Monterey, California, is located in the southern portion of Monterey Bay on the central Californian coastline. Between Santa Cruz and Carmel-by-the-Sea, this small town was founded in 1770 and has a population of just over 30 thousand. Being a coastal city, there are many beaches and parks to be found in Monterey, and the weather is warm all year long, making outdoor activities popular. The rugged coast was once the main center of the sardine industry but today it is more of a tourist area with shops, restaurants, and other attractions.
The city has its fair share of beaches with over 30 miles of coastline to explore and many of them are dog-friendly. From Monterey State Beach to Carmel River State Beach, there are dozens of places you can bring your fur buddy for a swim or just a walk on the sand. Some of them require leashes but others allow your pup to play without the restraints of a leash. We found 15 dog-friendly beaches in Monterey, CA, for you and your canine companion to enjoy.
Del Monte Beach
The closest beach to Monterey is Del Monte Beach, which is a dog-friendly place as long as you keep your canine compadre on a leash at all times. It is actually considered to be an extension of Monterey State Beach, but the locals have given this part of the beach a name since it is rarely used by tourists who are hitting the more popular state beach. This gives Del Monte Beach the benefit of being less crowded all year long.
The beach has a little over two miles of golden sand between the Municipal Wharf and the state beach and includes Monterey Bay Park. The park has volleyball nets, picnic areas, and part of the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. You and your fur puppy are allowed anywhere along the beach, throughout the park, and on most parts of the trail. Walking along this path, you will almost always see some wildlife like sea lions, otters, seals, and all sorts of shore birds.
El Estero Park
Located just south of Del Monte Beach, El Estero Park has a huge lake where you and your fur baby can play all day while he is on a leash. This is one of the most popular parks in Monterey. It has 45 acres with all sorts of fun attractions, including the famous Dennis the Menace Playground with three slides, a rock wall, and a hedge maze, as well as a variety of other activities. There is also a locomotive steam engine even adults will love.
You are welcome to fish as long as you have a fishing license, and you can also enjoy a picnic or get a workout on the 1.2-mile outdoor exercise course. Your pup will love playing in the water and along the banks of the lake. Another thing your pup will love is the dog park, where you can take off that leash and let him play freely with his fur buddies.
Monterey State Beach
Right next to Del Monte Beach, Monterey State Beach is another pup popular spot to take your fur baby for a swim. South of the Monterey Tides Hotel and Roberts parking lot, your fur buddy is welcome to play in the surf, run around in the sand, and enjoy the day with you soaking up the California sunshine. Just remember to bring doggie bags and keep your canine companion on a leash no longer than six feet.
The beach is popular for boating, fishing (do not forget your fishing license), and kayaking, as well as scuba diving, volleyball, and flying kites. You can do just about anything at this fun place. The only thing they do not have is a campground, so you will have to pack all your fun into one day. You can also watch paragliders launch, collect beautiful sea glass, and grab some food from the restaurant on the beach.
Laguna Grande Park
Laguna Grande Regional Park is spread between the cities of Monterey and Seaside, each side with its own management. But both sides allow dogs to visit as long as you keep your canine companion on a leash while you are there. Of the 14 acres, almost 11 acres are on the Seaside section, which is the largest park in Seaside. Besides the lake, you can also find walking trails, barbecue and picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, and a stunning canyon.
On the water or in the water, your pup is welcome, but you still have to keep him leashed. You can swim, kayak, or canoe as well as toss out a line for fishing. It is a family park that adheres to the city dog walking rules of picking up after your pup immediately. So make sure you bring plenty of puppy poo bags. If you get hungry for a burger and did not bring anything to cook, there is an In-N-Out Burger here as well.
Locke-Paddon Wetland Community Park
Just north of Fort Ord, the Locke-Paddon Wetland Community Park is a large green space with a group of vernal ponds. It was named after William Locke-Paddon, who bought 1,500 acres in 1913 to begin the city of Marina by selling off five-acre plots for just $75 each, which put the community on the map, so to speak. The park has a nice trail system that you and your pup can enjoy as well but keep him on a short leash and bring doggie bags to pick up after him.
