Sunday, December 3, 2023

Here are the beaches you can — and can’t — take your dog to this summer

The York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office is increasing patrols around the Yorktown Waterfront after multiple crimes earlier this summer. (WYDaily/Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley)
Yorktown Beach. (WYDaily/Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Wesley)

We’ve already had a taste of summer’s warm weather this year, but soon the summer season will be in full swing.

For some, that means enjoying the many river and bay beaches in the area.

Those who want to bring Fido to a beach in York County or James City County, however, may need to be more careful which beach they pick.

Some beaches in the area don’t allow dogs. Others do, but only if they are leashed.

For example, Yorktown Beach does not allow dogs at any time of year, county spokeswoman Gail Whittaker said.

In James City County, there is only one public beach: Jamestown Beach Event Park, said Alister Perkinson, parks administrator for the county.

Dogs are allowed at that particular beach, but they must be on a leash that is less than eight feet long.

All of our parks and trails are dog friendly, with the exception of some specific areas within parks such as playgrounds, athletic fields and swimming pools, and we do not have areas that are seasonal,” Perkinson said.

Generally, the National Park Service allows dogs in Colonial National Historical Park, which encompasses parts of the James and York rivers, Yorktown Battlefield and parts of Jamestown Island.

“We encourage people to bring their pets and enjoy our outdoor areas,” the Colonial National Historical Park superintendent said in a memorandum to employees.

Pets cannot be brought into the Yorktown and Jamestown visitor centers. They also must be leashed, and cannot be left tied to any object in the park or in a hot vehicle without proper ventilation or water.

Beaches within the national park lands are fair game for dogs and their owners, although the National Park Service requires dogs to be leashed.

All Virginia State Parks allow dogs, but they are prohibited from designated swim areas and cannot be brought into public facilities like visitor centers and park offices.

State parks, including York River State Park, require dogs to be kept on a leash no longer than six feet and must be kept under constant supervision.

The parks also ask owners to bring proof of current rabies vaccination.

And, no matter what beach they go to, owners should pick up after their pets.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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