In the southwestern section of the United States, Alabama is a historical state that is home to many important landmarks from the Civil Rights Era. One of the main places being the Baptist Church on 16th Street, which was a protestor’s headquarters in the 1960s. Now it houses a museum dedicated to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. who were two of the most notable Black rights activists in the country. It also has more than 1,500 miles of inland waterways and 60 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico.
Although Alabama’s coastline is reserved to a small southwestern corner of the state, you can find over 100 beaches including those on the gulf as well as inland freshwater beaches and waterfronts. Out of these, there are quite a few dog-friendly beaches, including Gulf Shores Dog Park, Pirates Cove, Dauphin Island Public Beach, River Sandbar Park, and The Dog Pond at Lake Shelby in Gulf State Park. Here are 17 of our favorite pup popular beaches in Alabama.
Lake Guntersville State Park
In the northeastern corner of the state, Lake Guntersville State Park features the largest lake in Alabama. Fed by the Tennessee River, the lake has more than 69,000 acres and stretches about 75 miles from Guntersville Dam to Nickajack Dam. And the park surrounding all that water has a 6,000-acre state park with lots of fun activities. The park is known for its excellent bass fishing and the bald eagles that live there.
Your pup can play in the water and on the banks of the lake and the river nearby but be sure to keep him on his leash. Besides all that, the park also has a golf course, a zipline, an outdoor nature center, and over 35 miles of hiking and biking. Although your pooch cannot get on the zipline, he is welcome at the nature center as well as the golf course. Don’t forget your puppy poo poo bags to pick up after your fur buddy.
Cahaba Beach Dog Park
Just south of Birmingham in the middle of Alabama, you will find one of the most exciting places in the state as far as dogs are concerned. And you will love it too. Not only does Cahaba Beach Dog Park have three acres of leash-free outdoors but it also has doggie daycare if you need to go somewhere pups cannot go. And they also offer dog grooming so your furry friend will leave looking even better than he did when he got there even after running around in the woods and dirt.
You will have fun playing fetch, tossing around a frisbee, or just watching your little buddy play with other pups. But the favorite spot for most dogs is the waterfall. Just listening to the falling water is relaxing but watching your canine compadre splash around in the water is so much fun! If you get hot, you can get a shower as well.
Lake Lurleen State Park
About an hour southwest of Cahaba Beach and northwest of Tuscaloosa, Lake Lurleen State Park has 1,625 acres to explore with your dog. Keeping your dog leashed here is important due to the many wild critters that call the park home, such as deer, coyotes, foxes, and alligators. And with over 23 miles of trails, you will probably see quite a few of them. Maybe not the gators, though. They are pretty shy, luckily.
The 250-acre lake has miles of waterfront space for you both to enjoy the water, whether you are swimming, fishing, or just enjoying the sun. They also have paddle boats and kayaks you can rent if you want to get out on the water. But if you want to stay overnight, book your spot well in advance because there are only 91 campsites, and they are popular. Whether you came to fish, boat, swim, or all of the above, you can do it all here.
Wind Creek State Park
In the Mideast, 140 miles southeast of Lake Lurleen, Wind Creek State Park has one of the biggest campgrounds in the state, with almost 600 sites to choose from. Many have electric, water, and sewer, but there are some that are more rugged. They also have cabins with televisions and other amenities. But your pup is probably more interested in playing in the creek and Lake Martin or running amok through the 1,400 acres of outdoor space.
And your pup is more than welcome as long as he is leashed while you are there. Many locals come to do some boating, swimming, and fishing as well. In fact, the lake is home to several fishing tournaments every year. Pack your fishing gear to try for some of the striped bass, bluegill, and crappie but do not forget your Alabama fishing license. And doggie bags to pick up after your fur puppy.
Lakepoint State Park
About 100 miles southeast of Wind Creek State Park, Lakepoint State Park holds 45,000 acres of water in Lake Eufala, which everyone calls the Bass Lake of the World. Many people come from all over to toss out a line to try their luck catching a huge monster bass. Although many anglers head to the middle of the lake in a boat, you can catch some pretty large ones from the banks too. And your leashed pup can swim and play while you fish.
Because it is such a hotspot, there are many accommodations, including the Lakepoint Resort, with over 100 rooms, some of which welcome pets. They also have 39 cottages and cabins and 192 campsites with electricity, water, and sewer. But book your place ahead of time because this is a popular spot all year long. Pack plenty of puppy poo baggies and beach toys so you and Fido can play all day on the beach before heading off to your cozy cottage, cabin, room, or tent.
