17 Pawfectly Pawsome Dog Friendly Beaches in Georgia to Visit with Your Pup

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Georgia is a southeastern state in the US surrounded by Alabama to the west, Tennessee to the north, South Carolina to the east, Florida to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. It became a state in 1788 and is the largest east of the Mississippi River. Not only does the state have some of the most interesting historical sites, but it also has some of the largest and oldest parks in the nation, including Indian Springs, which opened in 1825.

Some other interesting facts about Georgia are that it is the largest peanut producer in the United States, it had the first Gold Rush in the 1820s (California did not see gold until the 1830s), and is home to more than 380 different bird species. It is also a state that is known for its natural beauty, such as Stone Mountain, Providence Canyon, Okefenokee Swamp, and Amicalola Falls. And they have numerous beaches, including these 17 dog-friendly beaches to visit with your pup. 

Dungeness Beach

Located on the southeastern shore of Cumberland Island just minutes from Georgia’s border with Florida, Dungeness Beach is the southeasternmost dog-friendly spot in Georgia. With the East River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, this is a pup popular place to spend the day. When you get off the ferry, turn right and follow the signs to Dungeness, where you and your pooch can take a look at the ruins of Dungeness Mansion, which was owned by Lucy and Thomas Dungeness.

You can take a self-guided smartphone tour or just head to the beach, where Fido is ready to jump in the water. During your stay on Cumberland Island, your canine compadre must be on a lead at all times, and you should always bring plenty of dog waste bags to clean up after him. After splashing around for a while, you and your pup may enjoy a walk on the boardwalk, where they have binocular stands for you to get some awesome views.

Stafford Beach

Further up Cumberland Island, about five miles, Stafford Beach is another dog-friendly beach. In fact, you can take Pratt’s Trail all the way from the Dungeness ruins to get there. Or rent a bike, and you can get there even faster. Keep Fido on a leash, and you and he can enjoy the surf and sand swimming, digging, and playing in the sun. This is a very secluded beach most of the time, so you may not see anyone all day. Except for the wild horses.

You may also see loggerhead sea turtles and other wildlife, so keep your pup on a short leash and do not let him get too close. If you want to stay the night, there are only 10 campsites, so make sure you reserve your spot well in advance. There are no amenities like electricity or water, but they do have restrooms with cold showers. Bring your own water and doggie bags. 

Crooked River State Park 

Across the Cumberland Sound and East River, you can visit Crooked River State Park where locals and tourists alike flock to the Intracoastal waterway. The large park has around 500 acres of space, including a maritime forest, swamplands, and marshes, as well as a mile of riverfront space. Your fur puppy is welcome to explore the waterfront and play in the river but be careful because the current can be rough. It is best to keep him in a dog life vest even if he is a good swimmer. 

While you are here, you can rent a kayak or canoe and get some bait from the tackle shop so you and your pup can go fishing on the river. Be sure to have a Georgia fishing license first, though. The park also has 63 campsites and 11 cottages for rent, but you must call and book them early. You can also rent a bike, explore four miles of hiking trails, and they even have a miniature golf course. 

St. Andrews Beach

About an hour from the mainland, St. Andrews Beach on Jekyll Island is a special place on the southern end of the island. What makes it so unique is that even though your dog has to be leashed, you can use a leash that is up to 16 feet long! That means he is free to play fetch or frisbee and swim in the water without you having to get wet. This is not a touristy place, so it is almost never crowded. 

There are quite a few picnic tables so bring some food, and you can enjoy a meal with your cuddly canine after you work up an appetite. Anglers come for the fishing pier, but it is also a great place to see porpoises and dolphins. Afterward, you can meander along the Glory Beach Boardwalk or take the trail to the two-level wildlife viewing platform where people have seen deer and other creatures.  

South Dunes Beach

The South Dunes Picnic Area is just about a mile up the island on the ocean side where you can take your furry friend for a swim as long as he is leashed. You can walk on the boardwalk over 20-foot sand dunes to find the picnic tables with barbecue grills on the beach. Some of them are covered and screened, while others are out in the open. And you know it is dog-friendly because they have Mutt Mitt dispensers. 

You will need to keep your fur baby close to you because there are alligators living in the pond and other wildlife roaming around nearby. To get a good look at some of the flora and fauna, go up on the observation deck, where you will get a stunning view of the area. For a unique experience, walk over to Sharktooth Beach, where you will definitely find oyster shells and even a Sharktooth if you are lucky. 

Oceanview Beach Park 

A few more miles north on Jekyll Island, Oceanview Beach Park features over a mile of oceanfront as well as pavilions for barbecuing or picnicking, outdoor showers, and modern restrooms. And your pooch can be on a 16-foot leash here, too so he is able to run around with more freedom. This is a nice family beach because of the huge wide open space, and the calm water is perfect for the little humans. 

