20 Top Dog-Friendly Beaches for Pups and Pup Parents in Oakland, CA

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Oakland is one of the largest and most populated cities in the San Francisco Bay area, with over 440 thousand residents. With its rolling hills and prairies, redwood forests, wineries, vineyards, and awesome mountain views, this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are also a variety of attractions in Oakland, including Jack London Square, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, the Oakland Zoo, and the Morcom Rose Garden. 

The city has its fair share of parks as well. In fact, there are 160 of them, including the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Joaquin Miller Park, and Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve.

And with temperatures in the 70s year-round, beaches are also popular. There are more than two dozen beaches in Oakland, and many of them are dog-friendly. We found 15 of the best beaches in Oakland that allow dogs, so you and your fur buddy can check them out. 

Jack London Square Beach

At first glance, you may not expect to see a beach at Jack London Square, the shopping/dining/boating center. But in between all the retail shops, bars, and eating establishments, you can find a dog park on the Bay Trail where your pooch can play in the water. With stores like California Canoe & Kayak, where you can rent a boat, and Waterfront Cafe & Bar, where your pup can join you for a meal and some drinks, you will not have any trouble staying busy here. 

Less than a mile from Oakland, the water access and dog park can be found on the San Francisco Bay Trail at the western end of the square. It is not fenced, so you should keep your pup on a leash, but it is great fun to see him checking out all the new smells along the waterfront. Be sure to bring your own doggie bags to pick up anything your pup drops. 

Union Point Park Beach

Less than three miles from downtown Oakland, Union Point Park may be small, but it has a lot to do, and dogs are welcome as long as they are leashed. The nine-acre recreational area is located southeast of Oakland, just after the Coast Guard Island Bridge. Here you will find about a mile of waterfront where your pooch can play in the sand or splash in the water. However, the waves can be rough, so keep him in the shallows. 

If you have any little humans with you, they will love the pirate-themed playground! It has a giant ship as well as some fantastic ride-ons, swings, and slides. The park also has a marina with restrooms and snack machines, and you can almost always find a food truck nearby if you get really hungry. There are even quite a few picnic areas with barbecue grills and tables if you want to bring your own food and drinks. 

Port View Park Beach

It may not be as glamorous as some of the other beaches, but Port View Park has some waterfront property that all fur babies will love. Sure, you may not get to jump in and swim with him, but as long as you keep your canine companion on a leash, he can play in the shallows. Just keep him away from the fishermen, so he does not scare away the fish. And as always, be sure to pack plenty of extra doggie cleanup baggies to pick up after your pup. 

You may want to bring your own fishing gear with you because this is a famous fishing spot for the locals. The most common fish you will see are smelt, but there are also stripers, rays, flatfish, and even sharks! Other fun here includes picnicking, barbecuing, and biking. You can find this awesome park just three miles west at the end of 7th street by Middle Harbor Shoreline Park and the Oakland Port. 

McLaughlin Eastshore State Park

Only four miles northwest of Oakland, McLaughlin Eastshore State Park is also a pup-popular park that allows leashed dogs on the beach. This large park boasts more than 8.5 miles of coastline on the San Francisco Bay, so you and your fur baby are more than welcome to swim if it is warm enough. The water here is not as warm as the beaches in southern California, so be forewarned. But your pup will not care about all that. 

You can stroll along the shore and let your pooch splash in the waves while you look at the awesome shells and rocks on the sand. The park also offers fishing, guided tours, surfing, and picnic areas. If you did not bring any food, that’s okay, there are concession stands and vending machines. They also have restrooms and water fountains for your convenience. You will need to bring your own puppy poo bags because they do not have any. 

Cesar E. Chavez Park Beach

Just a few miles north of McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, the 90-acre Cesar E. Chavez Park is not just a dog-friendly beach, but it also has one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the state of California. Surrounded by water on three sides, you and your pup will have plenty of room to roam along the waterfront. What used to be a city landfill is now a pup popular paradise with awesome views of all three famous bridges, Angel Island, and Alcatraz. 

