Get sandy paws at these 10 dog-friendly New Forest beaches holiday cottages


Get sandy paws at these 10 dog-friendly New Forest beaches

Kate W 02 September 2019

There’s nothing better than a day at the beach and we reckon your canine companion thinks so too. Dashing in and out of the water, playing fetch on endless stretches of sand and shingle, and discovering new smells - a trip to the beach is a great day out for any pup... even old dogs can enjoy the salty sea smell and dip their paws in the water. The New Forest in Hampshire is full of hidden gems and secret beaches that you might not expect. While everyone else is exploring inland, make sure you head for the coast.

Where will you race off to? Do you fancy a family-friendly beach with plenty of amenities or would you and your canine prefer to escape for walkies in a quiet and scenic coastal spot?

Take a look through these dog-friendly beaches in the New Forest and find yourself a beautiful stretch of sand that’s perfect for walkies.

If you’re planning a beach holiday to this county for you and your dog, take a look through our dog-friendly cottages in the New Forest and find your ideal escape. For more insight into this dog-friendly region, return to our Canine guide to the New Forest.  

Our personal favourite

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank beaches in Bournemouth

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank, Bournemouth

For the sat nav: BH6 4EW

Any restrictions? Dog friendly all year - but as there is lots of wildlife they should be kept on a lead

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: There's access to most locations on the nature reserve – there are wheelchair-friendly paths and the Land Train has ramps for wheelchair users, however, beach access is limited.

Facilities: Land train, café, beach huts, five public toilet blocks and outside cold showers.

About: A sandy beach that we think is great for families, couples and big groups! Youngsters can build sandcastles while dogs dig in the sand, and groups on holiday together can book themselves a BBQ space. The Land Train takes passengers all the way from the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre to the beachfront café, so anyone who might have trouble walking or using their wheelchair on the sand can still experience a relaxed day by the sea, enjoying the fresh sea air and astounding views across to the Isle of Wight. The journey up to the top of the headland is the most difficult, however, there is a route for wheelchair users with helpers - take a look on their Hengistbury Head visitor website for more information and chat to the on-site rangers while you’re there.

Best beach for the whole family

Avon Beach, Christchurch

Avon Beach - family-friendly beach in Christchurch

For the sat nav: BH23 4AN

Any restrictions? Seasonal restrictions

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: Beach-level entrance to promenade and beach via Avon Beach car park or via Gundimore Promenade

Facilities: Beach huts, café, restaurant, shop and seasonal lifeguards

About: This great family-friendly beach offers plenty of great amenities so you can relax while everybody enjoys themselves. Let kids build sandcastles on the sand or play fetch with your dog who’ll enjoy splashing through the water. When everyone’s exhausted from games on the beach, retreat to the promenade and pop into the gift shop or enjoy some well-deserved fish and chips.

Best beach for accessibility

Lepe Country Park and beach, Beaulieu

Lepe Country Park - Accessibility-friendly beach in Beaulieu

For the sat nav: SO45 1AD

Any restrictions? Dogs cannot enter the nature reserve and there are beach restrictions during the summer months.

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: A good experience for those with disability - beach wheelchairs can be hired in advance and ramps from the car park down to the beach.

Facilities: Information office, gift shop, classroom, café, WC

About: When not playing fetch on this shingly beach, dogs and pet parents can follow the Lepe Loop, a 5-mile circular walk that takes you around scenic Lepe and Exbury. Enjoy a leisurely beach and country stroll together, perhaps popping into the local dog-friendly café, The Lookout, along the way. Tired pups can flop down by your feet while you take in the wonderful views of the beach and sea beyond through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Best for a paw-friendly historic day out  

Keyhaven and Hurst Spit

Dog-friendly beach for history-lovers - Keyhaven and Hurst Spit

For the sat nav: SO41 0TP

Any restrictions? Dog friendly all year

Parking: None on the spit, but parking can be found at Milford seafront or Keyhaven.