There are picnic tables within the park where you and your pooch can have a meal or just sit and relax while you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Although you are not allowed to fish, you and your pup will likely see some marine animals like turtles, frogs, and shore birds while you are in the park. But make sure your canine companion does not get too close.
Lovers Point Park Beach
A few miles up the sand and you will reach Lovers Point Park Beach. With more than four acres of space, this community park in Pacific Grove is located at the end of 17th Street and allows dogs to visit as long as they are on a leash. Since this is a popular family park, make sure your pooch is not afraid of crowds or children. The sandy beaches and rocky outcrops make this a great place for all but the waves can be kind of rough at times.
Besides the golden sand beach, you can also fish on the concrete pier or further down the beach, where swimming is not allowed. There are also picnic areas, restrooms, and kayak rentals, as well as a cafe and restaurant, bike rentals, and nature trails. You and your fur buddy will not have any trouble finding something to do here. Just be sure to bring some doggie waste bags with you.
Asilomar State Beach
Right around the point to the southwest, Asilomar State Beach is a pup-friendly place where your fur buddy is allowed to run, swim, and play as long as you keep his leash on at all times. There is a mile of sandy coastline here as well as a walking trail that you and your pooch can explore. The name Asilomar means “refuge by the sea” in Spanish, and this was once the refuge of the Rumsien Ohlone Indians.
While you are there, you are asked to stay on the trails and other walking surfaces. Please do not walk on the dunes and other protected areas, and keep Fido on a short leash, so he does not either. You will likely see some wildlife in the forest if you go for a walk, such as raccoons, squirrels, and deer, as well as a variety of woodpeckers, hawks, and eagles. They also offer dog-friendly lodging, but you need to book in advance.
Next up is Pebble Beach, which is 4.3 miles across the peninsula to the southwest of Monterey. It is home to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, Lodge, and Spa, which are also dog-friendly. That is right, your fur baby can accompany you for a round of golf as long as you keep him leashed and pick up whatever he drops. Nobody wants to step in poo walking to their next hole on the golf course!
In fact, this place loves dogs so much that they even have their own menu at the lodge with burgers, eggs, bacon, and chicken, as well as treats and peanut butter. There are several beaches, including the one at Stillwater Cove, which is perfect for your pup. The water is clear and calm, great for splashing in the water. Located between holes four and six, the beach even has a pier you can explore.
Carmel City Beach
Carmel City Beach is just next door to Pebble Beach, and it offers pup-parents the chance to let Fido off the leash for a while. As long as he is voice-controlled, your well-behaved fur puppy is allowed to swim, play on the beach, and enjoy the whole park without a leash. Located at the end of Ocean Avenue, this white sandy beach has been named one of the top beaches in the country, especially with local dog owners.
No need to worry about bringing doggie bags because there are Mutt Mitt dispensers at the top of each set of stairs here, and they are almost always full. Still, it cannot hurt to have an extra with you, especially since this is such a popular dog beach. You will not find any other white sand dog beaches in the area so get there early if you want a prime spot on the sand.
Carmel River State Beach
Leashed dogs are always welcome at Carmel River State Beach, which is right next to Carmel City Beach. With a whole mile of sand along the ocean and even more beach space on Carmel River, you and your canine companion will have no trouble finding the perfect spot for a day on the water. The ocean area is not as welcoming as the river due to the huge drop-off and high waves near the shore. If you let your pup swim, keep him on a leash and in the shallows.
You can also take your canine companion on a hike along the trails or check out the interpretive exhibits. There is always a wide array of birds here, like the great blue heron and brown pelican, so it attracts bird watchers from all over the world. Be sure to bring along some doggie doo bags to pick up anything your pup drops, and do not let him near the wildlife.
