Dog Friendly Beaches in Dorset: The Ultimate Guide for Pet Owners
Updated: Sep 1
Dog Friendly Beaches in Dorset that are Welcoming To Dog Walking?
Dorset is well known for its miles of beautiful, dog-friendly golden sandy beaches and the Jurassic coast, which provides an ideal playground for humans and their companions.
Frolicking in the sand, romping in the waves, and pursuing countless sticks are all part of the adventure.
A day at the beach with your four-legged friend can be fabulous fun!
So whether you are looking for a place for your pup to have a good swim, relax and soak up the sunshine or take in the fresh sea air, we've made a list of dog friendly beaches here that you need to add to your 'must visit list' on your next stay in Dorset.
How do you find a Dorset beach that welcomes dogs close to you?
To help you out, we've compiled a guide to Dorset's best dog-friendly beaches, traversing from East to West along the coast.
Top Beaches in Dorset :
First Stop - Which Christchurch beaches are dogs allowed on?
Dogs are allowed all year, off-leash at Highcliffe Castle Beach, apart from the stretch of beach between Highcliffe beach groynes H4 and H8.
For 1 May to 30 September, dogs are not allowed within these groynes (but they are permitted off-leash outside of this period).
Dogs should always be kept on a leash on the promenade and paths.
Dogs are only allowed on friars cliff beach from 1 October to 30 April. Outside of this period, dogs are not permitted on the beach.
And they must always be on a leash when walking on the promenade, cliff steps, and paths.
Avon Beach - Christchurch - (avon google maps link)
Although it is dog friendly off seaon, it does get jam-packed during the summer as it's ideal for young families.
This beach has everything from beach huts and sun loungers to nearby restaurants and cafes.
During the months of October to April, dogs are allowed to roam freely on the beach.
But dogs are not allowed between the 1st of May and the 30th September.
Great news - dogs can be off-leash on the Gundimore beach throughout the year. However, they must be walked on a lead when strolling along the promenade.
Mudeford Sandbank - Christchurch
Mudeford Spit - (mudeford google maps link)
There is a south-facing pebble beach (shown above), with grand ironstone and clay cliffs, and soft, sandy beaches at Mudeford spit, juxtaposed with the colourful and gorgeous Mudeford beach huts.
These are all great dog beaches throughout the year without needing to be on a leash. However, if arriving at the beach through Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve, pets should be closely monitored (on lead) to avoid disturbing wildlife.
The Hengistbury head beach is excellent for a seaside stroll and has some great history to explore.
Hengistbury Head is a relatively unspoilt beach, consistently featuring in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice awards.
The famous beach permits doggy visitors throughout the year; however, you should keep them on a leash to guard the natural environment, as the area is a nature reserve.
Details and parking information for Hengistbury Head Beach are here. One of our favourites is to ride the land train from the Hiker Café down to Mudeford and, enjoy the beaches, take a leisurely stroll back.
Thankfully, there is plenty of parking, with toilets and cafés at both ends of the site.
Venturing further west, the next stop is Bournemouth.
Next Stop: Dog-friendly places Bournemouth
Dog Friendly Beaches in Bournemouth Map
Take a look at Bournemouth council's dog-friendly beaches below -the map shows the time of year when a dog is allowed on the Bournemouth beaches.
Need somewhere to stay? Would you like to learn more about dog friendly Beach Houses in Bournemouth?
Bournemouth Dog Friendly Beaches
All year round, dogs are allowed on the following beaches in the Bournemouth beachfront.
From 1 October to 30 April, dogs are welcome on the beach year-round.
However, during the months of 1 May to 30 September, they are only permitted in the signposted areas:
From Poole Middle Chine to Durley Chine,
Fisherman's Walk Beach to Southbourne Beach and Southbourne Hengistbury Head.
As always, dogs must be on lead on the Bournemouth beach promenade, Bournemouth Pier, zigzag paths and cliff paths.
Southbourne is possibly the most popular dog friendly beach in Bournemouth and Poole.
At the Fisherman's Walk Beach (Groynes 32 to 41), dogs are welcome all year round.
They are not permitted to be off-leash on the rest of the beach from 1 May to 30 September.
However, from 1 October to 30 April, they can be let loose on all sections of Southbourne Beach.
There is also a lovely grill and BBQ area for those warm summer evenings - you can barbeque for up to 30 people without a license.