The beach is soft white sand, so you can take off your shoes and stick your toes in the sand. At low tide, the water is really shallow, so your fur baby and kids can play without worrying about the waves. If you did not bring any food with you, there are a few eating establishments nearby, including Red Bug Motor’s Pizza and Tortuga Jacks Mexican Restaurant. Or just take a stroll along the Ocean View Trail, and you will find other beach eateries and bars. 

Driftwood Beach

At the northern tip of the island, Driftwood Beach has been named one of the country’s 10 most romantic beaches and the third best beach in the US by Tripadvisor and Travelers’ Choice. Visitors say it is like entering another world when you walk onto the sand and see dozens of huge pieces of driftwood in strange and mysterious shapes. What used to be a forest is now a tree graveyard, but it looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie. 

Your pooch will love climbing and sniffing these massive pieces of wood, splashing in the waves, and running in the sand. What is really cool about this beach is the campsite. It has 179 sites on 18 wooded acres with two bathhouses, hot showers, electric, water, and sewer as well as a general store, laundry, and bike rentals. Just be sure to reserve your site well in advance and bring plenty of doggie bags. 

Blythe Island Regional Park 

You only need to go about 20 miles to the northwest to reach Blythe Island Regional Park, and with 1,100 acres, there is so much to explore with your leashed pup. Situated between South Brunswick and East River, there are beaches on both rivers to choose from. There are also two lakes, and one has a swimming beach. However, dogs are not allowed in the designated swimming area. But he has his choice of other waterside spots. 

If you like to fish, bring along your gear and your fishing license because you can fish in both rivers or the lake, and there is a pier and platform for anglers. There have been many different types of fish caught here, from bass to catfish. You can even rent a boat if you want to get out on the water further. There are picnic areas, hiking, and biking paths, and even a full-service campground with over 100 sites, so you can stay as long as you like. 

Howard Coffin Park

Hop over to the next island with your pupster to find Howard Coffin Park. It is the largest park in the city and was named after Howard E. Coffin, a founder of the Hudson Motor Company. There are some specific rules here, though. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, your pooch is allowed to be on the beach or in the water without a leash. However, for the rest of the year, your pup is not allowed from 9 AM to 6 PM. 

The unique thing about this beach is that they also have an outdoor fitness trail where you can get in a workout. It also features tennis, baseball, soccer, football, picnic areas, and playgrounds for the human kiddos. But that is not all! There is even a dog park there. Blue Streak Dog Park is fenced and has water fountains, agility equipment, and lots of room to run around and get rid of the zoomies before you get back in the car.

East Beach

Head east across St. Simons Sound to get to East Beach. Located on St. Simons Island, this massive dog-friendly beach is also known as St. Simons Island Beach and has different names for each specific section. The most popular is the Coast Guard Station Beach, where the old station still stands. This spot has hard-packed sand, perfect for biking or walking. To the north, Gould’s Inlet is smaller and has limited parking but is great for fishing off the fishing pier. 

If you have any little humans with you, check out the playground at Massengale Park with its magical equipment kids really enjoy. It has picnic tables with grills and restrooms, as well as lots of soft golden sand. Pier Village is a small beach only accessible during low tide at the southern end of the island. You can also visit the nearby eating establishments but ask before bringing in your pup. 

North Glynn Park Beach

From ball fields to a dog park, North Glynn Park Beach has something for everyone just a half hour north of East Beach. The park itself has over 153 acres and features soccer, softball, baseball, and football fields, as well as tennis, basketball, and pickleball courts. There are two awesome playgrounds for the little tykes and a one-mile walking trail around the lake where Fido can sniff all sorts of new and exciting scents. Just be sure to keep him on a lead and pick up anything he drops. 

But the best part for your fur buddy is the fenced dog park beside the softball fields, where you can let him off the leash for a while. There are always other pups to play with and plenty of shaded seating for pup parents. Small and shy dogs have their own special fenced area so everyone will feel comfortable, and there are watering and cleanup stations too.

Altamaha Regional Park Beach

Go another 30 miles inland, and you can find Altamaha Regional Park in Brunswick on the banks of the Altmaha River. Your dog is welcome, but he will need to stay on his leash while you are there, and you need to bring doggie baggies to clean up after him. The only place he cannot go is the designated swimming beach. However, he is allowed to play anywhere else in the water. Just watch out for alligators. 

