Three Dog-Friendly Beaches on the Jersey Shore

by Grace Currie Phillips, Contributing Writer

Although the Jersey Shore gets a bad rap (occasionally deserved), there really are some great beaches. Of course, if you want to find the clean, beautiful, quiet beaches instead of the ones populated by oily body-builders and fratty clubs, you have to be in the know. And then you have to find out which of those are dog-friendly. Positively exhausting! Luckily for you, we’re here to help. These lovely, natural, dog-friendly beaches that are all about an hour’s drive away from the city and should be next on your list for a getaway with your best friend.

Sandy Hook Beach, Middletown, NJ

Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook is a small spit of beach about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from NYC by car that curves up from New Jersey’s easternmost point. You can also take a 40 minute ferry from the city, provided that you leash your dog on the ferry. Dogs are allowed on-leash on the bay side of the beach year-round, although the leash law doesn’t seem to be enforced. The park is open from 5 AM to 8 PM, the beach can get crowded on summer weekends, and the parking lots may fill up quickly. If you’re willing to park a bit farther away and walk, you can still enjoy a great beach day.

In fact, you can even park at the end of a lovely 2-mile walking path called the Henry Hudson Trail and walk to the beach. And if you’re thinking of stay a night of two, Sandy Hook is fairly close to Red Bank, which is a fun town with lots of great restaurants, boutique shops, tasty bakeries, and a couple great record stores. We’d definitely recommending popping in Jack’s to see what new vinyl they’ve gotten in, and treating yourself to breakfast at The Danish Cafe or dessert at Sugarush.

Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan, NJ

Fisherman’s Cove is a small, dog-friendly – and just plain friendly – beach. And it’s free! What’s not to like? It’s a little over an hour in driving time from the city. Their website requires that dogs be leashed at all times, however, it seems to be hit or miss as far as enforcement. We’ve never seen the rule enforced, but others have reported that people occasionally get ticketed for off-leash dogs.

If you’re hoping to get your pup a little less salty before the drive home, stop at the Brielle Dog Boutique, where they have a self-service dog wash. Should you stay overnight, Manasquan is right in between Point Pleasant and Asbury Park, two of the larger Jersey Shore towns. Asbury Park is home to the Stone Pony, one of rock and roll’s great venues, should you be interested in catching a show at night. So if you’re looking for salt-water taffy, boardwalks, shows, bars, arcade games, or rides, you’ve got some great options.

Island Beach State Park, Seaside Heights, NJ

At 1 hour and 45 minutes, Island Beach State Park is pretty far from New York City, but it’s worth the drive. It’s a beautiful, unspoiled stretch of beach that seems far away from the stress of the city and the chaos of the boardwalks. As with Sandy Hook, the parking lots sometimes fill up quickly on summer weekends, which means you may have to park elsewhere and walk in. The park charges per car, not per person, which makes it a great choice for a family getaway. Dogs are permitted on the non-lifeguard beaches (there are many) and they must be on leash. There are also a series of trails that your dog will love exploring, most of them fairly short.

The Barnegat Lighthouse State Park is also worth a visit, if you’ll be staying for an overnight visit; however, dogs are only allowed from October to April. But really, the highlight of this spit of land is the peace and quiet of the beach. Island Beach State Park is the perfect relaxing weekend getaway for you and your pup.

A Guide to Flying With Your Dog from New York City

By Rainbow Kirby, Contributing Writer

The girl with a suitcase in the airportAre you about to take to the friendly skies and want to bring your pup along? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as loading Spot into your car or stowing Daisy in the basket of your bicycle. Here’s what you need to know before you fly.

Size Matters

Most airlines have a 20 lb. weight limit for flying in-cabin with your pet, and their carrier must fit underneath the seat in front of you. If you have a larger dog like myself, airlines provide transport via cargo, with your dog referred to as “checked baggage”. You must also provide a crate that is big enough to allow your pet to lie down, turn around and stand up.

The only exception is for trained service dogs. Read more here.

Is it Safe?

