With salt-washed lighthouses and charming coastal towns, Connecticut’s coast is one of the most exciting to explore in New England for pet owners. When you’re finished exploring the state’s largest Native American Museum and uncovering its Maritime history in the Mystic Seaport Museum, the beaches await.
Connecticut opens up select beaches on its 300-mile coastline so visitors of the four-legged kind can enjoy beach fun. So plan a beach day with your pet on the Atlantic coast of Long Island Sound, where your pet always gets a warm welcome.
And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.
Compo Beach Off-Leash Dog Area
Summer vacation-goers have marked the historic town of Compo as a go-to beach spot—even for pets! Vacation homes built in the early 20th century have become pet-friendly rentals and accommodations to create an entire community where your dog feels encouraged to hang out at the beach.
Dog season begins at Compo Beach on October 1st and lasts until March 30th. After that, the summer beach crowds have returned to their homes, and the vast 29-acres of coastal landscape become a haven for dog owners.
Pets have a designated section at Compo Beach. You’ll see many people with snacks from the concession stand and beach volleyball games as you pass the beach bathhouses onto the well-marked dog area. Although there is no fence, owners can unleash their dog while on the beach. Let your pet feel the refreshing waters of the Long Island Sound or roll around in the soft sand.
The best time to visit is at the start of the dog season and the end when the weather is nicest for spending at the beach.
Address: 260 Compo Beach Rd. Westport, CT 06880
Jennings Dog Beach
Your dog will pick up the senses of countless dogs before it that have had the pleasure of a day out at Jennings Dog Beach. It’s the largest beach in Fairfield, so there is always room for your pet to enjoy the sandy shores.
The beach scenery at Jennings Dog Beach is perfect. An extensive shoreline stretches 27 acres along the Long Island Sound and broad powdery sand already dented with paw-prints of all sizes. The beach crowds will already be thin by the time it opens for dogs between October 1st and April 1st, so your pet will have the space it needs to run around.
The flat beach makes it easy to keep an eye out for your pet. Especially with off-leash fun permitted, they’re sure to test the limits of where they can explore on this beach. Just keep them on the sand and away from the boardwalk or “Sand Castle” beach playground, and they’re free to wander.
From sunrise to sunset, dogs occupy Jennings Beach. Owners can sit beneath umbrella shade while their dog splashes around in the waters or chase birds that land on the beach.
Address: 880 S Benson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Tails will wag in excitement when arriving at the Hammonasset Beach State Park. This beach destination has everything from nature trails through the park’s coastal landscape to enjoy the sandy shores.
This site, once occupied by the US Army during WWII, is now occupied by dogs! You can visit Hammonasset Beach State Park all year round, although pets are only permitted on the beach from November to April. Seasonal camping is also allowed for pets. Wake up in the park, where you’ll only be minutes away from reaching the Long Island Sound shore and marking your beach territory for the day.
Hammonasset Beach State Park covers two miles of shoreline, the largest shoreline park in Connecticut. Its beaches are kept in pristine shape thanks to the conservation efforts, leaving nothing but natural beauty for your pet to enjoy.
With your dog on a leash, you can enjoy activities like swimming in the gentle waters, crunching small pebbles beneath its feet on a beach walk, or posing on the many large boulders to watch the sunset.
Address: 1288 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443
The whispering waves creeping onshore at Southport Beach seduce your pet. It will be hard to keep them out of the refreshing waters as they enjoy one of Connecticut’s best pet-friendly beaches.
Southport Beach has a maritime atmosphere with views of ships in Southport Harbor, strolls along the Southport Pier towards the horizon, and family picnics at the Pier Pavilion. But the sound of beach waves will make them save these pet-friendly areas for later and instead get right to the beach fun.
Bring your pet’s favorite toys because there is ample space to toss around a ball or burying their squeaky bone toys. And the shallow water makes it great even for small breeds looking to dip their paws in the wave suds on the beach.
Dogs are only permitted on Southport Beach during the off-season. There will be fewer people at the beach, and you’ll have your fair share of coastline for playing and relaxing.
Address: 4-1301 Sasco Point, Southport, CT 06890
Esker Point Beach
Summer is everyone’s favorite time to visit Esker Point Beach, and you won’t have to leave your furry friend behind! It’s Connecticut’s only year-round dog beach. The warm New England summers are perfect for a getaway to these pet-friendly shores.
Esker Point Beach is a small beach only approximately 600-ft long. However, it provides excellent views of the crescent coast, warm sand to seep between your pet’s paws, and the cool waters of Esker Bay that are suitable for swimming. Parking is available directly next to the beach, so the sand is nearly within paw’s reach as soon as they leap out of the car.
Start your day with a walk in the park. You’ll see people setting up their kayaks by the boat launch and strolling to the nearby Groton Long Point. With the sun peeking in the sky, cool off with a swim with your pet in the saltwater bay. When you’re finished, retreat back to your blanket for a beach picnic with your canine.
