Outdoor Activities dog-friendly beaches dog-friendly beaches US > California

15 Dog-Friendly Beaches In California: More Coast for Your Canine!

Published Nov 22, 2017

Those individuals lucky enough to find themselves on a California beach, for any duration of time, understand that for even a brief moment, they are allowed to gaze upon one of the earth’s foremost majesties. It’s only natural then that these wonderful sights and sounds should be shared with those friends and family members closest to you! And what animal-loving family is complete without bringing your furry, fuzzy, or otherwise four-legged friend along for the ride?

If you’re among a lucky family who counts a dog among your verified family members, then you know that no true family gathering is complete without their presence. They belong in family photos, they have a designated seat at the dinner table, and they’re often even invited onto furniture and beds! Why would we keep such fundamental members of the family away from potential memories in the making?

Given its expansive coastline, spanning virtually the entire western border of the state itself, it should come as no surprise that when it comes to dog-friendly beaches, California has you covered! Welcome to dog-friendly shores, where your four-legged friends can run freely (or selectively on leashes), and are untethered to enjoy the finest that the California coastline has to offer!

Top 3 activities to book in California

1. The Original Dog Beach, San Diego

Introduce your dog to the glorious sensation that is four sandy paws when you bring them to The Original Dog Beach! Set in seemingly ever-sunny San Diego, The Original Dog Beach promises to transform a routine trip to the shore into aspiration turned reality. There’s a reason that this setting is in possession of its title: the first is still the best! The Original Dog Beach exists as perhaps the most popular dog beach in the entire state of California, as evidenced by its consistently high population of dogs, nearly year-round. Of course bolstered by the fact that weather is conducive 365 days a year for a dog-friendly beach, The Original Dog Beach is nevertheless a location where your dog or dogs can roam free from a leash, at any time of day! Characterized not only by a wonderful diversity of dogs from sunup to sundown, but also by smart dog owners mindful of their surroundings, this location is always an ideal place to sit back, relax, and watch your pet make for itself memories set to last its doggy lifetime.

This beach has been consistently highly-rated by all dog lovers who happen to frequent the coastal location, given not only it’s picture-perfect setting, expansive area for dog happiness, and amiable setting, where dog-lovers are free to converse while their pets make friends between the waves. There also exists, only two blocks from the center of the beach itself, a Dog Beach Dog Wash! When it’s time to head home, you’re not going to want to bring a sandy dog into what used to be a clean car. That problem is solved the second you bring Fido to the Dog Beach Dog Wash station, conveniently located at 4933 Voltaire Street. This spot can easily transform a sandy dog into a clean one, without removing any of your dog’s happiness before the trip back home.

Whether you’re vacationing with your dog in California, you’re a local, or if you’re just passing through the area, you don’t have an excuse valid enough to surpass an opportunity to visit The Original Dog Beach, perhaps the finest of not only the state, but the nation as well!

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2. Arroyo Burro Beach Park, Santa Barbara

Cliffs at Arroyo Burro Beach Park

Close behind The Original Dog Beach is the Arroyo Burro Beach Park, located up the coast in Santa Barbara, California. A strip of shore beset just below the Douglas Family Preserve, this coastal location boasts an entirely off-leash experience, for both dog-owners and dog-lovers alike! Notably, if you’re asking a local where the beach can be found, keep in mind that Santa Barbara natives know the beach as Hendry’s Beach. Provided a natural eastern boundary by fallen eucalyptus trees year-round, Santa Barbara’s Arroyo Burro Beach Park is only a short walk from the parking lot to the shore itself, where it’s even a closer distance between your dog and the experience of its doggy life!

Wet paws and happy dog smiles are found far and wide at Arroyo Burro Beach Park, provided that you keep your dog leashed until you cross the parking lot, as well as the non-dog-beach region of the shore. This location consistently receives high ratings by visitors and locals alike, given the fact that you can take your dog off its leash year-round! If you visit 3403 Edgewater Way, Santa Barbara, CA, 93109, the precise location of the beach itself, make sure that you understand the difference between the local shore and the dog-friendly region. Arroyo Burro Beach Park’s dog-friendly location is set to the left of its main coastal strip, where there’s always sunshine to meet your dog’s face, sand to find its way in between paws, and other dogs for your dog to play with! Allow yourself to coach some waves and some rays, while your dog expends friendly energy beside you!