If your dog is small enough to travel in the main cabin, then it is typically as safe as it is for you in the cabin. If your dog must be in the cargo hold, there are risks, including death. In 2011, 35 dogs died during or just after air travel on US domestic flights, and in 2012, 29 died according to Smithsonian. com. The US Department of Transportation states that 2 million animals are transported by plane each year, making it statistically fairly safe (.002% chance of death), but even one death is too many. The Humane Society has also commented on the subject, and even states that “The HSUS recommends that you do not transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary.” But we know sometimes pet air travel is unavoidable.

How to Prepare

  •  Reserve a spot when booking your flight. Most airlines will only allow 4-7 dogs per cabin per flight, so make sure you book far enough in advance of your trip.
  •  Visit the vet.  Make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations and rabies shots, and bring that documentation with you. Ask your vet about food, water and/or the use of tranquilizers during flight (most airlines advise against sedatives).
  •  Label the carrier.  Make sure your pet’s carrier has a picture of your dog on the outside as well as name, address and destination. A “Live Animal Inside” and “This Way Up” is also helpful for handlers.
  •  Book a direct flight. Luggage isn’t the only thing that can get lost in transport.
  •  Feed your dog a few hours before takeoff and only a little bit of water, so that their stomach doesn’t get upset during flight.
  •  Arrive at the airport two to three hours early, especially if your dog is flying in cargo.

Beware of Restrictions

 Age. Pets younger than eight weeks old are not permitted to fly.

 The weather. If it is below 45 degrees or over 85 degrees, your dog is more likely to go into distress and will not be permitted to travel in cargo. Many airlines such as Delta have blackout periods during the summer.  Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic have temperature controlled cargo areas to counter this issue.

Breed of dog. Many airlines prohibit particular breeds that may have trouble breathing in high altitudes. This may include Bulldogs, Pugs, Terriers, Rottweilers, and Boxers. Please mention breed when calling the airline. Do not surprise them.

 Flying outside of the Continental U.S.

Requirements vary by destination and if paperwork is not complete there can be a 4-6 month quarantine period, especially for foreign destinations.  Find out exactly what documentation you will need months in advance to avoid unnecessary holdup.

Pet-Friendly Airlines

JetBlue’s JetPaws

JetBlue offers more than blue terra chips and a TV in the back of your seat. They’ve created a special Pet Travel program, JetPaws. Visit their web site to download the JetPaws Travel Guide, which highlights dog-friendly hotels and restaurants in top destination cities such as Fort Lauderdale and San Francisco.

  •  Rules:  Only one pet per flight and the weight of the carrier and pet combined cannot exceed 20 lbs. Currently only accept small pets.
  •  Cost: $100 per flight (non-refundable)
  •  Perks: Earn 300 TrueBlue points for flying with your pet; special bag-tag will be attached to your pet carrier at check-in so everyone knows your pet is flying

Call: 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583)


If you have a small dog, Southwest is another viable option.

  • Rules: One pet carrier per ticketed passenger – which may contain two dogs. Dogs must be kept inside the carrier during in-cabin flight and have enough room to stand up and move within the carrier. Carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you.
  • Cost: $75 per flight (non-refundable)
  •  Book: Call 1-800-435-9792

Virgin Atlantic

For large dog owners, Virgin Atlantic is one of the better options. Pets are safely secured in the hold, which is heated and air-conditioned just like the cabin.

Rules: Will not accept any pets under sedation; check your pet in with Virgin Atlantic Cargo four hours before your departure time.

Cost: Depends on the size of travel crate. Call with length, height and width of crate and they will provide an exact quote.

Perks: Your pup will earn you 1,000 bonus Flying Club miles; remember to ask when booking tickets.

Call: 1-800-828-6822 ext. 4, Monday-Friday: 2pm-6pm (UK Time); closed on Saturday and Sunday


In addition to in-cabin travel, United offers PetSafe  for dogs above the size limit. PetSafe services include airport-to-airport delivery for animals and features a 24-hour live animal desk and the ability to track pets from origin to destination.

