Located in San Diego County, Oceanside, California, is a historic city that dates back to 1798 when San Luis Rey and is now a popular tourist town. There are beaches lined with palm trees all along the five miles of coastline. The city is known for its fantastic surfing beaches and awesome swimming beaches, and the 1,942-foot Oceanside Pier, built in 1888, has a 50s diner and some great shops to explore.
The city of Oceanside does not allow dogs on its city beaches, but there are state beaches and other smaller cities nearby to enjoy with your canine companion.
Some of these close cities and towns include Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar, Torrey Pines, and La Jolla. Others you can check out include Laguna Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Laguna Beach, and San Diego. A little further north, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Long Beach are just a short drive away.
Rosie’s Dog Beach
Your dog will love having acres of leash-free sand and surf at Rosie’s Dog Beach. You can find it between Roycroft and Ocean Boulevard on Long Beach and the off-leash times are from 6 AM until 8 PM daily. The beach is not fenced, so make sure you keep your fur baby on a leash if he is not voice-controlled. The beach also has Mutt Mitt dog poo bag dispensers and pooper scoopers for your convenience. However, bring your own bags just in case.
One important rule to note is that you can only have one dog per adult so if you have more than one dog, bring some other people with you. Your dog should also be wearing a collar with a rabies tag and be up to date on his shots. The beach has restrooms and showers where you and your fur baby can get cleaned up after a day at the beach. There is also a dog fountain called the Fountain of Woof that is just for dogs.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
With three miles of waterfront, Bolsa Chica State Beach boasts 170 acres to explore and enjoy. Even though your pup is not allowed on the sandy beach, there is so much to do here, and you will not miss it. There is a trail, Huntington Beach Bike Trail, that goes along the whole beach and will take you south through Huntington Beach to the Santa Ana River. Take the time to walk along this trail to see all the stellar views of Catalina Island and other awesome sights.
Not ready to leave when the beach is closing? Reserve a campsite for you and your pooch to stay so you can be the first ones out there in the morning. At the campgrounds, there are more restrooms and showers with a concession stand and convenience store. You can also enjoy geocaching, which has become a popular activity for everyone. If your dog is hot and really wants to get in the water, Huntington Beach has a dog beach too!
Huntington Dog Beach
Speaking of the dog beach, Huntington Dog Beach is one of the most popular dog beaches in California. It has 1.5 miles of shoreline on the Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint Street and Goldenwest Street. Your canine companion needs to keep his leash on until you get to this section of Huntington State Beach Park, but the leash comes off when you pass Goldenwest. Metered parking here is $2 per hour so bring some change because some take coins while others only take plastic.
The beach has a public restroom as well as drinking fountains for both dogs and their pup parents. There is also a grassy space where you can picnic if there are tables available. It gets extremely crowded here during the summer months. Bring your own doggie poo bags and water, just in case. In the adjacent Huntington State Park, your pooch is not allowed on the beach, but the rest of the park is fun, too, with picnic areas, concession stands, geocaching, and hiking.
Corona Del Mar State Beach
Dogs are welcome at Corona Del Mar State Beach, where they can play with all the other pups, and you can mingle with the pup parents. However, you have to follow the strict schedule the city has about not letting dogs on the beach between 10 AM and 4:30 PM. But the rest of the time, your pooch can happily join you on the beach, trails, picnic areas, and in the water as long as you keep him on a leash.
This is a fun summer playground for you and your furry family member, with half a mile of sandy beach and crystal-clear water. The surf here is legendary. In fact, it was the site of the first surf competition in the United States! You may have also seen parts of the beach on television in the classic Gilligan’s Island and some Disney Channel shows. Please help keep the beach clean by bringing your own baggies to pick up after your pup.
Crescent Bay Beach
Located on Crescent Bay south of Huntington Dog Beach, Crescent Bay Beach is located in Crescent Bay Point Park. It is not a huge beach, and the park itself is not much bigger. However, it is popular because of the bluffs that overlook the beach, where you can get some absolutely stunning views of whales and dolphins playing in the surf and the seals basking on Seal Rock. It is also popular for its beautiful sunrise and sunset so bring a camera.
