Located on the eastern coast along the North Atlantic Ocean at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is a popular beach city with locals as well as people visiting from all over the world. With a population of almost 460 thousand, it is the most populated city in Virginia and carries the nickname “America’s First Region.” It was the first inhabited area in 1607 that also included the areas that are now known as Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Norfolk.
You will find Virginia Beach in the southeastern section of Virginia, just shy of 20 miles east of Norfolk and 25 miles northeast of Chesapeake. The mild temperatures year-round make outdoor activities popular including the beaches of the city. Although it does get cold during the winter, it does not usually drop below freezing, so even winters are a fun time to walk along the beach here. We found 15 dog-friendly beaches in Virginia Beach, VA, for you and your fur puppy to check out.
Virginia Public Beach
From Labor Day until Memorial Day, you can bring your canine companion to Virginia Public Beach any time of the day as long as you keep him on a leash. At other times of the year, dogs are only allowed north of 42nd street on the northern end and Sandbridge on the southern end before 10 AM and after 6 PM. The public beach is about three miles long and runs along the ocean right in Virginia Beach.
Also, along this section of the coastline, you can find Neptune’s Park, with its famous statue of the Roman God. During the summer, they hold concerts here, which are free of charge. And since they begin at 7 PM, your dog is welcome to join you as long as he is leashed and does not mind large crowds. The beaches here also have concessions and restaurants, so you do not have to worry about packing food unless you want to.
First Landing State Park Beach
One mile north of Virginia Beach, False Cape State Park welcomes pups to play in the water and on the beach all year long. Although it does get cold in the winter. Make sure your canine companion has his leash and rabies tags on at all times. The massive park is dog-friendly, with many historical sites like the spot where the first landing was made in 1607. You and your pooch can also hike, bike, or run along any of the 20 miles of trails. One of them is a fitness trail where you can get a real workout.
This is the most popular park in Virginia, so do not expect it to be empty at any time. You will always see people boating, swimming, sailing, picnicking, and fishing. If you want to fish, you will need a state saltwater fishing license though. There are also more than 200 campsites if you and your fur puppy want to stay longer. But make a reservation in advance, or you may not get one. And be sure to bring some puppy poo bags to clean up after him.
Great Neck Park
Just over three miles from First Landing Beach, Great Neck Park is dog-friendly and has more than 70 acres to enjoy on Lynnhaven Bay and the eastern branch of the Lynnhaven River. As long as your canine companion stays attached to his leash at all times, you and he can play anywhere in the park. There are several trails where you and your pooch can explore the woods and waterfront and several picnic areas with tables and barbecue grills to have a nice meal.
The gazebo is a nice place to sit back and watch the water or just enjoy a book while your pup naps. Swimming and running around can make a pooch tired. There are also basketball and volleyball courts, a playground, and several shelters you can rent if you have a large crowd with you. There are also a few concession stands and a restaurant nearby if you want to pick something up.
Pleasure House Point Natural Area
Located just a few minutes west along the beach, Pleasure House Point Natural Area has more than 115 acres of natural space that includes a sandy beach, forests, marshes, and trails to explore. Swimming is possible on Pleasure House Creek, Crab Creek, or the western branch of the Lynnhaven River. As long as your pup is leashed, he is welcome anytime. You can also go boating, fishing, and snorkeling. There are a lot of different kinds of marine animals to see, like the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, speckled trout, and flounder.
The popular 2.3-mile Pleasure House Point Loop Trail here is a great way to see all the best spots in the park, including beach areas and wooded paths. Some of the wildlife you may see here include pelicans, terns, gulls, beavers, and otters. Most of the park is undeveloped, so you will also see a lot of ticks, mosquitos, and other pests, so bring the bug repellent for you both.
Bayville Farms Park
Bayville Farms Park has 68 acres of fun right next door to Pleasure House Point Natural Area, including tennis courts, basketball, softball fields, and shuffleboard courts. But there is also a few nice places along Pleasure House Creek where you and your fur buddy can swim. You will have to keep him on a leash with his rabies tag on it and pick up after him, of course, so bring your own doggie bags from home.
