15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Delaware

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terriers are posing at the delaware seashore state park in rehoboth beach in a dog friendly vacation

Delaware is recognized as The First State because it was the first to sign the Constitution of the United States. Even though it is small and only has about a million residents, the state was first inhabited over 11,000 years ago. It is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and only has three counties, which is the fewest number of counties in any US state. 

Although it is the second smallest, it is also one of the more populated states, with 500 people per square mile. Much of the eastern half of the state is on the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean so there are lots of beaches, with many that allow dogs. It is a popular tourist destination overall, with historic sites, museums, lighthouses, and galleries, as well as parks and beaches. 

The state is also home to several events like the World Championship Punkin Chunkin in the fall, the Riverfest in the summer, the Chocolate Festival in April, and the Jazz Funeral in September. Always check to see if dogs are allowed before heading to any event, big or small, and bring lots of baggies. Here are our favorite 15 vacation spots in Delaware for dog parents.


It may not officially be considered a city, the town of Bear has almost 20,000 residents with approximately 3,000 dogs. It is also the home of Lums Pond State Park, where your dog is welcome to join you. As a matter of fact, they even have an off-leash dog park in the park with a beach for pooches. With 1,790 acres of recreational space, there is something for everyone here which includes the 200-acre pond.

If you like hiking or just want to explore the swamp, take Fido on the Swamp Forest Trail. It is about seven miles long and quite rugged. If you want something easy, try the Mile Loop Trail, which is only one mile long and much less strenuous. They also have a campground with 73 sites. Make sure you reserve a spot in advance. 

 Another great place for your fur baby to enjoy the water is Bellevue State Park Beach. It has easy access to the Delaware River as well as Bellevue Lake and Stoney Creek.    

Rehoboth Beach 

This quaint little community on the coast has that small-town feel that makes any beach town romantic. But Rehoboth Beach also has the Homestead B & B and Canalside Inn. Not only is it a lovely place with incredible rooms (some have spa baths), but it also has a pet shower, a dog-walking area, and a fenced yard for your fur baby. There is also a pool and free breakfast for pet parents. 

The quaint boardwalk is lined with shops, eateries, and other entertainment like the Rehoboth Beach Museum. However, dogs are not allowed in all places so ask first. One of the places you can bring your pup is to Salty Paws. They even serve dog-friendly ice cream, treats, and cookies. He will love the peanut butter ice cream.

If you are looking for something different to do with your two best friends, take them to Zelky’s South Arcade. The dog-friendly game place has video games, skee ball, and pinball fun as well as prizes you can win. 

Killens Pond State Park 

Killens Pond has a little bit of everything for everyone for a summer vacation. Bring the kids along and you can enjoy the Killens Pond Water Park. It has five main slides with loops and twists as well as a leisure pool and a special place for the younger kiddos. There is even a baby pool with two frog slides and bubbles. 

They are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But dogs are not allowed at the water park, so you can take them to a pet sitter like Animal Lovers LLC. The park does have a 66-acre millpond where your pup can splash around or join you for boating, fishing, or swimming. There are several hiking trails as well. The 2.6-mile Pondside Trail is easy and fun for all. 

If your cuddle buddy needs to run around off his leash for a while, take him to Milford Dog Park. It has picnic tables, benches, shade, water fountains, and lots of room to run. 


Another great place for couples with dogs, Lewes has the Lazy L at Willow Creek Bed & Breakfast where they welcome dogs for a $30 fee and provide towels, bowls, and beds for them. The lovely home overlooks the coastal marsh and woods and offers kayak rentals and free breakfast every day with outdoor seating for pooch parents. There is also a game room, pool, and hot tub. They even have a dog run for your pup to play off the leash. 

Nearby, take your canine companion on the Cape May Lewes Ferry to see the cape. For a romantic glass of wine with your sweeties and a stunning view, head to Nassau Valley Vineyards. Leashed pooches are welcome on the patio and the grounds. If you want something stronger, go to Beach Time Distilling where they have whisky, gin, vodka, and rum and your dog can join you inside. 

Finally, take everyone to dinner at the Kindle where they serve some incredible food by candlelight or on the patio. They have everything from filet mignon to lobster bucatini. 

Dewey Beach 

Just south of Rehoboth Beach, you and the family can enjoy a visit to Funland. Although you will have to leave your pooch with a sitter, Funland is worth the visit with 19 different rides for kids of all ages although most of them are for kids under 10. Some of these include the carousel, Crazy Daisy, bumper cars, Boats, and Big Trucks as well as the Superflip 360, Sea Dragon, and Gravitron.

