Dorset's best beaches for waggy-tailed walks

Ruth 22 November 2019

As one of the UK’s most popular coastal destinations, Dorset punches well above its weight with its abundance of year-round dog-friendly beaches, boasting a whopping 23 restriction-free stretches of sand!

With a total of 88 miles of coastline to explore, all of which can be traversed on the undulating South West Coast Path, you’d be barking mad not to take a trip to the seaside with your four-legged beach bum.

We’ve picked out our favourite seaside destinations for you to visit with your dog; whether you’re after a secret cove that’s perfect for sunbathing or a crowd-pleasing beach with something to please the whole pack, we’re sure a visit to Dorset’s dog-friendly beaches will set tails wagging.

Looking for a coastal cottage while you're there? Our collection welcomes sandy paws and salty fur. 

All dog-friendly
Dorset coastal cottages

Our personal favourite: Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth

Bowleaze Cove
Bowleaze Cove, credit: Instagram @oscarsukadventures


For the sat nav: DT3 6PR

Any restrictions? Dogs welcome all year round.

Parking: There’s ample pay and display parking, however, a car boot sale is held in the car park on Mondays in the summer.

Facilities: A café/restaurant, plus a slipway for launching small watercraft. In the summer, there’s a funfair next to the beach, if your pup wants to ride on some dog-dgems.

About: This sandy, pebbly beach is a total crowd-pleaser. Not only is your four-legged friend welcome all year round, but kids will love paddling or swimming in the sea, plus it’s not too far from the town centre meaning treats are easy to find! If your hound gets restless, the South West Coast Path runs close to the beach meaning longer walkies are on hand whenever you need them.

Stay nearby: Lynwood Lodge - Little Lynwood - sleeps 2 dogs and 2 humans.

The beach with the best facilities: Highcliffe Beach

Highcliffe Beach
Highcliffe Beach, credit: Instagram @westiecalledmax


For the sat nav: BH23 5DG

Any restrictions? Dogs aren’t allowed in the area between two marked groynes from 1st May to 30th September but can go on the gravel promenade all year round if they’re well-behaved and on a lead.

Parking: There’s pay and display parking for 600 cars at the top of the cliff.

Facilities: Toilets, baby changing and disabled parking in the car park; pubs, shops and restaurants in Highcliffe less than half a mile away.

About: Perfect for a big group – especially if you have younger ones in tow – this beach is the one to visit for a hassle-free day out. There’s easy parking, plenty of facilities and even a wheelchair route down to the coast. The beach itself – the most easterly in Dorset – is a shingle and sand beach with lovely views out to the Isle of Wight; easy for spending a chilled-out day with a blissed-out pup by your side.

Stay nearby: Wick Cottage - sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans

Best hidden beach: Church Ope Cove, Isle of Portland

Church Ope Cove
Church Ope Cove, credit: Instagram @adventurejunki3


For the sat nav: DT5 1HU

Any restrictions? There are no restrictions on this beach so your pup can doggy paddle to his heart’s content.

Parking: There’s free parking for a few dozen cars opposite Pennsylvania Castle, around a quarter of a mile away from the beach.

Facilities: Nearby, you’ll find a café, a caravan park and some toilets.

About: Accessed by a flight of steep stairs, this secluded cove is perfect if you want to get away from it all. The pebbly beach faces south on the Isle of Portland, so is ideal for sunbathing and tummy rubs (for your pup, of course), plus you may even spot dolphins off the coast. Be careful with younger kids – swimming is popular but the currents off the cove can get strong and there’s no lifeguard cover.

Stay nearby: Skylark at Lower Manor Farm - sleeps 2 dogs and 5 humans

Best beach for exploring: Chesil Beach, Weymouth

Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach, credit: Instagram @charlie_cragtop


For the sat nav: DT2 9DG

Any restrictions? Dogs are welcome to roam this huge stretch of beach all year round.

Parking: There are car parks at many sites along this beach, including at West Bexington and Weymouth.

Facilities: There are cafes, restaurants, picnic spots and toilets along the beach.

About: There couldn’t be a better beach for exploring in the whole of the UK, let alone Dorset. Chesil Beach is a completely unique environment, with 17 miles of pebble beach stretching all along the Jurassic Coast where your pup can run, and run, and run. It’s fringed by Fleet Lagoon, home to a mute swan colony, which provides a highly individual backdrop to a day out with your dog.

Stay nearby: Bridge Cottage - sleeps 1 dog and 4 humans

Best beach for something different: Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock

Hive Beach
Hive Beach credit: Instagram @katangas


For the sat nav: DT6 4RG

Any restrictions? There’s a seasonal dog ban from June to October, but this beach is great for winter walkies.

Parking: You can find ample parking at the National Trust car park, where members can park for free.

Facilities: There’s a café overlooking the sea, and some toilets, as well as a pub and a petrol station in the village.

About: There aren’t many beaches in the UK where you can come face to face with dinosaurs, but at Hive Beach you’ve got a chance of finding some fossils while your pup is scrabbling over the boulders and rocks along the beach. You can also spot pill boxes along the coastline, a reminder of the battles of World War II. When you’re not taking in the sights, this beach has a huge stretch of golden sand just perfect for your hound to dig up (and get all over you!)

Stay nearby: Clapper Bridge Cottage - sleeps 1 dog and 6 humans 

Most scenic beach: Durdle Door and Man O’War, near Weymouth

Durdle Door
The coast path above Durdle Door. Credit: shutterstock


For the sat nav: BH20 5PU

Any restrictions? It’s dog-friendly all year round, hurray!

Parking: There’s a pay and display car park at the top of the cliff.

Facilities: Seasonal toilets and facilities at Durdle Door Holiday Park.

About: This beach needs no introduction, but we certainly couldn’t miss it off our list. The site of the iconic limestone arch, Durdle Door is possibly the most famous beach in Dorset but absolutely worth a visit, due to it being dog-friendly all year round! Let the hounds off the lead to stretch their legs while the kids swim in the crystal waters (although there’s no lifeguard cover, so keep an eye out), leaving you to simply soak up the view. As a bonus, the beach is shingle meaning no sandy paws to contend with on the way home!

Stay nearby: Carefree Cottage - sleeps 2 dogs and 4 humans

Book your Dorset escape and browse some of our fantastic dog-friendly cottages in Dorset, many of which are right by the coast too. Pawfect! 

All dog-friendly
Dorset cottages


You can also take a look at our ultimate guide to dog-friendly Dorset to find even more ideas on how to spend your dream holiday in Dorset.

All dog-friendly
Dorset cottages

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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