How Dog Friendly is Virginia Beach, Really?

If you’re moving to Virginia Beach with your four-legged friend, you’re both in luck. With acres of dog-friendly parks, events and even breweries, this area is sure to have your pet’s tail wagging in no time.

Pints & Pups

The craft brewery scene in Virginia Beach and the larger Hampton Roads region is huge and with our mild climate, most breweries opt for lots of outdoor space. Dogs are allowed at these outdoor spaces at many breweries including Green Flash, Momac, O’Connor Brewing Company, Smartmouth and Back Bay Brewing. Virginia Commonwealth law prohibits dogs from being inside a winery or brewery or restaurant (with the exception of service dogs, of course), so many of these breweries have created outdoor space specifically for folks who prefer to enjoy a brew alongside their pup.

A Day at the Beach

With miles of beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, there are tons of places for your dog to take a swim, do some digging or just run like crazy. Virginia Beach has somewhat confusing regulations about when your dogs can be on the beach during the summer, but the important thing to remember is that between Labor Day and Memorial Day your dog can be on the beach and the boardwalk at any time. You are just required to clean up after them and keep them on a leash, and the city even provides baggies at many public access points.

In the summer, dogs can be on the beach early in the morning and on some beaches later in the evening. Check out for specific hours and regulations.

A Walk in the Park

You can take your dog to pretty much any public park in the city, but several parks have off-leash dog areas where your pup can make some new friends. Bayville Farms Park has separate fenced-in areas for small and large dogs; Red Wing Park has a large, one-acre off leash area, as does Woodstock Park.

Just be aware that in order to take your dog to a public dog park, you must apply for and purchase an annual Dog Park Pass at any Virginia Beach Recreation Center. Your dog must also be licensed within the city to get this dog park pass. More information can be found on the city’s website.

 Special Activities

There are always special events going on in Hampton Roads and pet-friendly events are no exception. Bark in the Park is an annual event that raises funds for the Chesapeake Humane Society. Each October this weekend-long event kicks off with a 5K Doggy Dash or a 1-Mile Puppy Trot (you can do either with or without your pet in tow). There is also a Radar Run, canine demonstrations, animal rescue exhibits, special pet vendors, live entertainment and more.

The Virginia Beach SPCA also hosts several events throughout the year including their highly anticipated, over-the-top Wags and Whiskers Gala, an annual golf tournament, and a Mutt Masquerade 5K every Halloween.

This list is just the tip of the tail when it comes to dog-friendly shops, restaurants, pet boutiques and more where your fur friend is welcome. No bones about it, Virginia Beach is a great place to put down roots with your pup.

Rachel Burns