Pet-Friendly Beaches in Ocean City

Do you wish Ocean City, Maryland had pet-friendly beaches all year round? Write to us at and explain why so we can take it to the city council!

Rules and Regulations for Dogs (and Cats!) on the beach, boardwalk, and beyond…

From October 1st to May 1st….

Your furry friends can roam the beaches and boardwalk without restriction (other than that they must be leashed, from October 1st to May 1st. For the remainder of the year (Between May 1st and October 1st) no animals are allowed on the beaches or boardwalk.


But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your pet with you on vacation! There are lots of other options for how your pet can enjoy his/her vacation, just because the beach and boardwalk are not pet-friendly, does not mean the rest of the town is! You can check out our complete list of pet-friendly hotels in Ocean City, MD here.  Or our list of Pet-Friendly restaurants and bars here.  Some of which even have their own private beaches!

And below you will find all the outdoor spaces your little puppy, kitty, ferret, or rabbit may want to enjoy.

Assateague Island State Park and National Seashore

The verbiage on the official government website is a bit complicated, but if you want a full beautiful beach for your pet to play on, then Assateague is the way to go! With miles of sandy beaches, there’s plenty of room to play, just remember to keep your pet on a leash. Animals are not allowed on the lifeguarded beaches, so you’ll need to go to the National Seashore area (to the right), not the State Park area, if it is the height of summer. But that’s where we always go anyway!

Assateague is awesome because the beach is beautiful, way less crowded than Ocean City, and you might even get to see a wild pony! Sometimes even a little baby pony! You can see Pip on a recent trip to Assateague here!

From the official website:

What’s the difference between State and National Park camping?

The State Park offers warm showers and some electric sites. Pets are allowed in the day-use beach area from Labor Day to the Friday before Memorial Day. Pets are permitted in the marina area year-round. Pets are permitted with registered campers in campground loops H, I, J (sites J-1 to J-13 only) and the adjacent beach. The National Park has cold showers and chemical toilets, and they also allow pets. Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash. You can register at the National Park 24 hours a day by signing up for an available site (after hours) and then paying the next morning. Registration at the State Park must be done in person. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the State Park Ranger Station is open from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. In the spring and fall, the Ranger Station is open until 10 p.m. on weekends and until 8 p.m. during the week. The beaches of both parks are the same. However, the State Park has only one entrance through the dunes in day-use and the National Park has two. Each camping loop has at least one dune crossover to the beach.

Stinky Beach (Homer Gudelsky Park)

For those in the know, Homer Gudelsky Park is Stinky Beach. And Stinky Beach is the place to be if you are a local in the area. The park can be found at the end of Route 707, or Old Bridge Road, in West Ocean City. It is located directly across from the Inlet of Ocean City on the Sinepuxent Bay. People love this beach because there are no rules! (just kidding there’s a few normal park rules). But this is the closest beach to take your dogs (or other animals) to, and you can even fish from here! The view is great, and so is the beach! I just happened to be playing on the rocks this day… don’t do that though! You can see all my adventures on Stinky Beach here. This park is open from Dawn to Dusk, everyday!

Ocean City’s Official Dog Park

For those looking on information about Ocean City’s Dog Park and Playground, you can visit this website. The playground itself is divided into 2 sections, one for smaller dogs, and one for larger dogs. The fees are as follows and you must apply and be accepted (this makes sure all the dogs are up to date on their shots.):

  • One Day Pass – $5.00 per dog
  • Ocean City Resident Annual Pass – $50 ($5 for each additional dog)
  • Non-Resident Annual Pass – $100 ($5 for each additional dog)
  • Ocean City Resident Half Year Pass – $30.00 (After July 1st)
  • Non-Resident Half Year Pass – $60.00 (after July 1st)
  • Seven Day Access Pass – $15.00 Note: this “Dog Pass” is intended for those individuals who wish to utilize the Playground for a one week or limited duration only ($5 for each additional dog)

Northside Park

This public park located in North Ocean City is home to a lot of known events; such as, Winterfest of Lights, Sundaes in the Park, and various sporting events like the summer softball league! It is Ocean City’s biggest and most popular park, and is a great place to take your dog, or pet, on a walk. The city says, “The 58 acre complex boasts three lighted softball/baseball fields, a lighted soccer field, multipurpose field, a fishing lagoon, a foot bridge, concession stands, two playgrounds, picnic area, two piers, a gazebo, walking/jogging paths, and a large building with a 14,200 square foot gymnasium, kitchen, community room, conference room, patio, sitting areas, and a sports center annex with a 21,000 square foot multi-sport sports arena.” So yeah, Northside Park has it all!


Some more information about Assateague from the National Park Service:

Pets are permitted only in specific areas of the Maryland portion of the National Seashore. Please manage your pets. Pets must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times! Please pick up after your pet.The hot sand and sun can be harder on your pet than it is on you. Unattended and unrestrained animals can disturb and harm island wildlife and other park visitors.

Pets are prohibited in the following areas to protect wildlife, habitat and visitors:
• The entire Virginia portion of Assateague Island *
• All backcountry campsites
• Nature trails
• Lifeguard-protected beach
• Portions of Assateague State Park
• North of the State Park to the Ocean City inlet

*Pets are prohibited in the entire Virginia portion of Assateague Island, even in your car. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages nearly all of the land area on the Virginia portion of Assateague Island as Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Barb Snyder says:

    The beach in OC, I would say allow before and after the Ocean City Beach Patrol is on/off duty during the season. Or have a designated area but that may not agree with businesses/owners in those beach areas. The owner not only clean up poop but if they pee scoop that up. After all the sand would be like clumping cat litter the kitties use! I personally would not enjoy laying on the beach with dogs running/barking. As for the boardwalk I say no during the season. There are too many people there. Enough trouble watching people let alone our animals. This is a very hard decision even for myself. However my cat doesn’t like to travel so she stays at home with someone who comes in 3 times a day.


    1. The plan would include enough regulations and steps that there should never be that many dogs at one time, and the location of the beach would rotate each day with the surf beach. Essentially having the surf beach (which changes daily) become dog friendly. The poop and pee from all the wild horses and other animals on Assateague never seems to affect anyone greatly. There are tons of dogs on Assateague and no one ever seems to complain about the pee. From what I notice it sinks down and you don’t even know it’s there.


  2. Minda says:

    I am a full time resident of Ocean City. I am emailing you some pictures I just took of the walkway to the beach on 135th Street. There are no less than 20 piles of dog poop currently in the walkway and on the beach. Can’t count how many piles of dog poop I have cleaned up because it was directly in the walkway where people step on it. Can’t tell you how many bags of dog poop I have taken off of the dune fences and thrown away. I dont understand that… people pick it up, put it in a bag, and then hang the bag on the fence for someone else to throw away. This is REAL LIFE, what REALLY HAPPENS when people are “allowed” to have dogs on the beach. Its a mess. We have spent a lot of time on beaches in Florida where dogs are allowed on the beach. It is DISGUSTING. There are piles of dog poop everywhere. Many times we have witnessed dogs pooping in the water, and it floats right up to someone who is swimming. One time a dog had diarrhea in the water. It went everywhere in the water. Kids swam and snorkeled right through the diarrhea. Gross but it HAPPENED. It is unrealistic to think this will not happen and that people with clean up after their pets. You might, but most people do NOT!!!! PETS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE BEACH!!! The pet isnt the problem, the owner is the problem. Real life. I see it every single day.


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