The park also has 11 midway games like the Ducks, Horse Races, and Skee Ball. You can even win prizes. Of course, they have carnival food and gift shops too. After the park, pick up your pup and take him to Dewey Beach. He is welcome to join you after 5:30 pm during the summer and he can even swim and play off the leash. 

Afterward, go to Woody’s for burgers and sandwiches or to Nalu Bar & Grill where you can all enjoy the tiki theme with nachos, burgers, and fries as well as a beer for the adults. 

Cape Henlopen State Park 

Just north of Rehoboth Beach, Cape Henlopen State Park sits right on Delaware Bay with more than six miles of coastland. Although dogs are not allowed on the swimming beaches during the summer, they can swim and play in the areas nearby. If you want to camp, there are 150 campsites available from March through November. They each have a picnic table and fire pit and there are playgrounds and restrooms with showers for public use. 

The park has eight trails including the one-mile Seaside Nature Trail, which is easy and runs along the bay as well as the 2.6-mile Walking Dunes Trail, which is a moderately difficult hike through the tidal marsh and the Great Dune. The 1.4-mile Pinelands Trail is the most popular and takes you through the woods, artillery bunkers, and cranberry bogs.

If you have a Delaware State fishing license, bring your gear to fish off the pier. You can find catfish, bluefish, striped bass, perch, cod, flounder, and drum. You may even catch a shark!

Fenwick Island 

Home to Fenwick Island State Park, the small beach town of Fenwick Island is just above the border with Maryland. It is definitely small with only 355 residents. But that makes it even more appealing to most people who want to have a nice getaway from everything and everyone. When it is time to unplug and unwind with your fur buddy, this is a great place to do it located between the Little Assawoman Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. 

The park has 344 acres with excellent surfing opportunities so you will probably see lots of locals on their boards. However, your cuddly canine companion is not allowed on the designated swimming beach from May through September so keep that in mind. There are other areas where he is welcome to swim and play. In fact, the park has designated pet areas for your pupster.

Take your puppers to Viking Golf for a day of mini-golf. The kid-friendly game is just as fun for adults and Fido will love to watch you. Just keep him from stealing the golf ball!

Bethany Beach

Although Bethany Beach only has about a thousand residents, that number goes up to 15,000 during the summer. Why not spend the winter at the beach instead? If you visit in November, the temperatures may dip into the 40s but it will be peaceful and you will practically have the place to yourself. In March, the beaches are still open to dogs and the temperatures then are in the upper 30s.

Winter is also a fun time to walk the trails in Bethany Beach. There are several named beaches for you and Fido to explore. The quarter-mile Bethany Beach Town Park Walk is a loop trail so you can go four times around for a full mile. During the winter, you may experience some snow and cold but if you come in early spring, you can catch the early blooming flowers. 

Let your pup run around leashless at Millsboro Dog Park. There is a small dog space, seating, and lots of room to roam but there is no shade except for the picnic table with an umbrella. There is a water fountain too. 

Brandywine Creek State Park 

Pack up your pup and head to New Castle for a winter break at Brandywine Creek State Park. It is perfect for sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing as long as it has snowed recently. If not, you can always go hiking, biking, or fishing anytime. Although the trails are mostly for snowshoeing, you can use the open meadows for cross-country skiing and sledding. The Tulip Tree Trail is the shortest and easiest at just under a mile. 

Take the Hidden Pond Trail to see the hidden pond. The trail is 1.4 miles and fairly easy although it does have a slight incline. There is also a picnic area with tables and barbecue grills as well as a playground for the little humans. Back in town, you can take the Historic New Castle Tour to see the historic gardens and buildings. 

Stop by TGI Fridays, Hooters, or Scoots for a bite to eat while you are in town. They all have dog-friendly areas so your pup can join you. 


For those who are on a budget, Wilmington has several dog-friendly hotels with rooms under $100. SureStay Plus is just $89 and has free Wi-Fi, family rooms, and free breakfast. And Days Inn has all that as well as a fitness center too! It is a large city with over 70,000 residents and an estimated 11,600 fur babies so you will probably see some of them out and about at the dog parks.

There are four free pup play areas in Wilmington. Carousel Bark Park is located at Carousel Park and has a pond. River Road Dog Park in Bellefonte has some awesome agility equipment. Talley Day Dog Park has a small dog section and lots of room to run. Banning Regional Dog Park is at Banning Park and has agility tunnels and jumps as well as a small dog area.

After your pup gets a workout, you can grab a beer at Wilmington Brew Works. Your cuddly canine companion can join you on one of the patios or the pergola. 


