Guides

9 Dog-Friendly Beaches For Your Next Camping Trip

Being a dog owner is, of course, the best. You do a lot with your doggo: take walks, chase balls in the park, re-watch Cheer on Netflix free of judgement, etc. So naturally you want a dog-friendly camping holiday too.

With a decent stretch of summer left, it makes sense to target a beach getaway with your canine bud. If you’re camping (a great way to keep the costs down and the relaxation up), dog-friendliness can be a challenge.

As a general rule, dogs aren’t permitted in Australia’s national parks. It’s a necessary measure to protect native wildlife and habitats. However, that doesn’t mean your only option is to start Googling dog-sitting services.

For this feature, we’ve focused on dog-friendly campsites dotted across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. You can expect a laidback, welcoming vibe at these spots – with a beach just steps away.

You should get familiar with each campsite’s pet policy, as most expect a heads-up when booking. You’ll also need to keep your dog on a leash when required. Since COVID, many campsites have restricted the number of visitors allowed at once, so be sure to book ahead.

Here’s some inspiration for your dog-friendly camping holiday – when you’re (both) ready to leave the couch.

New South Wales

#1 Merry Beach Caravan Park, Kioloa

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Doesn’t get much better than this

A post shared by The Long Haul Van (@initforthelonghaul_oz) on

Set right on the beachfront in Murramarang National Park, Merry Beach Caravan Park is staunchly pro-dog.

Pets are welcome in the camping site and designated on-site cabins. (You can check out the full policy here.)

As befitting the name, Merry Beach brings a feelgood vibe. Nestled on the coast about four hours south of Sydney, the campsite opens onto a pristine stretch of beach. You’ll wake up each morning to the sight of kangaroos chilling on the grass.

Sure, you’re going to enjoy that soft sand and head-clearing surf. But really, your pup will have the absolute most fun.

A powered campsite with a beach view starts around $70 per night.

Find Out More.

#2 Delicate Campground, Goolawah Regional Park

Delicate Campground is a true doggy heaven.

This secluded spot can be found in Goolawah Regional Park near Crescent Head, about a five hour drive north from Sydney. It’s a back-to-basics site set up for tents, camper trailers or caravans.

Best of all, dogs are allowed to roam leash-free on the huge sweep of beach. For the humans, there’s surfing, snorkelling and whale watching.

Campsites are available on a first-in first-served basis. The rate is $24 per site per night – cash only.

Find Out More.

#3 Wooyung Beach Holiday Park, Wooyung

A 30-minute drive out of Byron Bay, Wooyung Beach Holiday Park is an idyllic situation. Proudly one of the few remaining bush camping spots on the Australian East Coast, both the campsite and the nearby beaches are dog-friendly. Just follow the rules for happy camping.

Here you’ll pitch your tent in front of the unspoiled expanse of Wooyung Beach. (“We consider it crowded if you see more than five people to the horizon,” the website proudly claims.) With no township in the immediate area, the stargazing opportunities are epic.

Wooyung Beach is also an ideal spot for surfing, beach fishing and seeing your dog discover its bliss. You can send an enquiry via the website for pricing.

Find Out More.

Victoria

#4 Johanna Beach Campground, Great Otway National Park

You could do the Great Ocean Road with a group of friends. But why not keep it simple and just take (wo)man’s best friend?

In that scenario, you’ll need a dog-friendly campsite along the way. Johanna Beach Campground fits the bill. It’s a rustic set-up, with non-flush toilets and no showers, but that’s of little concern to your dog.

Johanna Beach itself is an untamed slice of ocean frontage – perfect for surfing, hiking or fishing. Summer is crowded, but a winter visit could deliver a whale sighting.

You can book a campsite for around $15 a night, but make sure to plan ahead.

Find Out More.

#5 Paradise Beach Campground, Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

ninety mile Beach

A post shared by Carrie Evans (@carrieeevans) on

Four-legged companions are a crucial part of the ambience at Paradise Beach Campground. A comfortable three-hour drive out of Melbourne, this spot sits in the tranquil Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

The Paradise Beach campground is set in a strip of bushland between the ocean and Lake Reeves.

If you want to roam Ninety Mile Beach, this is a great place to set up. The fishing opportunities are also second to none, if that’s your thing. If you’re lucky (and patient), you’ll roll back to camp with a haul of freshly-caught salmon or snapper. In other words, a doggo’s dream dinner.

Campsites can be booked for around $15 a night.

Find Out More.

#6 Skenes Creek Beachfront Caravan Park, Skenes Creek

 

The old school sign that greets you at Skenes Creek Beachfront Caravan Park promises ‘Absolute Beach Frontage’. It might not make the sign, but this dreamy spot is also open to dogs.

Skenes Creek Caravan Park is located on the ocean side of the Great Ocean Road. It’s close to both Apollo Bay and the Great Otway National Park, so you’ll want to linger a while.

The site’s ‘absolute beach frontage’ has been a favourite of dog owners for over four decades. You can choose from powered and unpowered sites for a tent or caravan (an unpowered site is $40 per night in high season) – or simply rent one of the onsite vans.

There’s also a charming on-site coffee shop and rolling surf just steps from your tent. I mean, look how happy this pup is!

Find Out More.

Queensland

#7 Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, Rainbow Beach

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Mission successful two tired out puppachinos #beachtimes #doggosofinstagram

A post shared by Anna Peach (@annapeach27) on

You’ll feel very smug about road tripping to this part of the world. Rainbow Beach is a peaceful town on Queensland’s Great Beach Drive. The ocean looks like a postcard, there’s wide stretches of sand to explore and the sunsets are spectacular.

Inskip Peninsula is a short drive out of Rainbow Beach. From here you can take a barge across to Fraser Island or explore the Cooloola National Park.

Dogs are welcome at the secluded, no-frills Inskip Peninsula Recreation Area, provided you keep them on-leash. (Make sure to check where they can’t go in the surrounding area.)

For $6.65 per person per night, this is a slice of paradise you won’t want to leave in a hurry.

Find Out More.

#8 Loyalty Beach Campground and Fishing Lodge, New Mapoon 

 

Without a doubt, this is the furthest-flung entry on the list. Loyalty Beach Campground and Fishing Lodge is pure, unadulterated Australia. Everyone’s welcome up here, including your pet.

This one-of-a-kind spot is located in Cape York, Far North Queensland. It sits on 13 acres of beachfront, just 45 minutes drive from the northernmost tip of Australia.

In addition to open bush camping and all that beach, the area teems with wildlife. That means palm cockatoos, green tree frogs, pythons, kangaroos and, yes, crocs. If you’re looking to skip all that, try a cocktail and a bucket of prawns at DJ’s Restaurant and Bar as the sun sets over the Torres Strait.

Be aware that your dog won’t be allowed in any nearby national parks. Then again, maybe this campground is worth the drive alone. An unpowered camping site is $14 per adult, per night.

Find Out More.

Golden Beach Holiday Park, Sunshine Coast

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

☀️

A post shared by Nick Tadic™ (@nick_tadic) on

If you can’t quite justify a trek to Cape York with canine company, maybe the Sunshine Coast is a safer bet.

Golden Beach Holiday Park allows pets on its powered caravan and camping sites (a standard powered site is $45 per night in low season), although not in the units. From here you can check out nearby Caloundra, with its white sand beach, shady picnic spots and coastal paths perfect for early morning jogs.

Then again, you could also just read a book while your dog snores the afternoon away. After all, why else did you bring your best bud on holiday?

Find Out More.

(Lead Image: Instagram / @3aussies.travel