Located on the west coast in Morro Bay, Cayucos is a small coastal town in southern California that is not very well known to many. In fact, the city only has about 2,500 residents. It is an ancient town, settled by the Chumash about 11000 BC but was not officially founded until 1842, almost 13 thousand years later. Today, the city is a surfing city with about six miles of golden sand beaches to enjoy along the Pacific Coast.
Along these six miles of beachfront, there are so many places where you and your canine companion can play both off and on the leash. From San Simeon in the north to Pismo Beach in the south, there are dozens of waterfront spots to enjoy with your fur puppy. We listed 15 of our favorite pup-popular dog beaches in Cayucos, CA for you here with a little bit of information from each one.
Cayucos State Beach
Located right in downtown Cayucos, Cayucos State Beach is pup-friendly as long as you keep your fur buddy on a leash at all times. It is a nice-sized beach with about five to six miles of sand along the Pacific Ocean for you and your canine companion to explore and enjoy. Since it is a state beach, it has quite a few amenities like several restrooms and outdoor showers, as well as drinking fountains and lifeguards.
The water here is popular for swimming, fishing, and surfing, so do not plan on being alone out there, even during the winter. Locals and tourists both enjoy this beach with its fishing pier, which is almost 1,000 feet long. The historic plank was built by Captain James Cass way back in 1872.
It is even lit so you can enjoy some night fishing. And this is one of the only dog-friendly piers in southern California! Just remember to bring doggie bags.
Whale Rock Reservoir Access Point
Just a few miles to the north, Whale Rock Reservoir boasts a huge lake with about 40,000 acres of water in 20 square miles! And it is pup-friendly as long as your pup is friendly and you keep him on a leash. You should also bring your own puppy poo bags from home to pick up whatever he drops. The reservoir was created when the state built a dam on Old Creek nearby in 1958 to provide clean water to several nearby cities. Today, the lake is a popular recreation spot for locals and out-of-towners.
While many come here to fish, it is also a great spot for biking, hiking, and playing in the water. Your pooch will love all the space along the shoreline where he can sniff for unusual scents. There are approximately three miles of hiking and biking trails as well as several picnic areas and pit toilets along the way. Local anglers enjoy the vast array of fish like catfish, trout, bass, and bluegill.
Morro Bay Dog Beach
Morro Bay Dog Beach, which is also known as Toro Creek Dog Beach, welcomes your fur puppy all day, every day, as long as his leash is kept on and you pick up after him. You will enjoy about three miles of sand just past Morro Strand Beach, where dogs are prohibited—starting at Obispo Avenue to the north and ending at the North Point Natural Area by the camping section of Morro State Park, where pups are allowed at the campground but not on the beach.
Even though it is a dog beach, Fido still has to keep his leash on here, whether he is swimming, playing in the sand, or just laying around sunbathing. The soft golden sand and calm blue waters make this a popular family beach for all, including furry family members. There are restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas, and even some food trucks during the summer in case you and your pup get hungry.
Morro Rock Beach
Another beach in Morro Bay, just to the south of the dog beach past the Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Rock Beach, is an ancient site at an extinct volcano that was formed about 23 million years ago. The namesake is just over 575 feet high and was the site that explorer Juan Rodriguez called El Morro in 1592 when he landed there. The name means crown-shaped hill in Spanish. It is also the last peak of the Nine Sisters mountains that begin in San Luis Obispo.
Your fur baby is welcome here as long as his leash stays on and you pick up whatever he drops. Be mindful of the beauty and keep the place clean. It is such a stunning spot; Morro Rock is used for photo shoots, movies, and weddings. During the summer, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, there are lifeguards on duty from 10 AM until 6 PM, but you can swim at your own risk at other times of the year.
Baywood Park Beach
Next in line to the south, just after the Elfin Forest, which is another awesome dog-friendly spot, is Baywood Park Beach. It is a small patch of sand in Pasadena Park along Pasadena Drive that opens up onto Morro Bay. You and your canine companion are encouraged to swim here, play in the sand, or just enjoy watching the water. As long as you keep him on a leash while you are here, you and your pup are welcome anywhere.
