On the tip of Queens in New York City, Long Island City is a neighborhood located between Newtown Creek and the East River. This area is not known for its beaches, so if you are looking for one of those white or golden sandy spots on the ocean, this is not what you want. However, what you will find are unique spaces like Charlotte Beach at Marsha P. Johnson State Park, Hallett’s Cove Beach next to Socrates Sculpture Park, and Queensbridge Park across from Roosevelt Island.
The borough is a nice spot for all sorts of outdoor activities at any one of the many parks, including having a picnic at Gantry Plaza State Park, letting your dog off the leash at Murray Park, and letting him run at Hunter’s Point South Dog Run. Or you can cross one of the bridges to Manhattan, where you and Fido can explore the famous Central Park and explore the boardwalks at Rockaway and Coney Beaches.
There are seven acres of park space for you and your pup to explore at Charlotte Beach in Marsha P. Johnson State Park, just about two miles south of downtown Long Island City. Previously known as East River State Park, this park was renamed for a pioneer of LGBTQ civil rights, Marsha Johnson, who was a transgender woman of color. The park is very dog-friendly as long as your little furball is on a leash.
At the southwestern end of the beach, you can let your dog off the leash if he is voice-controlled. It is a pretty patch of sand on the East River with a stunning view of Manhattan. You may not want to let your dog swim here because the water is not the cleanest, but he can get his paws wet and cool off. There is also a fenced gravel dog run in the middle of the park by Kent Avenue and North 9th Street.
Gantry Plaza State Park
Right there in Long Island City on the waterfront, Gantry Plaza State Park is dog-friendly for friendly dogs. Although your pooch has to stay on a leash in most of the 12-acre park, there are not one but two special spaces just for special dogs like yours. The dog run at 46th and 47th Avenues on Center Boulevard across from the Queens West Sports Field is one place your pup can be unleashed for a while.
Another fun spot for pups is the dog park on 48th and Vernon. The fenced area does not have water access, but it does have water fountains, and during the summer, there is often a small doggie pool. The park itself has a lot of amenities, including restrooms, playing fields, playgrounds, fishing access, and concessions. Be sure you have proof of vaccinations for your dog, and bring doggie bags to pick up after your pup.
Right next to Gantry Plaza, you and your fur baby have another special spot in Long Island City to visit. Whether you want to take a walk along the water or let your pup run free, Hunter’s Point has you covered. The park features a side for small pups and a large dog area with bone-shaped dog pools on each side for your pooch to enjoy in the summer. It is a good-sized dog run with a lot of room on both sides.
The rest of Hunter’s Point Park has an additional 10 acres where you and your pup can play with him on the leash. There is a central green space to play catch, fetch, or frisbee, as well as a waterfront promenade. You can have a picnic or just sit and enjoy the view. Your pooch may not be able to play in the river here, but with his own two pools, he does not really need to.
Less than a mile from downtown Long Island City on the other side of the Queensboro Bridge, this waterfront park has a love for dogs like no other. Queensbridge Park has more than 20 acres along the East River, with all sorts of picnicking areas, ball fields, walking paths, and a riverfront promenade. During the summer, you can enjoy live concerts as well as Little League games.
This is a popular park, so do not expect to be alone here. In fact, the bridge and park were made famous after being mentioned in a 1960s song called Feelin’ Groovy by Simon and Garfunkel. Your fur baby will have to stay on a leash at all times, and you need to remember to bring doggie cleanup bags as well as your pup’s shot records or tags. But there is plenty of green open space to play, water to splash around in, and vendors with street foods for both of you.
Hallet’s Cove Beach
You may not be able to swim, but that will not stop your canine companion from having fun at Hallet’s Cove. Tucked into a little cove between Socrates Sculpture Park and Hallet’s Cove Playground on the East River, this is a nice stretch of golden sand in the middle of the city. Many people do not even know about the place because you would not expect a large sandy beach in Queens, so you may have the place mostly to yourselves during the weekdays.
