California is an outdoors-lover’s paradise with great weather, gorgeous national parks, a strong surfing culture, and golden coastlines stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s no wonder that it’s the ideal destination for those traveling with pets. Here’s a list of California’s best dog-friendly beaches that you should check out for a day of fun in the sun with your canine companion.
Estero Bluffs State Park in Cayucos
Walk along the shore or splash around the shallow end
Estero Bluffs State Park is a 350-acre dog-friendly park located in Estero Bay. Here you’ll find beaches, coves, and a variety of native wildlife. Check out tidal pools full of hermit crabs and colorful sunburst anemones, or hike its many trails. The trails here start at several different parts of the park, but they’ll all take you across open landscapes and to the edges of bluffs, where some wind down to the beach. The flat terrain is perfect for older dogs or those wanting a relaxing walk along the sand – just make sure you check when low-tide is due, or there won’t be any beach to walk on. After your walk, rest your feet at Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles.
Fort Funston in San Francisco
Explore the peninsula’s largest remaining dune field
Fort Funston is located in southwestern San Francisco and home to the peninsula’s largest remaining dune field. It’s a great spot for hang-gliding because of the windy conditions, but it also has several trails that are great for hiking, horseback riding, and long walks. Your dog will be able to roam leash-free here, but make sure they have enough energy to walk back to your car, or you’ll have to carry them back up the steep sand dunes. Afterwards, relax and recharge at Laurel Inn, a Joie de Vivre Hotel.
Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach
Head to the Dog Zone, a sandy four-acre area for dogs
Rosie's Dog Beach is located in Long Beach, a sunny city within the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Head to Ocean Boulevard where you’ll find the Dog Zone – a designated dog beach. Let your dog off the leash to splash around and socialize with other pups. Plan carefully, though – the Dog Zone is only open 6 am to 8 pm every day, otherwise dogs aren’t allowed on the beach. Afterwards, go home to the pet-friendly Ocean front near the Queen Mary, where you and your dog can enjoy the sunset over the water from your private terrace.
Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz
Take a long walk with your dog on this endless stretch of sand
Looking for a scenic, sandy spot for a long walk with your dog? Santa Cruz Beach and its boardwalk is the place for you. Enjoy the view of the Walton Lighthouse as you walk your dog along the expansive shoreline. The beach is also very wide, so you won’t feel cramped even if there are lots of other visitors. Just a short walk away is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk at Seaway Inn if you decide to spend the night.
Huntington Dog Beach in Los Angeles
This dog beach will accommodate most schedules with its long hours
Huntington Dog Beach in Orange County is open 5 am to 10 pm every day, and welcomes dogs of all shapes and sizes. It’s easy to spend an entire day here, since it has public restrooms, parking, cafes, and a picnic area with dog waste bags near the beach. When you and your pup need to refuel, check out Park Bench Cafe, located nearby. They sell human food as well as dog-friendly treats, with items such as the “Hot Diggity Dog” (an all-beef hotdog cut into small pieces). And if you still don’t have enough photos of your dog, check out Fly Dog Photography’s free dog photoshoots. Then walk home to Paséa Hotel & Spa, located right next to the Huntington Beach Pier.