  • Rules: One pet per flight; carrier must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times.
  • Cost: $125 each way for in-cabin; PetSafe pricing is based on weight of dog and carrier combined (if your dog is over 100 lbs., it will cost more than $429)
  •  Call: 1-800-864-8331; PetSafe: 1-800-575-3335


American Airlines

No more than seven pets are permitted per flight (in-cabin) and dog show participants are given a special callout on the web site (interesting).

  • Cost: $125 for in-cabin; $175 for cargo kennel each way
  • Call: 1-800-433-7300



Due to seasonal weather conditions, Delta does not accept pets as “checked baggage from May 15 through September 15. You can, however, ship your pet as cargo with the Delta Pet First program.”

  •  Cost: $125 for in-cabin; $200 for cargo kennel each way
  • Call: 1-800-221-1212

Charter Flight

 If the thought of having your canine travel via cargo and in a kennel for many hours makes you shudder, a charter flight may be the best solution.  No need to worry — they’ll be right before your eyes and in your care for the entire flight.

While this option could cost thousands, there are ways to lower the cost. Charter companies often have to fly empty to pick up their passengers or perhaps they will only have a few people on their flight willing to fly with you and your dog, so you can share in the cost. It’s simply a matter of scheduling. Unlike an airline, you cannot choose to fly at a specific time; you will have to be flexible. Here are a few providers:

Magellan Jets

Newport Jets

Pet Travel Transport

Have you flown with your dog? Share your tips and recommendations with us.

Dogcation: Navigating dog friendly Amagansett for sun, beach, and great food in the Hamptons

Another great summer spot for you and your dog is out in Amagansset, NY, on the eastern end of Long Island. It takes about 2.5 hours to get there from NYC, so it’s a better multi-day trip than a day trip, but it offers fresh air, a laid back town, good food, and an awesome stretch of beach.

Getting there

You are probably going to have to drive out to Amagansett (104 miles from NYC), because Long Island Railroad only really allows small confined dogs (or service dogs). If you don’t have a car, rent one and put down a dog seat car protector to help avoid any car cleaning fee from dog hair. Consider driving at off hours (after 7pm, before 8am, middle of the day) to avoid commute and vacationer traffic.

Where to Stay

This is a tricky one given summer rates for rental houses and hotels are expensive. We were fortunate enough to have a friend invite us out. Consider coming in the fall or spring before rates get sky-high. Here are some dog-friendly hotels and rentals in the area.

  • Cottage 1 at The Inn at Windmill Lane, via

    Gansett Green Manor (273 Main Street, Amagansett, NY): Suites and cottages with private patios make this a good choice for dog-friendly lodging in Amagansett. $25 extra/night for dogs. Rates run $300-$450.

  • The Inn at Windmill Lane (23 Windmill Lane, Amagansett, NY): Super luxury private cottages with fenced yards for you and your dog are expensive ($450-$2100/night) but very nice. The three cottages are dog friendly as is Suite 2. $50 extra/night for dogs.
  • VRBO Rentals: Check for Amagansett homes for rent that are pet friendly. They range from $200/night to $15,000 per week so the variation is extreme.
  • AirBnB: Rent out a pet-friendly room in someone’s home in Amagansett, or the whole place for between $114-$4000/night.

The Beach

Two Mile Hollow Beach

Two Mile Hollow Beach

The ocean beaches are closed to dogs (on leash or off) from 9am to 6pm during the summer months (mid-May to September 30th), but before 9am or after 6pm, your dog can go nuts playing on the sand and in the water. Remember, it stays light out pretty late these days, so you can have a sunny dinner on the beach with your dog, or some early morning play time. It’s also a lot less crowded during the week.

[Note some recent legislation states that your off leash dog must be at least 300 feet from the entrance to the beach, so look for the markers before you pick your beach spot. Most people are pretty relaxed but there is a $250 fine for violations so be careful.]

