Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
The semitropical barrier island is bursting with 5,000 acres of pristine beaches, hiking trails, and maritime forests ideal for exploring with your pet. Camp with leashed pups on designated park grounds, or stay at the Days Inn Beaufort/Parris Island ($15 fee per pet per night). Park entrance costs $5 for adults and $3.25 for kids.
Get there: From I-95, take Highway 21 east toward Beaufort. Drive 42 miles. Highway 21 ends at the park.
Grab your walking shoes: Dogs on leashes are welcome along 11 miles of public coastline starting at mile marker 10. For rentals that allow doggy guests, visit villagerealtyobx.com.
Get there: Stop between mile marker 10 and mile marker 21 along North Carolina Highway 12 and State Road 1243.
Four-legged friends run free on the quarter-mile Dog Beach, part of the award-winning Paw Playground. Nearby, two fenced-in areas are set up for large and small dogs.
Get there: From I-275, take exit 17. Bear left at light onto Pinellas Bayway/SR679 to Tierra Verde/Fort De Soto. Continue through a toll into the park. At the stop sign, turn right onto Anderson Boulevard.
By law, 65 percent of the island must remain undeveloped, so even during the busiest times, the beach feels secluded. Bonus: Many hotels and restaurants cater to the tail-wagging tourist. Parking fees on the island are $5 per vehicle per day.
Get there: From I-95, take exit 29 and continue east on U.S. 17 for approximately 10 miles. Turn right onto the Downing Musgrove Causeway (GA 520).
Here, canines rule. On any summer weekend, you'll find 100-plus owners throwing Frisbees to their dogs and mingling with other pet people. No leash required on the beach.
Get there: Take I-8 west toward The Beaches. Turn left onto Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, and then right onto Point Loma. Entrance is the first right turn.
Locals head here for sparse crowds, scenic views, and the opportunity to race their dogs up the 400-foot-tall sand dune. At the beachfront Pelican Pub & Brewery, owners can tie leashed dogs to the patio edge while they eat.
Get there: Take Highway 101 toward Pacific City to Cape Kiwanda Drive. Stop across the street from the dog-friendly Inn at Cape Kiwanda.