Facilities: Outdoor Showers, Beach huts, deck chairs, beach shop/kiosk, cafe and car park.
The dog-friendly segment of Boscombe Beach at Fisherman's Walk welcomes dogs all year round.
They are prohibited in other areas of this section of the beach during the busy summer season (from 1 May to 30 September).
The easiest way to understand this is to look at the Bournemouth dog beach map below.
Dogs are permitted off-leash from 1 October to 30 April in all Boscombe Beach sections.
Nevertheless, it is still necessary for them to be on a lead on the promenade, Boscombe Pier, zigzag paths and cliff paths at all times.
Can you take dogs on Bournemouth Pier?
Yes, dogs are welcome on Bournemouth Pier, but you need to make sure they don't come to any harm as it can get unpleasantly busy.
This Bournemouth dog friendly beach has been awarded the Blue Flag (along with 11 others).
Throughout the year, dogs are welcomed at Durley Chine Beach between groynes 5 (middle of Durley Chine east) and 7 (Durley chine).
The access to the Durley chine east through a gorgeous pine forest is worth the visit alone, but the beautiful soft sandy beach tops it off.
From 1 May to 30 September, dogs are prohibited in other parts of the beach.
Dogs may roam free on the entire beach from 1 October to 30 April.
They must always be kept on a leash on the promenade, zigzag paths, and cliff paths.
The next chine west is Alum Chine Beach. This is one of Bournemouth's most beautiful dog friendly beaches.
But it's often overlooked as it's a little further from the town centre - which makes it perfect if you prefer quieter spots as we do!
So, it's excellent news that dogs are allowed all year round between Branksome Dene Chine and Alum Chine Beach Office (groyne 3) - look at the signs.
Furthermore, from 1 October to 30 April, dogs are permitted off the lead. From 1 May to 30 September, dogs are not allowed on some sections of the beach - keep an eye out for regulations.
Are dogs allowed on Poole beaches?
West of Bournemouth is Poole - see the map below, dogs are accepted on the Poole beaches from 1 October to 30 April.
See the map above for Poole dog beaches.
Year-round, dogs are permitted from the eastern side of the Branksome Chine beach office to Alum Chine Beach Office Bournemouth and from the western end of Sandbanks beach to Haven Point by the chain ferry.
Between 1 May and 30 September, dogs are not permitted on any of the town's Blue Flag beaches (Sandbanks, Shore Road beach, Canford Cliffs, and Branksome Chine beach).
They must be kept on a leash on the promenade at all times.
Hamworthy park and beach, not shown on the map above, is on the northern shore of Poole Harbour; it is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the town, offering stunning views of the harbour and Purbeck Hills in the distance.
Dog owners will be delighted to know that their pups can run freely around the beach all year round, although they must be kept on a lead while strolling along the promenade.
Dogs are allowed all year between Alum Chine Beach Office and Branksome Dene Chine.
From October to April, dogs can be taken off the lead on all parts of Branksome Chine Beach. They must, however, be kept on the lead when walking along the promenade, zigzag paths and cliff paths.
During the summer period, from May to September, dogs are not permitted on the other sections of the beach.
Canford Cliffs Beach allows dogs from 1 October to the end of April. During this time, dogs should be kept on a leash when walking on the promenade, zigzag, and cliff paths.
At Shore Road Beach, pups are invited from 1 October to 30 April (while other times are off-limits for them). When on the promenade, dogs must always be on a leash.
Dogs have an all-year designated area, at the western end of Sandbanks Beach near Haven Point, for their beach activities.
From the start of May to 30 September, dogs are not allowed on the main sandbanks beach itself, though they are let off lead at other times.
They must always remain leashed on the eastern side of the promenade.
If you're unsure please check in at the friendly sandbanks beach office!
West of Bournemouth Dog Friendly Beaches from Studland to Weymouth
Dogs are invited to join their owners at Studland Beaches throughout the year. However, certain restrictions apply during specific periods.
It is necessary to keep the dogs on a lead of less than 2 metres at all access points to the beaches to ensure the safety of the wildlife living in the neighbouring heathland.
From 1 May to 30 September, dogs must be kept on a lead shorter than 2 meters; otherwise, they can be off-leash.
Dogs are invited to join in the fun all year at Monkey Beach (between Stone Quay and Swanage Pier) and off-lead on the main beach between 1 October and 30 April.
However, when walking around The Parade and adjacent roads, they should always be leashed.