Ocean Beaches

  • Atlantic Avenue Beach (Amagansett)
    Off of Atlantic Avenue, Map
  • Atlantic Drive Beach (Amagansett)
    Off of Atlantic Drive, Map
  • Egypt Beach (East Hampton)
    Old Beach Lane, Map
  • Georgica Beach (East Hampton)
    Off of Lily Pond Lane, Map
  • Indian Wells Beach (Amagansett)
    Off of Indian Wells Highway, Map
  • Main Beach (East Hampton)
    Off of Ocean Avenue, Map
  • Napeague Lane Beach (Amagansett)
    Off of Napeague Lane, Map
  • Navahoe Road Beach (Amagansett)
    Off of Navahoe Road, Map
  • Two Mile Hollow Beach (East Hampton)
    Off of Two Mile Hollow Road, Map

Bay Beaches:

Note there are also beaches on the bay side, and often these are more lax with leash laws. Here are a few.

garden behind Jacks coffee

garden behind Jack’s coffee

Dog-friendly food spots

  • Hampton Chutney Company: Located in Amagansett Square (6 Main Street), grab a dosa and a cardamom coffee and hang out at the outdoor picnic tables and grass with your dog (on leash).
  • Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee: Also in Amagansett Square (146 Montauk Hwy Amagansett), Jack’s serves up some of the best coffee in the Hamptons, as well as ice cream, and tons of local New York specialty items. In the back thee is a shaded area with outdoor tables and chairs for you and your dog to chill out at (on leash).
  • Mary’s Marvelous: In the center of the town of Amagansett (207 Main St, Amagansett, NY), Mary’s has awesome takeaway sandwiches (breakfast and lunch) and treats to grab before hitting the beach. You can’t bring your dog inside, but it’s pretty quick to grab a sandwich and go.
  • Bostwick’s Chowder House: Pretty close to Two Mile Hollow Beach, you can get a take out order of fish tacos or lobster roll  at Bostwicks (277 Pantigo Road in East Hampton) and then head on over to eat at the beach (after 6pm) with your dog. Not the best lobster roll in the Hamptons, but convenience is key.
  • Springs General Store: Out in the adjacent Springs area, hit up the Springs General Store for sandwiches, lemonade and coffee. It was frequented by artist Jackson Pollock back in the day when he lived nearby. They have picnic tables where you and your dog can have a picnic lunch near a pond.
  • Balsam Farmstand: The corn out here is some of the best you will ever have. Stop by the Balsam Farm Stand (Near windmill lane & town lane, amagansett ny) in August to get some fresh corn and other veggies and local cheeses for dinner.

Dog Park

  • Springs Dog Park: Not to far away is the 20+ acre Springs Dog Park if you want some dog-friendly open space at any time of day. On your way, stop by


Need a vet? Maybe your dog picked up a nasty tick or ate something funky off the beach (dead crabs?)

  • East Hampton Vet Group (22 Montauk Highway , East Hampton, NY): Head to the East Hampton Vet Group (22 Montauk Highway , East Hampton, NY).  Added bonus – You may find rates to be 50% less than in Manhattan. We have actually done booster shots while out there to save on vet bills. 631-324-0282






Springs Dog Park in the Hamptons offers 20+ acres of dog friendly outdoor space

springs dog park

springs dog park main field

If you are out in the Hamptons this summer (or any time of year), the Springs Dog Park in East Hampton is a huge dog park, possibly the largest in the country. The full park is 42 acres, but they allow half of that to be used by the public with dogs.

You will find 3 main trails, and a giant grass field (think soccer field size) at the far end (see photo right). Dogs can be off leash the whole time and there are always locals and vacationers with their dogs at the park. Our border collie mix loves it there, and gets visibly and audibly excited trying to sniff out the car window as we get closer to the park.

We typically walk in the front gate and let our dog play in the first open area for a bit, and then walk down the main trail all the way down to the open field. it’s a great spot for dogs to run an play and we have certainly thrown the ball around here for our dog. We then walk back one of the side trails. Expect to spend at least 30-60 minutes there to cover the park, depending on how much your dog likes to play.

directions to springs dog park

(Click to enlarge)

Getting there: Warning – It’s a little hard to find since the entrance road is unnamed. It’s off of 3 Mile Harbor Hog Creek Road, officially in Springs, NY, 11937 and between Whipple Road and Gann Road. Look for the green sign on the side of the road which says “Springs Park”.