Garrapata State Park Beach
Keep heading southwest down the beach past Monastery Beach and Point Lobos State National Reserve until you get to Garrapata State Park Beach, where leashed dogs are welcome from Gate 19 south. Your pooch is welcome to swim, but the waves here are not friendly in many spots, so be cautious and never turn your back on the ocean. Find a calm spot and keep your fur buddy in the shallows and on a leash.
There are two miles of beach here and a 1.25-mile trail where you and your pup can climb up the coast to get a sensational view of the water. You will often see all kinds of marine animals like sea lions, seals, dolphins, and whales. You cannot bring your dog into the state park area above the beach, though, because it is a protected wildlife area. Make sure you bring plenty of puppy poo bags with you to pick up after your pup.
Located in Big Sur, your leashed pooch is more than welcome at Pfeiffer Beach. One thing you will notice right away at this unusual beach is the color of the sand. There are purple specks in the sand, giving Pfeiffer Beach a unique attraction. According to the experts, the one-mile beach is colored this way due to its abundance of manganese garnet that erodes from the hills. Another thing you may notice is that it is a clothing-optional beach because state nudity laws do not apply to federal land.
In addition, the famous “Keyhole Rock” is located just off the beach, which is one of the most photographed rock formations in the state. Between November and February, the sun sets in a most attractive way here, bringing photographers from all over. The beach is great here, but swimming is not recommended because of the rough surf. Your pup can get his paws wet but be sure to keep him on a leash and in the shallows.
Seacliff State Beach
North of Monterey, about 15 minutes, Seacliff State Beach has over a mile of golden sand to enjoy with your leashed pup. Opened in 1931, it was one of the state’s first state beaches, and it also has a unique attraction. The SS Palo Alto ship is a concrete tanker that was built in WWI but was turned into an amusement center in 1930. However, it was closed after two years due to monetary issues, and today, the ship just sits there, unused and unsafe.
But the beach itself is full of other fun, including swimming, picnicking, surfing, fishing, and geocaching. They even have a campground with more than 60 campsites, showers, and a playground. Dogs are welcome but must always be kept on a leash, and you will need to bring your own doggie bags because they do not provide them. While you are there, take a hike on one of the trails to see some of the native flora and fauna.
New Brighton State Beach
Another great camping beach just a few miles up the beach is New Brighton State Beach. Your canine companion is welcome anywhere in the park, including the beach and water, as long as you keep him on a leash at all times. The campground offers 110 sites with picnic tables, fire rings, showers, and restrooms. Some of the sites have electricity and water as well. And many of these campsites are very close to the beach.
This beach also has a long history dating back to the 1850s when Thomas Fallon turned the area into the New Brighton Resort. The hiking trails will take you on a historic journey through the bluffs and forest to see much of what is left over. Swimming here is popular as is fishing so bring your swimsuit and fishing gear. You may also want to bring some food to barbecue in one of the picnic areas where you and your pup can enjoy a meal.
Natividad Creek Park
Last, but definitely not least, Natividad Creek Park may not be on the ocean, but it has a creek where you and your fur puppy can splash in the water and cool off during the summer. With almost 65 acres of space, the park boasts a discovery garden with 10 different play areas for kids, a wonderful nature trail to explore, and playgrounds. There is also a skate park, basketball courts, a disc golf course, volleyball, and tennis courts.
Besides all that, Natividad Creek Park also has a dog park. The fenced area allows your fur buddy to run and play freely without a leash. It is a popular place for pup parents so your pooch will always have someone to play with and there is a special section for small or shy dogs, watering stations, and benches for the humans. Bring your own doggie bags because this place runs out often will all the traffic it gets.
Sand City Beach
On the other side of Monterey State Beach, Sand City Beach is about four miles northeast of Monterey city limits. Located in Sand City (hence the name) this dog-friendly spot is a peaceful oasis of sand and surf where leashed pooches can spend the day with their pet parents. It is at the end of Tioga Avenue, right next to the Eolian Dunes Preserve, which is also dog-friendly. The preserve is there to keep the rest of the shoreline from being washed away.
