We are in the middle of a heatwave, temps are soaring and our poor pups are sweating their little tails off. I recently asked my readers for suggestions on where to bring my little Harvey for a swim in New Jersey! Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of options, and most have strict rules and regulations. I recommend calling ahead and making sure you’re set… we are in the middle of a pandemic and all. A puppy beach outing would be best during off-peak hours/days!
1- Sandy Hook
Gateway National Park (26 Hudson Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732) is a beautiful, scenic place to bring your four-legged friend. Just don’t plan on bringing them to the oceanside beaches at Sandy Hook Unit from March 15 through Labor Day – that’s piping plover season. These small, sparrow-sized shorebirds find a safe haven at this park during that time, so it’s important to keep pups and other animals away. Never fear, you can take your pet to Plum Island and Horseshoe Cover throughout the entire year, so long as you keep them on-leash.
Dogs are allowed at the Sandy Hook unit of this park, located in northern New Jersey. There are certain restrictions for pets on the beach. Leashed dogs are allowed on the bayside beaches, year-round. Leashed dogs are only allowed on the oceanside beaches during the off-season (pets are not allowed on the oceanside beaches from March 15 through Labor Day weekend).
8th Ave Dog Beach is pet-friendly. Dogs are welcome to hang out in Asbury Park with other pups on this stretch of sand. During the summer, the beach gets pretty full so be prepared for many interactions with other canines. Dog owners are reminded to clean up any mess that is left behind and to keep an eye on their pups at all times while they play. From May 16 through September 15, dogs are only allowed sun-up to 8:30am and after 6:00pm off leash allowed.
Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area is the last undeveloped tract on the Manasquan Inlet. The 55-acre site is a great place to fish, walk on the beach, or go sunbathing. Dogs are welcome at Eastern section of the beach, but they must be leashed at all times to preserve the delicate coastal habitat. The Western section of the beach has been designated “dog free.”
4- Wildwood Dog Beach
Wildwood Dog Park and Beach is pet-friendly. Formerly the Poplar Avenue Beach, this is a dog-friendly spot to romp in the sand and surf. Owners can walk their dog under the boardwalk at Maple Avenue to access the beach. The area features plenty of room for you and your pooch to soak up the sun and take a dip. Dogs must be leashed on the beach itself, but the nearby dog park is leash-free. Fresh water is only available inside of the park, not on the beach. There are no opening times for the beach, but the City recommends swimming while a lifeguard is present.
5- Island Beach State Park
Dogs are permitted in the park but must be kept on a leash that is a maximum length of six feet. They are not allowed on the swimming beach (the lifeguard area) during the summer season or on the Spizzle Creek Bird Blind Trail at any time. It is a good idea to check your dog for ticks after you take them on any of the other trails. Also do not leave your dog, or any other pet, unattended in the car during warm weather. If you are planning to spend hours in a part of the park where you cannot bring your dog, both you and your buddy will probably be much better off if you are able to leave your dog at home.