Exploring Dog-Friendly Beaches in Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May is a paradise for those who consider their furry friends part of the family. While this picturesque coastal town boasts pristine shores and captivating charm, it’s essential to note that Cape May City’s beaches are not dog-friendly during the peak season.

However, if you’re looking to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf with your four-legged companion, we’ve got you covered. The Lower Township beaches along the Delaware Bay are your year-round haven for beachside adventures with your dog.

cape may beaches pet friendly

Cape May City: A Winter Retreat for Pooches

When the summer crowds have dissipated, Cape May City’s beaches welcome dogs during the off-season months, namely November, December, January, February, and March. This is the perfect time for peaceful walks, where you and your pet can enjoy the tranquility of the beach and the soothing sound of the waves. So, if you prefer a quieter beach experience, this is your opportunity.

Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area: A Natural Haven for Dogs

Higbee Beach Wildlife Management Area, owned by the State of New Jersey, allows dogs from September 1 to April 30. Although you might spot dogs year-round, it’s not officially permitted during the summer season. Still, the area’s open spaces and scenic views make it a fantastic location for nature enthusiasts and their canine companions.

Cape May Point: Leash Up and Enjoy

In Cape May Point, dogs are welcomed from November 1 through March 14. To ensure a safe and respectful beach experience for all visitors, dogs must be leashed at all times with a leash no longer than 6 feet. Additionally, dogs must be accompanied by an owner over the age of 12. It’s a lovely spot for leisurely strolls and enjoying the sea breeze.

Sunset Beach: The Perfect Dog-Friendly Retreat

Sunset Beach allows dogs to frolic in the sand from September 15 to April 15. It’s an ideal spot to catch a stunning sunset, explore unique Cape May diamonds, and spend quality time with your canine companion. Just remember to clean up after your pet, ensuring that this lovely beach stays pristine for all.

Lower Township: A Year-Round Dog-Friendly Paradise

Lower Township, along the Delaware Bay, stands out as a year-round haven for dogs and their owners. Leashed animals are permitted at any time during the off-season, creating the perfect opportunity for beachside play and relaxation.

However, during the in-season (Memorial Day – Labor Day), there are restrictions, with dogs prohibited at the beach between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. It’s crucial to keep your dog leashed and to clean up after them. Lower Township’s beaches provide a unique experience along the Bay coast, making it a fantastic destination for all-season enjoyment.

Cape May Point State Park: A Sanctuary for Birds

Cape May Point State Park, along with the Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge, prohibits dogs to protect vulnerable chicks of federally-threatened Piping Plovers and Least Terns. While you can’t bring your dog to these areas, they are essential for conserving the local bird populations, adding to the unique ecological diversity of the region.

Where To Stay With Your Pet In Cape May

When visiting Cape May with your furry friend, there’s no better way to experience these dog-friendly beaches than by booking a stay in a privately owned short-term vacation rental close to the beach. It ensures a comfortable and convenient home base for you and your pet, allowing you to fully savor the dog-friendly wonders of this charming coastal town. So, pack your bags, leash up your pup, and make memories in Cape May like never before!

Dog Etiquette and City Ordinances in Cape May

While Cape May is a dog-friendly destination, it’s important to be aware of the local ordinances and etiquette to ensure a harmonious experience for all visitors, furry and human alike.

Leash Up and Limit Length: When strolling through Cape May, always keep your dog on a leash that’s no longer than 6 feet. This not only ensures their safety but also promotes a respectful atmosphere for others.

No Pickup Truck Rides: It’s crucial to note that state laws govern the treatment of animals, and as such, your dog should not ride in the back of a pickup truck. Ensuring your pet’s safety and comfort is of the utmost importance.

Clean Up After Your Dog: Cape May maintains a pristine environment, and we aim to keep it that way. Be a responsible pet owner and clean up after your dog. All it takes is a scooper, a paper towel, and a plastic baggie. Failure to do so could result in a $100 fine for each violation, so let’s do our part to keep the beaches clean.

Cape May City Beach Regulations: While Cape May City’s beaches are open to dogs during the months of November, December, January, February, and March, there are specific rules to follow. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times and be accompanied by their owner or caretaker. This ensures the safety and enjoyment of all beachgoers.

Respect Mall Rules: By city ordinance, dogs are not permitted on the Washington Street Mall under any circumstances, even if they are leashed. Signs at mall entrances clearly indicate this regulation. We encourage everyone to respect this rule to avoid any potential penalties.

Pet-Friendly Stores: While some stores in Cape May welcome pets with open arms, it’s important to note that not all establishments are pet-friendly. Please be courteous and ask the shopkeeper for permission before entering with your furry companion. This way, you can enjoy a worry-free shopping experience and avoid any misunderstandings.

In Cape May, we treasure the bond between you and your dog, and we strive to create an environment where everyone can enjoy their visit. By adhering to these dog etiquette guidelines and city ordinances, you’ll help maintain the charm and cleanliness of Cape May while ensuring a delightful stay for both you and your beloved pet. So, leash up, follow the rules, and explore all that Cape May has to offer for you and your furry friend.

Additional Resources: capemay.com


  • Mark Case

    Mark Case is the owner of the property located at 113 Jennifer Lane in North Cape May, NJ. A long time entrepreneur, Mark is the founder of GM Carpet Care, based in Toms River, NJ and the owner/operator of MasterTech Environmental Jersey Shore, a specialized cleaning service, mold remediation company and biohazard cleanup company in New Jersey. With decades of experience cleaning homes and commercial properties when his customers and clients can't manage the mess themselves, Mark is uniquely qualified to keep his short term rental property in Cape May immaculately clean, safe and welcoming for all his guests and their pets.