The 10 Best Dog Beaches on the West Coast

Posted by Billy Francis

The dog beaches on the West Coast kiss the lapping blue waves of the Pacific Ocean, offering two- and four-legged locals, tourists, and even surfers an idyllic paradise. See if Fido's favorite stretch of sand falls on our top 10 pet-friendly West Coast beaches (unless, of course, he prefers the beaches on the East Coast.

1. Huntington Dog Beach

Huntington Beach, CA
Sand in my hair, but I don’t care. Photo by @heathermoulden

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 (and fun) during the annual Surf City Surf Dog Competition. Facilities here include public restrooms, a grassy area with picnic tables, and doggie waste bags. To help preserve its beauty and quality, you and your four-legged environmentalist can register for a beach cleanup every Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. After doing your part, reward yourselves at In-N-Out Burger, located right off the beach. Don’t forget to request something from the In-N-Out Burgersecret menu for dogs.

Huntington Dog Beach is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the year. 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

Long Beach, CA
It’s hard to miss Rosie’s Dog Beach. Photo by @elsa_the_eskimo

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, Rosie’s Dog Beach is still 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 with other canines. There's a limit of one dog per adult on the beach, so Fido’s pals will have to bring a human friend. Chasing balls on the sand burns a lot of calories, so head to the nearby 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, OR
A gorgeous mist around the offshore rock formations at Cannon Beach. Photo by @alaskacarrie

A complete contrast from the hectic California beach scene, Cannon Beach in Oregon is the place for peaceful reflection. Located just south of Ecola State Park, where the Tillamook tribe once lived, this beach offers breathtaking coastal views, with huge rock formations looming out of the water. Driftwood lies scattered along the sand, providing obstacles for your dog to use in a makeshift agility course as she runs off leash. On your way out, drop in at Puppy Love by the Sea 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. They cater to pups with access to outside showers and a doggy basket full of treats, a bowl, towels and sheets.

4. Coronado Dog Beach

Coronado, CA
Diggin’ the beach. Photo by @gunnar_thetoypoodle

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, but owners should keep their pets leashed until they get there due to strictly enforced leash laws. Once you arrive, you’ll discover a long, flat stretch of fine golden sand that 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 his paws.

Coronado Dog Beach is open every day from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Hotel del Coronado is an ideal basecamp for you and your furry sunbather. Don't miss their Yappy Hour every Sunday from 4 to 5 p.m., or head to Mc P’s Irish Pub, where a Yappy Hour is hosted the last Wednesday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to benefit PAWS of Coronado.

5. Whidbey Island, WA

Freeland, WA
Whidbey Island has many beautiful beaches for Fido. Photo by @quinscapades

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 either from Clinton to Mukilteo or Coupeville to Pt. Townsend. 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 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 the sunsets, the early evening is the best time of day to visit, especially when it’s clear. Stop in Seattle on the way out for a cup of its world-famous coffee. Bark! Espresso has a special dog lounge and a latte on the menu that is just for canine consumption.

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 digging in the dunes, drop in at Whidbey Cabin for the night. You can rinse the sand off everyone’s paws with its outdoor showers, then gather around the fire pit for S'mores.

6. Baker Beach

San Francisco, CA
"What bridge? I’m just looking for my ball." Photo by @cholulathemutt

Baker Beach is one of the most picturesque dog beaches on our list. Set in the shadow of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, it makes for perhaps the most Instagram-worthy destination on our list (especially if you #BringFido!). The section of the beach north of Lobos Creek is pet friendly and welcomes dogs off leash if they are under voice command. Although Fido is used to wandering around as naked as the day he was born, most humans prefer to have something to cover up, but that’s not the case on Baker Beach. You may have to cover his innocent eyes from time to time, because although it’s a fantastic dog beach, it’s also a popular beach among nudists.

Baker Beach is open 24/7. Just a quick walk from the beach sits this Classic Ocean Beach House, a perfect overnight stay where Fido can romp in the yard while you relax in the hot tub.

7. Carmel Beach

Carmel, CA
"Man, it’s hot! A scarf was a bad choice." Photo by @hukleberryfinn

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small seaside city with quaint thatched cottages and moss-covered wooden houses. Fido will race past these on his way to Carmel Beach, where he can run freely on the sand as long as he’s under voice command. Dogs with tennis ball addictions will be wagging their tails off when they see that balls are provided on the beach. If Fido’s a poodle (or thinks he is), mark Poodle Day on your calendar. The 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. Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most dog-friendly towns in America, and Forge in the Forest is among its most popular pet-friendly restaurants. Check our their dog menu, which offers items ranging from kibble to steak.

Carmel Beach is open all day, every day. If you’d like to claim one of Carmel’s classic cottages for the night, Acacia offers outdoor space for all to unwind, and a designated dog station with food dishes.

8. Agate Beach State Recreation Site

Newport, OR
Grabbing a souvenir after a day at the beach. Photo by @ thepandaknows

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. One of the most popular activities here is digging for razor clams, for which we're sure Fido’s keen nose will come in handy. 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, you'll get them at the pet-friendly Rogue Bed ‘n’ Beer, where you can also stay the night in a dog-friendly room above the bar.

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

Ilwaco, WA
“Why did I watch Jaws this morning?” Photo by @mallardduckygriffin

Cape Disappointment State Park should be renamed Cape Awesome Dog Beach Park. This secluded escape in the small town of Ilwaco is for dogs who want to get away from it all. The park's name was coined by a bumbling English Captain named John Meares, who approached the cape in 1788 but failed to locate the river's entrance. With annoyance, he called it Cape Disappointment as he turned his vessel around. There are a whopping 27 miles of beaches for your furry friend to explore here, as long as she remains 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. Before you leave, head to the nearby town of Astoria and the Astoria Brewing Company, home to local craft beers and a dog-friendly waterfront deck.

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

San Diego, CA
The wildflowers on Fiesta Island are stunning. Photo by hanginwithyuki

Since the Original Dog Beach and Fiesta Island are located within 15 minutes of each other, we'll review them together. 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 leash free 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 every day of the week from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fiesta Island is open every day of the week from 6 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!

What's your favorite dog-friendly beach? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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