8 dog-friendly Pennsylvania beaches that will give your pooch the zoomies

8 Dog-Friendly Pennsylvania Beaches That Will Give Your Pooch the Zoomies

Delaware Water Gap dog (Laika) by Y Nakanishi // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Kalena Thomhave

June 12, 2023

Pennsylvania is brimming with lakes, creeks, and dog parks where your four-legged friend can experience the water.

What’s better than a summer day at the lake? A summer day at a lake where you can bring your dog and watch them frolic in the water!

Pennsylvania is brimming with beautiful lakes and creeks that beckon on a warm day, and many are ideal for your four-legged friend to experience the water. Besides lakeshore and creekside beaches, there are also numerous Pennsylvania dog parks that feature swimming holes for pups.

Sure, we may not have dog-friendly ocean spots like our New Jersey neighbors, but one thing is for sure: these eight swimming holes are great places to take your Pennsylvania pooch for a dip in the water!

Presque Isle State Park, Erie

If you think that Pennsylvania doesn’t have beaches, you likely haven’t been to Presque Isle State Park. The coast of Lake Erie represents Pennsylvania’s only “shoreline,” and as Lake Erie is massive, spending a day at the lake definitely feels like spending a day at a freshwater seashore.

While dogs aren’t allowed on Presque Isle beaches that have lifeguards, you can take your pooch to any Presque Isle Beach area that isn’t guarded. People, however, cannot swim in areas that aren’t guarded, though you may wade in the water up to your knees. Also, dogs must be leashed whether on the sand or in the water.

Dog Beach at Blue Marsh Lake, Reading

There’s no beach officially called “Dog Beach” at Blue Marsh Lake, a recreation area just north of Reading managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. However, the gravel beach unofficially known as Dog Beach is a pleasant stretch of lakeshore that’s perfect for friendly dogs looking to swim. You can get to Dog Beach via a short hike on the Lake Border Trail. The dog-friendly beach is across the water from the public beach for humans, where dogs are not allowed.

To park close to Dog Beach, you can park at the trailhead just north of Tulpehocken Creek or a little farther south in the parking area near Water Road. From there you’ll hop on the Lake Border Trail for a short hike to the beach area, which is located along the trail and situated northeast of the Blue Marsh Dam.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Northeastern Pa. (Parts of Monroe, Northampton, and Pike counties)

Pets can visit nearly anywhere in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, which is roughly 70,000 acres of trees, river, and trails between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dogs cannot, however, visit the swimming beaches between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Though if the weather is nice outside of the summer season, you and your dog can have a beach day.

Otherwise, your pup — on his leash — can explore the rest of the Delaware Water Gap year-round.

Falls Township Community Park, Levittown

Though Falls Township Community Park has a designated off-leash dog park, areas on the walking trail along Falls Township Lake also provide access to the lake for your pooch to cool off in the water. Swimming by humans in the lake is not permitted, but you can still let your dog venture out a short distance, after which he can shake off water all over your dry clothes.

Note, however, that dogs are required to stay on leash in the park.

Doggy Beach at Wissahickon Valley Park, Philadelphia

Wissahickon Valley Park is an urban oasis in Philadelphia, located in the northwest part of the city. The Wissahickon Creek winds its way through the roughly 1,800 acres of woodland that make up this park. And just under and around the Kitchens Lane Bridge, you can find a lovely area of the creek known as “Doggy Beach” where locals love to bring their pups to teach them to swim or to just let them cool off from the Philly heat.

Note that park rules require dogs to be on leash at all times.

Lloyd Park, Downingtown

Located about an hour from Philly, Lloyd Park is an ideal place to bring your canine companion for a romp in the water. The off-leash dog area within Lloyd Park is 30 acres of fun intersected by a creek for swimming time. The park is quite popular, so expect your dog to be frolicking in the water with plenty of other pups. However, you’ll want to make sure your dog has good recall before bringing them to Lloyd Park—the off-leash dog area has natural borders but is not fully fenced.

Misty Pines Pet Company and Dog Park, Sewickley

While Misty Pines isn’t a public dog park—dogs are required to be registered with the park, and their humans need to pay a daily fee or buy a pass—the possibilities for your pup at Misty Pines’ dog pond are exciting.

Once you’ve gained entrance to the dog park, you can explore 25 acres of grounds including the dog pond. The pond is spring fed and even has a dog “dock” from which dogs can dive into the water. And while the pooches are playing, you can hang out at a picnic area to watch.

Pet Beach at Keen Lake Camping and Cottage Resort, Waymart

Located in the picturesque Pocono Mountains, Keen Lake Camping and Cottage Resort is a private campground that happens to have a pet beach dedicated solely to swimming opportunities for your furry friends.

Nightly rates include amenities besides the pet beach, like a pool, Wi-Fi, boat rentals, laundromat, snack bar, pavilion, and communal fire ring. But let’s be honest—you’re mostly interested in the pet beach, right?


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