The park also features picnic areas with grills, a lighted fishing pier with a fish cleaning station, a children’s playground, horseshoe pits, boat ramps, and hiking trails. If you want to stay a little longer, book a site at the campground. But plan early because there are only 56 spots, and they fill up fast. In addition, there are cabins you can rent and a camp store, too but ask before bringing your pooch inside. 

Sapelo Island Beaches

Two hours to the southeast, Sapelo Island has several beaches, and your canine companion is welcome at all of them as long as he is leashed. But the whole island is rugged, primitive, and wild, so do not expect all the comforts of home. You will have to take the ferry across Doboy Sound, where you can see dolphins if you keep your eyes peeled. You and your pup are welcome to swim, but there are alligators, snakes, and other wild creatures here, so be careful. 

The only modern (if you can call it that) places are the Reynolds Mansion or Cabretta Campground. But since dogs are not allowed at the mansion, you will have to book a spot in the campground if you plan to stay overnight. While you are there, you can rent a bike and go for a ride, take a lighthouse or island tour, do some saltwater fishing, or rent a kayak to get out on the water. 

St Catherine’s Island Beach

The next island to the northeast is St. Catherine’s Island, and the beach here is pup popular for leashed pups. Located between the Sapelo Sound and St. Catherine’s Sound, the whole eastern coast is one long beach about 11 miles long. The rest of the island is used for scientific and ecological work as well as education. You can only get there by boat from Colonel’s Island Halfmoon Marina or one of the other tour guides in the area. 

Because of the seclusion of the island, you will often see animals you cannot see anywhere else, like ring-tail lemurs and armadillos, as well as white-tail deer, wild hogs, and raccoons. On the beach, you may see some of the local birds, like American oystercatchers, storks, and terns, mingling with loggerhead sea turtles and gopher tortoises. Please remember to keep your dog on a short lead and bring enough puppy clean-up baggies to pick up after him. 

Bryan County Bark Park 

You do not need the ocean to have fun on the beach. In fact, Bryan County Bark Park is about 10 miles from the ocean but it has a wonderful pond where your pooch can swim and play without a leash, and you do not have to worry about washing off the saltwater, which can dry out your doggie’s skin. There are separate areas for different sized dogs, water fountains, and plenty of places to sit in the shade for the pet parents. The small pond is located inside the park, so your cuddly canine can get wet. 

The dog park is located behind the softball field inside Devaul Henderson Park, where dogs are welcome, but they must be kept on a lead. There are walking trails, softball and baseball fields, 10 tennis courts, and turf fields for football or soccer. You will also find several awesome picnic areas where you and your doggo can enjoy a meal together. 

Fort McAllister State Park Beach

For some fun on the river, take your pooch to Fort McAllister State Park, just five miles from the Bryan County Bark Park. Your dog is always welcome here as long as you keep him on a lead no longer than six feet. You will find the Ogeechee River lined with giant oak trees covered in Spanish moss, giving it a tropical feel. But it is also quite historical, with some of the most impressive earthwork fortifications from the Confederates.  

The park has over 1,700 acres, with sites from the Civil War located among the trees and marshes. The nature trail will take you to several of them. There is also a campground with 65 spaces, but you should reserve your favorite plot early. They fill up fast. They also have a boat ramp and boat rentals where you can get a canoe or kayak. Make sure you both have life jackets on for safety!

Skidaway Island State Park Beach

About 20 miles to the east, Skidaway Island State Park has a nice sandy beach on the Skidaway River that is dog friendly for leashed dogs. You can take your fur puppy on a walk along the boardwalk to the observation tower or explore one of the nature hikes in the 588-acre park. You will almost always see some magical creatures like fiddler crabs on the one-mile  Sandpiper Loop Trail as well as a tidal creek, island hammock, confederate earthworks, and a liquor still from the 1930s.  

If you have some little humans with you, they will love the two playgrounds with slides, swings, and climbing equipment or you can take them geocaching if they are interested in finding hidden treasures. For adults, the outdoor fitness equipment is a great workout to get your blood flowing and work up an appetite. Then you can go back to enjoy a picnic or cook something up on the grill. Better yet, reserve one of the 87 campsites, and you can cook some food around the fire. 

The Final Woof

If you have not been able to get a look at the elusive dolphins in Georgia, take your fur buddy on a Jekyll Island Dolphin Tour. The crew will make sure you get to experience some of the sea life like dolphins and sea turtles. Another way to enjoy the water is on a float trip. Cool River Tubing in Helen rents tubes for pup popular tubing trips along the Chattahoochee River. If you would rather keep your feet on the ground and want to learn more about historic Savannah, Oliver Bentley’s Savannah Dog Walking Tour is perfect. You will explore downtown Savannah’s 22 squares, meander along Bul Street, and visit some of the dog-friendly establishments. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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