Newark is a small town in northwestern Delaware with about 31,000 people and 5,100 dogs. Just east of the Maryland border, the city has nine square miles with over 12,000 acres of parks and recreational space. The largest park in town is White Clay Creek State Park with 3,647 acres. If you like hiking, this park has plenty to offer with 37 miles of trails including 15 named trails and about a dozen that are unnamed. 

The 1.9-mile Mason Dixon Trail is an easy walk with your pooch, and he is allowed to be off-leash in some areas. The 3.7-Whitely Farms Trail is also fairly easy, with an elevation gain of 250 feet. For more of a challenge, try the 3.5-mile Chestnut Hill Trail. It takes you through a hilly area between two creeks with several bridges to cross. 

Let Fido run off the leash with the other fur babies at Iron Hills Dog Park so he can get rid of that excess energy he always seems to have so much of. Then, you can go back to the hotel and relax with a movie and room service. 

Delaware Seashore State Park 

If camping is your thing, pack your tent or RV and head to the Delaware Seashore State Park in Dewey Beach. They have over 480 campsites in two different campgrounds in the 2,825-acre park. However, it is a popular place so make sure you book your spot well in advance. It has several playgrounds for the kiddos, an amphitheater for events, a bathhouse with showers, and beach volleyball. Both are on the Indian River Inlet and have picnic tables and fire rings.

If you want to fish, make sure you have a Delaware fishing license and you can catch some whoppers. Saltwater fishing will get you some huge fish, including bass, flounder, and even sharks. You can fish in the ocean, Indian River Bay, or Rehoboth Bay. There is a bait and tackle shop if you need anything and a boat launch if you want to get out on the water. 

If you want to let your pup swim at Dewey Beach, it will have to be before 9:30 am and after 5:30 pm between May and September. No leash is required as long as he is voice-controlled.


With just over 24,000 residents and 4,000 dogs, Middletown is a dog-loving city between Odessa and Maryland. It is located in northwestern Delaware between the Elk River and the Delaware River. There are several great parks in Middletown, but the largest is Augustine Wildlife Area with 3,100 acres near Port Penn. Take a hike to see the vintage floating cabin and muskrat skinning shack by the river. 

Do something cool and unique with your pooch this weekend at Camp Adventureland! This is a perfect place if the weather to take your cuddle buddy if the weather is not cooperating because everything is inside. And when they say everything, they mean it! There are escape rooms, axe throwing, knife throwing, and kids’ games like ladder ball and cornhole. And your pup is welcome to join you as long as he is on a leash. 

Afterward, take Fido to Levels Road Dog Park where they have small and large dog areas, drinking fountains, shaded seating, and waste stations with baggies. 


In the middle of Dover, you will find Dover, which is the capital and the second most populated city in the state with just over 39,000 people and an estimated 6,500 fur babies. Dover is the best place in the state to learn all about the state’s history. At First State Heritage Park they have a variety of historic sites including the Old State House and the John Bell House. And there are park employees dressed in 1800s clothing to tell you all about it. 

Located on the Delaware River, you can also enjoy some water sports during the summer such as fishing, swimming, and boating. Or take your leashed puppers to Silver Lake Park where they have 180+ acres including a large lake for fishing and boating. There are also picnic areas with grills, playgrounds, and a fitness course. 

Little Creek Dog Park is also a fun place for your pup. It is fully fenced and has a small dog area with seating and water.

Holts Landing State Park

Another great park, this one on Indian River Bay, Holts Landing State Park, is 203 acres of recreational space along the bay that used to be the Holt family farm. Many people visit for fishing, clamming, crabbing, and hunting, while others come for swimming and boating. Your fur baby is welcome to join you as long as he is on a leash at all times and you pick up after him. 

Although the park does not have its own campground, there are several private campgrounds nearby, including Gulls Way, which has over 500 sites, and Tuckahoe Acres, with 300 sites. They both have electricity, showers, playgrounds, fishing, boating, and activities. If you plan to go fishing, clamming, or crabbing, make sure you have the proper licenses before you go. There are also three trails with several miles to explore.

Right up the road, you will find a vast array of restaurants, including Popeye’s Chicken, Pizza King, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Trébol Taco Shop.

The Final Woof

Delaware may not be huge, but they love dogs, so you will have plenty to do wherever you go in The First State. There are almost 1,000 vacation rentals that allow dogs in Delaware, including 60 hotels, motels, and resorts. You will also find about 260 pup popular restaurants, 20 dog parks, 10 dog beaches, and over 100 hiking trails that welcome dogs. If you are looking for a family vacation, Killens Pond has a water park, and Dewey Beach has Funland. For a romantic trip, Lewes has a fantastic bed and breakfast as well as a winery and Rehoboth Beach has a bed and breakfast with a spa bath. For a winter trip, try Brandywine Creek State Park or Bethany Beach.

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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