Camping With Your Pets

First Landing Camping Pets

First Landing State Park Campground permits pets at all their campsites except Yurts.  The cabins charge an additional nightly fee per pet, which is usually $10.  Pets should be current on all their vaccinations.

If you are bringing your pet, you should be prepared for them to be your constant companion, but also make preparations should you need to leave your pet alone at the campsite (while you shower, go to the restroom, go out to eat, etc).  So, if you are not camping in a cabin or climate controlled RV, you will need to make accommodations at your tent site for your dog.  Your pet should never be left alone in a car or tethered to their leash unsupervised.  It is a misdemeanor in Virginia to leave a pet in a hot car; it becomes a felony if the pet dies.

You should not leave your dog tethered unless you are at the campsite.  Any number of bad things could happen while you are away; your pet could be attacked by another dog that got loose, it become entangled on the leash (or worse), or it could be exposed to extreme sun or a sudden thunderstorm.  One option is to crate your dog inside your tent for the short time you will be away, depending on the weather.

Barking:  There could be a lot of foot traffic passing by your campsite, from other campers heading to the beach or the bathhouses.  If your pet is a barker, or is easily startled, it may be a good idea to set up your campsite so that your pet’s view of the front of the camp is blocked.  Even pets have to adhere to the quiet hours.

There are also a lot of squirrels at the campground, so keeping your pet’s leashed secured to something solid while you are at camp will help prevent them bolting off to give chase.

First Landing Camping Pets Sign

Pets are also allowed on the park trails and on the beach.  All pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length.  Keeping your pet on a short leash ensures you and your pet can observe leash etiquette while out on walks.  A shorter leash allow you to maintain greater control and prevent your pet from wandering into the path of other people, their pets, or bicyclists.

First Landing Camping Pets Beach

When taking your pet to the beach, bring along an extra tote to carry pet waste because there are no waste receptacles on the beach.  The beach trashcans are located at the boardwalk entrance.

If you are visiting the beach during the summer, be sure to bring some drinking water for your pet.  Because the heat indexes are extremely high in the summer, it’s best to take your pet to the beach early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid heat-related health problems.

One thing to avoid on the beach is going near the dunes or any grassy patches.   There is a really good chance your dog could pick up sand burrs in their fur or paws.  If your pet starts limping after a walk on the beach, check their paws for the burrs, which are 1/4 inch or larger in diameter.

If sand burrs get embedded in your pet’s fur, you can try removing them using a wide toothed comb or deshedding tool.  If the burrs won’t budge, you can apply some coconut oil to the surrounding fur to work it loose.  Worst case scenario is that you may need to use scissors to snip out the matted burr.