Although small, Esker Point Beach is never overcrowded, and dogs are always friendly. The only time pets are prohibited on the beach is during days of its summer concert series or other events hosted on the beach.
Address: 900 Groton Long Point Rd, Groton, CT 06340
Railroad Beach – Amtrak Beach
With the adjacent Amtrak train tracks still rattling with activity, Railroad Beach gives you a slice of paradise. Amtrak donated the beach nicknamed ‘Amtrak Beach’ to East Lyme and welcomes pets onboard one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Connecticut.
If the occasional train passing doesn’t bother your pet, it could spend the greater part of its day relaxing on the sandy shoreline of the Niantic Bay. The beach makes excellent use of its thin space by providing a place for pets to get sandy.
Dogs must stay on a leash while vising Railroad Beach. Ripples of teal bay waters reach alongside you as you stroll parallel to the tracks. The sand squishes beneath your pet’s paws, making the New England sun-baked ground pleasant to walk on. You’ll ‘choo’ in excitement in unison to your dog’s barking while swimming in the bay. Just keep our dog from getting tangled in the lines of anglers on the shore.
Railroad Beach is a diamond in a lump of coal. It’s never overcrowded with pets or human beachgoers, so your pet can sniff its way around the entire beach.
Address: 4 Baptist Ln, Niantic, CT 06357
Ned Dimes Marina
Amid all the boats docked at Ned Dimes Marina, you’ll find a small beach sliding into the water that makes a great place for pets to let off some energy. So, whether you’re getting ready for a day out on the water or coming back to dock for the evening, Ned Dimes Marina lets pets be pets.
Ned Dimes Marina lets pet owners spend sunny New England days on the water with their trusted pet co-captains. You’ll see everything from small dinghy boats to kayaks to windsurfing—the multitude of ways to have fun at the beach. Of course, keep your dog on a leash while on the beach, but if you’re renting a boat, feel free to loosen up the reigns when you’re out on the water.
Ned Dimes Marina only permits dogs on the beach during the off-season. The marina will be busy during peak beach summer months, so it’s usually better for your pets to come when it’s more relaxed.
Address: 50-60 Compo Beach Rd, Westport, CT 06880
During the busy beach season in Penfield Beach from April 1st to September 30th, it can be hard even to find parking for this sandy stretch of coastline. However, the off-season is when pets can enjoy the coast minus the summer crowds.
Penfield Beach covers 3.5-acres. Fine blonde-colored sand is well-marked with paw prints from dogs that have walked (and ran) the shore. Taking off your shoes makes running alongside your dog on the beach easier. They must be on a leash, so keep up! Also, owners must pick up after their pets to keep the beach clean for others to enjoy.
The best time to visit Penfield Beach is when the weather is still warm during the off-season. Let your dog feel the sensation of the cool waters washing away the sand from its fur. And when you’re finished with the water fun, lay your blanket and sunbathe with your pet beside you. You’ll have views of the Long Island Sound and tree groves at the brink of displaying their vibrant colors.
Address: 323 Fairfield Beach Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824
Bluff Point State Park
There are two kinds of pet owners you’ll find at the Beach in Bluff Point State Park—those coming for a celebratory swim after finishing one of the park’s hiking trails and those who had a beach day on their itinerary, and these preserved shores fit the bill for being pet-friendly.
Emerge from the lush woodlands to reach the beach. The coast sweeps uninterrupted along the natural coastline of the peninsula. Sounds of the saltwater rushing onshore make your dogs’ ears perk up, alert to find the distant seabirds calling. Rinse off the sweat and a post-hike treat for your pet as the off-season months make the Long Island Sound cooler.
Bluff Point State Park is only accessible by foot. So, get ready for a walk through the forested areas where no motorized vehicles will distract your time in nature. Dogs are also prohibited on the beach from April 1st to September 1st. However, the off-season gives them much more beach to claim as their territory!
Address: 55 Depot Rd, Groton, CT 06340
Cove Island Park is a celebrated green space in Stamford. The park consists of 83-acres that kiss the coast of the Long Island Sound. Park passes are required to visit the park, but your pet will bark for appreciation.
Recreation is what draws locals, visitors, and pets of all sizes to the beachfront park. Strap your pet on its leash when strolling past the people jogging around the 1-mile loop trail and the families flying kites in the manicured lawns. Pebbles dot the shoreline filled with packed sand to make it easy for pouncing their way into the water.
When the sun is out, open up your beach chairs and let your dog chew its favorite toy again the backdrop of coastal salt marshes and freshwater wetlands. Make the beach your main destination, or tack on a few hours on the shore while exploring the preserved landscapes in the park.
Address: 1125 Cove Rd, Stamford, CT 06902