Although it is technically a beach, you are not allowed to swim, and your dog is not supposed to get in the water. However, there is no reason why he cannot get his paws wet. One thing you can do is enjoy the NYC Water Trail in a canoe or kayak. Just remember to bring life vests for you and your fur baby. Also, right across the street, you can find the Chateau le Woof Dog Cafe, where you and Fido can get a bite to eat.
Pups are allowed to play at any of the parks on Roosevelt Island as long as they are leashed at all times. To get there, you and your canine companion can take the NYC ferry, which is dog-friendly. This large island between Brooklyn and Manhattan is about two miles long and has almost 150 acres, most of it dog-friendly. There are four fields here, including McManus, Firefighters, Capobianco, and Pony Field. The last one is a dog-free area.
There are also several parks, with Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park at the southern end and Lighthouse Park at the northern end. According to the national website, pups are permitted everywhere except for indoors and on ranger-led programs. However, it is best to ask permission before entering any field or play area. One place that is just for dogs is the Octagon Dog Run, where you can let Fido run off the leash. You can find it on the northeastern end of the island, close to Lighthouse Park.
Andrew Haswell Green Park
Across the East River on the other side of Roosevelt Island, you will find Andrew Haswell Green Park. Andrew Haswell Green was called the Father of Greater New York because he was responsible for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Zoo, and Central Park. Andrew Haswell Green was also a dog lover, for sure, and the city made sure there was a special dog park section here where your fur baby can play off the leash.
The large fenced dog area is perfect for off-leash play, where dogs can just be dogs. One side is for small pups and the other for large dogs. Everyone can get along here. And you can find plenty of seating, a water hose, fountains, and even some doggie bathtubs. Don’t tell your dog! Let him think they are pools. The stunning views of the Empire State Building and Central Park are also worth the visit.
Peter Detmold Park
About a mile to the southwest, this park honors Peter Detmold who was a soldier in WWII under General Patton as well as in the Battle of the Bulge in France. He was also an activist who fought for the rights of the tenants in the area by the park, which is also the site of his murder. The park is not hard to find, but you will have to know where to go to get to the dog park section. It is under the East 51st pedestrian bridge at the western end of the park.
Once you find it, you will wonder how you could not have known about it because the place is incredibly popular with the local pup parents. It has several benches, a paved dog run, a drinking fountain, and several dog poo bag dispensers. But bring your own baggies just in case. It is completely fenced, too, so your pooch can run and play off the leash with the other fur babies.
Rockaway Beach is the only surfing beach in New York, so it is a popular spot in Queens. And your pooch is welcome as long as you keep him on a leash at all times. The beach is located between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is named for the 7.5-mile Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, which is the largest urban beach in the United States, running from 3rd Street to 153rd Street.
Another big bonus is that the island has two official dog parks where your canine companion can get loose from the leash and run with the dogs. The largest is the Shorefront Parkway Dog Run, which opened in 2022. Not only does it have access to the water, but it also has an obstacle course with 12 pieces of agility equipment. The Rockaway Freeway Dog Run is a fenced grassy area in the northeast corner of the island. Pooch parents must have proof of current rabies vaccination and a dog license, so be sure you have those with you.
Marine Park has 530 acres of salt marshes, creeks, and grassy spaces where you and your pup can hike, play, and splash the day away. As long as you keep him on a leash, he is welcome on the beach as well as in the rest of the park. This is the largest park in Brooklyn and features one of the longest nature trails in the city. The Marine Park Salt Marsh Nature Trail is just over a mile long and stretches along the western side of Gerritsen Creek.
Back at the beach, it can get very crowded during the summer, especially on the weekends. You can spread out a blanket on the sand, play in the water, and even rent a paddleboat or canoe. There are restrooms and outdoor showers, but you should ask permission before bringing your pup into any building. The park also has lots of activities like cricket fields, golf courses, bocce, basketball, tennis courts, soccer fields, and a nature center.
