When I think about the best California dog beaches, I can’t help but think of my own experience. Last summer, we introduced our dog to the beach, with visions of doggie surf contests dancing in our heads. Little did we know that he would be too enchanted with a hot poodle sunning herself to even think of approaching the water. We drove down to Baby Beach in Dana Point, California; not technically a legal dog beach (at all). But, on we marched, undeterred by THE MAN and his canine discrimination.
This year, instead of turning our sweet pup into a canine criminal, we visited a few dog-friendly beaches. It turns out California has several dog beaches, from Sausalito down to San Diego, just waiting for your dog to discover. Here is a list of the best.
10 Best California Dog Beaches
1. Rodeo Beach in Sausalito
Red, brown and Green stones blanket the sand on Rodeo Beach, located only 3 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. Dogs can run free as long as they are under voice control of their humans. While your furry friend frolics, you can enjoy gorgeous coastal overlooks while picnicking or bird watching.
Parking: Use main parking lot.
2. Lands End in San Francisco
Visit Lands End in Fall for a windy but clear view of stunning coastline and sea. Dogs that are supervised and under control may go off-leash. Explore a 4 mile easy to moderate hike with glorious views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Look for the Sutro Baths, Mile Rock Lighthouse, USS San Francisco Memorial and Eagle Point Overlook.
Parking: use either the lot at Lobos Avenue & El Camino Del Mar or the lot at the end of Geary Ave. Open 7:AM – 1:00 AM
3. Fort Funston in San Francisco
Fort Funston, a well-known “secret” among SF locals, was originally built as a harbor defense installation to defend against naval attacks. Today, Fort Funston offers a coastal trail with fabulous views and off-leash dog policies. Along the way, you may spot an endangered bird or share the trail with a horse! Or, try to spot hang-gliders on the surrounding cliffs; the high winds make it a popular hang-glider launching spot.
Parking: use the parking lot off of Skyline Blvd.
4. Carmel by the sea
Carmel-by-the-sea, famous for its permissive dog policies, offers an off-leash experience at Carmel Beach. Dogs under voice control of their owners are free to socialize along the surf. Leashed dogs are welcome to explore the Scenic path and enjoy views of Carmel Point and Pebble Beach.
The leash-free stretch of beach at Carmel by the Sea is just one of the reasons its the greatest place on earth…for dogs! Dogs get the VIP treatment in Carmel, including: Doggie restaurants, Yappie hour, doggie massages, doggie room service and more.
Parking: Limited parking available on nearby town streets.
5. Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara
6. Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard
Silver Strand Beach stretches 1.6 miles over the south part of Oxnard. The beach with silver-white sand welcomes leashed dogs before 9AM and after 5PM. Keep your furry friend on a leash, even in the water. After a swim, use the outdoor showers to rinse the saltwater from his skin.
Parking: use the lot adjacent to San Nicholas Road. Park free of charge from sunrise to sunset.
7. Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach
The stretch of beach between Roycroft and Argonne becomes the Dog Zone from 6:AM to 8PM. Please use use designated dog access paths.
8. Dog Beach in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach is serious about its dog park. So serious that they formed a 501 (c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing dog beach resources like “Doggy bag” dispensers and education on proper dog beach ettiquette. Enjoy this 1.5 mile dog beach between Goldenwest and Seapoint along PCH.
9. Main Beach in Laguna
Laguna Beach restricts dogs from visiting during the busiest hours of the busy summer days (9am to 6pm from June 15 through September 10). The rest of the year, Laguna welcomes leashed dogs during park hours (Monday – Saturday 5am – 1am, Sundays 5am – 12am).
Parking: various paid parking lots
10. Coronado Dog Beach in Coronado
Coronado’s Dog Beach, located by the iconic Hotel del Coronado, invites your pup to go off-leash.
Parking: free nearby lot.
11. The Original Dog Beach in San Diego
Known as one of the first off leash dog beaches in the US, Original Dog Beach in San Diego, CA welcomes you 24/7. This landmark beach is located at the end of I-8.
Parking: limited free parking.
The best California dog beaches look are a must for you and your furry friend! I might just pack up my pup and tour them all! Which one will you try? Please reply with photos!