Frank Jackson State Park
Another two hours southwest, and you and your fur puppy can play at Frank Jackson State Park in Opp. This park is another popular angling destination with a variety of water holes, including Lake Jackson, Lightwood Knot Creek, and Cameron Creek, as well as many smaller creeks and ponds. The lake holds 1,000 acres of water where you can do some fishing, boating, or swimming. Your pooch will love being able to splash around here, but he must be on a lead.
The park itself has over 2,000 acres where many of the local families come to picnic and barbecue. There are playgrounds for the little humans and trails where you can get into the woods to see the native flora and fauna. If you want to camp here, be sure to plan in advance so you can get a good spot because there are only a few dozen campsites.
Paul Grist State Park
Heading about 85 miles to the southwest, Paul Grist State Park is another dog-friendly park that pup parents love. With just over 1,000 acres, the park boasts a lake that is 100 acres where your fur baby can swim and play the day away on his leash. Other activities there include boating, hiking, and fishing. Many of the locals come to the park to barbecue at their many picnic tables along the water. They also have pavilions you can rent.
You will find about 20 miles of hiking and biking trails at Paul Grist State Park as well. Take a trip through the woods along the Alabama Black Belt Birding Trail, and you will probably see quite a few birds and other wild creatures. Just keep your pup’s leash short because there are alligators and snakes around too. Although the park offers camping, there are only a handful of sites, so you would need to book at least a year in advance.
Historic Blakely State Park Beach
Southwest, about 200 miles just minutes from the coast, the Historic Blakely State Park boasts about 2,000 acres with waterfront along the Tensaw and Apalachee Rivers as well as the Bayou Salome and Beaver Pond. And there are many small creeks and ponds around the park along the 44 different trails you and your fur puppy can explore. Most of them are less than one mile and relatively easy to walk. The longest is General Cockrell’s Loop, which is two miles in length.
Blakely Park was the site of the largest civil war battle in the state (the Battle of Fort Blakely) and there is a self-guided tour you can take to see the highlights like the siege line, skirmish line, and rifle pits. There is also horseback riding, a country store, and cruises on the Tensaw Delta on the Delta Explorer. Ask about dog-friendly tours before you plan your trip. And always pack plenty of dog waste bags wherever you go.
Meaher State Park Beach
Just six miles to the south, Meaher State Park is worth a stop during your stay in Alabama. This is a major fishing spot in the state with a huge 300-foot-long pier. You will need a state fishing license (and a leash for Fido), but you will be able to fish for both fresh and saltwater fish, including catfish, bass, pike, bluefish, and grouper. There is also a boat ramp if you have one of those, or you can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard.
If you plan to stay overnight, book early because they only have 70 sites to pick from, and they fill up fast. Some of them have electricity and water, while others are just tent sites. Take a walk through the park, and you will see several bodies of water, including Bay John, Ducker Bay, Blakely River, and Mobile Bay, as well as dozens of creeks, ponds, and lakes.
You only have to go another five minutes down the line to get to Bayfront Park where leashed pups are always welcome. As part of the Village Point Park Preserve, your canine compadre will need to be restrained while you are here to protect the endangered wildlife. In the middle of the park is Jackson’s Oak, a huge oak tree that attracts a lot of attention at almost 100 feet tall that has been around longer than anyone can remember, but it is on a map from 1787.
Hike over to the water’s edge, where your pup is welcome to play in the water and run around on the banks of Mobile Bay. There are a few trails here that take you out onto Village Point as well as out onto the pier. There are picnic tables, restrooms, a gazebo, and a boat launch for small craft like canoes and kayaks. But bring your own cleanup baggies.
Schwartz Park Beach
A little further southwest, about 20 miles over the bay in Mobile, Schwarz Park is home to Halls Mill Creek Landing, a dog-friendly park with a kayak launch on Halls Mill Creek. The large creek is actually one of the tributaries of Dog River, so if you want to float or paddle down to the river, it is easy to do from here. Upstream about a mile, you will find Hippie Beach, a part of the Dog River Blueway kayaking trail.
Just keep your pup on his lead the whole time you are there because they do not have any leash-free zones. However, you are allowed to let your pup roam free in the water if you feel comfortable doing so. Water dogs really love chasing balls and other toys in the water. But keep him away from the fishing areas because locals come to fish for bass, crappie, and bream.
Dauphin Island Beach
One of the most pup popular beaches in Alabama, Dauphin Island, is just below the mainland in the gulf, and it has two main beaches where dogs are welcome. Just keep your fur baby’s leash on, and he is allowed to join you on the sand, in the water, and even on the pier all year long. The only place where pups are off-limits is West End Beach Park at the very western end of the island, and that is because of the endangered bird nesting sites.