Besides the waterfront play and great views, the park also has a fun 1.3-mile trail that takes you on a trip around the whole place as well as quite a few picnic areas with tables and grills. But the most exciting place for your pooch is the 17-acre off-leash dog space. It is like a park inside a park with several picnic areas, water fountains, doggie bag dispensers, and a restroom. You can find it in the northern section of the park just east of the solar calendar. 

Albany Bulb Beach

Known as The Bulb by locals, the Albany Bulb is another former landfill turned park and beach where pups are welcome. In fact, they do not even have to be on a leash. However, you will not find any signs saying that it is leash-free. What you will find is about a mile of sand on the water where you and your canine companion can swim, play, and toss around a ball or frisbee. 

One unique thing here is the artwork. There are several trails throughout the park that take you on a wild journey along some of the most interesting art displays you have ever seen. Be sure to visit Mad Marc’s Castle and Mary’s Mask. They are stunning. You can also walk down the Albany Waterfront Trail to get to a fantastic dog park called Buchanan Dog Beach. It is at the end of Buchanan Street in Albany Beach. 

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline and Dog Park

Just across the bay, Point Isabel is a massive park with sensational fishing, beaching, and picnicking. And your fur puppy is allowed to enjoy it all without the restraint of his leash, as long as he is voice-controlled. You can choose from the Richmond Inner Harbor or Hoffman Channel Beaches. Just remember, they are not fenced, so if your pooch is not voice-controlled, it is best to keep his leash on just in case. Also, bring your own doggie bags. 

So, with this being a 43-acre park and dogs allowed off-leash, this is an even larger dog park than the one at Cesar E. Chavez Park! It is also the official trailhead for the San Francisco Bay Water Trail so if you have a kayak, bring it along. Bring a fishing pole and license too so you can try for some bass, flounder, and even leopard sharks. Also, there is a dog wash station and cafe at the Isabel Street entrance, so you can clean your pup and grab some grub before leaving. 

Marina Bay Park Beach

Just a few minutes from Point Isabel to the north, Marina Bay Park has 11 acres of green space as well as a nice little shoreline to enjoy. Situated on the Richmond Inner Harbor Basin of the San Francisco Bay, Marina Park is a popular community park where locals go to picnic, barbecue, or just soak up the sun. 

Many pup parents bring their fur babies here, too but they have to be on a leash. You will also need to pack plenty of puppy poo baggies to pick up anything your dog drops. If you want to take a hike, you can go for a walk along the Marina Bay Trail. The 8.1-mile trail takes you on a historical tour to see the timeline of the area dating back to 2000 BC. There is also a shorter nature walk inside the park where you can see the inner spaces. 

Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline

About three miles down I-580, you can find the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, which is also pup-friendly for leashed pups and has more than 370 acres to explore with your little buddy. Named after assemblyman John Knox and Senator George Miller Junior, it is also the home of Keller Beach, a wide sandy beach in the northeastern corner of the park. It is dog-friendly, too, but he has to be leashed here as well. It has picnic areas, a shower tower, and barbecue pits here for you to use too!

Back in the main park, there are also a bunch of picnic areas. The Pickleweed Picnic Area and Killdeer Picnic Area are on the southern end of the lagoon, which is in the center of the park. But please keep your pooch out of the lagoon because it is not safe. However, there is one mile of beachfront here. Or you can toss out a line from the fishing pier and try to catch spotted flounder, bass, and perch. Don’t forget the doggie bags!

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

To the north, a few miles, Point Pinole Regional Shoreline is much bigger, with about 2,400 acres of space. In fact, you can consider this the largest off-leash dog park in the universe because your pup is allowed to run around off the leash in all open areas! But he is not allowed in the pond or the marshes, and he has to be leashed in the Dotson Family Marsh Area. And unfortunately, the pier is off limits too. But that’s okay. There is plenty of other space to play. 