It’s very hard to see the sign if you are driving from the north so it may take a second pass to get there. At the green sign turn in and and drive as far as you can (about .5 miles) until you see the dog park gate. There are spots for probably 20 cars and we have never had an issue with parking.

It’s probably too long as a day trip from New York City (about 106 miles) but a great spot to let your dog run around while out east.

Tips: Bring your own waste bags and water, as I have yet to see either there, but they do have trash cans throughout the park. Also, note that tick season is very bad this year, so be prepared. Protect yourself by stating on the main trails and fields and wear long light clothing and check yourself. For your dog, try any of these tick prevention options and absolutely check your dog thoroughly every day they are out there, especially in the armpits, belly, groin, ear area, and paws. Some of the ticks are size of a poppyseed, so be very careful. Bring water for yourself and your dog.

The park is great from late fall through late winter too, when the tick threat is much lower.

springs dog park trail

Dogcation: An incredible upstate weekend away with your dog at Glen Highland Farms

zuzu glen highland farm streamOur dog Zuzu seemed depressed when we returned home to New York City from a weekend vacation at Glen Highland Farms (217 Pegg Rd, Morris, NY). Why would we live in an apartment in the city when a place like that existed, she seemed to ask. In upstate New York, Glen Highland Farms is first and foremost a border collie rescue, possibly the largest in the world. They take in abandoned and unwanted border collies from all over the country, rehab them when needed, and then adopt them out. They aim to rescue 150-200 dogs each year, and have a massive facility of separate and enclosed play fields and sleep areas for all of the border collies.

Part of the way they raise money to fund the operation is by turning their incredible property into an awesome dog-friendly vacation spot each summer (June 13, 2013 through October 8, 2013). It’s sort of camping style, and they have space for up to 26 guests and their dogs, and you can opt for the dog friendly RV (with shower, bathroom and kitchen), cabin, cottage or a tent. The living quarters may not be the Ritz, but each day you have 175 off-leash acres to roam, including a beautiful winding creek you can follow (and swim in) as well as huge meadows and fields, and even some forest to hike through. It was at one point an Iroquois settlement, and then we hear an equestrian ranch owned by the Forbes family, and now it is a beautiful home for dogs and guests.

zuzu glen highland farm field


RV life

RV life

The dogs love it – socializing with each other, swimming, running, smelling and playing. If you live in the city, it’s going to be an incredible experience for your dog. Our dog, who lives in an apartment building in Manhattan, could not believe she could run free like this 24/7 with all of these other dogs.

Much to our surprise, she jumped off a 5ft bank  on our first day right down into a creek. She could have spent all day patrolling the slow moving waters.

Another fun activity is the agility course structures they have set up where you can see what your dog is capable of jumping over or crawling through. One of the owners is also reportedly a gifted animal communicator – sounds strange but she was booked the entire weekend and has supposedly provided incredible insight to some dog owners trying to understand their dogs.


zuzu glen highland farm

zuzu glen highland farm forestIt’s also a great break from city life for people too. The property is peaceful and beautiful, and when not hiking or playing with your dog, they have a huge common outdoor eating area with aged-wood burning grills where you can get incredible flavor out of your steaks, fish or anything else you want to grill. Guests are generally friendly and it’s an easy place to meet new people, but also large enough that you could keep to yourself throughout your stay. They also have wifi for those who need to get a bit of work done, and there is a small town, golf and the Baseball Hall of Fame within a 15 minute drive.

While there, definitely take a tour of the border collie rescue (it’s fenced off from the rest of the property to allow the dogs a chance to rehabilitate) and see the giant play areas each rescue dog gets to go into each day, and learn about the rescue and rehab process.

Cost (see all details at Note that the RVs and cabins sell out quickly for a lot of weekends so book asap.