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3. Huntington Dog Beach, Huntington Beach

Life is ruff at #SurfCityUSA dog beach, right? 😉😎 All the info you need to treat your dog the #SurfCityUSA way 👉 http://bit.ly/2paQjUj

Posted by Visit Huntington Beach on Saturday, 21 October 2017

When most individuals perceive Huntington Beach, there is a fast and lasting association with one of the foremost surfing locations not only in California, but the entire world! However, it should come as no surprise that Huntington Beach is known for more than just its surfing reputation; it is also in possession of Huntington Dog Beach, one of the finest dog beaches in all of the Golden State!

Rave reviews typify this location as doggy-heaven for those who frequent it. Interestingly, many of the surfers who find themselves seeking world-class waves at Huntington Beach, instead find themselves enjoying world-class dog-friendly beach amenities, at Huntington Dog Beach! Those who visit Huntington Dog Beach are asked only to exercise proper dog beach etiquette, which includes cleaning up any messes for which your dog may be responsible, and allowing your dog to remain off-leash only if your dog remains non-aggressive.

Parking may be difficult to come by at Huntington Dog Beach, but that is only a further testament to the beach’s vast renown, and sheer beauty! Huntington Dog Beach also boasts a massive space, whereas other dog beaches, for as much as their oceanic setting might prove picture-perfect, are otherwise rather small in nature. At Huntington Dog Beach, you’ll find a huge dog beach waiting for your pet’s enjoyment, and furthermore, this location is also known for its remarkable cleanliness! Suffice to say, when you make this clean, memorable location the setting for your newest dog-friendly beach experience, it’ll leave you with a new standard of beach-friendly California quality!

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4. New Brighton Beach, Capitola

New Brighton State Beach

Welcome to New Brighton Beach, delicately tucked away in Capitola, California. If you haven’t heard of New Brighton Beach, rest assured that it is not for its lack of reputation. Rather, one of California’s closely guarded dog-friendly beach secrets remains so in order that those who regularly frequent its shores with their four-legged friend can do so with ample space.

Dogs are always welcome on the shores of New Brighton Beach, where year-round they and you can enjoy the fullest extent of warm, sunny California coastal hospitality. However, this is only provided that your dog remain on its leash, for the complete extent of your visit to New Brighton Beach. Nevertheless, so long as your dog accepts this restriction, New Brighton Beach is absolutely not to be missed. Among reputable California beaches, even those with much more renown that New Brighton Beach, few exhibit as much natural, unfiltered beauty as does this Capitola location.

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5. Fort Funston Beach, San Francisco

If you’re worried about your prospective experience at Fort Funston Beach, one of the verifiable gems of San Francisco, California, you can now put those worries to rest. Suffice to say, this dog-friendly beach location puts the “Fun” in Fort Funston!

First and foremost, you’re going to notice upon arrival that there are a multitude of trails for you to explore with your dog. Sure, many of the aforementioned dog-friendly beaches on this list have amazing sights and sounds, but how many of them allow you to actually explore up and down the coastline with your furry friend? These trails effectively set the Fort Funston Beach apart from the rest. The beach’s reputation is in the name.

Furthermore, your go is never going to find itself at a loss for friends if you visit the Fort Funston Beach. That is to say, there is virtually always a diversified variety of friendly, well-behaved dogs for your own to get to know, and fortunately, there are always friendly dog lovers and dog owners for you to get to know, while your dog enjoys each and every second of its adventures through the waves!

