Paris Permenter, along with her husband, John Bigley, is the co-author of Texas with Dogs and the founder of PawZaar.com.
Our dogs love to go to the beach—but we’re half a day’s drive from the Gulf coast. In between visits, we get our beach fix by taking Irie and Tiki to lake beaches, ones that give them a chance to swim, us a opportunity for a little beach R&R.
Check with your local lakes for their beach policies. In most cases, dogs are permitted in “non-improved” swimming areas (those that don’t have a lifeguard and manicured beach). Here’s a look at a handful of the lake beaches where dog paddling is welcome:
1. Lake Tahoe, California
Your tail-wagging chums can work on topping off their tans as they watch the waves at South Lake Tahoe roll in on Kiva Beach.
2. Lake George Dog Beach, New York
This upstate attraction boasts cool, clear water, and gorgeous Adirondack scenery along with sandy beaches for lots of romping fun.
3. Lake Barkley, Kentucky
Hey, with a name like Lake Barkley, how could this lake not be a dog favorite? Located in the Land Between the Lakes area, you’ll find many dog-friendly activities nearby when it’s time to step out of the water.
4. Inks Lake, Texas
This constant-level lake is home to Inks Lake State Park. We love taking Irie and Tiki here because the lakeshores are lined with carpet grass and the lakebed is crushed granite—so no muddy paw prints in the car on the ride home!
5. Lake Elsinore, California
Dogs will feel like they are King of the World when they feel the wind on their fur on the waters of the largest freshwater lake in Southern California. Pups on leashes and their pet parents can also soak up the sun on shore at Elm Grove Beach.
6. Montrose Harbor Dog Beach, Illinois
Fido can “make fetch happen” any time of year at Chicago’s off-leash Montrose Harbor Dog Beach. Pups can perfect their doggie paddle in the water during the summer, and when the weather (and Lake Michigan) turns chilly Spot can meet Saint Nick during the beach’s annual Santa Paws Party.
7. Lake Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Dogs can dive into summer from a dock on Lake Tuscaloosa in Alabama.
8. Medina Lake, Texas
Rover can reflect on his day of play as he watches the reflections on the surface of Lake Medina. Pet parents and their pups can swim, enjoy a picnic and go boating at Medina Lake Park in Bandera County, Texas.
9. Lake Baldwin, Florida
Lake Baldwin Park in Winter Park welcomes dogs with a sandy beach and 23 acres of grassy room to run leash-free.
10. Lake Erie, Ohio
Check out Bay Village Dog Beach for off-leash fun.
11. Lake Buchanan, Texas
The largest of the Highland Lakes chain, this lake is home to Black Rock Park. Along with plenty of lake swimming, the park also includes dog-friendly cabins (with air-conditioning!) right on the lakeshore.
12. Lake Lanier, Georgia
Dogs can lap up the beauty of Georgia’s Lake Lanier from a boat or from a popular launching point for watercraft, Tidwell Park. While dogs aren’t permitted at the more crowded parks on the south end of the lake, a long list of dog-friendly parks welcomes leashed dogs on the other side of the waterway.
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