Located on the eastern side of Florida about 70 miles southeast of Orlando, Melbourne is a fairly large but not well-known coastal town with about 85,000 residents. And since almost half of these people are pup parents, you would expect to be able to find quite a few dog-friendly beaches there.
However, it is a city law that pets are not permitted on the beaches of Melbourne City. However, there are some pup-popular beaches in cities nearby as well as some beaches in and around Melbourne that are not city beaches.
For example, a few minutes from Melbourne, Paradise Beach has a section for dogs in Howard E. Futch Memorial Park and another a few minutes down the beach at Spessard Holland South Beach Park. A little further up north and you can find Brevard County Marina Dog Park.
State parks and parks that are not on the ocean are other options. For example, Indian River Lagoon Preserve Park loves dogs, and Vero Beach Dog Park on the Indian River is a great place to let your pup play in the water. We did some searching and found 15 of the best dog-friendly beaches in and around Melbourne for you and your canine companion to enjoy.
The closest beach park to Melbourne is not actually on the ocean. Wells Park is just one-quarter mile from the center of town between the city library, Melbourne Auditorium, and Holmes Regional Medical Center. And although it may not be on the ocean, it has several waterfront areas around two large ponds where your fur baby can play. However, you will need to keep him on a short leash and do not let him go out in the water because there are alligators known to be living here.
You will also see a lot of ducks here along the water’s edge. Make sure you do not let your pup get too close to them, either. Besides the ponds, Wells Park also boasts a pavilion, several picnic areas with tables, and a playground for the kids. There are also restrooms and water fountains nearby.
Howard E. Futch Memorial Park at Paradise Beach is a 12.4-acre regional beach park just across the Indian River from Melbourne. This is one of the most popular parks to picnic in as it has a large pavilion with a huge grill that holds more than 200 people, as well as two others and picnic areas all over the grounds. Pup parents love this park because they can bring their dogs here any time of the day as long as he is on a leash.
The large park boasts ample access to the golden sand beach as well, where you and your fur buddy can play in the sand or in the water. In addition, you will find several volleyball courts, a playground, and several concessions, including Paradise Treats. Restrooms and showers are also available, and lifeguards are here seasonally so you will be swimming at your own risk during the off-season.
Just a few miles to the north of Melbourne, Ballard Park is a wonderful pup-friendly park located on the Indian River Lagoon, right where it meets the Eau Gallie River. The 10-acre park welcomes dogs as long as they are leashed while in the park. You should also bring some puppy poop baggies to pick up whatever he drops. Besides having water access along both rivers, you will also find two pavilions, picnic shelters with grills, as well as other picnic areas, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and boat ramps.
The park also has a memorial to Thomas Barbour, who was a famous author and naturalist who frequented the park. It is also the former site of an Ais Indian village of Pentoaya, where they would often spend their summers. In other words, it was the summer vacation home for the Ais Indians, and with good reason. The two rivers here make this a perfect spot for fishing, boating, and swimming.
Canova Dog Beach
Canova Dog Beach has just over nine acres of pup-popular space with plenty of sand to spread out a blanket and stand an umbrella for a day of fun. The community beach is one of the only ones considered to be a dog beach along A1A because it allows you to bring him anywhere on the beach, and they have Mutt Mitt dispensers for the pet parents. However, your pup needs to stay on his leash and you should bring extra puppy poo bags just in case.
Located just over a mile up the coast from Paradise Beach, this park also provides lots of golden sand, restrooms, showers, and covered picnic tables with grills for barbecuing, although they are nowhere near as large as the ones in Paradise. But it is one of the most popular beaches for dog lovers, so you will almost always find several fur babies for your canine companion to play with.
Spessard Holland South Beach Park
Instead of going north, head south from Paradise Beach, about five miles, and you will find the Spessard Holland South Beach Park. This popular park features a 6.5-acre community beach with a large 100-foot-long boardwalk. A lot of locals come to Spessard Holland Beach to fish as it has some of the best surf fishing access points in the county and tons of pristine beach space. And since leashed dogs are always welcome, you and your furry family member can fish and swim here too.