You will want to pack lots of cleanup baggies and water because this beach has neither. If you are planning to stay the whole day, you will need to pack a lunch, too, since there is limited access to food. The closest place is Five Guys Burgers across Highway 1, about a half-mile from the beach. Also, check the tide chart before visiting because the beach pretty much disappears during high tide.
Locke-Paddon Wetland Community Park
About 11 miles up the coastline in Marina, you will find the Locke-Paddon Wetland Community Park. Named after William Locke-Paddon, who laid out the city in 1913, this special spot allows your pup to join you at the beach if you keep him on a leash while you are here. The park has 17 acres that include several vernal ponds with lots of shoreline your pup can use as his beach.
The picnic area here is fantastic, and there are walking trails with interpretive signs as well as a boardwalk that goes across the pond. Keep your fur buddy close to protect the native birds that call the park home, like mallards, coots, grebes, and 100 other species. The trails are an excellent way to see the ponds and all the wildlife that live there. Make sure you have plenty of extra water for you both and doggie bags to pick up after your pooch.
Malpaso Creek Beach
Located in the Carmel Highlands, Malapaso Creek Beach is a secret treasure we want to tell you about. The place is unmarked, so it is almost always empty. This is perfect for a day on the sand with your fur baby, especially if he is not a fan of crowds. The entrance is a trail between two houses at 111 and 112 Yankee Point Drive in Carmel, which is just off Highway 1, also known as Cabrillo Highway.
The beach is not huge, but it is gorgeous, with clean white sand and turquoise water so clear you can see to the bottom. The spot where the creek joins the ocean is a great place to let your pup play around off his leash if he has good recall. Just remember to keep him close and pick up anything he drops. Bring your own puppy poop bags. There are no amenities here like restrooms or water either.
Garrapata State Park Beach
Just past the Carmel Highlands, Malpaso Creek Beach, and China Vista Point, Garrapata State Beach has a beach section just for pups. At the southern end of the two miles of sand, you will find a sign letting you know that dogs are allowed there. It is right at Gate 19, and you can park on the side of Highway 1 (Cabrillo Highway) and take one of the trails. It is often empty as most people stick to the first set of beaches with more space and easier access.
Before 1750, the area was inhabited by Ohlone people who lived from here to San Francisco Bay. By the 1830s, it was a Spanish Mission with homes and churches. Today, it is all state park property and allows the public access to scuba diving, hiking, photography, and surfing. Swimming is not recommended due to the rough surf. You will need to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes and mountain lions because they live here, too.
Manresa Uplands State Beach
Between Monterey State Beach and Sunset State Beach, the beaches are off-limits to dogs. But luckily, Manresa Uplands State Beach and Campgrounds is dog-friendly, so you can enjoy this stretch of golden sand from there. You will have to pay a $10 parking fee, but this is a small price to pay for such a gorgeous beach. With both sand and greenery, you can see a variety of different flora and fauna. And you can stay for days here!
There are 60 walk-in tent sites, but you need to reserve a site far in advance if you want one. Your pooch is allowed as long as he is on a leash no longer than six feet. Besides playing in the water and sand, this stretch of beach is perfect for fishing. Make sure you have a license, and you can catch smelt, bass, perch, halibut, and flounder. Do not forget your doggie bags so you can pick up after your pup.
The Final Woof
If you want to really get out on the water, take your canine companion on a whale-watching tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. They love dogs and have over 20 years of experience, so they know where to find the whales and dolphins. Love escape rooms? Well, Escape Room 831 offers you an hour of puzzles where your pup is welcome to join in the fun. Afterward, stop at the Dust Bowl Brewing Company Tap Depot for a beer on the outdoor patio. If wine is more your style, take Fido to Taste Morgan, a vineyard with four decades of winery experience.