Dog-Friendly Places to Stay and Play on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

We don’t call them our fur babies for nothing. Pets really are like family. It can be hard to leave them behind when you go on vacation. On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, you don’t have to.

Dog-Friendly Places to Stay

Select campgrounds, vacation rentals, B&Bs and hotels up and down the Eastern Shore roll out the welcome mat for your pup.

Being a dog is a hard job. Credit: Bethany Simpson

At the Hotel Cape Charles, stay in the pet-friendly gardens rooms outfitted with sleek, modern furnishings, marble countertops, and comfy seating areas. Best of all, these rooms open onto the hotels 2,200 square foot courtyard so your pooch won’t have to go far for a walk. Rinse your dog off after a day at the beach in the outdoor showers.

For a list of pet-friendly B&Bs and inns click here
For a list of pet-friendly campgrounds click here
For a list of pet-friendly hotels and motels click here
For a list of pet-friendly vacation rentals click here

Dog-Friendly Public Beaches

Taking your dog to the beach is a great way to help them burn off some energy. Here is a rundown of the beaches on Virginia’s Eastern Shore where dogs can run, play and swim to their heart’s content.

Foster, the famous mascot of brown dog ice cream in Cape Charles, loves living in a beach town. Credit: brown dog ice cream

Cape Charles Beach, Cape Charles
From April 1 through the first Monday of September dogs are allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. or after 9 p.m. There are no restrictions from September to April.

Savage Neck Dunes Area Natural Preserve, Eastville
You can hike three marked trails with your pupper and then climb over sand dunes for a run on the beach or a dip in the Chesapeake Bay. Make sure to remain on marked trails. This 298-acre preserve protects some delicate habitat and rare species.

Tangier Island, Tangier
Tangier sits in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay so before you hit the beach you’ll catch the ferry from Onancock to the island. It runs daily from May to October. You’ll get a chance to see the sights and your dog will get a little exercise as you make the one-mile walk from the marina to the beach. Or take the easy way: Rent a golf cart.

Kiptopeke State Park, Cape Charles
A special pet-friendly beach at Kiptopeke State Park is open for leashed dogs, and the camping area, lodges and cabins allow dogs. The park also has a network of trails which are dog-friendly. Your pup must be on a leash no longer than six feet.

Learn more about public beaches here 

Dog-Friendly Private Beaches

If you rent a pet-friendly vacation home on a private beach, you’re all set.

Chesapeake Bay KOA has a beach dog park as well as a regular dog park with play structures and water features. You can bring your RV, camp or rent a cabin. Learn more here

Tall Pines Harbor Campground has a dog-friendly beach. You can bring your RV, camp or rent a cabin. Pups are even allowed to be off their leashes on the beach as long as everyone behaves. Learn more here

Dog-Friendly Parks

There are over 78,00 acres of public parks on Virginia’s Eastern Shore to explore and plenty welcome your dog with open arms.

You can make sure you and your fur baby are rocking the latest styles at Love Letters in Cape Charles. File Photo

Cape Charles Natural Area Preserve, Cape Charles
Leashed dogs allowed.

Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Charles
Leashed dogs allowed. 

Guard Shore, Bloxom
Leashed dogs allowed.

Magothy Bay Natural Area Preserve, Cape Charles
Leashed dogs allowed.

Mutton Hunk Fen Natural Area Preserve, Parksley
Leashed dogs allowed.

Mockhorn Island Wildlife Management Area, Kiptopeke
Leashed dogs are allowed on the mainland portion of the management area which can be accessed by taking Jones Cove Road east from Seaside Road.

Doe Creek Wildlife Management Area, Onancock
Leashed dogs allowed

Brownsville Preserve, Nassawadox
Leashed dogs are allowed on the William B. Cummings Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Indian Town Park, Eastville
Leashed dogs allowed

Learn more about parks here.

Dog-Friendly Places to Eat

After a long day of playing on the beach and hiking on park trails, you’ll need a bite to eat. If you’d like to visit a restaurant with your dog, call and check before you go. Although Virginia law allows dogs on restaurant patios, there are rules. Some restaurants post signs outlining their pet policy.

Enjoy a relaxed meal outside with your pupper. File photo

There are over a dozen food trucks on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and they’re a great option when you’re dining with your doggo. You can grab everything from tacos to barbecue and donuts and sit outside with your four-legged friend for a meal.

If you’re staying at a pet-friendly vacation home,  your pet can tag along as you forage at local farmers markets. 

Dog-Friendly Events

There are dozens of dog-friendly events here from holiday parades to outdoor festivals.

Your whole family, fur baby included, will love watching high-flying dogs at the annual Dock Dogs competition, each July in Cape Charles. Watch top doggy athletes compete to jump the farthest, leap the highest or retrieve the fastest. Cheer along with a crowd of fans and fellow dog lovers or register your dog to compete.

Dress your pet to the nines for Oliver’s Pet Parade in Onancock. Dogs, cats, pigs and other cuddly ones parade down Market Street in costume with their owners. Come and watch the fun with your pet, costume optional.

Shore Craft Beer Festival on Chincoteague isn’t just for beer lovers, dogs and kids are welcome to join in on the fun too. You can drink beer and sample dishes from local food trucks with your pet by your side.

Learn more about events here

Shopping for Your Pup

You’ll find high quality and one-of-a-kind doggy toys, accessories and treats on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Your pup is sure to love a Muttmellow from Ten Good Sheep. Credit Karen Simpson Tweedie

Pick up a special treat in Chincoteague at Howl Naturale pet bakery. They cook up special treats for your four-legged friend.

A roadside cafe and coffee shop in Machipongo is an unlikely place to find special pet items, but it’s owner, a vet, has a well-curated selection at the Machipongo Trading Company. 

For a list of pet supply stores click here

Keep your Pet Clean, Safe and Cared for on Vacation

If you’re traveling with your pup and they need a bath after a roll in marsh mud or get sick, dog lovers up and down Virginia’s Eastern Shore are ready to help.

Your dog can get squeaky clean at the Pet Spa just like Max. Credit: Eastern Shore Animal Hospital Pet Spa

S’paw Day in Cape Charles can help you get your pup squeaky clean after a day at the beach or a roll in the mud. They’ll give your dog a bath and a blowout or you can do it yourself at one of their self-service dog wash stations.

Veterinarians across the region hold regular business hours, Monday through Friday. If you need help in the off hours, there are emergency vets in nearby Virginia Beach and Salisbury.

For a list of local veterinarians click here
For a list of local boarding facilities click here 

You May Also Like: Glamping on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

A Moveable Feast: Food Trucks on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

Six Great Beaches on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

2 thoughts on “Dog-Friendly Places to Stay and Play on Virginia’s Eastern Shore

  1. The shop on Chincoteague that Carrie’s dog treats is Howl Naturale (not How Naturale).

    A good addition to your history information would be Teaguer Tump Tours which is owned and operated by Denise Bowden, who is a 5th generation Chincoteague Native. It’s a land-based tour in her van, showing them and now history all over Chincoteague Island.


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