17 of the Funnest Dog-Friendly Beaches in New York State

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Located just below Canada in the northeastern corner of the United States, New York is one of the most renowned places in the world. It is surrounded by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, with coastlines on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and the North Atlantic Ocean. As one of the most populated states in the country, New York has just over 20 million residents, with about 45% of them living in New York City, which is the most populated city in the United States. 

Almost everyone has heard of the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty in this well-known state. But many do not know about the many beaches in New York. From Coney Island in Brooklyn to Wades Beach on Shelter Island, there are over 100 places to get wet here. What’s more, many of these beaches allow your fur baby to join you on the sand and in the water. Here are 17 of the most popular dog beaches in New York State to enjoy with your canine companion. 

Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area Beach

Starting in the far northeastern corner of the state just minutes from the Canadian border, Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area boasts some of the most unspoiled natural areas in New York. Along Kings Bay and Lake Champlain, your leashed pup is welcome to explore the scents and sights of the waterfront, even taking a swim if he wants to. With almost 700 acres, the wildlife management area is a haven for creatures of all kinds, from lizards and turtles to deer and coyotes. 

The Kings Bay Wildlife Management Area is made up of pastures, marshes, swamps, and woods, as well as having a long stretch of waterfront to enjoy. Many locals visit the park to hunt, fish, and hike, but families also come to picnic, swim, and camp during the summer. Anglers can find walleye, bowfin, catfish, and bass in Lake Champlain. In fact, anglers even come during the winter for ice fishing on Catfish Bay. 

Robert Moses State Park Beach

Less than two hours from Kings Bay to the west, Robert Moses State Park is in the Thousand Islands Region that starts at Lake Ontario and stretches to Lake Champlain. The tunnel under the Eisenhower Canal Lock will take you to this large pup popular park where leashed and friendly dogs are welcome all year long. According to the locals, this is some of the best fishing in the state of New York, so bring your gear and a fishing license if you like to fish.

Besides fishing on the St. Lawrence River, you and your fur baby can swim, picnic, and play on the beach. There is a nature center with events, but dogs are not allowed inside. However, there are eight trails you can explore with your pup that range from a short walk to a nice 1.4-mile hike along Robinson Bay. Book one of the 225 campsites if you plan to stay for a while. 

Kring Point State Park Beach

Head north for about an hour and you will find another state park that welcomes fur babies. Kring Point State Park is sandwiched between St. Lawrence River and Goose Bay. In fact, no matter where you are in the park, you can see water, so your canine companion will have plenty of choices of where to play. And with 100 campsites, you will have plenty of choices of where you want to sleep. Over half of these campsites are along the water.

If you have a boat, bring it with you. There are boat launches and docks for your convenience, and the fishing is excellent here. Swimming is popular here as well on the river as well as the bay. The park also has picnic areas with tables and grills so you can share a meal with your pooch. They also have playgrounds, showers, and restrooms for all. And during the winter, locals come for cross-country skiing. 

Burnham Point State Park

Approximately 100 miles southwest, Burnham Point State Park also runs along the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands Region. The woods are not as thick here as in some of the state parks, but it has plenty of rugged wilderness to explore with your canine companion on one of the nature trails. Keep a leash on your pup the whole time, and be sure to pick up after him anywhere you go, including the docks, playgrounds, and campgrounds.

Boating and fishing are both popular here, and your pooch is welcome to play in the water too. Anywhere along the river, you can catch walleye, muskie, pike, bass, and catfish. This park also has camping, but there are only 45 campsites, so book way in advance if you want a spot. Many of the sites are along the riverfront, so you can just step out and walk to the water, which is very convenient. 

Westcott Beach State Park Beach

Just 27 miles to the south, Westcott Beach State Park is located on Lake Ontario and Henderson Bay and is a very popular spot for locals and visitors. What is really special here is that many of the campgrounds are located on the bluff, giving you a stunning view of everything. There are over 150 sites, but you should still book in advance. Each site has a fire pit, picnic table, and parking pad and some even have electricity and water. 

What’s more, your fur puppy is welcome to swim off the leash in the northern section of the park near the boat ramp and ball fields. There are no fences though, so you will need to make sure your pup follows voice commands before letting him go. The picnic area is also a great place to enjoy a meal. If you did not bring any food, the concession stand or camp store are stocked with snacks and beverages. 

Sandy Island Beach State Park

Sandy Island Beach State Park is about a half hour south of Westcott Beach State Park and is also part of the Thousands Islands Region and the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetland System. Located between Sandy Pond and Lake Ontario, this park gives you the rare opportunity to experience dunes formed by the waves and wind from a sea that was here before Lake Ontario was around. It is the only freshwater dune area in the northeastern part of the US. 

