Brooklyn’s Coney Island is famous for its amusement parks and hot dogs. But that doesn’t mean that your dog can’t get in on the action! Enjoy a Coney Island dog-friendly getaway with miles of sandy beaches to walk and so much for you and your furry friend to explore. During the offseason, dogs are even welcome on the Coney Island beach, proving just how dog-friendly NYC really is!
Dog-Friendly Things to Do at Coney Island
It’s not always very easy to find dog-friendly things to do. But with the outdoor nature of Coney Island, there are lots of things that you can do and bring your dog along for. Unfortunately, you may need to plan your Coney Island dog-friendly getaway from the off-season. But I found that visiting Coney Island in the winter is actually pretty fun. With cool or cold temperatures, you pretty much have the entire beach and boardwalk to yourself. Your dog can go for a bit of run and explore!
Coney Island Beach
There’s nothing like standing on the beach with the sand between your paws and feeling the wind in your beard…or so I imagine that my miniature schnauzer George must be thinking when I see him on the beach. He just loves going to the beach and Coney Island beach does not disappoint! I definitely think it was one of the best East Coast dog friendly beaches.
There are three miles of beach along Coney Island before the area transitions to neighboring Brighton Beach. Jetties line the coast helping to break up the waves as they come in. It’s relaxing and engaging.
My only complaint is that, during my visit, some sections of the beach were quite dirty with trash that had washed up on shore.
Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk
As though walking on the beach, right along the water, wasn’t enough there’s also a wonderful boardwalk in Coney Island. Officially known as the Riegelmann Boardwalk, the wooden boardwalk is extra wide and a great place to shake your tail for a walk. The boardwalk dates to 1923 and is almost three miles long, continuing to the east to neighboring Brighton Beach. The ocean-facing side of the boardwalk has many benches along it.
Pat Auletta Steeplechase Pier
If your dog is anything like mine, then he loves to stick his nose into the wind and get a good sniff. The Pat Auletta Steeplechase Pier is just the place to indulge that love of sniffing. The pier is on the western side of Coney Island and goes about 1000 feet out into the water. The pier is a popular spot for fishing, but you and your furry friend will enjoy it, too.
After being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the pier was rebuilt and renovated. There are lots of benches and wooden loungers where you can stop for a break. From the pier, there are beautiful ocean views as well as great looks back onto the beach and waterfront area.
About a block off the boardwalk, on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues, is the original Nathan’s stand from 1916. Yep, it’s still in the same spot! Nathan’s Famous gives you a real taste of old school New York with its neon lights and billboards covering the exterior of the shop.
While feeding your dog anything from the menu at Nathan’s Famous probably isn’t very healthy, he can still accompany you. With warm weather, the New York City institution open their garage-style doors for an airy feel. But regardless of the weather, you’ll find plenty of picnic tables just beside the shop where your pack can take a bit of a break and grab a bite.
Tips & Rules for Bringing Your Dog to Coney Island
Per the City of New York Parks and Recreation’s rules for Coney Island, dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1st through October 1st. That leaves more than six months when Coney Island is completely dog-friendly.
It’s also important to know that no swimming is allowed on the beach without a lifeguard. Lifeguards are only on duty during the peak season. The Coney Island Board, however, is open to dogs year round. It’s worth reviewing the rules before your trip.
As always when traveling with your dog, bring bags for clean-up, water, a bowl.
Getting to Coney Island
Since you’ll be visiting with your dog, you’ll most likely be driving to Coney Island. Parking at Coney Island is rather easy during the winter offseason. There is street parking along the roads that dead-end into the boardwalk, such as W. 15th Street, Stillwell Avenue, W. 12th Street, and W. 10th Street. You can also find parking on the more main streets that run parallel to the boardwalk and beach. Depending on the exact time of the year you visit, the parking meters may or may not be active.
There’s also a large parking lot with paid spots next to the MCU Park, where minor league baseball team the Brooklyn Cyclones play. During my February visit, the Coney Island parking lot, as it is called, was being used as part of an active construction site but spots were still available; however, there was no charge to park.
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All photos, as well as all opinions, are my own.