  • Tents: $100-$135/night
  • Cabins: $125-$175/night
  • Cottage: $180-$250/night
  • RVs: $220-$350/night

Getting there: You will likely need a car for this one, and it’s about a 3.5 hour drive from NYC. Here is a map (217 Pegg Rd, Morris, NY).

Dogcation: Montauk is for Dogs

by Rainbow Kirby, Contributing Writer

Montauk is one of the friendliest dog towns on Long Island’s East End. During our Dogcation, I watched fellow vacationers run, hike, and brunch with their furry friends. There were pups everywhere, and many of the shops had water bowls placed out front. I kind of felt bad for the cat people.

How To Get There:

By car from Manhattan, it’s a three-hour minimum drive out east with no traffic. Once you arrive, you can easily get around by foot, bicycle or taxi service. There’s many, but most memorable is Pink Tuna Taxi, (631) 668-3838.

The Long Island Rail Road is another option, especially if your dog fits in a carrier. Pink Tuna Taxi will also give your pooch a ride if they’re in a carrier.

OceansideBeachResort rkWhere To Stay:

Oceanside Beach Resort at 626 Montauk Highway.

When the owners of this resort said they were “dog-friendly,” they meant it.

Upon arrival, they greeted us in the parking lot with a bowl of water for Cosimo who was wagging his tail excitedly after a very long car ride.

Our studio-sized room was on the second floor with a wide shared balcony that overlooked the dunes and ocean. It wasn’t one of the newer rooms, but it was cozy and comfortable. There is no A/C, just the “Montauk Breeze” as the locals call it, and an overhead fan.

The resort is steps from the beach, has a huge backyard/patio area and a large in-ground pool that is fenced in. Every room has WIFI and a fridge and some have a Jacuzzi. There is also a trail for dogs adjacent to the side of the motel.

Summer Rate: From $285-$425/night (3 night minimum)

Fall/Winter Rate: $125-$245/night (no night minimum)

Dog Fee: $75

Where To Eat:

Coffee Tauk  (83 S. Elmwood Ave., (631)-668-7007)

Within a few blocks walking distance from the resort, you will find the best coffee in Montauk — and outdoor seating to share with your pooch. I did see one little pup inside, but she was in her owner’s arms.

Goldberg’s Bagels, Flagels & Deli, (128 S. Etna Ave., (631)-238-5976)

With a few picnic benches parked right out front, Goldberg’s lets you share your bagels and lox in the company of your canine.

Main Street

Almost every restaurant in downtown Montauk has outdoor seating, allowing dogs to lounge while you grab a bite. I spotted this pooch at 668 The Gig Shack, which is popularly known for their “Montaco’s” and live music.

DogatGigShack rk

What To Do:

The Beach

Our first two days in Montauk it rained continuously, so Cosimo had the entire stretch of sand to himself. For sunnier days, and from May 15 – September 30, dogs are not permitted on the beach from 9am-6pm. There are no leash laws in Montauk, so your pooch may run with abandon as long as he’s supervised.

MontaukBeach_dog rk


There are many that run adjacent to the beach and alongside S. Edison Street. Though, beware of ticks in the dunes. Pick up flea and tick spray before you hit the road, and check your pup thoroughly after coming off the path — we removed two from our dog.

Gosman’s Dock  (500 West Lake Drive, (631)-668-5330)

If you’re a seafood lover, no trip to Montauk is complete without a visit to Gosman’s. In addition to the popular restaurant, this area has a number of small shops and eateries and plenty of grassy knolls to picnic with both your lobster and your dog.

MontaukLighthouseDogMontauk Lighthouse (2000 New York 27)

Montauk Point, aka “The End” is breathtakingly scenic and historic. If your canine is a Central Park explorer, they’ll love this spot. Although dogs aren’t allowed inside the lighthouse and/or museum, there are rocky trails that lead right down to the beach, where your pup will have free rein.

There are also multiple 3-5 mile hiking trails in the surrounding Montauk Point State Park.

Doesn’t your dog deserve a Dogcation?