Some of the park’s amenities include outdoor and indoor showers, drinking fountains, and restrooms, as well as a covered picnic table along the boardwalk. In fact, it is actually larger than the Spessard Holland North Beach Park next door, where dogs are not allowed. You will need to bring your own doggie waste bags because they do not provide them here, and keep your pup on a leash at all times.
Coconut Point Park
Less than two miles south of Spessard Holland South Beach Park, Coconut Point Park features 37 acres of sand, surf, and space. It is a good-sized beach of golden sand, azure blue water, and a lot of friendly wildlife. You will need to keep your pup on a leash at all times and keep him from chasing the birds or getting near the turtle nesting sites. And be sure to bring plenty of puppy poo bags if you plan to spend the day.
There are not as many amenities as the community parks because these are beach parks facing the ocean, which is where most visitors spend their time. The surf can be rough at times so be careful and keep ahold of your canine companion’s leash. There are restrooms, outdoor showers, and a picnic shelter as well. You will notice it is a popular surfing beach, so you and your pup can enjoy watching them surf the waves.
Indian River Lagoon Preserve State Park
Located on a barrier island south of Melbourne and just a few minutes from Coconut Point Park, this preserve protects the flora and fauna of Indian River Lagoon. This area here used to be part of a 500-acre pineapple field until a hard freeze in 1894 that had farmers growing other crops here instead. It was one of the last barrier island citrus groves in the area. Today, owned by the state, the park is trying to restore the natural flora of the area.
Although a lot of this park is protected from visitors with dogs, there is plenty of beaches where you and Fido can play. Just keep him on a leash and pick up after him. Make sure you keep your canine companion close to you because some of the wildlife is really wild such as bobcats, alligators, and coyotes as well as those that are protected, like sea lions, manatees, and turtles.
Castaways Point Park
Less than five miles south of Melbourne, Castaways Point Park has two fishing piers, a boat launch, and lots of picnic space on Turkey Creek, Palm Bay, and the Indian River. It can be found on the Palm Bay peninsula across from Palm Bay Point. Although it is not as large as some of the others, it boasts one of the most natural and authentic beaches along the Indian River Lagoon. Your canine companion is more than welcome as long as he is leashed the whole time.
The park also has two piers where you can fish or watch the manatees and porpoises playing in the water nearby. You can also find boat launches, picnic areas with grills and tables, swimming spots, and a fish cleaning station for those who want to catch, clean, and cook their fish all in the same spot. Seafood does not get any fresher than that! While you are there, check out the interpretive signs along the paths with information about the Native Americans who lived here.
Just across Turkey Creek to the south, you can find Goode Park.This is a water wonderland on Turkey Creek where your canine companion is allowed to play with you as long as he is on a leash. Although some local pet parents say, the leash law is not a problem here so, most of the local dogs will be running off-leash. The access to Turkey Creek offers a boat ramp as well as a dock where you can do some fishing.
Your fur buddy can join you anywhere in the park, including the picnic areas, pavilions, and restrooms. If you are planning a party with a lot of people. You can also rent The Captain’s House, which holds over 100 people. Ask about your dog when renting. Be sure to bring doggie waste bags with you as well as extra water and snacks for you both. In fact, you can bring some hotdogs to fire up on the grill.
Just minutes from Melbourne, Cocoa Beach is a great dog-friendly beach with some specific rules that you must follow. First, you can only visit the beach from 6 AM until 10 AM and 4 PM until 7 PM during standard daylight time and 5 PM to 9 PM for the rest of the year. Second, dogs are only allowed from 4th Street to Murkshe Park, which is just over two miles of beach, so that is an awesome amount of space!
Also, your pup has to be leashed, but it can be up to 10 feet long, which is a lot longer than most beaches. However, keep his leash shorter when you are near turtle nesting areas and dunes. Other than that, you and your fur buddy are allowed to swim, play, and fish in the water, run on the beach, and enjoy the picnic areas too. Please do not forget to bring your doggie doo bags to pick up after your pup as well.