Also, the soft golden sand here is a welcome change from the grassy waterfronts at many of the local beaches. You and your leashed fur baby can spend the whole day playing in the surf and sand. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the sand or at one of the picnic areas, or walk to one of the local eateries. Fishing is good here, so maybe you can catch your lunch and cook it up on the grill. 

Fair Haven Beach State Park 

Heading southwest, Fair Haven Beach State Park can also be found on Lake Ontario in upstate New York, about an hour from Sandy Island. Besides the waterfront on Lake Ontario, Fair Haven also shares part of Little Sodus Bay, Sterling Pond, and Sterling Creek. With sensational bluffs, golden sand beaches, and hilly valleys, this is one of the most impressive state parks in New York. This includes 1,500 feet of swimming beach for everyone to enjoy. However, the 600 feet of guarded beach is a no-dog zone. 

And with 220 campsites, you are sure to find a spot perfect for you and your fur puppy. Just keep him on a leash the whole time you are in the park, even in the water. You can enjoy a walk in the woods or along the water with several different trails, do some fishing in any of the waters, or grab some grub at the concession stand for a picnic. 

Lake Erie State Park Beach

Three hours west of Fair Haven, Lake Erie State Park is pet friendly to friendly pets on leashes. The park has been named one of America’s Top 100 campgrounds and is on the top 10 list of bird-watching spots in the US. There is almost a mile of waterfront on Lake Erie, which is fairly shallow and popular for families with kids and pets. The only place your pup is not allowed is in the guarded section of the beach. 

Besides water fun, you can also take a walk in the woods or around the small fishing pond in the southern section of the park or enjoy a picnic lunch or BBQ at one of the picnic areas. Some of them have shelters and restrooms with water. If you have little humans, they can enjoy the playgrounds with slides, swings, and climbing fun and you will also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and disc golf too!

Sampson State Park Beach

With more than 2,000 acres and miles of waterfront on Seneca Lake, Sampson State Park is a great place to spend a day or a whole week with your fur puppy. This park is about just about 175 miles from Lake Erie State Park and has also become extremely popular due to its great camping facilities that includes 248 campsites in five different loops and 10 cottages on the water. Boating is the number one activity, with 96 boat slips, several launch sites, and fuel pumps.

The main beach at the northern end of the park is dog-free, but your pup is welcome to swim and play anywhere else along the water. Be sure to pack some water toys, snacks, and plenty of doggie waste bags to pick up after your pup. In addition to the lake, you can also have fun geocaching, golfing, hiking, biking, hunting, and fishing. Make sure you have a good camera because you can see some remarkable wildlife here. 

Helen McNitt State Park

You can find Helen McNitt State Park about 80 miles east of Sampson State Park on the banks of the Cazenovia Lake. The park has more than 130 acres of mostly undisturbed natural space to explore and enjoy with your leashed canine compadre. The park got its name from the family who gifted it to the state in 1999 and has forested hilly farm fields, wetlands, and waterfront that is all dog-friendly as long as your canine companion is on a leash. 

With 1,300 feet along Cazenovia Lake, your fur puppy will have plenty of room to run around and play in the water, on the beach, and in the grass. Many of the locals come here to fish and bird watch, and it has some of the most diverse wildlife in the state of New York. To get out on the lake, you will need a kayak or canoe, nothing larger is allowed, and there are no boat launches. 

Moffitt Beach

Located on Sacandaga Lake in northeastern New York, just about 55 miles east of Helen McNitt State Park, Moffitt Beach is a peaceful dog-lovers spot where you can spend days hanging out by the water. Moffitt Beach is located in Lake Pleasant along the Jessup River Wild Forest. The park boasts 260 campsites with hot showers, picnic tables, and fire rings, as well as a beautiful sandy beach among the white pines. It is known for its bass, perch, catfish, and trout fishing, and you can catch some lunkers here if you have a fishing license. 

Your pup is welcome to swim, play on the sand, and join you in the rest of the park as long as he is on a lead the whole time you are there. The one part of the beach dogs are not allowed is the designated swimming area, where there is a lifeguard on the southeastern corner of the lake. While you are there, be sure to take a walk over to Lake Pleasant, where you can also swim and fish. 

Lake George Dog Beach

About an hour to the east of Moffitt Beach, Lake George is on the southern end of Lake George just west of Million Dollar Beach before you get to the Lake George Steamboat Company. Although it is an unofficial dog beach, your fur puppy is allowed to be unleashed and free to play in the water and on the sand as long as you stay in the dog beach area. The Million Dollar Beach does not allow dogs. This beach is large enough for everyone, though, so no worries!

