Superior surf, vast stretches of sand and secluded spots make the Pacific coastline world famous, and its dog beaches are no different. From a strand named for a beloved bulldog to an island “pawradise” with mountain views, Fido can run, dig and paddle at these incredible wonderlands on the West Coast. If you’re located elsewhere in the country check out this selection of pet-friendly beaches on the East Coast, Gulf Coast and on lakes and rivers instead.
Posted by Billy Francis
1. Huntington Dog Beach
At Huntington Dog Beach, dogs can roam leash free over 1.5 glorious miles of fine sand. The beach attracts around 5,000 people (and nearly as many dogs) on most weekends, but it gets particularly busy during the annual Surf City Surf Dog Competition, where pups compete in shredder heats to catch the longest wave and be crowned top dog. Facilities here include public restrooms, a grassy area with picnic tables, and doggie waste bags. To help preserve its beauty, you and your four-legged environmentalist can register for a beach cleanup every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. Towel off your Terrier and head to nearby Wet Dog Tavern, a short walk from the beach. This locally owned tavern welcomes dogs on the patio and serves juicy burgers, wings and a variety of draft beers on tap.
Huntington Dog Beach is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. After the sun sets, relax and unwind at this old-fashioned beach bungalow by the sea. Fido can hang out with you in the backyard, which has a built-in bamboo bar, Jacuzzi hot tub and dry sauna.
2. Rosie’s Dog Beach
Rosie’s Dog Beach is just 20 minutes from Huntington Dog Beach, so you can visit both in the same day. Even though there are 10 million people in LA County, it remains the only legal off-leash dog beach, so it can get pretty crowded. The name honors one of its founding "furfathers," Rosie the Bulldog. They still host regular Bulldog meetups here, along with other events including beach cleanups, food drives for local charities, and monthly meetups for other breeds, too. There's a limit of one dog per adult on the beach. Afterwards, head to KC Branaghan’s Irish Pub to refuel. Their dog menu includes scrambled eggs, chicken and steamed veggies. Rosie’s Dog Beach is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day of the week. When your pooch is done playing, cozy up at The Beach House at Belmont. Just blocks from the beach, this home offers a peek-a-boo view of the ocean for you, and a large, fenced yard for your pup.
3. Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach in Oregon is a place for peaceful reflection. Located just south of Ecola State Park, one of the best dog-friendly state parks on the West Coast, this beach offers breathtaking coastal views, with huge rock formations poking out of the water. Driftwood lies scattered along the sand, which make great obstacles for dogs to use as a makeshift agility course. On your way out, visit Four Paws on the Beach for the latest canine beach gear and delicious treats. Cannon Beach is open 24/7. If you want to extend your stay, check in at the Ocean Lodge. This hotel offers ocean views, outside showers for cleaning sandy paws and a doggy basket full of treats, a bowl, towels and sheets for canine guests.
4. Coronado Dog Beach
Coronado Dog Beach's location on a peninsula gives it an epic setting, with the stunning and pet-friendly Hotel del Coronado on one side and the rugged coastal cliffs of Point Loma on the other. It’s the only beach along the Coronado Island coastline to allow dogs off-leash. This long, flat stretch of fine golden sand slopes down into the calm surf, perfect for a doggy paddle. When you’ve both soaked up enough rays, use the hose and wash station to get the sand off your feet and Fido’s paws.
Coronado Dog Beach is open every day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hotel del Coronado is a historic oceanfront hotel that will make an ideal basecamp for you and your furry sunbather. In addition to Yappy Hour every Sunday, four-legged travelers are invited to become a Del Dog and receive treats upon arrival, bowls and the use of a Del Dog bed, crates and floor mats, and order food from a gourmet doggy room service menu.
5. Whidbey Island, WA
Whidbey Island is located off the coast of Washington, north of Seattle in Puget Sound. One of its most popular beaches is Double Bluff Beach, accessible via pet-friendly ferry. The beach boasts spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, the Cascades, the Olympics, and even downtown Seattle on a clear day. The sand dunes, cliffs, and driftwood will keep furry explorers sniffing off-leash for hours while you enjoy the seclusion and serenity of the pretty island. And when your pup's done, he can clean up at the doggie wash station. Another pet-friendly beach to check out on Whidbey Island is Fort Ebey State Park. At the center of 28 miles of hiking trails is a pet-friendly, 2-mile stretch of sand where leashed dogs are allowed. Famed for sunsets, the early evening is the best time of day to visit, especially when it’s clear.