Local area trip: It's a breeze to get to Old Harry Rocks from the centre of Swanage, just a short 4-mile trip by car (or foot!). The National Trust maintains this beloved landmark of the Dorset coast.
Bring your pup along and take a picture with this stunning view and amazing sunsets! You'll be mesmerized by the coastal views from the cliffs - remember to keep them leashed by the cliff edge!
Kimmeridge Bay, which can be found here, is open to four-legged friends throughout the year, and they can run off-lead at this location.
Doggies are allowed throughout the year on the left side of the slipway at Lulworth Cove.
Two famous beaches in Dorset, Durdle Door and Man O' War, welcome dogs year-round.
However, no dog waste or litter bins are available on these famous beaches, the nearest ones are in the car park so please come prepared.
Ringstead Beach is the last bay heading west before we get to Weymouth.
The beach can be visited by dog owners all year round, and they can run off the lead.
Dog friendly Weymouth Beaches
Bowleaze Cove - (bowleaze google maps link)
At Bowleaze Cove, dogs are invited to join their owners at any time of year and can run off-leash.
Weymouth Beaches - (weymouth google maps link)
Your dog is allowed off lead from Preston Beach to Bowleaze Cove year-round - there are no limitations.
Four-legged friends are welcome to run free at Worbarrow Bay all year round, with no leash required.
Between October and April, they can take off-lead on the sandy section of the beach up to the Greenhill Groyne. But. from May to September, there are no dogs permitted here.
They are permitted all year round, on lead, in the specified dog exercise area close to the Pavilion end of Weymouth beach.
Nevertheless, your dog must always be leashed on The Esplanade.
West of Weymouth Dog Friendly Beaches
Chesil Bank & Fleet Lagoon Nature Reserve, dogs are welcome on the beach from the Tank Teeth Boundary to the Portland Boundary Stone all year, except from 1 September to 30 April, when they must be kept on a leash on the seaward side of the beach.
Visits to the Fleet Lagoon Nature Reserve are restricted to the South West Coast Path, and no public access is allowed along the shoreline to protect wildlife.
Please help maintain the beauty of Dorset by picking up your dog mess - failure to do so could result in a £1000 fine.
If you want to learn more about Bournemouth dog-friendly beach houses, visit our home page here.
Pups are welcomed year-round in the signposted region on the eastern side of Burton Bradstock Beach, beyond the wooden chalet when heading east towards Cogden Beach.
No pups on the main beach from the 1 June to the 30 September, except assistance dogs (at other times of the year, four-legged friends can be off their leashes).
Dog friendly beaches near Bridport
Being off the lead between 1 October and 30 April is permissible on all the West Bay Beaches.
Dogs are prohibited from East Beach (east of the Pier) and West Beach (west of the Pier) between 1 May and 30 September. The third beach is separated from West Beach by a large rock groyne; this beach has no restrictions.
They should be kept on a leash around the harbour and the esplanade.
Dogs are permitted year-round at Cogden Beach and can be let off their leash.
Our four-legged friends are allowed throughout the year and free to roam off-leash.
From 1 October to 30 April, they are welcome to run off-leash at Seatown Beach; however, they must be kept on the leash for the remainder of the year.
On the Bridport side of the River, Char dogs are allowed to roam off their leashes at any time of the year. However, dogs must be kept on leads in all parking lots and walkways encircling the beach.
From 1 October to 30 April, dogs are allowed to roam off the lead at Charmouth West Beach, on the Lyme Regis side of the River Char, near the western end of the promenade. However, from 1 May to 30 September, pets must be kept on a leash.
Dogs must always be on the lead near the beach, car parks, and pathways.
Heading further West - Lyme Regis Dog Friendly Beaches
Lyme Regis - your canine companion can join you for a beach day all year round in East Cliff Beach, Church Cliff Beach and Monmouth Beach, with the freedom to roam off lead.
From 1 October to 30 April, dogs are allowed on a lead at Lyme Regis Front Beach.
However, Front Beach (sandy beach) and Cobb Beach (shingle beach) have a no-dog policy from 1 May to 30 September.
Remember to keep your pup on a leash when walking the pathways near the beaches.
We hope you've found this comprehensive list helpful - if there's anything we've missed or needs correcting, please let us know in the comments.
The Beach House and Shell House are decorated in a contemporary style, and they're located right by Bournemouth Beach!