This park also has several trails, including the Bay Trail, Powerhouse Trail, Owl Alley Trail, and about a dozen more. If you have any little humans with you, they can enjoy the playgrounds with slides, swings, climbing structures, and more. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the awesome wildlife, such as the black rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, black-tailed deer, and Ridgway’s rail. 

Temescal Regional Recreation Area

Just under five miles from downtown Oakland to the northeast, Temescal Regional Recreation Area is happy to let your pooch play here. However, at this 48-acre park, your canine companion has to be on a leash. Another bummer, he is not allowed in the sandy beach section. But he is welcome to splash and play in the water and on the waterfront with you as much as he wants. The park got its name from Temescal Creek, which was dammed to provide drinking water in 1868, creating Temescal Lake. 

Besides swimming, you can also catch some big fish in this lake, including lunker catfish, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and bluegill. Be sure you have a California fishing license if you plan to fish though. This is a popular community park where locals enjoy picnics, parties, and barbecues in some of the reservable picnic areas. There are also several trails you and your pup can explore and enjoy. 

Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline

Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline is a fantastic place to spend the day with your fur puppy. Just 10 miles from Oakland, this 157-acre recreational area on the eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay has a plethora of fun activities you and your pup can enjoy. What’s more, your canine companion does not even have to wear a leash in the undeveloped areas of the park. In other words, he should be leashed in parking lots, playgrounds, sports fields, and certain paved trails. 

Take a walk along the Oyster Bay Loop Trail, where you and your pooch can get close to (if not in) the water. The beach area is often flooded, but the grassy areas are typically okay. It is a fun way to watch your dog sniff out all the new scents of the wild creatures that live here. The park also has picnic areas, a disc golf course, a huge garden with more than 300 plants, and playgrounds for the human kids. 

13 Lake Chabot Regional Park

About three miles east of Oyster Bay Regional Shoreline Park, Anthony Chabot Regional Park features 3,304 acres surrounding a 315-acre reservoir where you can hike, fish, boat, and even camp. As long as your four-legged friend is friendly, he is allowed in the park with you. No leash is needed except for in the parking lots, picnic areas, and playing fields.  

Although you cannot swim in the water, the lake is huge, crystal clear, and beautiful, with many waterfront areas where you can lay out a blanket or a beach chair and spend the day soaking up the sun. There is a marina that rents canoes, kayaks, and row boats, offers tour boat rides, and has a cafe where you can grab some food. The campground is dog-friendly, too with 75 campsites to pick from. Be sure to book your spot in advance and bring extra doggie bags if you are staying for a while. 

Coyote Hills Regional Park

You only have to drive about 15 minutes southwest to get to another awesome beach that loves dogs. Coyote Hills Regional Park has 1,266 acres featuring some unique aspects that other parks lack, such as a nectar garden, open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM, a visitor center (no dogs inside), and a wildlife refuge. The park is also known for its many trails, including the Bayview Trail, Peregrine Trail, and Muskrat Trail. And your leashed pup is welcome.

Although the park is surrounded by the San Francisco Bay, there is no beach access to the ocean. However, there are four marshes that your pooch can play around at. He cannot swim in any of the marshes, but he can run around the edges of the water and sniff everything. He may even see a few turtles, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Just do not let him get too close, and remember to bring doggie bags to pick up after him. 

Clipper Cove Beach

It is only eight miles from downtown Oakland across the Oakland Bay Bridge, but Clipper Cove Beach on Yerba Buena Island is an awesome spot to bring your fur buddy for the day. In fact, there are several sandy areas along the bay here where you and your pup can play. And he does not have to be on a leash here, either. Just make sure he is voice-controlled because there are no fences keeping him in place anywhere in the park. 

The main problem with this beach is finding a place to park. There is a popular picnic area here that only has a few parking spots, and it is usually full. So, people often park over on Treasure Island at the marina and walk over. And you will not find any amenities here like at the other large parks, so you should bring your own snacks and drinks as well as lots of doggie cleanup baggies. 