Dog lovers can’t say enough about this location when it comes to reviewing the beach itself. Called by many the state’s finest dog beach, despite the long drive necessary by many in order to reach the setting itself, Fort Funston Beach effectively allows its ow reputation to precede it. While many dog-friendly beaches are known for their hospitality toward four-legged pets, there are few which allow your dog to be the center of the show! As long as you trust the Fort Funston Beach to upgrade your expectations for what a dog-friendly beach should be, you’re going to be rewarded time and time again with a one-of-a-kind dog beach experience!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

6. Coronado Beach - Dog Park, Coronado

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Welcome to everything your dog ever wanted in a dog beach: space to roam, sun to meet its face, and most importantly, a leash-free environment! When it comes to Coronado Beach - Dog Park, your excuse for perfect doggy adventure is only a bridge or a boat away! Actually located on Coronado Island near San Diego, Coronado Beach has proven to long exist as a western beach staple for dog adventure.

One of the many reasons why the Coronado Beach remains one of the state’s foremost dog beaches, despite so many locations for your dog to roam near the shore, is the sheer spectacle of sights and sounds which surround it. To visit Coronado Island, even without your furry friend, is to visit one of California’s most unique communities. Delicately set apart from seemingly the rest of society, this comfortable, coastal community is a bridge or a boat away from the main shore. However, Coronado is today known for more than simply its status as a naval authority; it is also the setting for shops and boutique stores galore, and more importantly with regard to dog-lovers and owners, it plays host to Coronado Beach!

Set between the Hotel del Coronado and the shoreline, with an excellent view of the Point Loma skyline to the immediate north, the Coronado Beach does come with some guidelines, meant not to intrude on your dog’s experience, but rather to enhance it. Owners must pay attention to their dogs at all times and must clean up after them in a timely manner. Also, you must be in possession of your current dog license, and all dogs must remain free of any and all contagious diseases. There is no aggressive dog behavior allowed at Coronado Beach - Dog Park. Rest assured that in a pinch, the city even provides free dog litter bags onsite.

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

7. Poplar Beach, Half Moon Bay

If your dog is one that loves social interaction, and if you’re a dog-lover or dog owner who loves showing off your dog to the masses, then Poplar Beach at Half Moon Bay is the place for you! This location is known for its crystalline ocean waters, as well as for its excellent reviews with regard to its dog-friendly nature.

Notably, your dog must remain on its leash for the complete duration of your visit here. However, dog owners should know that this Half Moon Bay location is known for its popularity; as such, you can expect a steady flow of foot traffic during the duration of the day. The nature of Poplar Beach is thus different from many traditional dog beaches, in that the setting does not offer your dog the opportunity to frolic uninhibited among the waves and across the sands; however, this location offers what other sites cannot: the chance for your dog to get to know so many of the dog lovers that walk by! Glorious views from the shore and sensationally warm temperatures make Poplar Beach a verifiable go-to dog-friendly beach location, for both you and your dog alike!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

8. Fiesta Island Dog Park, San Diego

Pukerz having a blast on Fiesta Island dog park :)

Posted by Chloe Danielle Cardona on Thursday, 18 June 2015

For Fiesta Island Dog Park in San Diego, the attraction of the setting itself is in the name! A beach designed to be completely leash-free for doggy enjoyment, this dog park actually offers an amenity for your dog which few other locations can: no large waves! Given its setting just offshore, Fiesta Island Dog Park is beset in more of a bay setting, and thus allows your dog to go for a swim, without worry that waves will submerge your four-legged friend! You’ll notice this location when you catch sight of Sea World to your left. Dogs here are friendly, well-trained, and ready to enjoy some of California’s finest sands!

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9. Rosie’s Dog Beach, Long Beach

Welcome to Long Beach, California, where Rosie’s Dog Beach headlines a list of dog-friendly attractions. Paid parking is available when free parking is full (which you can expect during busy summer and fall months). Rosie’s Dog Beach is a completely off-leash location, meaning you can expect the distance between your dog and unmatched coastal adventure to be a short one! Each adult is only allowed one dog, ensuring that the space is not too crowded for all dogs present to enjoy.

No aggressive dogs are allowed to reach the sands, so your well-trained dog is allowed to play uninhibited. Despite its relatively small size, locals and visitors alike regularly frequent Rosie’s Dog Beach, both for its visitors and its friendly characteristics alike!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

10. Carmel Beach, Carmel

Happy National Love Your Pet Day!

