If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a Dog-friendly beach you must check out Ocean Beach dog beach.
This is an off-leash dog beach, separated from the “No dogs” side AKA the Not Fun side by a large rock formation. Of the Southern California dog beaches we’ve gone to, this one is by far my favorite! The beach stretches a mile long so you can walk along with the whole thing and back while your dog runs in and out of the water and checks out things getting washed up on the shore. I also like this area more for the community that goes there, for the most part, everyone both human and the dog has proper off-leash beach etiquette. The dogs either mind their own business or kindly tell the others to back off which from what I’ve seen while going there they listen.
I consider this beach to be kind of a two-part beach, along the oceanfront side the white frothy waves come in and out which is excellent playtime for dogs and make beautiful pictures for the photographing owner. There are lots of tiny seashells that get washed ashore as well ranging in many shapes, sizes, and colors! If you keep walking the water flows into a shallow river and the banks are more solid, however, lots of critters live down below, you can tell by how many air pockets there are! The water slows to a still the further you go where at the end it’s blocked off for a bird wildlife protected area.
You can take any freeway route that will meet up with the 8 junctions. You want to take the 8 West toward Beaches and follow signs for Sunset Cliffs. Keep in the left lane because there will come a fork in the road, you want to take a left at that fork (which has 2 lanes) use the right lane just to make merging easier. Next, you will take the first Right onto West Point Loma Blvd (you can also make a right on Voltaire which is the next street up). From here you will pass by all the vacation housing, make the first right you can take on Voltaire and you drive right into the parking lot.
- I have never had trouble finding parking, but it can get full depending on when you go.
- Handicap accessible
- Clean apart from sand
- Closes at 2am
- Opens at 4am
- **There is NO overnight parking between the hours of 2am-4am if you’re stealth camping I hear nobody seems to bother anyone though careful not to risk a ticket if you can’t afford it**
It’s an off-leash dog beach so all dogs should be off leash, leashes in these situations can lead to fights. (the Only fight I saw on the beach was with a leashed dog)
Clean up after your dog! There are bags at the entrance and trash cans all over so there is no excuse for not cleaning up after your dog. **I will admit, sometimes a dog poops in the ocean when waves are crashing all over and so collecting the feces may not be possible. Yes, Beowolf I’m looking at you! (His first time) **
No fighting! Dog or people. People who come to the beach don’t want drama so if you or your dog can’t handle the uncontrollable situations at an off-leash dog beach then consider therapy and training before going. Valentine will never go anywhere that’s an off-leash social dog area, she’s a wild card and still in training, as she was attacked by 2 dogs when she was 10 weeks old she may never be able to do this but I’m hopeful one day she will trust me enough for this.
Del Mar Dog Beach
I’ve come to this beach a couple of times and I like it. It IS a leashed dog beach which means all dogs always need to be leashed. This beach runs along with large rock formations, caves, and is at the base of the mountains of Del Mar so there is lots of privacy and areas that if you trust your dog they can quietly go off leash. The beach runs onto “Private Property” which homeowner will come out and scold you for being on their beach. I still think the idea of this is stupid but whatever, I either keep it moving or turn back the other way.
Like OB this beach has was I call 2 sections. The coastal rock formation side and a lakeside. To the left of the beach under the bridge where the cars are usually parked is a large open lake where the ocean water channels into. There aren’t many places to set up camp or anything but if you’re just planning on swimming and letting the dogs swim it’s great! There are also lots of creatures that find themselves washed in and stranded during low tide so you can check them out and maybe do a little fishing (though I wouldn’t recommend this if dogs are playing nearby). I find this beach a little more crowded than OB, there are residential housing everywhere and this is the place to bring your dog if you have one so there can be a lot of dogs and families here.
Getting to Del Mar dog beach is so easy! It’s off the 5 freeway and exit Via De La Valle, hang a right and then a left on Camino Del Mar and you should start seeing parking on the side of the road. **This is also where the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds are so again aware of what time of year you are going to account for traffic and parking**
- Difficult to find parking as it’s street parking everywhere so there are no lots to funnel into. This also means depending on where you find parking you may be in for a hike to the beach or paying.
- Probably not handicap accessible or no different than any other street parking scenario.
Amenities & Policies:
- There are tons of trashcans to keep the beach clean and a dog poop bag dispenser so again no excuse not to clean up after your dog.
- Lots of porta-potties as well! Though in the hot sun it’s not ideal when you gotta go…
- Dogs have to be on leashes and it actually says on the website, standard 6-foot leash. The retractable leashes give you no control if there were to be a tussle and I’ve seen a dog get dragged because another dog chasing a ball ran through the line and yanked the handle from the owner. It didn’t stop until both dogs were in the water and the owners got into a huge argument over the leash!
- Proper dog etiquette!
Other Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego
Fiesta Island dog park- 1750 Fiesta Island Rd, San Diego, Ca. 92109
Coronado Beach and Dog Park- Ocean Blvd, Coronado, Ca. 92118