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Dog-Friendly Beach? 8 Reasons Why Amelia Island Is a Treat for Dogs & Dog Lovers

Dog-friendly beach? As I looked out at the silhouette of a dog and his human walking along the shoreline of Amelia Island’s dog-friendly beach, I couldn’t help but wish my furry pal, Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe, could have been part of our adventure to Amelia Island. Since airlines have yet to imagine a pet-safe, pet-friendly travel solution for all dogs, she was safe at home—probably squirrel watching.

photo dog on beach

Dog-friendly beach? What dogs love about Amelia Island

Fortunately, thanks to all the dogs of Amelia Island—especially the dogs and their humans who honored me with dog photos and dog stories—I would soon get my fix of dog love and dog licks from so many adorable pups who were out sniffing the ocean breezes and discovering the hidden treasures of Amelia Island. It was a testament to just how dog-friendly Amelia Island and its pristine beaches are.

If you’re searching for a place to take your dog that’s relaxed, happy, low-key, with a twist of history, please read on. We found a hidden gem in Northern Florida that’s the perfect combination of dog-friendliness, natural beaches, and seaside southern charm.

What is it about Amelia Island and its beaches?

I’d read about Amelia Island years ago, but it wasn’t until now that the pull of its historic charm, welcoming lack of cookie-cutter retail stores, southern beach charm, and giant oak trees laced with Spanish moss brought us into its welcoming fold. In addition to all that, the biggest treat was meeting all the tail-wagging, happy dogs who dotted the shorelines of the dog-friendly beaches and left sandy paw prints of happiness impressed upon my heart.


Beach days with a dog

leave sandy pawprints of happiness

impressed upon one’s heart.

~ Jenise Carl

What do dogs and their humans love about Amelia Island?

But what captures the hearts of our dogs who visit the ocean? What is it about the beach and Amelia Island that makes our canine companions wag their tails with enthusiasm and smile as they sit beside their owners’ beach chairs or walk along the sandy shore? I was curious, so I asked dog owners who were visiting Amelia Island why their dogs love the call of the ocean, and especially dog-friendly Amelia Island.

Here are some of the answers along with pictures of the dogs who were playing around, lazing around, or digging up fun at the beach.

8 reasons why dogs love Amelia Island

1. Listening to the calming call of ocean waves.

Reece and Lola, besties.

Meet Reece and Lola, Scottish Terriers and besties. “They love the ocean. It calms them.”

What a model pup! Reece poses for the camera.

2. Searching for buried treasures.

Sully by the beach on Amelia Island. Photo credit: #sullybusiness

Meet Sully, 2.5 years old.

“Sully loves the beach. She digs up bones and hides them again.”

If you’d like to follow along on Sully’s adventures, you can find her on Instagram using the hashtag #SullyBusiness.

3. Enjoying the beach in the evening.

Tater, always by her human’s side.

Meet Tater, loyal rescue dog.

“Our Tater is a rescue dog. She loves going on trails, late-night beach outings, and being by her dad.”

4. Hanging out with the family.

Biscuit, beach-loving family dog.

Meet Biscuit, a sweet Shih Tzu.

Biscuit’s happy to enjoy the beach with his family. This little nugget of fluff sparked a conversation with his human that I’m excited to share with you: Biscuit’s family has two beautiful VRBO vacation rentals on the beach that are dog-friendly. It was great to meet the family (including Biscuit), and it was easy to see how much care and love they put into their condos to make them a home away from home…not only for people but dogs too. If you’d like to learn more about these oceanfront, dog-friendly condos, here are the links: Sea Glass Cottage and Sea Turtle Cottage. (Also, in part two of my series on dog-friendly Amelia Island, I’ll share more on dog-friendly places to stay.)

5. Beach digs!

Sophie, ready for the next adventure.

Meet Sophie, Mini Goldendoodle.

What does Sophie love about Amelia Island? The picture gives away her favorite beach activity. Sophie loves digging in the sand 🙂 Sophie has her own Instagram account where she shares her adventures and cuteness. You can follow her adventures @minidoodlesophie.

6. Bringing a ball to the beach.

Maverick, ball is life.

Meet Maverick, 5-year-old Labradoodle.

Maverick’s all about fetching happiness at the beach. He’s pretty fetching himself! Follow along on his escapades at @jersey_shore_dog.

