A dog with sandy paws is a happy dog, and with Texas’s wide coastline, there are plenty of places where your pup can run, swim, and frolic in the sand. After all, they need a vacation too! As for accommodations, book a Texas vacation rental that allows dogs and is situated nearby the coastline. That way, your furry friend won’t feel cooped up in one room and can easily enjoy the water. Here are seven pup-friendly beach destinations.

1. Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi

Source: Flickr/Rockin’Rita

Pets are welcome nearly everywhere at Padre Island National Seashore as long as they’re on a leash. The only areas where pets are not allowed are the deck of Malaquite Pavilion and its facilities, the boardwalk that goes from the deck down to the beach, and the short stretch of beach directly in front of the Pavilion. Even there, you and your pet can still access the beach using a pet access trail that goes from the parking area down to the beach. Just look for the signs that say “dog access.” Leashed pets are permitted on the over 60 miles of beach in the park, including the areas where you can drive on the beach, as well as all of the camping areas if you want to turn your day trip into a weekend adventure!

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2. Port Aransas Beach – Port Aransas

Source: Flickr/jdeeringdavis

At Port Aransas Beach, leashed dogs are not just allowed on the 6.3 miles of beach but also in the water via boats and kayaks! The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are perfect for recreational activities like boating or fishing, and the soft Texas sand is the perfect backdrop for a sunny day full of play of a relaxing moonlight stroll. There is a designated fishing area as well as overnight camping. Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed on the pier. There is free parking available, but pick up an annual beach parking sticker for $12, and you can park along the beach from the City Limit at Lantana Dr. near Horace Caldwell Pier through Port Aransas Beach to the Kleberg County line. That means the sticker is valid from January 1 to December 31 in Port Aransas and Corpus Christi!

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3. East Beach – Galveston

Source: Flickr/Lori Greig

Leashed dogs are welcome on all public beaches in Galveston year-round! We love East Beach because it’s famous for its great festivals and live concerts in the summer as well as its pavilion and boardwalk. There are also loads of amenities like restrooms, showers, chair and umbrella rentals, concessions and more. Plus, if you’re looking to party, look no further because unlike most of Galveston’s beaches, alcohol is permitted at East Beach. For some extra fun, visit the first weekend in June when the park hosts the annual American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition. Thousands of people flock here each year just to see the amazing, elaborate structures made entirely of sand.

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4. South Padre Island – South Padre Island

South Padre Island is located on the coastal tip of Texas, and with 34 miles of beautiful white sand and clear emerald water, it’s one of the world’s most exquisite barrier islands. South Padre Island has it all. It’s perfect for a romantic getaway or a week of family fun. And when we say family, we mean the entire family, pups included! Dogs are welcome on South Padre Island beaches year-round, as long as they’re on a leash. When your beach day is through, there are tons of great pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals where you and your furry friend can kick back and relax. A lot of South Padre Island restaurants also allow leashed pets, so call ahead of time to see if you can bring your dog to dinner too!

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5. Stewart Beach Park – Galveston

Source: Flickr/Wil C. Fry

Stewart Beach Park has been named one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” and is not just family-friendly but also pet-friendly. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach, plus there are concessions, restrooms, showers, volleyball courts, and more. There is a daily fee to access the beach, $10 Monday through Friday, $12 Saturdays and Sundays, and $15 on special events or holidays. If you plan on heading to Stewart Beach Park more frequently, spring for the $50 seasonal parking pass.

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6. Bonnie Wenk Dog Park – McKinney

Source: Flickr/Rick Ray

We’re throwing a bone to anyone who lives in inland Texas and still wants to let their dog play at the beach. While not technically at the beach, Bonnie Wenk Dog Park is a beautiful two-acre off-leash dog park with a five-acre pond near Dallas. There are separate areas for big and small dogs, a shaded pavilion (because that Texas sun gets hot), and a splash pad for dogs so they can get their paws wet. There are also hike and bike trails including the .44 mile dog park loop and the .43 mile pond loop. It’s also open late! Park hours are dawn to 11 p.m.

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7. Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area, Matagorda Island

Source: Flickr/reader of the pack

Come explore the more than 56,000 acres of this completely undeveloped barrier island. Dogs are welcome as long as they’re on a leash! This island is over 38 miles long and offers great opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and camping. You can even camp on the beach. If you’re interested in bird watching, the island supports a wide variety of migratory birds, and there is plenty of other wildlife like white-tailed deer and alligators. One of the island’s highlights is the lighthouse from 1852 that still stands at the north end of the island, so don’t forget to add that to your itinerary!

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