It’s always a great day when you can pack up your pooch with a frisbee and head to the beach. Therefore, it is important to know which beaches in your area allow dogs so you can plan your fun day.
Below is a list of the most popular beaches for dogs in California.
Dog-Friendly Beaches in California: From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara
Visiting dog-friendly beaches in California with our pooch Babu is one of our favorite activities. We hope this article helps you get out and have a great time with your canine companion!
Dog-Friendly Beaches in California 1. Mendocino County
Mendocino County, 3 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, is not only the home to California’s giant redwoods but is also extremely dog-friendly! Pups on leashes are welcome to stroll beautiful Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, named after the shiny glassy marbles scattered everywhere, and the lovely beach at Van Damme State Park.
But Noyo Beach is the best because here the off-leash play is allowed. We have been to Mendocino twice and I can vouch for how beautiful Glass and Noyo beach are. Van Damme State Park and Beach, though relatively smaller, is still a nice sandy stretch offering a tranquil sunset. Before you plan your trip, check this guide to pet friendly vacations in Mendocino.
2. Point Reyes National Seashore
Due to nature and wildlife conservation efforts along this shoreline, most of Pt. Reyes is inaccessible to dogs (who are considered natural predators). However, there are a handful of beaches your dog can explore.
Kehoe Beach and the short trail leading to it are exceptions, and dogs on-leash are welcome. It’s an easy hike down the trail to this quiet beach, where beautiful reflections seem to float in the still water. Pack a picnic, because the golden sunset here will dazzle you and your pup!
This tiny artistic town, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is very dog-friendly. The rental houseboats on the marina even welcome dogs! Here you’ll find Rodeo Beach, where dogs are allowed to play off leash. This beach is famous for the semi-precious stones, such as jade and tourmaline, that are often found when sifting the sand.
4. Santa Cruz
If you only have time to visit one spot in Santa Cruz with your pup, don’t miss Greyhound Rock Beach! This gem of a beach is secluded, never crowded, and welcomes dogs. When we got to the beach (moderate hiking involved) we were delighted to find the waves crashing against the pristine white shore with only one other human and his dog in sight. I highly recommend this beach to all pet parents who want to get away from the chaos of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.
5. Carmel and Monterey
The town of Carmel is super dog-friendly, so it’s no surprise that it has one of the best off-leash beaches on the coast. Additionally, fireworks are forbidden here, so it’s a great place to escape with your sensitive pet on July 4th. The beach is popular, so you need to arrive early to snag a cozy spot on the soft sand.
READ MORE ⇒ Visiting Carmel’s Dog Beaches
Between Carmel and Big Sur, you’ll find another beach at Garrapata State Park where dogs are welcome on leash. This one has a wonderful trail covered with wildflowers in summer, so time your visit accordingly. Finally, dogs are also allowed at Monterey State Beach and Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove.
READ MORE ⇒ San Diego’s Top Dog Beaches
6. San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, the shining gem of California’s central valley, has several beaches, but most are not accessible to dogs. However, we don’t give up easily! After a bit of sniffing around, we soon learned that San Simeon Pier and cove, adjacent to the William Hearst Beach, welcomes dogs on leash.
The pier/boardwalk jutting out to the sea is off-limits, but don’t let that deter you from taking in another spectacular California sunset.
7. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara was the destination of our first ever road trip with Babu. And it remains a favorite with several dog-friendly beaches to visit. Arroyo Burro Beach County Park and Rincon Beach Park are two such sandy havens were dogs are allowed off leash. It was such fun to see Babu tearing down the sand and playing with other furry friends.
I hope this article inspires you to visit more of the beautiful dog-friendly beaches in California with your furry travel companion!
About the Author: Paroma Chakravarty is a scientist by day, and blogger by night. She lives in the beautiful city of San Francisco with her husband and their 12-year-old Tibetan spaniel mix, Babu. She records their adventures, plus dining experiences and her travel travails, on her blog, yrofthemonkey.com, and on Instagram, and Pinterest. All photos in this post belong to Paroma.
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