The bay is not a popular swimming spot because of the rip tides and currents, but many people come here to go scuba diving or snorkeling. The park advises that you wear a life jacket and put one on your pup as well. There is a lifeguard on duty, but it is best to play it safe. And you have to keep your fur buddy on a leash at all times.
Main Laguna Beach
South of Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, the Main Beach offers a refuge for pups and their pup parents before 9 AM and after 6 PM during the busy times from June 15th until September 10th. The rest of the year, your pup is welcome any time, but he has to be leashed. Right in the middle of Laguna, you are close to the city center, which includes shops, dining venues, and other entertainment. Just be sure to ask permission before bringing in your dog.
Here you will find volleyball courts on the sand, picnic areas in the grass, a playground for the kids, a basketball court, and a boardwalk. The boardwalk it the perfect place to stroll along the small retailers and boutique shops. What is unique about this park is that it has something called a Tot Lot just for younger kids. This means the rest of the park is open to you and your canine companion.
Cardiff State Beach
Cardiff State Beach is a golden sand beach on the San Diego coastline. Some call it the Riviera of the West, but dogs just call it fantastic! Located in southwestern California, the weather here is almost always sunny and warm with hot summers, perfect for you and your pup to take a dip and cool off in the cool blue water. You will need to stay south of lifeguard tower 16 and must be on a six-foot leash at all times.
This is a favorite beach of locals with perfect surfing, standup paddleboarding, and scuba diving, as well as swimming and sunbathing. Public restrooms and showers are available in several areas but make sure you stay south of the tower with your fur baby. On the other side of the beach, San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area is also nice to explore but keep your dog out of the water here.
San Elijo State Beach
San Elijo State Beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea is right next to Cardiff State Beach to the north and is also dog-friendly. Your pup can enjoy the whole two miles of beach here as long as they are leashed. Besides surfing, diving, and paddleboarding, this beach is also popular for windsurfing and snorkeling. You and your canine companion are free to play in the water or on the sand, but please bring your own doggie bags to pick up after him.
If you want to stay overnight atop the bluffs behind the beach, San Elijo also has a campground with 170 sites, all of them dog-friendly as well. There are showers, restrooms, and electric and water hookups, as well as a camp store that is open from April through October. The park also has picnic areas, fishing, geocaching, and trails to explore. If you get hungry, there are many eateries nearby, including Jack-in-the-Box, Waverly, and Starbucks, to name a few.
Del Mar Dog Beach
Also known as North Beach, this is a dog-friendly beach just south of Cardiff State Beach past Solana Beach. Although dogs must be leashed in some areas from June 16th through Labor Day, there is a section from 25th through 29th Streets where your pup can run free without a leash. Make sure he is voice-controlled, though, because there are no fences to keep him from running off.
You can also let your pooch off the leash between Powerhouse Park and 29th Street from Labor Day until June 15th. Your dog must have a collar with a license and rabies tag attached, and you need to bring your own puppy poo bags to pick up whatever he drops. There are restrooms near the parking lots and volleyball nets if you have enough people and pups to play a game. You can also have a picnic, build a sandcastle, play Frisbee, or do whatever else you and Fido feel like doing.
Powerhouse Park Beach
Head south from Del Mar Dog Beach to Powerhouse Park Beach, where dogs are allowed to mingle with everyone else. Like Laguna Main Beach, there is also a Tot Lot where young children can play without any dogs around, which is perfect so you and your fur baby can enjoy the rest of the park. The beach here is clean and soft, and the water is clear and blue. For safety, there is a lifeguard during the summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Another playground is located in the middle of the park for older children, which is not a dog-free space, so your pup can join your human children. Another great feature during the summer is the rental pavilion, where you can get wetsuits, paddleboards, and surfboards to enjoy the surf. The park has restrooms and showers for your convenience as well. In addition, there are a few eateries like Del Mar Snack Shack, Poseidon, and Jake’s if you get hungry.
