15 Amazing Pup-Friendly Beaches in Huntington Beach, CA

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Located between Long Beach and Newport Beach, Huntington Beach in California is a popular tourist destination. With warm weather all year long, the beaches stay pretty full no matter what month it is. But the summer season, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, is the most crowded. Only 35 miles south of Los Angeles, the city has a variety of attractions besides the beach as well. One of the most popular is the International Surfing Museum since surfers come here from all over the world. 

Other popular attractions include the Lyon Air Museum, Balboa Pier, and the Huntington Beach Art Center. The city also has a lot of parks to enjoy while you are there. Mile Square Regional Park, the Shipley Nature Center, and Huntington Central Park are just a few. But since you are traveling with your fur baby, you probably need some pup-friendly beaches. Huntington has its own dog beach where your canine companion can play off the leash, and Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach is also a favorite. Here are 15 of our top dog-friendly beaches in Huntington Beach. 

Huntington Dog Beach

There is nothing better than having your own beach. And that is exactly how it feels to all dogs that come to Huntington Dog Beach. This is what the local dogs call Dog Heaven, and pet parents to bring their pups here from all over the world. Located at Huntington State Beach between Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington City Beach, this spacious sandy spot has 1 ½ mile of beachfront from Seapoint Street to Goldenwest Street.

Your fur buddy can run around off the leash to enjoy the sand and the surf as long as he is voice controlled. You do not want to allow a dog that does not have boundaries to run loose anywhere, especially in the ocean. Parking here is $2 per hour. The two lots only take plastic, and the street meters only take coins. The park has restrooms, picnic tables, drinking fountains for you and your pooch, and doggie waste bags for picking up after your pup. 

Huntington State Beach

Because Huntington State Beach is where Huntington Dog Beach is located, we figured it was worth a mention, even if your fur buddy is not allowed on the sand here. You will notice that there are clearly marked boundaries where the dog beach ends so you and Fido can head further inland toward the park. The beach starts at Goldenwest Street and has 121 acres of sand all the way down to the Santa Ana River. 

The grassy parts of the beach and paved walking paths welcome you and your canine companion for hiking, biking, and just hanging out enjoying nature. There are places to have a picnic or barbecue, geocaching trails, and restrooms with drinking water. The park also has concessions as well as food trucks that converge on the parking lot during the busy season, which is almost all year long. Be sure to bring your own doggie cleanup bags to pick up anything your fur baby drops. 

Bolsa Chica State Beach

To the north of Huntington Beach and the dog beach, your canine companion is also welcome at Bolsa Chica State Beach, just not on the sand. Like Huntington State Beach, pups have to stay off the sand here, but they are allowed everywhere else. In fact, if your pooch gets in the water from a grassy area, he is allowed to play in the surf as well. That is what you call a loophole in the rules. As long as he does not step on the sand, he is fine. 

This park is a bit larger than Huntington State Beach, but it has more to do in the green spaces. For example, besides picnic tables and barbecue pits, there are huge fields of grass to play frisbee or fetch and a visitor center. But ask first before bringing your pooch inside. There are also 50 campsites if you want to stay longer. And one of the trails here is 8.5 miles and runs from Bolsa Chica to Huntington State Beach. 

Rosie’s Dog Beach

Head north along the shore past Sunset Beach and Seal Beach Municipal Pier, and you will find Rosie’s Dog Beach. It is located along Ocean Boulevard and has more than three acres of sand for you and your fur baby to play in. It is not officially considered a “dog beach” per se, but it is known to all pet parents here as a place for dogs to enjoy the beach. There are even some doggie bag dispensers, but it is best to bring your own. 

Every day from 6 AM until 8 PM, your pooch can play off the leash on this long and wide stretch of sand. The surf is just right for splashing, and the sand is soft and golden. You will have to pay for parking at the Bennett Avenue parking lot so bring some change. You will have to keep your pup on a leash until you cross over into the dog beach area and put his leash back on when you leave or risk a hefty fine. 