7. Checking out the nearby trails and nature walks.

Maggie, trail blazer and squirrel watcher.

Meet Maggie, loyal companion.

When Maggie’s not adventuring along one of the tree-lined Amelia Island trails with her humans, she loves chasing squirrels.

8. Keeping it real. Doing what your dog enjoys.

Ellie Mae, loving family dog on beach patrol.

Meet Ellie Mae, 9-month-old Dachshund.

“Ellie Mae actually doesn’t like the ocean waves at all! She keeps her distance when a wave comes rolling in.”

Smart pup! And what a great reminder that not all dogs love water. While Ellie Mae steers clear of the waves, she enjoys hanging with her humans while they search for shark teeth along the beach. (More to come on shark teeth treasure hunts and other things to do in Amelia Island in part two of this series.)

5 beach activities you can do together with your dog

Inspired by all the happy beach dogs and their families, Chloe and I put our hands and paws to the keyboard and created a list of five activities that dogs and humans can do together at dog-friendly beaches like those at Amelia Island. It’s important to note that, before you head out to the beach, please be pet prepared. The American Kennel Club shared an informative article on saltwater poisoning in dogs. Happy-Go-Doodle’s motto? Safety first and happiness will follow!

1. Breathe in the ocean air. In reading about dogs, I’ve learned that a dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be tens, thousands, and possibly even hundreds of thousands of times more acute than a human’s. Suffice it to say, a dog’s sense of smell is way better than ours. Just sitting on the beach and sniffing the ocean breeze is a great enrichment activity for your dog…and relaxing for us humans too.

2. Does your dog love to dig? Let them dig in the sand. Or try covering your dog’s toy in the sand and let them find it. Just make sure that the sand is not too hot for their sensitive paws. Also, choose a toy that does not collect sand so that the grit wears down the dog’s teeth.

3. Take an early morning or an evening walk on the beach with your dog.

4. Sing a song to your dog while sitting on the beach. Dogs love the sound of your voice and won’t even notice if you can’t carry a tune. Whether it’s your favorite Jimmy Buffett beach song, an upbeat Who Let the Dogs Out, or throwback like Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog, your dog will enjoy it and may even howl along!

5. Just being with you is fun for a dog. Our dogs are pack animals, so spending time together is an adventure and a joy in itself.

Ready to visit Amelia Island’s dog-friendly beaches?

If you’re ready to reward your four-legged pal with a little beachy R&R at dog-friendly Amelia Island, Chloe and I dug up some helpful tips for you.

Where is Amelia Island?

First of all, Amelia Island is a barrier island located just off the coast of northeast Florida in Nassau County. In addition to 13 miles of beaches, there are plenty of other dog-friendly activities. Here is a map to help you get an idea of where Amelia Island is located:

What to know before you go: Amelia Island’s pet policies

Secondly, here are Amelia Island’s dog-friendly policies:

  • Amelia Island welcomes leashed dogs on the beaches. Please remember to bring your own supply of dog poop sacks. The beaches (and every place we traveled in Amelia Island) appeared pristine and dog poop-free.
  • As of this publishing, you can find Amelia Island’s Beach Ordinance on Amelia’s Island Living and Travel. Leashed dogs are welcomed and dog owners are responsible for picking up after their dogs.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the beach at these Florida state parks: Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park.

What are some other dog-friendly beaches on the northeast coast of Florida and nearby states?

Finally, if your dog’s bucket list includes a road trip along the northeast coastline and visiting more dog-friendly beaches and islands, here’s our list of six other dog-friendly beaches within a short (four hours max) driving distance from Amelia Island. While we have not visited these locations, according to my research, they are dog-friendly. Some dog-friendly beaches have limited dog-friendly hours during peak seasons, so please check the links for specific guidelines.

If you’re ready to celebrate the spirit of the sea with your dog, we hope you and your furry pal find great joy and happiness together. Whether you’re relaxing or exploring dog-friendly beaches, time spent with your dog is joy…for both ends of the leash.

Do you take your canine companion to dog-friendly beaches?

We’d love to hear. Please comment below.

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Linda Hurst

Sunday 30th of June 2019

So glad to see the Scotties enjoying the sand! I'm sure our Charlie would love it too!


Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

Oh, yes! I thought of you when I saw these two cuties! I'm glad you enjoyed the pics of them. Doodle kisses!

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