Taking a beach trip to Colorado with your canine companion is a great way to have an unforgettable outdoor adventure. This scenic state is home to several beaches and reservoirs ideal for you and your furry, four-legged friend to enjoy. Book a stay at one of numerous Colorado vacation rentals near these dog-friendly beaches. Take a look at the most notable spots in the state to take your pet.

Source: Flickr/Rachel Miles

1. Union Reservoir, Longmont

Union Reservoir is located just outside of the town of Longmont, which is about halfway between Denver and Fort Collins. This lovely reservoir is popular with kayakers, boaters, and fishermen. It also draws in dog lovers from around the state due to its convenient location and fantastic off-leash dog park. Situated on the south side of the reservoir, this spacious area is right on the water so your dog can play and swim on land or in the water. While swimming for humans is restricted outside of the designated swim beach, you can wade in and splash around with your dog, or simply enjoy his antics from the shore. Dogs must stay on leash everywhere else in the park, so you may want to let your pooch relax at your vacation rental when you feel like taking a dip, or simply keep him leashed up to you as you relax on the swim beach.

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2. Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes National Park

If your favorite part of going to the beach is building sandcastles and otherwise playing in the sand, Medano Creek is the place to visit. This stream stretches for miles through the Sangre de Cristo mountains, but the most popular spot is located in Great Sand Dunes National Park, where it cuts a path through the towering sand dunes. At this point, it spreads out to become wide and shallow, which makes it great for young kids and small dogs to safely enjoy. The area’s unusual geography causes regular ocean-like surge waves, which are ideal for tubing and skimboarding. The waters are fed by mountain snowmelt, so they’re chilly enough to cool you down even if you just wade and splash around. Be sure to check conditions before heading out there, though, as the stream is seasonal and may not run all summer. There is also little shade and summer temperatures can get dangerously hot, so plan for an early start if you want to explore the dunes before hitting the beach.

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3. Grand Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand Lake is considered one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Located right on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, this stunning mountain lake has fewer crowds than most of the reservoirs on the east side of the Front Range. The charming village of Grand Lake has a well-maintained, dog-friendly sandy beach where you can relax on the sand and swim or wade to your heart’s content. Be prepared, though, because the water tends to be very cold even on the hottest summer days. You can also explore the shoreline for miles and find your own private wading spots. One of the major benefits of this lake is that it is located close to town, so you can take a break at a local restaurant or take a quick trip back to your vacation rental for lunch if you get tired of soaking up the sun. Grand Lake is also a great place for sailing, fishing, and kayaking in addition to hiking and swimming.

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4. Blue Mesa Reservoir, Gunnison

This sprawling lake, which is located in the Curecanti National Recreation Area near Gunnison, is the largest body of water in Colorado, so there is plenty of shoreline for you and your dog to enjoy. Although most of it is fairly rocky, there are few restrictions on where you can swim, so with a little hiking around you can find a good place. Popular beaches include Bay of Chickens, Dry Creek, and the Old Highway 50 beach. Those areas are also no-wake areas, so you can enjoy a more relaxed experience without motorboats cruising by. Like most Colorado lakes, the water here tends to be quite cold year-round, so it’s best enjoyed on hot days. There is little shade on the beaches, so be prepared with sun protection for both people and pooches. There are also quite a few hiking trails in the area, as well as two smaller reservoirs. Dogs do need to stay on-leash in the Curecanti National Recreation Area.

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5. Chatfield State Park, Denver

If your vacation rental is located in the Denver area, Chatfield State Park is a must-see local park. It’s just outside of Littleton, so fairly close to the city, but it feels like a sprawling wilderness area. The main attraction for dog lovers is the massive 69-acre off-leash area, which is fully fenced for your dog’s safety. While this is separate from the swim beach on the reservoir, which is a dog-free area, it does feature two lovely ponds for you and your dog to enjoy. There are also more than 25 miles of hiking trails to explore outside of the off-leash area, and your leashed dog is welcome to join you as you cruise along in your boat or wade into the waters outside of the swim beach.

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