Magnolia, Massachusetts © Cavan Images / Offset
“A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing,” the great poet Mary Oliver writes in her 2013 book Dog Songs. Anyone who has ever seen a dog at the beach knows this to be true. Whether they’re chasing a ball or digging holes in the shade, dogs love the beach in some indelible, instinctual way that us humans can never truly grasp.
It’s tragic that so many beautiful beaches are closed to dogs during peak summer months, but this story is not about those beaches. It’s about those that welcome canines large and small. In honor of the season, we culled the Offset collection in search of the most joyous, life-affirming pictures of dogs on the beach.
The “dog beach” trend is gaining momentum around the world. In California in particular, dog beaches are all the rage. There’s the Carmel City Beach, just a stone’s throw from the Diggity Dog boutique, Ocean Beach Dog Beach in San Diego, the party beach for dogs, and of course, Huntington Dog Beach, where all “well-socialized dogs” are invited to romp about off-leash. In New South Wales, Australia, there’s Silver Beach, where dogs can play 24 hours a day. Noordwijk in The Netherlands has a beach just for dogs, and in Tuscany, the demand for dog beaches is higher than ever.
These pictures are quirky and humorous, but they’re also profound. They speak to a dog’s uncontainable zest for life and all its wonders. You may also notice that these dogs, unlike so many we see in the city, are totally free. We began with a line from Oliver’s Dog Songs, and so we’ll end with another: “Of all the sights I love in this world — and there are plenty — very near the top of the list is this one: dogs without leashes.”
Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia © Jason Edwards / National Geographic / Offset
Pacific Beach, Washington © Alasdair Turner / Aurora Photos / Offset
Running on the beach © Lauren Mitchell / Offset
Galle Fort, Sri Lanka © Lauryn Ishak / Offset
In the sand © The Licensing Project / Offset
Lake Tahoe © Aurora Photos / Offset
Chasing the birds © Jennifer Bilodeau / Offset
Offset is a curated collection of commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Photographers who wish to join the Offset artist community are welcome to apply here.