The Best 6 Dog Friendly Beaches in Essex & 2022 Restrictions

Essex is known for many things, including being the county in England with the greatest number of islands. As you can imagine, the islands and the mainland part of the county all have plenty of beautiful beaches to explore! Thankfully, as you’ll soon see, there are plenty of dog friendly beaches across the county.

That’s why Essex is a prime holiday destination for many of us. There’s some truly gorgeous sea views out here, and as well as being brilliant for dog walking, there are quaint seaside scenes out in Clacton and Southend – perfect beaches for anyone looking to take a trip back in time.

Of course, among the many beaches, there are those which may have dog bans or dog restrictions in place. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of 6 of the best dog friendly beaches Essex has to offer – saving you time and effort along the way.

When are dogs allowed on beaches in Essex

There are many dog friendly beaches near Essex where you can take your pets to the coast all year round. However, it’s worth remembering that some regions may have dog restrictions in place. For each of the beaches listed below, we’ve identified when there may be a dog ban in place, so you can consult your beach guide and ensure you keep within the rules. Dog restrictions exist so that sandy straits can stay looking wonderful all year round! Why not take a look at the best dog walks in Essex, too?

The Best Beaches in Essex for Dogs

Irlam’s Beach

Are you looking for a dog friendly beach in Essex that’s a bit of a hidden gem? Irlham’s Beach, sometimes known as Earlham’s Beach, is a bit of a marvel. This lovely plot of marshland and sand dunes backs out across Dovercourt Bay, down in Harwich. It’s only a few miles from The Naze Beach, and it tends to be a lucrative spot for fishing. If you’re keen to spot some wildlife while walking the dog, too, then this sandy stretch is going to be ideal for you.

Of course, as this isn’t a big tourist beach by any stretch of the imagination, there are no lifeguards along here. Dog walkers should therefore take it pretty steady as they stroll along the sands. This is a top dog friendly beach in Essex mainly for how quiet it is, meaning you’re going to need to go a little but off the map to really appreciate the beauty here.

That’s not a bad thing! Dogs are welcome here all year round, meaning it’s just the type of beach to head to if you’re tired of dog restrictions popping up elsewhere. There are plenty of dog friendly attractions in Essex and other beaches for you to explore beyond Harwich, too.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Near Dovercourt Bay, Harwich, Essex, CO12 3SS
  • Facilities Near By: None

West Mersea Beach

West Mersea Beach is a lovely sand and shingle stretch, boasting that classic England seaside charm and offering plenty of local places to stay. This really is beach hut heaven, too, so if you fancy taking a load off down the beach road with your dogs, there are plenty of domiciles to take advantage of.

This beach is actually part of the popular Mersea Island, meaning it’s not actually part of the Essex mainland! This sandy shoreline connects to Essex through its causeway, though you’ll need to catch this natural bridge at the right tide if you want to cross it.

This traditional beachfront is one of the most laid back dog friendly beaches Essex has to offer. The best part is that you can bring dogs here all year round – there’s no dog ban or any kind of dogs only zone here. Therefore, we highly recommend you split off from the county mainland for a short while just to sample the delights of Mersea Island. Why not try a bit of crabbing down here or spot a few boats heading to and fro?

There are also plenty of Essex pet friendly cottages nearby, too!

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: West Mersea, Colchester, Essex CO5 8DE
  • Facilities Near By: Food and drink, shops, car park

Osea Island Beach

Another fantastic island location down in the Blackwater river estuary, the beach at Osea Island offers more than just a sandy stretch or two. In fact, it’s something of a mix between countryside and coast, serving up more than 400 acres of green land for you and your dogs to explore at your leisure. This is one of several Essex dog friendly beaches that’s a little bit off the beaten track, mainly because you’ll need to get to and fro via the natural causeway. That disappears, by the way, once the high tide rises up!

You and your dogs are sure to love the leg stretching down across the miles at Osea, and as it’s not a tourist spot by any means, you can expect plenty of quieter walks as you spot local wildlife and look across the estuary. This really is a delightful breakaway point if you are struggling to get some peace and quiet from Essex beaches elsewhere.