Accessibility: Accessed by foot along a pebbled walkway or on the ferry from Keyhaven – wheelchair access is limited.

Facilities: Café, gift shop and WC

About: Hurst Spit is home to the English Heritage-managed Hurst Castle where dogs on leads are welcome everywhere - yes, everywhere - neither of you will miss a single thing. Take in spectacular views from the roof of the Tudor keep, step inside Garrison Theatre, once used to entertain the troops, see the lighthouses which, for centuries, have protected ships sailing at night, and let the pup explore the shingle beach. It’s a great day out for you, the family and your four-legged companion.

Beach with the best facilities

Hordle Cliff, Milford on Sea

Dog-friendly beach with facilities - Hordle Cliff

For the sat nav: SO41 0NW

Any restrictions? Dog friendly all year

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: Disabled facilities

Facilities: Beach huts, WCs and a food van on occasion – it’s less than a mile's walk into Milford on Sea which has shops, cafes and pubs.

About: This shingle beach is backed by beach huts and beautiful sloped cliffs – perfect for the dog to race about and splash through lapping waves while you stretch your legs. There’s also a wonderful walkway that extends for 2 miles along the seafront and is wide enough for wheelchair users.

Best beach for sports – water sports and otherwise!

Calshot Beach, Calshot

Dog-friendly Calshot Beach - great for water sports

For the sat nav: SO45 1BS           

Any restrictions? Dog friendly all year

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: Disabled facilities

Facilities: Café and beach hut hire. This beach is also home to one of the UK's biggest outdoor and water sports centres, Calshot Activities Centre, where you can go kayaking, windsurfing and powerboating – even dry slope skiing, climbing and velodrome cycling are offered at this sporting hub.

About: Part of a mile-long shingle spit that stretches into Southampton Water, Calshot Beach is a great place to watch the large ships come and go or enjoy views across to the Isle of Wight. Of course, the real reason many head here is for the activity centre, a bucket-list item for sports enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the dog can’t come with you for this activity but they are welcome to explore the shingle and swim in the sea all year.

Best beach for collecting ancient fossils

Barton-on-Sea Beach, Christchurch  

Fossil-collecting beach in the New Forest - Barton-on-Sea dog-friendly beach in Christchurch

For the sat nav: BH25 7DX

Any restrictions? Dog friendly all year

Parking: Two beach car parks

Accessibility: Disabled facilities

Facilities: Beachside café

About: A long, thin, shingle beach protected by high clay cliffs and with views of the Isle of Wight, this quiet stretch of shoreline is a delightful spot for quiet walkies with your dog in tow. There are rock falls so stay safe and keep an eye out for your dog while here, but each time part of the cliff collapses, fossil collectors have the chance to uncover an exciting new find. Explore the beautiful beachfront or head up and wander the cliff paths that stretch along this beautiful coastline.

Best beach to get away from it all

Goatee Beach/Fisherman’s Walk

Quiet dog-friendly beach - Goatee Beach/Fisherman's Walk

For the sat nav: SO40 9HF

Any restrictions? Nope, dog friendly all year

Parking: Car park

Accessibility: No on-site amenities and a slight drop down to the sand – not suitable for those with mobility issues

Facilities: There are no facilities at the beach itself but Eling has a pub and shops.

About: It’s not one for the sunbathers, but this quiet coastal gem is a real treat for dogs and their owners. The beach is a quiet stretch of shingle opposite Southampton Docks so it’s a great spot for four-legged companions to sniff about and stretch their legs while you watch the incredible ships sailing by.

Ready to make the New Forest your next beach getaway?

You and your canine companion will love a trip to this incredible coastline. Start browsing our fantastic dog-friendly cottages in the New Forest and find your perfect holiday escape, or return to our Canine guide to the New Forest for more info about the area.


The UK is known for its fantastic coastline, so if you aren’t content with a trip to the New Forest, discover our top dog-friendly beaches across the UK. 

Return to our full guide to the New Forest:

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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