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Top Delaware Beaches and Day-Trip Destinations that Allow Dogs

dog on the beach

For most dogs, running around off-leash with other canine friends is a fantastic treat. Dogs are social creatures that enjoy roaming the outdoors; a dog-friendly park gives both you and your pet a place to exercise together.

Here are some local destinations for you and your dog to enjoy. Remember to be responsible and keep parks free from waste! Bring waste disposal bags to clean up after your pet.

  1. Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen is the shining star of the Delaware State Parks system, and it’s right here in Lewes!

Cape Henlopen is a sprawling park with plenty of things to do year-round, including biking, hiking, kayaking, and even touring a World War II fort.

Dogs are permitted on the beaches and seashore during the summer at any time of day, but they must have a leash. However, the Parks Division does not allow dogs in the swimming areas, ocean beach, or boardwalk from May 1 through September 30.

Pet-friendly boundary markers indicate where dogs can and cannot go.

After paying a $10 entrance fee, you and your dog can head to Herring Point and watch the sunrise over the water and rock outcroppings.

  1. Fenwick Island State Park

Fenwick Island, just a 35-minute drive south from Lewes, offers a relaxing pet-friendly escape from the big summer crowds for the day.

Dogs can run down three miles of ocean beach, designated by markers indicating pet-friendly areas. Use the pedestrian bridges from the appropriate parking lots to access these walkways.

If you visit with your pup, be aware that dogs cannot enter designated bird nesting areas. They’ll also have to keep off the beaches from May 1 through September 30.

  1. Bethany Beach

A few minutes away from Fenwick Island is Bethany Beach, another gorgeous pet-friendly destination to bring Fido for the day from October 1 through May 14.

Dogs must be on-leash in the South Bethany and Sea Colony areas. Disposal bags are available at either end of the boardwalk.

Because there are only three hotels in Bethany Beach, there won’t be too many tourists crowding the area. This makes Bethany Beach an excellent choice for a quick and quiet getaway.

  1. Dewey Beach

Dewey Beach, a 10-minute drive from the Moorings at Lewes, offers a wealth of pet-friendly activities throughout the year.

You and your leashed pet can watch dolphins, enjoy the sand, and even play watersports. There is even a veterinary hospital nearby should the need arise.

During the summer, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9:30 a.m. and after 5:30 p.m., while there are no restrictions throughout the rest of the year. However, before bringing your pet to this beach, know that you need to get a Dewey Beach dog license from Town Hall first. This license has a one-time cost of $15.

  1. Rehoboth Beach

Lewes is only minutes away from the nation’s “Summer Capital,” Rehoboth Beach, which boasts large stretches of sand and surf.

One of the most popular beaches in the area is located downtown; this beach is free of access, but you do need to pay for parking if you’re driving in. Of course, the downtown beach can get crowded, but it’s the closest and hosts a lot of activities.

Dogs can enjoy all beaches and boardwalk shops from November 1 through March 30.

  1. Bowers Beach

Bowers Beach is less than an hour away from Lewes if you’re willing to drive a little farther to get away from the tourist crowds and enjoy a quiet day on the beach with your pup. Pets must remain on a leash during the visit, and must not wander into the neighboring yards and dune projects.

Bowers Beach offers plenty of space for pets to enjoy the sand, and the people in town are friendly and always willing to chat. It’s a quiet getaway destination, and parking spaces are close to several vantage points with scenic views.

  1. Broadkill Beach

Last but not least, 20 minutes from the Moorings at Lewes is Broadkill Beach, another uncrowded destination that allows leashed dogs to enjoy the area from October 1 through April 30. This long strip of land borders the mouth of the Delaware Bay and the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.

The water at Broadkill Beach is just as calm as the rest of the surroundings; there are few waves, and the water is more like a lake than an ocean. Overall, it’s a peaceful and serene place where pets are welcome.

At The Moorings at Lewes’ Life Plan Community, pets are part of our families. We accept well-behaved domestic pets, and we even have a fenced “Bark Park” for dogs. Contact us to schedule a visit of the grounds.