Dogs are enthusiastic about many things. But a visit to the beach is definitely up there among the absolute favourite things the average dog likes to do.
Whether it's sniffing at pungent piles of stranded seaweed, digging holes without being told 'Bad dog!' or the simple joy of running with the pack, a day at the beach holds many pleasures for pooches and will bring a smile to muzzles and faces alike.
Summer brings with it seasonal restrictions on dogs at beaches across Victoria. These are the best places to take your dog off-lead or on-lead.
Chic city dogs hang out at the dog beach at the end of Bay Street in Port Melbourne. Close to Melbourne's CBD, you can watch the ships come in as your pup plays in the white sand. Ciao Cielo is one of many bars and cafes on Bay Street that welcomes dogs.
Around the bay, Brighton Doggy Beach is probably the best off-lead beach in Victoria. The beach is fully fenced with shallow water suitable for small dogs. When the tide is out, there’s oodles of flat sandy beach for zoomies. Afterwards, get a coffee on the deck at Middle Brighton Sea Baths.
Beaumaris Beach is next door to one of the best snorkelling spots in Port Phillip: Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary. Dogs aren't allowed in the sanctuary, so if you're in a group, take turns to look after the dog while you explore the reefs for harmless Port Jackson sharks.
Great Ocean Road
Surfers who don't want to leave their dog at home can enjoy big beaches and big waves at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne, which all have year-round off-leash areas. Your dog can join you for drinks on the deck at the Swing Bridge Cafe in Lorne or Bomboras in Torquay. Fairhaven Beach at Aireys Inlet is another top dog beach and your furriest friend is allowed on the beautiful trails leading off Moggs Creek and Distillery Creek picnic areas.
Further west, a large area of Warrnambool's main beach is off-leash year round, as is Logans Beach on the other side of Hopkins River. Eat on the deck at Simon's Waterfront to the backdrop of ocean views.
The ocean beaches of the Mornington Peninsula are mostly off-limits to dogs. So stick to the Port Phillip Bay beaches with their acres of sand shelving gently into calm, shallow, crystal clear water.
Tassells Cove at Safety Beach is a compact stretch of sandy beach bounded by cliffs. If your pup gets bored with running, it can explore the rockpools. At Dromana, there's a 100m stretch of sand next to the Anthony's Nose boat ramp where your dog can run free. Mock Red Hill cidery is the paw-fect place to refresh.