Anyone who owns a dog will tell you that their four legged friend is just a part of the family as any human. So when it comes to going on holiday, it can be difficult to leave our dogs behind.
Luckily, if you holiday in the right spots in Scotland everyone is welcome, as the country has plenty of dog friendly accommodation, not to mention plenty of scenic spots for walkies too.
The beaches that can be found around Scotland’s dramatic coastline are no exception. Many of them remain open to dogs at all times, or at least for part of the year.
Sandy paws at the ready, here are our top 7 dog friendly beaches in Scotland for your consideration.
Belhaven Beach, Dunbar
A short thirty minute trek along the A1 from Edinburgh is Belhaven Beach in Dunbar, which can be found within John Muir Country Park. The beach stretches for approximately one mile in length, providing plenty of room to run around even for the most energetic of dog breeds.
Offering stunning views of the Forth Estuary, the area boasts low sheltering sand dunes, rich salt marshes and spectacular grasslands. As well as dog walking, the beach is particularly popular with kite surfers and day trippers who arrive with a picnic in tow.
The location of Belhaven Beach is also extremely easy to get to on public transport, with the East Coast Main Line running through Dunbar.
Seton Sands, Longniddry
Just along the coast from Belhaven Beach is Seton Sands. It’s a rural beach which sits along the bank of the Firth of Forth. Parking is provided on nearby Links Road, where a handy path leads through a woodland area for your dog to explore before connecting with the beach.
Boasting its own dog exercise area, the beach has a wonderful long run for dogs to stretch their legs and socialise with other local dogs. The beach itself has some rocky terrain, although plenty of soft sandy paths are in place to suit older dogs.
Dogs who visit can also enjoy sniffing out some of the local marine life that is exposed during low tide.
Seamill Beach, West Kilbride
Heading to the western coast of Scotland, around forty minutes from Glasgow is Seamill Beach.
Its glistening azure waters give way to a backdrop of the mountainous Isle of Arran, providing just as much visual entertainment for the humans as there is for any pets.
What’s particularly nice for dogs is the abundance of coastal walks that can be found in the area, including the Ayrshire Coastal Path, which extends for a few miles along the coast. It makes a great spot for nature watching, with the area particularly popular with rare birds.
Saltcoats Beach, Saltcoats
A stone’s throw from Seamill Beach is Saltcoats Beach, which offers yet another dog friendly walk on the sand in Scotland. It also provides incredible views over the Firth of Clyde and across to the mountainous Isle of Arran.
For dogs that enjoy a paddle, perhaps a little too far out for their owner’s liking, Saltcoats Beach makes for a good choice as the water remains fairly shallow along the bay. Walk further along to find a park where you and your canine can enjoy a post-walk picnic.
Conveniently, Ardrossan South Beach Railway Station is just 100 metres from the beach and offers direct train services to Glasgow if you are planning more of a city break but still want to visit the beach.
West Bay, North Berwick
Anyone who has ever travelled on the East Coast Main Line up to Scotland will likely be familiar with the captivating sea views produced around the Berwick area, close to the border between Scotland and England.
West Bay is a beach close to those seen along the train line and is even better in person both for humans and dogs. It provides incredible views over the Firth of Forth. You’ll also capture a glimpse of the 12th Century North Berwick Harbour, Craigleith and Bass Rocks.
The curvature of the sandy beach culminates in the Scottish Seabird Centre, which can be found either at the start or end of your dog walk, depending on your route. Afterwards, there’s plenty to entertain all the family among the bustle of Berwick town centre.
Moving into the most northerly area of the Scottish Highlands is Shandwick Bay, which is yet another dog friendly beach located near Tain in Easter Ross. This is an ideal beach if you’re travelling northwards along the A9 and your dog needs a quick leg stretch.
Offering uninterrupted views of the North Sea, Shandwick Bay welcomes dogs all year round. It’s a quieter beach than some of the other dog friendly beaches on our list, and due to its exposed location, will likely be particularly windy in the colder months. That said, it’s a wonderful location due to its unspoilt sand dunes, rocky terrain and coastal paths at either end to explore.
Follow the A832 up to Gairloch and a wondrous sight will appear, for Gairloch Beach has incredible crystal clear waters and white sand that resemble faraway shores.
Gairloch Beach is secluded, surrounded by nothing but mountains and moorland. We particularly recommend taking the dog for a walk when you can capture either the spectacular sunrises or sunsets that happen here.
The smooth sands on Gairloch Beach are particularly paw friendly, and the beach remains virtually untouched by tourists.
Best Scottish Cottages – Dog Friendly Accommodation Scotland
After all that running around on Scotland’s beautiful beaches, your pooch (and you!) will likely be in search of a place to rest up for the night. Here at Best Scottish Cottages you’re in luck, as we have around 100 available holiday lets that permit dogs right across Scotland.
View all available dog friendly accommodation in Scotland, and discover our stunning array of holiday cottages and cottages dotted right across the country. You can also let us know the best dog friendly beaches in Scotland by leaving us a comment below.
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