Dogs on the Beach: A Pet Owner’s Guide

We all love to bring our four-legged friends to the beach, but take note that some area beaches are already kicking in their stricter summer hours. Here’s your guide for which areas allow dogs on the beach and when they have to be on a leash.

dogs on the beach
Lowcountry beaches have rules on when you’re allowed to have your dogs on the beach. (Source: Pixabay)

FOLLY BEACH

  • May 1 to Sept. 30: Dogs are not allowed on beach between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • All other times: Dogs must always be on a leash.
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND
  • May 1 to Sept. 30: Dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. They can be off-leash from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. but must be on-leash from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Oct 1 to April 30: Dogs must be on-leash from noon to 5 a.m.
  • All dogs must have a valid permit.
ISLE OF PALMS
  • April 1 to Sept. 14: Dogs must be on a leash from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Sept. 15 to March 31: Dogs must be on a leash from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Isle of Palms residents must have a valid permit for their dogs.
KIAWAH ISLAND
  • March 16 to Oct. 31: Dogs must be on a leash at all times in the dog-designated area.
  • Nov. 1 to March 15: Dogs are allowed off-leash between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • Dogs are prohibited in critical habitat areas at all times.
SEABROOK ISLAND
  • NOTE: Dogs must be on leash above the high water line at all times.
  • May 1 to October 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 1 to April 30: Dogs may be off-leash in dog-designated area, otherwise same summer hours apply.
  • East of the designated off-leash area, dogs are not allowed at any time.
EDISTO BEACH
  • May 1 to October 31: Dogs must be on a leash on the beach.
  • November 1 to April 30: Dogs are allowed off leash on the beach.
HILTON HEAD
  • Friday before Memorial Day to Labor Day: Animals are not allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • April 1 to Friday before Memorial Day: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Labor Day to Sept. 30: Dogs must be on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
MYRTLE BEACH
  • May 1 to Labor Day: Dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
  • The day after Labor Day to April 30: Dogs are allowed on the beach at any time. They must be on a leash that’s seven feet or shorter.

When you do take your dog along to enjoy a day on the beach, watch for dangers many dog owners might not think about, including allowing them to drink too much salt water or eating dead fish that may have washed ashore.

Be careful about letting them swim in the ocean as well: even a strong dog could get washed away by the currents. Consider buying a life jacket for your dog to keep them safe if they want to swim in the ocean or keeping them on leash whenever they’re in the water so you can pull them back in easier if they get out too far.