed for travelers with canine companions. In Oak Bluffs, you’re free to frolic with your dog off-leash on the beach, unlike many other parts of the island. If your dog needs a break from the salt and sand (or if you want a break from drying him off), take him to Trade Wind Fields Preserve, a 72-acre nature conservation area where dogs can play off-leash. At the end of the day, feast on lobster at Lobsterville, where your dog is welcome to lounge at your feet on the deck before you head back to your oceanfront rental.
While your dog might opt out of your Kiawah Island golf excursions, he’ll definitely want to come along to play on the beach. Let your pup roam off-leash from November 1 through March 15, but be aware that a leash is required the rest of the year. Head into Charleston just 25 miles away for in-town excursions like the Charleston Farmer’s Market, Waterfront Park, and the sidewalks of the historic district. Be sure to stop by Poogan’s Porch, named after a dog, for a snack or drink alongside your pup.
While you won’t be able to bring your dog out onto the famous Ocean City Boardwalk, there’s plenty for dog owners to do with their furry friends in Ocean City (and your dog probably wouldn’t be too crazy about the boardwalk crowds, anyway). Grab a pass for the Ocean City Dog Playground and let your pup socialize: the park is divided into two areas, one for large dogs and one for small dogs. The Assateague National Seashore is a lovely place to bring your dog, too—just make sure to keep an eye out for wild ponies!