The bay is typically calm and clear, so families love this park as it is protected by the coves and cliffs around it and the Morro Bay State Park peninsula in front of it. You will need to pack a lunch and water because there are no eating establishments here. Just bring something for your dog and you to share on the beach together, or you can walk down the street to one of the eateries.
Montaña de Oro State Park Beach
Dogs are allowed at Montaña de Oro State Park, but there is only one beach where they can swim and play in the sand. Spooners Beach, at the northern end of the park on Spooners Cove, where the water is calm and crystal clear, and the beach is covered in beautiful smooth pebbles. Keep his leash attached while you are there, and be sure to bring doggie bags to pick up anything he drops, and you can spend the whole day there.
If you are hungry, grab some grub and head to one of the picnic areas where you and your fur puppy can enjoy a meal with a stunning view of the water. For those who want to stay longer, book one of the campsites. But you better book it early because there are only 50 sites. Each one has a picnic table, a fire ring, and a parking pad. There are also restrooms, showers, and water fountains.
Olde Port Beach
Just a few minutes down the sand, Olde Port Beach is a dog-friendly beach in San Luis Obispo where your pooch can play all day without a leash! That’s right! This is one great beach where your fur baby can swim without the hassle of a leash, and you can play frisbee or fetch too! As long as your pup is voice-controlled, he will be okay here because there are cliffs on either side to keep him in. You just have to make sure he does not go out too far.
While you and your canine companion can play here all year, the lifeguards are only on duty from Memorial Day until Labor Day, so keep that in mind when planning your trip. You may also see a food truck or two during the summer. Other times, it is best to pack your own food and drinks. And do not forget to pack some puppy poo baggies to pick up after your pup!
Right next door, Avila Beach welcomes pups to play off their leash before 10 AM and after 5 PM. The prime-time hours are reserved for tourists, and they prefer no dogs during that time. However, there is plenty of time before and after prime time to play with your canine companion.
There is about ½ mile of soft golden sand for him to run around and play ball or swim in the cool blue water of the San Luis Obispo Bay.
If you would rather let your pooch play in a smaller body of water, the San Luis Obispo Creek runs right alongside the beach, where it meets the bay. You can find some picnic areas with barbecue grills and tables, ball fields, and a playground for the kids as well as restrooms, showers, and drinking fountains. But make sure you bring your own dog waste baggies because they do not supply them.
Avila Park Beach
Also known as The Pirate Park, Avila Park Beach is right next to Avila Beach on Avila Beach Drive. This fun family park is the only pirate-themed playground in the city. It has a pirate ship fort with a tic-tac-toe game, wooden rocking seahorses, a climbing structure, and slides as well as swings, a crow’s nest tower, and a bridge. You can stop at the farmer’s market and get some food to enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables too. They even have grills!
You will love the easy access to the bay and the creek, where you and your fur baby can splash in the surf and play in the sand as long as you keep him on the leash the whole time you are there. Other fun attractions here include basketball, volleyball, and the Central Coast Aquarium, although dogs are not allowed inside here. Make sure you pack your own doggie bags to pick up after your canine companion.
Eldwayen Ocean Park
Eldwayen Ocean Park is just a few minutes further down the sand from Avila Beach. The top park is a large grassy space with a picnic table, benches, and parking, as well as sightseeing binoculars for both kids and adults. You can even let your pooch take a peek. Then, walk down the long set of stairs to the sandy beach. Make sure you check the tide before going down because you will not have much space to play when the tide is in.
When the tide is out, you should have about a mile of sand right on the ocean. It can be dangerous here sometimes, with the waves being strong at certain times of the day. Keep your pooch on his leash, and he will be fine. The tide pools here are really awesome, with starfish and other sea creatures. Be sure to bring some doggie doo bags so you can pick up anything your fur buddy drops.