You will find most of the local pup parents in the middle of the island by the old fishing pier and the Red Schoolhouse because this is the biggest dog-friendly section. It boasts about two miles of sand and water for your pooch to enjoy. Take a walk out onto the pier, and you may get to see some dolphins and other marine animals, or walk down Pelican Peninsula to see some of the famous large birds.
Fort Morgan Historic Site Bayside Beach
If you have a boat, you can get to Fort Morgan State Historic Site in just a few minutes across Pelican Bay. If not, you will have to head back to Interstate 10 and go about 100 miles to come at it from the mainland. This is another beach with a lot of history. Fort Morgan has stood guard over Mobile Bay since 1834 and was used in four different wars, including WWI, WWII, the Spanish American War, and the Civil War.
With more than 40 million bricks, it sure is a special sight to see on this 480-acre site that also includes other buildings, artillery batteries, and, yes, even a few beaches. Leashed pups are welcome on the bayside beach between the old fisherman’s wharf and the old Fort Morgan Pier. Bring plenty of doggie cleanup baggies and lots of water and snacks for you both, and you can spend the day splashing in the sun.
Gulf Shores Dog Park Beach
Between Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, you can find the dog beach at Gulf Shores. The park has about three acres of fenced yard where they can run around and play without their leashes. Make sure you bring your pup’s favorite fetching toys since he will be able to run around unhindered. It can be crowded, though as this is one of the only dog parks in the area with a beach. Yes, they have a dog beach too.
The beach is fenced on the sides, but of course, they could not fence in the gulf, so if your dog does not have good recall, you may want to keep his lead on anyway. In the grassy area, there are benches and other seating in the shade for pup parents and water fountains too. But bring your own supply of dog cleanup bags, just in case. They can run out quickly on a busy weekend.
The Dog Pond at Lake Shelby Beach
Located a few miles away at Gulf State Park, Lake Shelby has a section just for your four-legged friend. The fenced area is perfect for dogs that love to run free and swim to their heart’s content. No leashes are needed once you get to the fenced section for pups. Your pooch can play in the freshwater lake while you cool off your feet at the waterfront or jump into a kayak or a paddleboard to get further out on the water.
The dog park has its own specific rules to follow, so make sure you know them. All dogs have to have their shots, and a collar with a rabies tag, and pup parents have to pick up after them. The Gulf State Park section has over two miles of beachfront with a lodge, campsites, and picnic areas with barbecue pits. There are hiking paths, playgrounds, and a nature center, as well as geocaching, fishing, and boating. You can bring your own food or grab something at the beachside restaurant.
Orange Beach Waterfront Park
Less than 10 miles inland, Orange Beach Waterfront Park is located on Wolf Bay and Bay La Launch with lots of beachfront space. You will not have to worry about fighting the crowds here because the tourists stick to the oceanfront. This is a quiet and scenic section of Alabama where your pooch can swim, run, dig, and play fetch without worrying about being leashed. Bring some toys, water, and doggie bags to spend the whole day here.
Bring along your fishing gear and license so you can try your luck fishing from the 400-foot pier with lighting and covered picnic tables. The park also has a kids’ playground, picnicking areas, and a paved nature path that you and your fur puppy can explore and enjoy. Be aware that some areas of the park require your pup to be on a leash, so make sure you know where these spots are.
Graham Creek Nature Preserve Beach
Just 10 miles from Orange Beach Waterfront Park at the other end of Wolf Bay, your canine companion can have his pick of what kind of water he wants to play in at Graham Creek Nature Preserve. The creek itself is not small by any means, but it is a lot smaller than Wolf Bay. You and your pooch can play along the creek or hop in a canoe or kayak and paddle down to the bay for a nice calm view of a beautiful area. Oh yeah, no leashes are required here, either!
Surrounded by gorgeous woods, the water is the perfect spot to get a unique look. Or you can walk along the boardwalks, play on one of the four-disc golf courses, or explore over 10 miles of trails. There is also an archery range, but pups are not allowed there. The park also lauds restrooms and outdoor showers for your convenience.
The Final Woof
Need some retail therapy? Take your fur puppy to Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville. The outdoor mall has many pup-friendly stores which are clearly marked. With about 100 retailers from Altar’d State to Xfinity, you are sure to find something you can both enjoy. If you are a racing fan, you can visit the International Motorsports Hall of Fame with your canine companion. Located in Lincoln, you can see lots of historic vehicles as well as bikes, stock cars, and other great items. And music lovers can visit the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia with their favorite fur buddy from Tuesdays through Saturdays.