Junipero Beach

Locally known as Cherry Beach, Junipero Beach is a small stretch of golden sand along the Bluff Park area. It starts at the Saltwater Deck seafood restaurant and stretches to Alamitos Beach to the west. Dogs are not usually allowed on the sand here, but during the off-season, you will always see unleashed pups running amok. It is part of the 11-acre Bluff Park right behind the beach, where you are able to get an amazing view of the surrounding area. 

The waves are calm, and the sand is clear and blue, giving you and your fur baby a nice place to enjoy some fun. There are restrooms, showers, drinking fountains, and even food trucks nearby. At the park, your dog can enjoy running in the grassy areas and joining you for a walk along the paved walking paths. When you get hungry, you can grab a bite from the food trucks or walk to one of the other eateries nearby. 

Rainbow Lagoon Park

No need for the beach here! Rainbow Lagoon is all the water you need for your fur baby to splash around in. It is just to the northwest of Alamitos Beach and features 12 acres of green space and water with flora and fauna to enjoy. Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash, and you will not have any problems here. They do not have doggie cleanup bags though, so you will have to bring your own. 

The lagoon is the main feature here with boat rentals at Wheel Fun Rentals. They have new Swan Boats that are very popular, where you can coast along the shoreline and get some great selfies. Or you can rent a kayak or canoe for another way to enjoy the water. They even have bikes and surreys to explore the park on dry ground. Please remember to bring your own puppy poo bags and pick up after your pup.

Shoreline Park

Right next door, enjoy another 12 acres of space at Shoreline Park. This is mostly green space, which is good because they do not allow pups on the sand. But he can swim as long as he gets to the water from the grassy areas. Rainbow Harbor here is a great spot to hang out with your dog while he sniffs all the new scents and runs around in the grass. There are lots of picnic tables here where you and your pup can enjoy a meal. 

All along this park, you will find the 2.3-mile loop trail, which is very popular with the local pup parents for dog walking. It takes you around the Pike Outlets, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Rainbow Harbor. The main focal point here though, is the Lion Lighthouse. This is a fantastic spot for some selfies with your furry friend. Don’t forget the doggie waste baggies to pick up after your pup.

Cesar E. Chavez Park 

Who needs the ocean when you can play at the waterfront in Cesar E. Chavez Park? It is located in Long Beach along the Los Angeles River, where splashing in the water is not only permitted but encouraged. You will find this 33-acre park with so much to do. You and your canine compadre will be so busy you may forget all about the water. There are basketball courts, several walking trails, and two playgrounds for the kids, as well as picnic areas to enjoy.

The park also has a gymnasium, amphitheater, and auditorium, but you have to ask before bringing your pooch indoors anywhere. The best space, according to local pet parents, is the area by the water where your dog can play off the leash. However, if your dog is not voice-controlled or not a good swimmer, you are encouraged to keep him leashed anyway. And bring your own doggie bags for poo pickup.

Point Fermin Park

Further west in Los Angeles, Point Fermin Park has 37 acres for enjoying the beach, whale watching, picnicking, and exploring tide pools. The pools are a great place to spot sea stars, clams, and mussels, as well as other marine animals. On quiet days when the beach is not full, you can also see black bears looking for these pools of seafood for them to snack on. However, it is rare to see them here. It is fine to let your dog play in the pools but do not let them disturb the wildlife. 

The park also has a historic lighthouse with sensational Victorian gardens. Another great spot for selfies with your canine companion. This is one of the hidden gems that are usually overlooked by tourists, so it is a nice place for a more peaceful day. You will also be able to enjoy the trails with your pooch as long as he is on a leash at all times, and you be sure to pick up after him. 

Newport Beach

To the south of Huntington Beach, pups are welcome at Newport Beach before 10 AM and after 4:30 PM. Starting at the Santa Ana River along the Pacific Coast Highway to the Balboa Pier, this long stretch of sand is pup-friendly as long as you keep your four-legged family member on a leash. The park has Newport Bay on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, giving you and your pup plenty of places to play. 

There are five miles of soft sand and warm water to enjoy, but you will notice that this beach is crowded all year long. Being so far south, the weather is always warm, so swimming here is popular. Because of this, you can find plenty of amenities such as restrooms, showers, and water fountains, as well as surf shops and eateries. Be sure to pick up anything your pup drops and ask permission before bringing him into any establishment.