Double Bluff Beach is open every day of the week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fort Ebey State Park is open from 6:30 a.m. until dusk. After playing off-leash on the beach, walk to your home away from home, Whidbey Cabin, where you can rinse the sand off everyone’s paws in the outdoor showers, then gather around the fire pit for S'mores.
6. Baker Beach
Set in the shadow of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Baker Beach is one of the most picturesque dog beaches on the West Coast. The section of the beach north of Lobos Creek welcomes dogs off-leash if they are under voice command. You may have to cover Fido’s innocent eyes from time to time, because although it’s a fantastic dog beach, it’s also a popular beach among nudists. Before you visit the beach, book a table at nearby Eats. This popular restaurant provides treats for four-legged diners and tasty brunch for everyone else.
Baker Beach is open 24/7. Experience more epic views of Golden Gate Bridge from this spectacular condo within walking distance of the beach. Inside, there are hardwood floors for easy cleanup and easy access to an outdoor space.
7. Carmel Beach
If you’re planning a Pacific Coast Highway road trip, be sure to add Carmel-by-the-Sea to the itinerary. One of the best pet-friendly beach towns in the country, this exclusive destination has Carmel Beach at its center. Here, your pup can run freely on the sand as long as he’s under voice command. There’s no need to bring Fido’s own collection of tennis balls along either, as he’s free to use the complimentary beach balls. One of the coolest times to visit is on Poodle Day. This annual event includes a costume parade for all types of poodles, beach hangouts for like-minded pups, and dog-friendly group hikes, all to raise funds for NorCal Poodle Rescue. Playing with poodles will build up your appetite. Reserve a table for two at Forge in the Forest, which offers a dog menu with items ranging from kibble to steak.
Carmel Beach is open all day, every day. When the sun starts to set, stroll back to Svendsgaard's Inn for the night. Treats, beds and bowls are provided, and there is a garden area with pet relief stations on site.
8. Agate Beach State Recreation Site
The vast, windswept golden sands of Agate Beach State Recreation Site are ideal for long sunset strolls. Dogs are welcome to walk off-leash as long as they are under voice command. Pups with a keen sense of smell can help sniff out razor clams. Clamming season runs from early fall through mid-summer. After you're finished hunting for dinner, wash off at the stream that leads inland from the beach. If you don't find any clams in the sand, get them on your plate at the pet-friendly Rogue Bed ‘n’ Beer.
Agate Beach State Recreation Site is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Extend your stay at this historic waterfront home, which welcomes up to two dogs and features trails to the beach and a back patio with hot tub.
9. Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park should be renamed Cape Awesome Dog Beach Park. This secluded escape in the small town of Ilwaco is great for dogs who want to get away from it all. There are 27 miles of beaches for your furry friend to explore on leash, as well as seven miles of dog-friendly hiking trails through forests and marshes. You can also visit two grand lighthouses that have warned sailors away from the treacherous rocks around the coastline for decades. Afterwards, drive up the coast to Long Beach and play off-leash on the sand, before loading up the carbs at Galletti's Spaghetti House.
Cape Disappointment State Park is open 24/7. After a day of exploring, the Slow M'ocean cottage certainly won’t disappoint. It’s even got dog bowls, leashes, and a fully fenced yard.
10a. And 10b. Original Dog Beach and Fiesta Island
The Original Dog Beach and Fiesta Island are located within 15 minutes of each other and make the “pawfect” pair for packs on beach vacations. Locals will argue until the dogs come home about which one is best, but you can decide for yourself by checking them both out. The Original Dog Beach was one of the first off-leash dog beaches in the country. Hounds and their humans have roamed the mile-long beach freely since Lassie's Rescue Rangers debuted in 1972. Fiesta Island is much larger, offering calm waters on the bayside and bigger surf on the beachside. Four-legged visitors can roam off-leash all over the island, which offers more than just the beach. Your mutt can frolic in grassy fields and hike the four-mile trail loop. Be aware that horses are also allowed on the island, so make sure your dog is under voice command. There’s no dog wash station at either beach, but five minutes from both is the premier, do-it-yourself Dog Beach Dog Wash. Original Dog Beach is open all day, every day. Fiesta Island is open every day of the week from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Treat yourself to a stay at Dog Mahal, just across the park from the Original Dog Beach. There’s a dog run for drying off and a waterproof dog house for cooling off!