Off-Season Beach Adventures

by Jennifer Wheeler

The Beach in Winter? You bet!

It’s the best time of year to go to the beach! During the fall, winter, and spring, the beach is a dog’s dream. The sand is cool and comfortable, the brisk wind is energizing, the crowds have dispersed, and most importantly, pups are permitted. From mid-September to mid-March most beaches in and around NYC are welcoming of dogs. It might sound surprising, but we can’t think of a better way to spend a March morning than making a trip to the Rockaways. If you have a pup small enough to fit in a carrier you can even take the A train there! The sensory experience of the beach for a dog is unlike any other: the feels, smells, and sights will make your pup totally silly. If it’s too chilly to swim, it doesn’t matter, the beach is still an exciting adventure.  

Queens Beaches

The Queens beaches span a beautiful stretch of NYC’s coast – a sliver of Queens sandwiched between Jamaica Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. 

  • The Rockaways: the lovely Rockaways are accessible by subway, so if you can fit your pup on your lap or in a carrier, hop on the A train!
  • Jacob Riis: Hands down the best choice if you have a car. The parking lot is convenient and huge.
  • Fort Tilden: This is the most beautiful and remote, but also the most difficult to access. It is worth walking from Jacob Riis to enjoy the natural beauty of this place though!

Brooklyn Beaches

Brooklyn’s Beaches have a different vibe –  a little more Boardwalk Empire and a little less sand-dune sanctuary. We love the variety!

  • The Coney Island boardwalk is open to dogs from October 1-May 1, and it’s a great place to have a beachside adventure that can be reached by the Q train.
  • Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach are a little farther from the subway, but also welcoming of pups during the off-season.

Prospect Park

If you want to stay closer to home, you need go no further than Prospect Park. These swimming spots are open all year round, but be careful in cold temperatures. Getting toes wet at the sandy beach is a different story than full-on swimming in one of these lakes. 

  • Prospect Park Dog Beach: We love this spot all year round. It’s small but lovely, and dogs are invited to play and swim off-leash here at any time of day or year.  There is no sand or sea – it’s a pond – but it is always fun.  
  • The Peninsula: Our pups love swimming here in the big lake, but recently we have seen more signs about leashing dogs. There seems to be some confusion over whether dogs are actually allowed off-leash at the Peninsula, but we’ll keep checking for updates!

About the author

Writer, Owner at NYC Doggies

Jennifer is a writer and graduate of NYU School of Law. Jennifer researches and writes original, science-based articles for the NYC Doggies blog, and her writing on other topics can be found in the Huffington Post. Jennifer and Ovidiu have co-authored the upcoming book, WHOLE DOG PARENTING: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO RAISE AND TRAIN AN URBAN PUP