Besides swimming, boating, and fishing, you and your pup can enjoy a game of 18-hole disc golf or take a hike on the nature path. But that is not all! The park even has a fenced dog park where you can remove his leash and let him run free with the other fur puppies. There are benches for the pooch parents, water fountains for all, and vending machines if you need a snack or beverage.
Lake Lawson – Lake Smith Natural Area
A few minutes to the southwest of Bayville Farms Park, Lake Lawson – Lake Smith Natural Area is 42 acres with over 12 thousand feet of shoreline in Bayside Borough. Between the two lakes, there are plenty of great places to enjoy the water and the beaches. There are boat ramps, fishing platforms, and a crew there to help you if needed. Just keep your fur puppy’s leash on while you are there, and bring baggies to pick up whatever he drops.
Besides all that, the park also has a playground, picnic shelters with tables and barbecue grills, restrooms, and water fountains. If you want to go boating or fishing, you will need to get a fishing license and/or boating permit for boats up to 10 horsepower. Bank fishing is only allowed around the fishing station, and swimming is only allowed in designated areas. Be sure to bring extra towels and sunscreen for you both.
Ocean View Park Beach
You and your four-legged family will love this pup-friendly beach! Ocean View Park Beach is about six and a half acres and is located about five minutes west of First Landing State Beach. It has the same rules about dogs, so you can bring your pooch anytime before 10 AM and after 6 PM during the summer season and anytime during the rest of the year. He must also be on a leash and have his rabies tag attached.
Like Neptune Park, Ocean View Park Beach has free summer concerts from 7 PM until 9 PM on Sundays and themed entertainment on Friday nights, like Movie Nights and picnics. Be sure to check the rules about pets for individual events. But swimming is one of the main attractions here with the clear water of the Chesapeake Bay, and boating is popular too. You will also find volleyball, picnic tables, shops, and eateries all along the beachfront.
Located on the Lafayette River in Norfolk, less than 10 miles south of Ocean View Beach, Lafayette Park loves dogs so much they even have a fenced area for them to run around off the leash. With over 32 acres along the Lafayette River, there is plenty of space for you and your fur puppy to splash in the water and play along the banks. Although one of the largest attractions here is the Virginia Zoo, dogs are not allowed there, unfortunately.
The dog park is about three acres and features a special section for small and shy dogs, as well as water fountains, puppy poo bags, and benches for the pup parents. You should bring your own doggie bags, just in case, though. Outside the dog park, your pup will have to be leashed the whole time, but you and your canine companion can enjoy the picnic shelters, water, and ball fields too.
Bea Arthur Dog Park
Just a few minutes southwest of Lafayette Park, Bea Arthur Dog Park, features a huge space for all dogs to play on and off the leash. Bea Arthur was a well-known comedian on The Golden Girls and All in the Family, and she loved dogs. There are toy bins full of toys, water stations, a picnic area, and a separate section for little dogs or those that do not like to play rough. Each side has its own play equipment like ramps, tunnels, and even pools with a hose to fill them up on hot days.
Although the park is on the river, you are not allowed to swim because it is not clean enough according to the city. Better to just let him cool off in the pool instead to be on the safe side. The park also offers dog waste bags inside the mailboxes for you to use. However, you should bring some from home anyway.
Plum Point Park
Also in Norfolk, Plum Point Park is pup-positive as well. It is just a couple of miles northwest of the Bea Arthur Dog Park and boasts over five acres of trails, a waterfront, and a picnic area. You and your fur baby will have access to the Elizabeth River, and there is a kayak and canoe launch right in the park. You can also find informational signs along the trails marking historical sites from The War of 1812.
The Elizabeth River Trail is about seven miles and runs throughout the park and into the city beyond it. This is a nice way to learn about the area’s history and see some of the historic buildings and other sites. You can also enjoy a brew or two at the Benchtop Brewing Company along the trail where their outdoor beer garden is dog-friendly. Please keep your pooch leashed and pick up after him while you are there.