La Jolla Shores Beach
Past Torrey Pines City Beach in the Village of La Jolla, this one-mile beach allows leashed dogs before 9 AM and after 6 PM during the busy season between April until November. At all other times, your fur buddy can join you here before 9 AM and after 4 PM. During these dog-friendly times, there is so much to do! From angling for fish to swimming, you and your fur buddy will not have time to get bored.
There is a playground for the kids, picnic areas where you and your dog can have lunch, and a fishing pier where you can try to catch “the big one.” You do not even need a fishing license! If you are into more physical activities, they have volleyball nets, basketball courts, and a special area for surfing. If you have a boat, you can even launch from here. Be sure to bring dog cleanup baggies and pick up anything your pooch drops.
To the south of La Jolla Shores Beach, just past Tourmaline Surf Park, you can find the dog-friendly Pacific Beach. This long beach stretches from Crystal Pier to the Blue Sea Beach Hotel on Pacific Beach Drive, and leashed pups are welcome anytime before 9 AM and after 4 PM from November until April and before 9 AM and after 6 PM during the busy season from April until Halloween.
Swimming is popular here, so there are lifeguards on duty all year long. Pacific Beach offers bathrooms and showers for your convenience, as well as water fountains for you and Fido. The beach also has three miles of boardwalk to explore. Also known as Ocean Front Walk, it goes from Law Street to Mission Bay. Along the way, you will find a variety of shops and eateries, including Wave Original Clothing Store, the Baja Beach Cafe, and Ocean’s Ice Cream.
Fiesta Island Park
Fiesta Island Park is just to the south of the 463-acre Pacific Beach and east of Mission Bay and is completely leash-optional across the whole island. The park has lots of big sand dunes for your pup to run around on, and the waters here are calm, with 27 miles of shoreline on Mission Bay. In 2016, it was voted the Best Dog Park in the United States by USA Today due to a large amount of space and access to the water.
Besides swimming, you will see many locals and visitors out on the calm waters paddling on their paddleboards and rowing along in their kayaks and canoes. It is also a popular place for jetskis, so make sure you stay clear of that area. Fishing is another sport the locals enjoy here, and you can too. The island is also home to several festivals and tournaments, like the Over The Line tournament in July.
The Original Dog Beach
One of the first dog beaches in the United States, the Original Dog Beach is located at the entrance of the San Diego River north of the Lifeguard Tower 5 parking lot on Ocean Beach. It is open 24 hours a day, and your pup does not need a leash here at all. However, if he is not voice-controlled, a leash may be a good idea since there is no fence. You and your pooch can dig in the sand, splash in the waves, and play Frisbee or fetch all day long.
Besides the stunning views, golden sand, and clear blue water, the beach also includes a grassy area with picnic tables to enjoy a bite to eat. Make sure you bring your own dog poo baggies, extra water, Scooby snacks, and some toys to play with. The park has been open since 1972, so it is popular and can get crowded on hot summer days. You may want to come early on a weekday if your canine companion is shy.
Coronado Dog Beach
Coronado Dog Beach is located at the western end of Coronado Beach on San Diego Bay, right next to the Naval Station. It is a fairly large space with white sand, blue waters, and lots of other dog friends to play with. It is the only area in Coronado Beach where your pup can run around off his leash, and you will love watching him romp and play in the water and on the sand.
Just be sure to keep your canine companion on a leash until you get to that area, or you can be fined up to $500! There are doggie waste bags available at the entrance, but they are not always stocked, so bring your own just in case. You will also have access to the restrooms and showers, as well as a foot shower in the dog park where you can let your pup get his feet wet.
The Final Woof
You can take a break from the beach and go shopping with your fur buddy while you are in the area. The Outlets at San Clemente has 55 stores and cafes for you to explore, including Guess, Nautica, Panera, and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. If you like golf, hit the holes at Emerald Isle Golf Course. They love dogs! Or go for a hike on the San Luis Rey River Trail. It is nine miles long, beginning at the junction of the San Luis Rey River and the Pacific Ocean.
Afterward, enjoy a bite to eat at the Beach Break Cafe on the South Coast Highway and then have a beer at the PCH Sports Bar just down the road.