We love dogs at Forest Holidays but not everywhere is so welcoming to our four-legged friends - including many beaches. When the dog is part of the family, one of the downsides of dog friendly breaks is finding out that you are not welcome at the local beach. However, the upside to this problem is that the dog-friendly beaches are often real gems that have been overlooked by other holidaymakers.
The long sandy beach at Cayton Bay, three miles south of Scarborough, should really be kept a secret. Yes, it has a bracing eastern aspect on the North Sea, but so does every Yorkshire beach. Popular with windsurfers, bird watchers and fossil hunters, it also has a little snack bar, the all-important toilets, and, best of all, dogs are welcome all year round.
If Scarborough itself is on your radar, as you might expect, the main beaches have restrictions throughout the summer. However, Scarborough North Bay has a sizeable section that is open to dogs (and their well-behaved owners) all year round. It’s close enough to the action and pleasantly peaceful too.
If you are heading to Whitby with the dog, swerve past the west beach, where dogs are not allowed, and settle yourselves on Tate Hill, the east beach within the harbour. This beach is small and busy in the summer so it’s best for older, less excitable dogs.
Scenic view of Cayton Bay in Scarborough
A wild and wonderful stretch of sand, Horsey Beach is never too busy, even in the height of the holiday season. It’s famous for its winter seals, when dogs should be kept on a lead. But during summer the dog is free to run in and out of the sea and shake himself dry all over your picnic.
Great Yarmouth, like most popular seaside towns, has a summertime no-dogs policy on its main beach. But, within walking distance of all the main attractions, the South Beach, is dog-friendly and much less crowded. The dog will love to run free on the open expanse of sand.
Old Hunstanton beach is perfect for a family day at the beach with the dog. The golden sands slope gently into the sea and, although it is popular in the summer, there is enough room for everyone. There are also toilets, a café and a shop, to see you through the day. Old Hunstanton beach is also one of the only west-facing beaches in Norfolk, so it is sheltered and great for watching the sun set.
When your lovable four-legged friend has finished chasing waves and scattering sand, return to your cabin at Thorpe Forest, where the dog can sink happily into its bed and you can sink happily into the your log cabin hot tub.
Our four-legged friend enjoying a walk on the beach
Milford on Sea is a friendly little seaside village a few miles east of Bournemouth. The beach is a long stretch of sloping shingle with spectacular views of the Isle of Wight, just across the Solent. With cafes and a playground, it’s a good spot to drop anchor and you can walk the dog along Hurst Spit to Hurst Castle.
Milford on Sea is just over an hours’ drive from Blackwood Forest and offers a pleasing change of scenery and pace for you and the dog.
Scenic view of Milford on Sea in Hampshire
Seaton Beach in Looe is a family beach that welcomes dogs all year round. Just seven miles from Deerpark, it means that bringing the dog doesn’t stop your Cornwall holiday from being a beach holiday. There are plenty of facilities at the beach and you can also take a coastal walk up to Dunderry beach if the dog is restless.
Gorran Haven is a pretty fishing village with a sheltered sandy beach. It’s a good stopping off place if you are walking this section of the South West Coast Path and it is family-friendly and dog-friendly. The only restriction for this beach is that the dog must be kept on a lead, so it’s probably better for older or less energetic dogs.
Our final dog friendly beach is Watergate Bay Beach, which is across the country on the North Cornwall coast, and only a 40-minute drive from Deerpark. It is a splendid beach with two miles of golden sands at low tide. The area is buzzing with surfers and families and there is always something going on.
Scenic view of Watergate Bay Beach in Cornwall
We’ve done our best to find beaches where dogs are allowed throughout the summer but things can change and we recommend double-checking before you load up the car with your beach chairs windbreaks and dog treats! And finally, if you are quick, you can still book a last-minute escape! Just think, within a day or two you could be sunbathing on a beach while the dog digs its way to Australia in the sand!
Our furry friend playing on the beach