Whether your family pet is a teacup poodle or a Great Dane, he or she’s a member of your family, so you should bring him or her along on vacation. A beach trip is an exciting getaway for your favorite four-legged friend. With Lake Erie bordering Ohio, there are many beach spots where your canine pal is welcome. Best of all, many waterfront Ohio vacation rentals are spacious enough to accommodate pets. Without further ado, take a look at the five best dog-friendly beaches in Ohio.

huntington reservation beach
Source: Flickr/Doug Kerr

1. Maumee Bay

Nestled inside the Maumee Bay State Park on the shores of Lake Erie, Maumee Bay offers a half-mile of sand beaches for your family and your dog to stretch out, play in the water, and catch Frisbees. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of the tables surrounding the beach and borrow a life jacket through the park’s loaner program for younger kids. Learn more about the park’s ecosystem and wildlife at the nature center. The park also offers a second smaller beach and miles of hiking paths that you can explore together.

Oregon is the closest town to the park and offers many places to call home while you’re away. Fishing is popular in the area, and you’re likely to catch walleye and perch. A short drive brings you to the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Museum of Art. In Pearson Metropark, rent paddleboats and explore the shores of the small lake from the water.

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2. East Harbor Beach

East Harbor State Park is home to several beaches, but the main East Harbor beach is the best one to bring Fido for a day of splashing and rolling around in the sand. This state park welcomes pets and doesn’t specify a leash policy. The beach offers a gentle slope into the water so your dog and children have plenty of room to splash and play in the water while you relax. While hiking in the park, learn more about the trails, wildlife, and plant life from the interactive trail map.

Marblehead is the closest town to this state park and offers many vacation rentals. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy it in the shade of the Marblehead Lighthouse before taking the tour and visiting the museum. A short drive away is Monsoon Watering Hole, which combines a safari to see all your favorite African animals and a waterpark to zoom down the slides.

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3. Kelley Island State Park Beach

Known as the Emerald Island of Lake Erie, Kelley Island offers many beautiful beaches and lush green space. You best friend is invited to spend a day playing on the beach and swimming in the water at the Kelley Island State Park beach. While the beach isn’t long, there isn’t a lot of wake and the land slopes gently into the water. After swimming, rent kayaks and explore the Glacial Grooves, deep grooves in the rocks along the shoreline. The hiking paths in the park take you past some interesting archeology sites where scientists are digging.

If you’re only on the island for a day, rent golf carts at the ferry dock to reach the park. Staying on the island means renting one of the quaint homes. Caddy Shack Square is the place for walking in the early evening to pick up a souvenir to take home, while Buckeye Bar Q is a great place for sandwiches and ribs.

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4. Lakeview Park Beach

In Lorain, Lakeview Park Beach is a hot spot for visitors and people looking to cool off. You can change on the bottom level of the Bathhouse that offers four family changing rooms. Your dogs and kids can play in the sand and water while you soak up the sun on this long beach that offers plenty of room to toss a blanket. During the summer months, lifeguards are on from midday to early evening. Dry off and take a walk around the park’s stunning rose garden.

After checking into your vacation rental, take a tour of the Lorain West Breakwater Light and sit on the pier as the sun goes down. French Creek Nature Center is a great location for an evening walk or check the schedule for an outdoor live performance or one of the frequent art shows.

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5. Huntington Beach

In the suburbs of Cleveland, Bay Village and Huntington Beach are popular summer destinations, and your furry friend is welcome to soak up the sun with you on the beach. The sand runs for almost half a mile, so a game of chase or catch is exciting, and the gently lapping waves are fun for your pup to chase and play in. This beach has a concession stand, so you don’t need to bring an ice chest from your vacation rental. Visit the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center to learn more about the park and this area.

Rent a place to stay in Bay Village or opt to be in the heart of the city with a vacation rental in Cleveland. In the city, spend a day visiting other animals at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo or opt to jam out to tunes at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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