Lori Wilson Dog Park
Lori Wilson Dog Park in Cocoa Beach is pup-popular, where your pooch is permitted anytime, just like everyone else. Except he has to stay on a leash unless he is in the fenced dog park. There are almost 40 acres of space that include miles of oceanfront beach, a boardwalk, pavilions, playgrounds, volleyball, and picnic areas with barbecue grills. The fun nature walk on the boardwalk takes you and your fur pup through the maritime hammock.
In addition to all of that, you will also find restrooms with showers for your convenience. When you are ready to let your canine companion off his leash, take him to the dog park where there are over 32,000 square feet of fenced space to play. He will even have access to the waterfront here. If you get hungry and did not bring anything, you can visit one of the nearby eateries like Mambos Beachside Bar & Grill. Just be sure to ask first before bringing in your pup.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
If you like fishing, Sebastian Inlet State Park is the most popular fishing spot on the Indian River and you can find it just a few minutes from Melbourne. But this park has more than just fishing for entertainment. You and your dog can go clamming, boating, and swimming here as well. There is also a nice one-mile trail through the hammock along the mangroves to explore the native flora and fauna with its informative signage along the way.
The park also offers three biking trails, a paddling trail, tons of picnicking spaces, and ranger-led star gazing and shelling tours. Many people come to surf as well on the three miles of sandy coast. If you want to stay overnight, the park has 60 campsites on the water with picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and electricity. There is even a shower, marina, and laundry facility here. Just remember to keep your pooch on a leash at all times and pick up after him.
Vero Beach Dog Park
It may not be on the ocean, but Vero Beach Dog Park has plenty of water to play in. It is just minutes down the coast on the Indian River across from Fritz Island and is easy to get to from Melbourne. It is about five acres of fenced space for all dogs to run freely without a leash to slow them down. Some of the features here include a special section for small and shy dogs, lots of room to run, and doggie drinking fountains.
For the pup parents, the Vero Beach Dog Park has shaded seating, picturesque palm trees sand along the walkways, and it is absolutely free to everyone. It has access to the Indian River, but there is no fence there so you may want to keep your fur puppy on a leash here. It is a popular park for the locals so you should bring your own poo bags just in case.
Right next door, MacWilliam Park is renowned for its stellar fishing experiences. In fact, many locals and visitors come to this park for their chartered fishing tours. You can find several fishing charter companies in the area, and many of them allow your pup to join you as long as he is leashed. Some of the best catches on the Indian River are redfish, speckled trout, and tarpon and you are almost guaranteed to catch something.
MacWilliams Park also has a boat ramp, so if you have your own boat, you can go on your own adventure. Just make sure your fur buddy has his own doggie life jacket. Dogs are welcome all over the park but there is also a fenced dog park right near the water. That means your canine companion can run and jump in the water without a leash. He will absolutely love the freedom and you will love watching your best friend have so much fun.
North Riverside Park
Also in Vero Beach, North Riverside Park is also pup-positive on the north side of Dahlia Lane. It has a whole list of fantastic features, many of them that allow dogs as long as they are leashed. Here you will find boat ramps, fishing spots, grassy fields, picnic spaces with grills, and playgrounds for the kids. This place also has a fishing charter that allows your pup to join you on your adventure. On Island Time Charters provides fishing tackle, rods, and lures as well as coolers of ice for your favorite beverages and snacks.
You can also take your canine companion on the Vero Beach Fitness Trail, which is almost two miles and takes you through the park with a variety of fitness challenges along the way. While you are in the park, you can also see the Words From War Memorial Sculpture, which is a great place for selfies.
The Final Woof
After a long day at the beach, stop by Intracoastal Brewing Company where you and your pooch can relax while you try some of the local brews in the outdoor seating section. Another fun dog-friendly brewery is the Dirty Oar Beer Company. If you would rather just get some food, the city is full of pup-popular restaurants such as Harbor City Dining, Nomad Cafe, and UNO Pizzeria & Grill. To get your dog into shape after that meal, head to Pieloch Dog Park where they have a fenced off-leash agility field full of fun. And the Wickham Park Dog Park in the 400-acre city park will keep your fur baby and you busy all day.