Dinosaur Caves Park
A few more miles to the south and you can find Dinosaur Caves Park. It has over 11 acres of space with all sorts of fun things to explore. Up top in the grassy space on the cliff is a family-friendly picnic area with a dinosaur-themed playground. There are giant dino eggs with room to crawl inside, concrete dolphins, and a whale to climb on. The park also has swings and slides to keep the human kids happy for a while.
While you are there, you can learn about the huge concrete dinosaur that used to be an attraction there. In the 1940s, you could go through the tunnel in the dinosaur to get to a sea cave outside the tail. But it collapsed long ago. To get to the sand, head down one of the rocky paths or go right next door to Margo Dodd Park, where there is a set of stairs. Make sure you keep your dog’s leash on and bring baggies.
Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area
When you see how large the beach is at Oceana Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, you may wonder why you considered going anywhere else. There are almost six miles of waterfront with golden sand and 3,500 acres of off-roading fun. Bring your dune buggy, dirt bike, or four-wheeler to race around the dunes. Your fur baby will totally love how much sand he has to romp around in, and you and he can play ball, toss around a frisbee, or play in the surf all day long.
You will have to leave your canine companion’s leash on while you are there and bring doggie cleanup baggies to pick up anything your dog drops. Also, it is best to keep your pooch in the shallows because the rip current can be dangerous further out. For your convenience, the park also has several restrooms, outdoor showers, and water fountains as well as two campgrounds with close to 200 campsites.
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve Beach
Head north for a few miles from Cayusco to Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, where leashed dogs are always welcome. This preserve features diverse biology where more than 425 birds and 150 kinds of plants are living. Some of the flora and fauna are rare or endangered, so please keep your pup on a short leash to prevent him from getting too close. There are 17 trails here, from the short and easy Arch Trail to the one-mile Creek to Forest Trail.
If you take the Bluff Trail, there is a separate little path that takes you down to the rocky beach below. It may not be a sandy spot to play fetch, but it is a great spot to let your pup sniff around. He will love all the new scents. The Forest Loop Trail is a nice one-mile trek through the oaks and pine trees, where you may see some of the native wildlife.
Shamel Park Beach
A little further up the sand, you will find Shamel Park, with six acres of clean, soft sand and crystal blue waters. The beach is huge and has a gazebo where you and your pup can sit and relax while watching the water and several picnic areas where you can have a bite to eat with your canine companion. Two of the picnic areas have large group areas you can rent. One can hold 100, and the other holds 35.
There is a restroom with running water also and a large playground for the kids. They even have a heated swimming pool, but dogs are not allowed. Down in the sand, there is plenty of space to explore tide pools, swim, and build sandcastles for your dog to knock over. There are also horseshoe games, a volleyball net, and a huge turf space for weddings and other events. Do not forget to bring your own puppy poo baggies to pick up after your pup.
Hearst San Simeon State Park Beach
Your fur puppy is welcome to join you at William Hearst State Park Beach as long as you keep his leash on him at all times. The San Simeon State Park itself has over 20 miles of coastline, from rugged and rocky to soft and sandy, with 13 beaches. However, dogs are only allowed on the beach at William Hearst State Park. But that is a big area with over 200 acres, including two campgrounds with 191 campsites.
There is plenty of room on the beach to swim, fish, and play in the sand, and there are restrooms, water access, and showers for your convenience. The park also has dozens of trails that take you through the forests and into the marsh. You can even see the lighthouse from some of them. There is a boat launch if you happen to have a boat, dozens of picnic areas with tables and barbecue grills, as well as a visitor center if you need help.
The Final Woof
If you want to get further out on the water, check out Bay Cruisers Boat Rentals, where you can rent a boat. Or let them take you on a tour with the Lost Isle Adventure Harbor Tours and Whale Watching. Getting thirsty yet? Luckily for you, this part of California is well-known for its wineries and vineyards. And many of them are dog-friendly. Try Shale Oak Winery on Oakdale Road, Venteux Vineyards on Las Tablas Road, or Windward Vineyard on Live Oak Road. For something different, head to Kiler Canyon Road, where you can explore 15 acres of Kiler Ridge Olive Farm and try some of their best ones while you enjoy the view.