Treasure Island Dog Park

Speaking of Treasure Island, it has a large fenced off-leash dog park right by the waterfront. Unfortunately, there are rocks blocking the water, so your pup cannot swim, but he can run around on the sand and grass by the water. You will often see harbor seals sunbathing on the rocks while sitting at Treasure Island Dog Park watching your pup play, so bring a good camera if you want to get some shots to share on your social media pages.  

If you have small humans with you, there is a bonus playground right next to the dog park, so you can let all your kids have fun while you take a break. There are several slides, climbing equipment, swings, a rope ladder, and even a basketball court for the older kids. In the park, you will find picnic tables and barbecue grills, so you can spend the whole day there if you want to but pack plenty of puppy poo bags. 

Crane Cove Park Beach

Across the Oakland Bay Bridge and to the south, Crane Cove Park Beach used to be a shipyard, but seven acres of it was reclaimed to be a spot for recreational fun with a beach and park for all to enjoy. The sandy beach is perfect for running around and playing catch, and your pooch can even play and splash in the water. If you have a kayak or canoe, bring it along too!

Your fur puppy will have to stay leashed at all times while you are there, and you will have to bring your own dog waste baggies to pick up anything he happens to drop. Bring some sandwiches and drinks, and you and your pup can have a snack in the picnic area. They have barbecue grills. There is also a promenade with some fantastic views of the city. In the near future, the park plans a dog run, playgrounds, and a cafe. 

Crissy Field Beach

A few miles to the northwest and you will be at the Presidio of San Francisco, where you can find the really fun Crissy Field Beach. Located along the northern shoreline of the bay, one of the most popular attractions here is the Golden Gate Promenade, where you can get awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge and other surroundings. You can also take him onto the sand, where he is welcome to swim and play as long as he is on a leash. 

But if you go over to the Crissy Field East Beach, your canine companion can be let off the leash to romp and splash in the waves as much as he wants. In fact, he would probably much rather spend the whole day there. Bring a picnic lunch, or you can get some food to go from the Warming Hut Park Store and Cafe. Bring your doggie bags too.  

Baker Beach

Just across the Presidio on the western side of the Golden Gate Bridge is another pup popular beach to enjoy. Baker Beach has one whole mile of the golden sand beach by the 25th Avenue Gate. It is a great place to swim if the sun is out because it is sheltered from the cold winds of the north. Oh yeah, he can be off his leash from Lobos Creek to the north, so he gets to swim without a leash. 

That being said, it is best not to let your pup go out too far because there are some wild currents out there that can be dangerous. Be sure to bring a ball to play fetch and a frisbee to throw around on the beach. One thing to note: the northern end of Baker Beach is a clothing-optional beach so if that bothers you, stay away from the Coyote Gulch area.  

Mountain Lake Park

For some freshwater fun, head east to Mountain Lake Park, which is also part of the 80,000-acre Golden Gate Recreation Area. This is one of the last natural lakes in San Francisco and is a peaceful place to spend with your pup. Because it is not an ocean beach, many people do not even know about the park, so you do not have to worry about crowds! What you will find are frogs, turtles, and fish, as well as birds, squirrels, and even a few deer. 

In fact, many people come to the lake just to see the birds, as there are 65 bird species known to visit or live nearby. As long as you keep your fur puppy on a leash and bring puppy poo bags to pick up after him, he is welcome to get his paws wet in the water and run around along the banks, sniffing all the interesting scents. 

The Final Woof

Always wanted to learn to surf but never had the time? Well, take the time and your fur baby to Adventure Out Pacifica for a beginner surf lesson where dogs are welcome. The lesson takes about 2 ½ hours. To get further out in the water, check out the Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruises, where your pup can join you on a one-hour tour in the San Francisco Bay. After your cruise and surfing lessons, enjoy a beer at Ghost Town Brewing. Dogs are welcome to join you in the outside dining area. Or you can get some food with your little ball of fur at The Fat Lady Restaurant in the outdoor seating space.

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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