Balboa Beach

Made up of the Balboa Peninsula Park and Balboa Pier Beach, this three miles of soft sand is open to dogs before 9 AM and after 4:30 PM as long as they are on a leash. There is plenty of space for you and your pooch to enjoy the sand and surf here. For early risers, getting here before nine is fine, but it is not as warm as it would be if you came to the beach around five.  

Also, remember that since this is not a dog beach, you have to bring your own doggie poo bags to pick up whatever your pup drops. In fact, you are legally required to have a doggie bag with you on the beach with your dog or you can be fined up to $500! Your pup is welcome on the pier too, which is a fun place for a walk or to watch the anglers haul in their catches. 

Corona Del Mar State Beach

Southeast of Balboa Beach past the jetty, Corona Del Mar State Beach Park allows pups from before 10 AM and after 4:30 PM. Also known as Big Corona Beach, there is half a mile of sandy beach with a rock jetty and stunning cliffs. Pups love to play on the rocks and in the surf here, and you are welcome to dive in as well. Speaking of diving, this is a popular spot for scuba diving and surfing too. 

There is plenty to do, from digging in the sand to enjoying a bite to eat at one of the picnic areas. There are almost always several food trucks around, and the park has concession stands. If you want to get some sensational views of the area, head east to Inspiration Point or the tip of the beach called Lookout Point. They both have benches and grassy areas to enjoy a game of catch.  

Crystal Cove State Park

Although your fur baby is not allowed on the sand here, the 2,400 acres of space is worth mentioning. Crystal Cove State Park boasts hiking and biking trails as well as many different grassy spaces for picnicking, barbecuing, and playing. The huge park also features dozens of individual park spaces like the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in the southeast section and Coastal Peak Park on the northeast corner. You will also see a few campgrounds. Please check with individual parks for rules about dogs. 

There are many other water features in the park where your pup can play, such as streams, creeks, and lakes but check for any signage with dog rules on them. Another way for your pup to cool off is by accessing the ocean from grassy areas instead of beaches. Just keep him away from other swimmers, and do not let him bother any wildlife you may see. 

Shaws Cove Beach

South of Crystal Cove State Park, Shaws Cove has its own set of rules about dogs on the beach based on the time of year. For instance, Between September 11th and June 14th, your pooch can play on the beach anytime from 6 AM until 10 PM. But during the busy season, your pup is welcome before 9 AM and after 6 PM. In addition, your canine companion needs to be restrained by a leash during your visit. 

This is a small beach often overlooked by tourists, so that you may find yourself alone sometimes during your visit. The tide pools here are very cool, with sea stars, anemones, and other marine animals to see. Just do not let Fido get too close. You will see a lot of scuba divers and snorkelers, too, since they host a scuba class here. Do not let your pup aggravate the other visitors, and please pick up anything he drops. 

Main Beach Park

Pass Diver’s Cove, Picnic Cove, and Heisler Park to the municipal park beach of Laguna, also known as Main Beach Park. Just like Shaws Cove, dogs are not allowed on the beach from 9 AM until 6 PM from June 15th until September 10th. But for the rest of the year, your fur buddy can join you as long as he is on his leash at all times. It is located in the middle of Laguna and has a wide-open beach with tide pools. 

There are plenty of restrooms, outdoor showers, and drinking fountains for your convenience, but they do not have puppy poo bag dispensers, so you will need to bring your own. There is a lifeguard here during the busy season and concessions where you can get some food and drinks. The main activities here include surfing, swimming, volleyball, and basketball. Several playgrounds are available for the kids too.

The Final Woof

Fancy a shopping trip with your pup? Overlooking the ocean, Fashion Island has stellar views as well as shopping and dining, where dogs are allowed in the common areas. Keep your pup on a leash, and he can join you as you shop but not in the food court. However, you need to ask before entering any stores because they each have their own rules. To let your pooch run around leash-free in a safe place, head to Central Park Dog Park on Edwards Street in the western corner of Central Park. This place is popular with the locals for its dog walk-of-fame and snack machines, as well as the cleanliness of the park. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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