Posted by Carmel by the Sea on Monday, 20 February 2017

So far as Carmel, California is concerned, there is no better location for your dog to run leash-free than its own Carmel Beach dog-friendly venue! Here, you can do more than simply allow your dog to make friendly and to run between the waves; you can make a day of the whole experience! Fires are allowed on the beach, given that you keep them contained, so from sunup to sundown you can enjoy this beach set just south of 10th Avenue. Allow your dog to enjoy a bonfire beside you after a day of certified fun.

Open from 6am until 10pm, there’s more than enough time to fit in a day full of doggy adventure at Carmel Beach! Beach regulars rave about how amazing mornings are on the beach itself, when there are few individuals present, and your dog is sure to receive the full Carmel Beach experience. There are even complimentary litter bags present onsite!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

11. Del Mar North Beach, Del Mar

Dog Beach, Del Mar, CA

If you’re anywhere near Del Mar, and you’re looking to allow your dog to run freely on the beach, your options are few. Thankfully, Del Mar North Beach is more than simply the only coastal location in Del Mar where your dog can enjoy the sunshine; it is also one of the top-ranked dog beaches in all of California! Known in the area as the North Beach in Del Mar, this location is actually one of the only settings that doubles as a public beach, characterized by exhilarating activities like volleyball, surfing, and even fishing!

From June 16th until Labor Day, dogs are allowed to enjoy the full extent of this Del Mar coastal location while on-leash; however, life gets even better from Labor Day until June 15th, when dogs are allowed to run off-leash along the shoreline! From 29th Street all the way until Solana Beach, dogs rule this strip of coastline!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

12. Thousand Steps Beach, Laguna Beach

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The most difficult thing you will do all day if you’re going to enjoy Thousand Steps Beach is the descent to the shoreline. Local tide pools and prominent surfing provide you with plenty to look at, while your dog runs leash free across the shore! Rest assured that it’s actually only 150 steps to reach the beach itself, despite what feels like 1,000. There is even a selection of free parking located above!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

13. Fishermans Beach, San Luis Obispo County

Find the Beagle. Beach at Fisherman's Wharf after a season of storms.

Posted by Tony DeLizza on Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Fishermans Beach saves the best for last: it’s the last beach you arrive at when you take Avila Beach Drive. The wait, however, is well worth it for your dog’s enjoyment! Dogs are allowed to remain off-leash at this location, and free parking is available onsite. This setting even offers RV camping spaces, for those individuals who want to make this beach into an extended stay. You can also make use of this location’s kayaking and paddle boarding provisions, while your dog creates unforgettable memories!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

14. Hooper Beach, Capitola

Posted by Tone Etherealitay Forte on Sunday, 5 November 2017

This small section of Capitola, California coastline has a large reputation. Just west of the local fishing pier is Hooper Beach, where dogs are allowed to run leash-free on the west side of the pier. Interestingly, local dog owners are themselves responsible for the cleaning of the beach itself, which is done regularly. If you do choose to visit Hooper Beach, you can make it a worthwhile experience by venturing out onto Capitola Wharf!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

15. Miramar Beach, Half Moon Bay

Finally, a great dog-friendly beach well worth your time comes to you in the form of Miramar Beach. Dogs are allowed to run free from their leashes, and the beach itself runs parallel to Mirada Road near Half Moon Bay. Whenever it’s time to provide your dog with a beach experience worthy of adventure, it’s time to book yourself an experience with Miramar Beach. Morning clouds regularly give way to sunny, clear skies, under which your running dog has never looked more alive!

See our full list of recommended hotels in California and also compare the prices with vacation rentals in California

Sun, beach and doggy paddles!

For your next holiday to California, bring along your doggie best friend! Visit one of these amazing dog-friendly beaches for both of you to enjoy the picturesque beaches of the Californian coast.

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John Gallagher is an english and theology double major from San Diego, California. He currently works as the lead sports editor for the Troubadour Newspaper, and serves as the head script writer...Read more

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