Grommet Island Park Beach
This is a popular family beach with over 15 thousand feet of golden sand to play in. Your pup is welcome as long as you keep him leashed while you are visiting. You will find Grommet Island Park Beach just south of the Resort Beach on Virginia Beach, right at the end of the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. The whole park, playground, and beach are the first of its kind to be 100% wheelchair accessible and are most often very crowded.
Being able to play with everyone else is important to all kids, and here everyone can have fun. There are sculptures, decks, two paths, and a swaying boat, as well as a sand scoop and other fun items. But your pooch will love the sand and surf, swimming and digging the day away. You can even rent surfboards and kayaks, memorials, restrooms, and an outdoor shower. Be sure to take a walk out on the jetty too.
Croatan Beach is just south of Grommet Island Park Beach and has three-quarters of a mile of sandy beach from the Rudee Inlet to Camp Pendleton. You will have your choice of the North Atlantic Ocean Owl Creek, Lake Wesley, or Lake Rudee to enjoy. Whether you are wanting to go swimming, boating or fishing, each of these water has its own special attributes. During the summer, lifeguards are available, and they even offer surfing classes. .
One important thing to note is that Camp Pendleton is a strictly secured military base that you and your dog are not allowed to pass the municipal parking lot. If you do, you can be arrested and fined. Surfing is very popular here and there are two designated surfing areas where you will not want your dog playing in. You are also allowed to take out a kayak or canoe, play in the sand, or try your luck at fishing.
Salem Woods Park
Just a few miles from Virginia Beach, Salem Woods Park has a 1.7-acre dog park where you can take your pooch off the leash and let him run around the park with the other fur babies. There are two sections, one for large dogs and another for the small ones and those that do not like to play rough. There is plenty of lush green grass, benches, water fountains, and a walking loop about a quarter of a mile long.
The rest of the park is fun, too, but your dog has to be on his leash when you are outside the dog park. With almost 22 acres, you and Fido can find all sorts of fun spaces to explore along the North Landing River, which runs right along the western border of the park. Make sure you have a good supply of doggie waste baggies to pick up whatever your pup drops.
Stumpy Lake Natural Area
Located along the border of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Stumpy Lake Natural Area has 1,422 acres that include a 278-acre lake for all to enjoy. Your canine companion is welcome as long as he is friendly and on a leash at all times. Being a Natural Area, there are a lot of protected nature areas, so make sure you do not let your pup get too close to any of them. Stumpy Lake is a nice place for swimming, fishing, or boating too.
The 1.7 miles of trails are easy and fun to explore with your pup and a great way to learn more about the flora and fauna of the area. There is even a golf course there, but you have to ask permission to bring your fur puppy on the grounds. The picnic area is small, but you can almost always find a picnic table to use.
Sandbridge Little Island Beach
Head south down the beach from Croatan Beach, and you will find the dog-friendly Sandbridge Little Island Park Beach just past Sandbridge Beach. Pack your cooler full of drinks and bring your fishing pole because the fishing pier here is a popular place to catch flounder, mackerel, and bass. Your fur puppy can play in the sand or the ocean, but you will have to keep him on a leash at all times.
The park also has picnic shelters, tennis courts, and restrooms as well as water fountains and plenty of shaded spots to sit in the grass with your pup. If you plan to fish on the pier, you will have to pay a small fee but you will almost always catch something here. Nearby, you can also find Jose Tequilas Mexican Grill & Bar, Baja Restaurant, and a watersports shop where you can rent boating and fishing equipment, bait, and snacks.
The Final Woof
While you are in Virginia Beach, you and your pooch can find many dog-friendly activities such as taking a cruise on the Chesapeake Bay with Captain Hoggs Charter Service or a ghost tour with Neptune Ghosts. You could even do a scavenger hunt at Mystery of Norfolk’s Scavenger Hunt Tour. Your fur buddy will really love enjoying a doggie ice cream at Salty Paws on Laskin Road. And there are a lot of breweries in Virginia Beach that allow you to bring your canine companion such as Smartmouth Pilot House and Commonwealth Brewing. Or grab a bite to eat at one of the many pup-popular eateries in town like Croc’s 19th Street Bistro, Froggies Smoke House, or Simple on Shore.