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I would like to take a trip with my pups this summer.  Ideally I would rent a beach house that has a fenced back yard.  I'm interested in going to either OBX, Hilton Head, Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod.  Are these places dog-friendly?  Anyone have other suggestions?  I live in Delaware and am willing to drive 8 or so hours.

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Can we meet you? Just kidding :) I will be interested in this also...always interested in good beach vacations with the dogs.
We rent on the CT shore, and our beach is about as dog friendly as you can get, but that's because it's private. None of the public beaches that we've found are at all dog friendly during the Summer season. Our cottage is right on the ocean (built on the sand), so there is no back yard. People let their dogs swim (but usually not at the peak hours of the day), and nobody minds. Dogs are supposed to be leashed, but that's not strictly enforced. Of course, the beaches themselves are nowhere near as nice as those at the Cape.
go to a site vacation rentals by owner. com VRBO.com. They are great for being able to put in what you are looking for and will show you the properties and get you rates. We use the site frequently and like it.
I was in the OBX in August and dogs were everywhere! On the beaches, in rental houses, wandering from house to house looking for treats. VRBO.com lets you search for rental houses which allow pets. They usually charge a "pet fee" of $100 or so....the house we rented allowed them but I was in the process of adopting Finn then so I didn't bring him with me. I didn't want to stress him out with a long car journey when he didn't even know me yet. I didn't really need to bring a dog - there were plenty of spare ones on the beach (we were staying in Rodanthe). It was great, but very strange as dogs can't set a paw on most NJ beaches from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Enjoy!
Second the OBX recommendation - we took Quinn there last summer and could not believe how dog friendly the area is. We were on Hatteras Island and Quinn was welcome everywhere. Getting sand out of doodle fur was the only real issue. :) We stayed in a small pet-friendly hotel, but this year we're going back and renting a house. It's easy to search for rentals that allow pets through all the realtor sites.

How do you handle a doodle at the beach with regard to getting the sand out and keeping them brushed out so as not to end up with a matted mess? I would love to take our girls to the beach, but I can't even imagine the mess!
It was a mess. We had my father-in-law's car for the trip and I wouldn't be surprised if he's still finding sand in it. This year we are giving Quinn a very short haircut beforehand, and will try to do our best with the rental's outdoor shower. But yep - it's not easy. We did manage to keep him from getting matted by brushing him out every night while he was still damp.

Totally worth it though. I have never seen him that happy. :)
We gave Allie a very short haircut before we went to the beach last year and it wasn't bad at all trying to get the sand out.

I was just thinking about this myself. Last Summer it was easy with Guinness, because he's small enough to go in the kitchen sink every night for a bath. Then when he dried he got a good brushing. I can't imagine how I'm going to get Murph clean. There's no putting that big Dood in the sink. I'm hopeful he won't mind being "hosed off" at the end of the day. Our first trip to the beach is Memorial Day weekend, so I guess I'll have to figure this out pretty quick.
I LOVE this picture. Talk about heaven...

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