The beach is attached to the historic 35-acre Lake George Battlefield, where you can see Revolutionary War battle sites as well as preserved spots where the French and Indian War was fought. In the picnic area, there are even some sculptures of important people from the wars, including King Hendrick of the Mohawks and General William Johnson. Be sure to pack some plastic baggies for picking up after Fido. 

Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve

Vischer Ferry Nature & Historic Preserve is 100 miles south of Lake George between the Historic Erie Canal and the Mohawk River, just over 20 miles from Albany. In this 700+ acre park, there are important historical sites as well as natural space to protect the wildlife that calls the park home. Your leashed fur buddy is welcome to join you here along all of the trails, the waterfront, and all other outdoor areas. 

Hiking is the most popular activity here as both locals and tourists come to see the remains of historical sites as well as the creatures like foxes, coyotes, moose, deer, lynx, bobcats, and even black bears. You may also see some smaller critters, such as weasels, skunks, raccoons, and beavers. The four-mile Vischer Ferry Loop Trail is the best, according to locals, where you will explore the woods, canal, and riverfront areas. Your pup is welcome to play in the river but keep him leashed at all times. 

Kingston Point Beach Dog Park

An hour south of Vischer Ferry, Kingston Point Beach Dog Park can be found in Kingston Point Park has almost 90 acres for you and your pup to explore. Although he has to keep his leash on in most of the park, there is a leash-free fenced dog park in the southeastern corner of the park that includes a section of beach just for dogs! The park has been open since 1897 and has attracted many visitors with its wild space along the Hudson River. 

There is something for everyone in Kingston Point, including numerous picnic areas, a disc golf course, softball, nature walks, and bike trails. You can enjoy fishing if you have a license and the gear to use, and they even have kayaks for rent. In fact, they do guided kayak tours here too. The dog park is the favorite of pups, though, and you will love it too. There are two sections with plenty of space, but it does get crowded down by the water on hot days. 

Randalls Island

In the extreme southern portion of New York between Manhattan and Queens, two hours south of Kingston Point, pups are allowed to play at Randalls Island and they do not even need to be on a leash except for certain areas that are marked. And you do not even have to take a ferry to get there like some of the east coast islands since it is accessible by car, bike, or foot from the Robert Kennedy Bridge from the mainland or Brooklyn. 

Located between the Harlem River and East River, you can find lots of waterfront spots where you and your fur baby can play in the water. Just be careful of the current. Randall’s Island Park is the largest recreational area and covers almost 500 acres with more than 60 ball fields, playgrounds, beaches, and even a community farm. Be sure to ask before bringing your pup into any establishments, and bring your own supply of puppy poo bags. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park Dog Run

About 10 miles south, you will find a fun dog beach at Brooklyn Bridge Park by the famous Brooklyn Bridge. This park is about 85 acres, just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of downtown Brooklyn and is sectioned into 11 areas, including Piers one through six, John Street, Main Street, and two dog runs. One of them is on Pier 6 and includes a fenced area by the water. The pier also has fishing, volleyball, and concessions. 

Another specified dog area is on Main Street in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). It is only a half acre, has a lot of street noise, and gets really crowded, but it is also a great place to let your pup run around off his lead for a while. If you want to get closer to the water, try the Pier 6 dog run, where you will also find picnic areas, eateries, playgrounds, and restrooms.  

Coney Island

Don’t forget Coney Island! One of the most renowned spots in New York, this long beach in front of Luna Park is just a half hour from Corona Park. There are actually several spots on the island where you and your canine compadre can enjoy the beach. Whether you want sand or grass, you pick the place. The main beach is on the southernmost section, where you will find three miles of golden sand with clear blue waters. Your pup needs to stay leashed here, but he can swim and play. 

At the eastern end of the island, Manhattan Beach allows dogs off their leads in one certain area they call the Manhattan Beach Dog Run. Let your fur puppy run around and get rid of that excess energy before heading back to the car. During the summer, this is a busy place due to the proximity of so many attractions, so you may want to keep his leash handy. 

The Final Woof

While you are in New York, you cannot pass up a trip to the most famous park in the world, Central Park. It has over 840 acres and attracts close to 45 million visitors per year. Your pooch is allowed to join you on a leash anytime, but he is allowed in 23 areas of the park off the leash before 9 AM and after 9 PM. There is also a leash-free dog park on 67th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue. Or take your pup on a cruise aboard one of the huge ships along Alexandria Bay with Uncle Sam Boat Tours. For a shopping spree, take your pooch to Woodstock where almost every place is dog friendly. 

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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