Less than 10 minutes north of Long Island Beach, Randall’s Island Park is a 480-acre park with more than 90 playing fields, restored wetlands, and so much more. And your fur buddy is welcome to join you as long as he is on a leash for the entire time you are here. Some of the fun at the park includes 10 miles of paths for hiking, biking, walking, and jogging. The two-mile Wards Loop trail is the most popular as it takes you along the Harlem River, East River, and through Wards Meadow.
Some of the natural areas are protected, but you and your pup can visit most of them, including the Water’s Edge Garden and the freshwater wetlands. There are all sorts of picnic areas along both of the rivers as well as the gardens and other nice areas. Some of the picnic spaces have barbecue grills, and most have picnic tables. Or you can grab a bite to eat at the cafe or a nearby eatery.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Less than 10 miles southeast of Long Island City in Queens, you will find one of the most popular parks in New York. Flushing Meadows Corona Park has been the site of two World’s Fairs as well as the home of the Queens Zoo, the New York Hall of Science, Citi Field, and two enormous lakes. There are also over a dozen playgrounds for the kids, a model airplane field, and several marinas where you can rent boats.
But maybe the most important place in the whole park is the Underbridge Dog Run. Yes, it is located under a bridge on the northwestern end of the park by the Jurassic Playground. The fenced pup park is a leash-free playground with tons of space, a separate spot for little pups, and drinking fountains. While you are in the park, be sure to get some selfies with the Unisphere over by the zoo across from the Queens Museum.
Little Bay Park
Not far from the Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Little Bay Park is also a great place in Queens where you can bring your dog. Located on the shores of Little Bay in the East River, this fine park has about 25 acres of space where your fur buddy is allowed to roam on a leash. You will need your pup’s shot records or tags and doggie bags to pick up after him, but there is a lot here that you can enjoy together.
The historic park was part of a package donated by King Charles I of England in 1644, and there are still some historic buildings like the Battery Sumner, Fort Totten Battery King Mound, and Willets Farmhouse. But at the western end of the park, past Throgs Neck Bridge is Little Bay Dog Run and Throgs Neck Dog Park. They are both leash-free and fun for pups, and there is waterfront access to boot!
Atlantic Beach is about 20 miles from downtown Long Island City and allows you and your canine companion to play on the beach from October through March, but that is okay. The beaches are too crowded during the summer anyway. You will have to keep him on a leash at all times, and be sure to bring doggie waste bags to pick up after your pup. You will also need your dog’s shot records or tags, so make sure he is up to date on everything.
The beach is located on Long Beach Barrier Island and gives you access to the ocean as well as the Reynolds Channel. Even though your pup is only allowed on the beach during the off-season, there is still plenty to do, from splashing in the water to fishing. There are quite a few parks on the island, as well as lots of eateries with outdoor seating where you and Fido can get some grub.
Located on Plumb Island, about 20 minutes from Long Island City, you can find Plumb Beach along Jamaica Bay and the Gerritsen Inlet. It is a wonderful spot to spend the day with your fur baby any time of the year. The best part? He is welcome to play off the leash here as long as he is voice-controlled. You do not want him going too far out in the water. It is a popular spot for windsurfing as well as swimming, fishing, and kayaking.
This is a great beach to see horseshoe crabs but does not let your pooch pester them. They are protected here, as are the rest of the wildlife. On the other side of the island, across the Belt Parkway, you can access Shell Bank Creek, as well as a marina, several restaurants, and some shops. Please ask permission before bringing your canine companion into any establishment.
The Final Woof
One place you will not want to miss while you are in New York is Central Park. Almost all of the places here are dog-friendly, including the Conservatory Garden, East Green, Strawberry Fields, and Kerbs Boathouse. Your pup must be on a leash from 9 AM to 9 PM, and he has to be voice-controlled. If you want to have a brew with your pooch, head to Big Alice Brewing or take a dog-friendly NYC brewery tour. Want a burger to go with your brew? The Barking Dog Cafe is one of the most dog-friendly restaurants in NYC, featuring doggie water fountains, canine menu items, and plenty of room to play.