You’re allowed to bring your dogs here at any time, making it one of the most welcoming beaches on our list. However, with no lifeguard patrol, we wouldn’t be writing a responsible beach guide if we didn’t encourage you to bring leads – and to make sure your dogs are safe.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Be sure to use the address for Osea Leisure Park in your GPS: Osea Leisure, Osea Island, Goldhanger Road, Maldon, Essex CM9 4SA
  • Facilities Near By:  Family attractions, village amenities, shops, food and drink

Thorney Bay Beach, Canvey Island

Thorney Bay is another quiet location in deeper Essex that offers some of the best beach walks for dogs in the region. If you are tired of busier, louder beaches elsewhere in the county, then Canvey Island plays host to a sheltered plot of sand that connects to the Thames Estuary. The views across beaches near here are truly breathtaking, meaning it’s definitely worth bringing dogs with you to enjoy it all.

This relatively small beach still leaves a big impact, particularly given the fact that you can spy all the way over the Thames and over into Kent! This is a great family fun zone with play park facilities available nearby. You tend to get the full quaint English beach experience at Thorney Bay, which of course makes it a great pick for this beach guide. We definitely recommend you take a closer look at local guides for more information.

Stick with the information on this page, however, as we have the lowdown on dogs on this particular beach. There are no dog restrictions at this beach, meaning you can bring pets with you all year round.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: Thorney Bay Road, Canvey Island, Essex SS8 0AG
  • Facilities Near By: Playpark, cafe, car parking

The Naze

The Naze Beach is one of Essex’s marvellous little hidden wonders, offering cliffside views just down from the famous Naze Tower. This plot of sandy land has a lot of history to it, particularly as it was set up with defences during World War II. The village of Walton on the Naze is close by, but your dogs are likely to want to explore the beach land here before anywhere even slightly built up!

Great for fossil hunting, what’s even better is the fact that there are no dog bans in place here. You can bring your pup to walk along the Naze coast across the year, meaning you’ll always have the chance to enjoy the seaside vistas with your pup. While relatively quiet, this is a popular spot for many people exploring Essex thanks to the art and historic connections. There’s certainly more to see here than just beaches alone, so take the time to really drink it all in.

Keep in mind before you visit, however, that there are no lifeguard patrols here – so make sure you take special care!

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: The Naze, Frinton on Sea, Essex CO14 8LG
  • Facilities Near By: Food and drink, toilets

Mersea Stone Beach

Mersea Stone Beach is one of several dog friendly beaches near Essex that has stacks of history behind it. As the name suggests, this is a stone and pebble beach that slopes down into beautiful blue waters. This beach is particularly interesting for history buffs as there are still the remains of a World War II pillbox on the shoreline. Mersea’s island itself also has the remains of a Tudor fort that attracts tourists across the year.

You can take one of many heritage walks around the island – and be sure to bring your dog for the trip, as the beaches around Mersea are open to dogs all year round. You can also ride horses here!

Although dogs are allowed on the beach, it is suggested that they be kept on a lead during the summer months, due to the number of tourists visiting being quite high. Therefore, for a quieter time of it, you’ll obviously want to head over during the autumn and winter. Regardless of when you go crabbing, it’s one of the most delightful dog friendly beaches in Essex.

  • Seasonal Restrictions: No
  • Lifeguards: No
  • Address: West Mersea, Essex, CO5 8DE, UK
  • Facilities Near By: Restaurants, shops, cafes, holiday parks

Last Word

The Essex coast really is a dog lover’s paradise. Maybe you’ve already taken a look at pet friendly pubs in Essex, and want to take a trip down the local sands! There are lots of family beaches along here too, some with paddling pool area and swimming pool facilities available at towns across the map.

Take it from us – people across the South East of the UK love heading to the coast here for dog friendly strolls. Find an adventure you and your pup will love!

Find yourself B&Bs, cottages, spa cabins – and really take time out to enjoy the beaches of Essex with your dogs. Do also take the chance to explore wider beaches down here if you get the chance.

This guide to the best beaches on the Essex map is just the beginning. Consider looking towards West Marsh Point, Martello Tower, and some of the more popular coastal towns in the region. We can probably name plenty more beaches of sand and shingle type we just don’t have room for here!