Many dog owners have at one time or another secretly wished they could bring their dog to the beach with them. But along so many boardwalk and beach entrance are signs explicitly telling them: ”No dogs allowed.”
So, dogs owners either sneak their pets onto the beach in the off hours, before the crowds get there or after the sun goes down; or they go to the few designated dog beaches along the Jersey Shore, which are often areas set aside for fishing (watch for the cars!) or along some lonely bayside beach.
So, it was a big deal when Wildwood (Exit 4) opened a real ocean-facing dog beach in June. Canines are welcome from dawn until dusk all year long on the beach at Poplar Avenue between Morey’s and Surfside piers. The only catch: Dogs must remain on a leash.
Stone Harbor takes a slightly different policy toward dogs during the summer months. They are allowed on the beach between 80th and 83rd streets from 7 p.m. until sunset. Similarly, in Mantoloking, dogs are permitted on the beach between May 15 and Oct. 1 from sunrise to 8 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to sunset, barring Lyman Street beach.
It’s more common to see dogs permitted on beaches during the shore’s “off months.” In Cape May, leashed dogs are welcome on the beach from November through March.
Dogs on a leash are also welcome on the beaches of Sea Isle City from November through April, and Ocean City, Ventnor City, Brigantine Beach, Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island Township, Manasquan, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, Belmar, Avon By the Sea, and Asbury Park from October to April or mid-May.
It’s important to note that visitors are expected to keep their dogs on a leash at these beach-front destinations. More lenient in their restrictions are the state’s bay-facing beaches, which are often dedicated dog beaches, or beaches where the rules are enforced less assertively. Tickets for disobeying dog beach rules can reach up to $150.
Leashed dogs are welcome to walk along Delaware Bay-facing beaches throughout the year in Cape May County. Visitors to Sandy Hook are permitted to bring their leashed dogs to the bay-facing beaches of Plum Island and Horseshoe Cove, and the same goes for Fisherman’s Cove in Manasquan.
However, in Seaside Heights and Atlantic City, dogs are banned from the beach all year long. Good thing their neighboring beaches are but a hop, skip, and jump away.
More New Jersey dog-friendly beaches are listed at PetsWelcome.com