A dog in flight, sand kicked skywards: you’ve hit the beach. It’s no ordinary beach either, it’s a remote Scottish beach. So many of us are unaware that we have so many unspoiled beaches in the British Isles, we’re all cramped up together at the busy places, paying over the odds for parking and waiting in long queues for a £10 cup of tea. That may sound like an exaggeration, but why don’t we all spread out a little bit and give a little room to everybody and their dog?
Scotland is proof of this; the mainland is surrounded on three sides by the sea and with over 120 islands, there are even more miles of sandy and rock beach expanses to enjoy. So, if you are tired of seasonal dog-restrictions and crowds, here’s our guide to just a few of the exceptional pet-friendly beaches that can be found all around Scotland in the Highlands, the west coast, the east coast and the country’s many islands.
We also have some wonderful dog-friendly cottages in Scotland. Browse our collection to feel inspired and plan your holiday to this lovely wild part of the world.
Read on to be inspired...
Dog-friendly beaches in the Highlands
Balnakeil is a spectacular wild beach, which boasts amazing vistas across the North Sea to the west. Looking back towards Cape Wrath, on a clear day you may be able to see the lighthouse. Facilities are limited here but fear not, your dog won’t hold it against you. There’s room for a lovely walk and a run and play with no restrictions.
Stay at: Inchard Barn Cottage
Sleeps: 2 dogs and 2 humans
Big Sand is a lovely waterside village with views of the Isle of Skye and Torridon. In the lea of Longa Island, it’s a nice sheltered beach which is a superb choice for a laidback day at the water’s edge. Something of a hidden pleasure, this is a dog-friendly destination to treasure.
Stay at: The Heatherbank. Sleeps: 2 dogs and 7 humans
If you want remote, wild and unspoiled beach then Sandwood Bay is about as secluded and as beautiful as they come. If you love a trek, then this beach is a few miles from the nearest road with no facilities or mobile reception. Take midge repellent as a precaution, however, don’t let a few insects put you off because if you know Sandwood, you aren’t the type to let a few insects scare you. The dog will love the freedom and you will wonder if you are the only people on Earth.
Stay at: The Uphouse. Sleeps: 2 dogs 4 humans
Dog-friendly beaches on the western coast and islands
If you love beaches and woodland trails, then this area will make for a wonderful day out for you and the pooch; it's just 5 miles from Loch Fyne and the astoundingly beautiful Tarbet on the Mull of Kintyre.
A few miles south of Tarbet, the beaches are dune-backed and open with high-skied views – it is possible to paddle and swim at these beaches. Keep a watchful eye out for dolphins.
Stay at: Seaholme. Sleeps: 2 dogs and 6 humans
Enjoy a sunny afternoon with the hounds near Portnahaven. There is a great elevated view from the entrance to the Currie Sands. Benches invite you to rest and enjoy the sights or even a picnic. The Rhinns of Islay Lighthouse on Orsay can be seen on a clear day stood in the distance beyond Eilean Mhic Coinnich. Catch a ferry across from the Mull of Kintyre.
Stay at: West Winds. Sleeps: 2 dogs and 4 humans.
If you are taking your doggy to the Isle of Mull for the day treat them to a bout of exercise and play at this gleaming white-shell sand beach. It’s less than a half-an-hour’s walk from the nearest road and you can enjoy spectacular views across to the Isle of Rum from the shoreline too. There are no facilities there, but you are almost guaranteed a quiet time.
Stay at Clyde Cottage. Sleeps: 2 dogs and 6 humans.
Mellon Udrigle Beach is situated on a devastatingly lovely stretch of coast in Wester Ross. Stretching from the hamlet of Udrigle to Opinian, you can see beautiful mountain peaks on the horizon. The water is clear blue and the sands so clean and white. The peace and serenity is unparalleled; it’s an outstanding place of natural allurement. Backed by a dune system, you will feel utterly transported by a trip to this wonderful secret beach.
Dog-friendly beaches in Southern Scotland
Cramond Beach is a charming prospect for you and your dog. Lying just to the north of the village of Cramond, just outside of Edinburgh (5 miles), the beach is found on the estuary of the River Almond. The furry ones will especially love this stretch of coast at low tide, as the beach is vast and sometimes it is even possible to walk out to Cramond Island along a rocky causeway. Check the tide times though so that you don’t end up stranded. There are good facilities at this beach and it is very popular with other dog owners and cyclists who come to take in the wonderful views across the Firth of Forth.
Stay at Roslin Chapel Cottage. Sleeps: 1 dog and 4 humans.
On the other side of Edinburgh from Cramond lies the ever so pretty Longniddry Beach. This is a dog owners’ favourite and it’s easy to see why with its acres of open beach for the hound to go berserk on. Views fold out over the wide and gorgeous Firth of Forth, a lovely spot for some exercise, relaxation and quality time together. It’s nice and close to the city if you need a change of pace.
Stay at Carriber Lochside. Sleeps: 1 dog and 6 humans.
Over on the west coast near Ardrossan and Ayr is this spectacular beach. Boasting views of the handsome ruins of Ardrossan Castle, sit atop a braw hill not too far from the beach. The ancient castle was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1648 and is said to be haunted by the ghost of William Wallace, yikes! This a great place to come with children and older dogs as the beach is backed with a level promenade and the waters are shallow to begin with as the sands are relatively flat: prime conditions for paddling and splashing about with kids and dogs.
Stay at Castle Wing. Sleeps: 2 dogs and 16 humans.
Dog-friendly beaches in central Scotland
Hugging the coastline on a peninsula dominated by golf courses, West Sands, just north of St Andrews is famous (to film fans) for appearing in the classic 1980s movie, Chariots of Fire. Just 2 miles long, it’s a lovely pure beach that’s close enough to civilisation yet still has an unspoiled feel. Your hound will certainly answer the call of the wild at this desperately beautiful coastal hot spot.
Stay at: Cunnoquhie Lodge. Sleeps: 1 dog and 2 humans.
Leven is a resort town perched on the gorgeous Fife Coast. With superb open views across Firth of Forth, it has two lovely wide stretches of beach, West Beach and East Beach. The West and East Beach run between the estuary of the River Leven on to Lundin Links. The beach is backed by a promenade, where you can join the 150-mile long Fife Coast Path. Many visitors come here for the long, sandy beaches and for the good walking to be had in the area. Nearby Letham Glen, which has a craft centre, is popular with walkers, as is nearby Silverburn, with its popular golf courses. Enjoy views with your dogs over Largo Bay, Ruddons Point, and across the Firth of Forth towards North Berwick.
Stay in: East Neuk by the Sea. Sleeps: 1 dog and 4 humans.
Start planning your dog-friendly holiday to Scotland
Whilst planning your next holiday to Scotland, visit our guide to dog-friendly attractions, places to eat and gorgeous places to stay.
Stay at one of our coastal dog-friendly cottages. Our properties have special features and locations close to dog-welcoming outlets and attractions too. Some properties may have allocated rooms for dogs to chill out in, enclosed gardens, exercise yards, and lovely hearths to dry their fur in front of. Lucky, lucky hounds may even get a treat basket full of goodies! Whether you are looking for a romantic break with your partner or are travelling in a large group with extended family and friends, we have the best dog-friendly properties in Scotland.
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.