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San Diego's 7 Best Dog Beaches
Health & Fitness

San Diego's 7 Best Dog Beaches

Whether you’re looking for a chill spot or a lively locale, these dog-friendly beaches in San Diego have you covered. Team


5 min read

August 15, 2020

If nothing sounds better than cruisin’ the coastline with your furry best friend in America’s Finest City, then get ready to run wild and explore the pristine sands of San Diego’s dog-friendly beaches with Fido. Whether you’re in need of a chill spot or a lively locale, there are many dog-friendly beaches in San Diego ready to cater to your needs. Most of the region’s dog beaches have designated off-leash and on-leash areas, so you’re bound to find exactly what you and your dog are in the mood for. Grab the leash, pack the frisbees, and venture to the best dog beaches in San Diego.

The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego

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Let your dog run free at the beloved Ocean Beach Dog Beach, also known as the Original Dog Beach.

1. Ocean Beach Dog Beach (The Original Dog Beach)

Location: West Point Loma Boulevard and Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach

Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Parking: A large parking lot and street parking are available.

Amenities: Lifeguard, surfing, swimming, showers, toilets, volleyball, and picnic areas

Bike rack: Yes

Often described as "the happiest place in San Diego," the off-leash Ocean Beach Dog Beach—home to gorgeous waves and breathtaking views—is the oldest and most reputable dog beach in the area. Located in the northern part of Ocean Beach, this spacious sandy shore is an exemplary area to let your dogs loose and bask in the sun. If your pet likes calmer waves, take an oceanside stroll to reach Smiley Lagoon. 

Leashed pups are allowed on the pier, which is an optimal spot for fishing. To take a break from the beach, follow the trail beginning at the beach’s entrance or the pathway to the dog-friendly Hotel Circle San Diego, which caters to both joggers and cyclists, too. After a long day of beachside fun, take your pooch to the Raglan Public House for an afternoon treat on the patio.

2. Fiesta Island Park

Location: 1590 East Mission Bay Drive, San Diego

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Parking: There is free parking by the park.

Amenities: Lifeguard, fire pits, and toilets

Bike rack: Yes

Boasting 27 miles of beach, Fiesta Island Park is the perfect place to let pups run wild by the water. Dogs are allowed off-leash in most areas around the park, including the coastline and the majority of grassy areas. For a bit of relaxation after a day out at the park with your pup, go to the nearby Paradise Point Resort and Spa, where your furry companion is welcome in any room for an additional fee. Or, stop by the dog-friendly Phil’s BBQ for ribs on the grill.

Spend a day frolicking in the waves of Coronado Beach and Dog Park with your pup.

3. Coronado Beach and Dog Park

Location: Ocean Boulevard, Coronado

Hours: 24 hours

Parking: Parking is available on Ocean Boulevard.

Amenities: Lifeguards, foot showers, and dog waste bags

Bike rack: Yes

The northern end of Coronado Beach is Coronado’s only off-leash location and is definitely one of the calmer places to take your dog in San Diego. (Just keep your pup on-leash until you reach Dog Beach. Popular among dog owners, this locale along the shores of stunning Coronado is ideal for laying out while your fur baby plays about. The spectacular views extending from Point Loma to Hotel Del Coronado make the trip here worthwhile—and if you can’t bear to leave, spend a night at The Del, which allows dogs (up to 40 pounds) in both standard rooms and suites for an additional fee.

For an adrenaline booster, the Coronado Surfing Academy offers dog-friendly surfboards for rent, so you can surf with your pup by your side. When you're ready for a bite to eat, stop by Cafe 1134, where you can sit outside and people watch with your furry friend.

4. La Jolla Cove

Location: 1160 Coast Boulevard, La Jolla

Hours: 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Parking: There is free parking by the beach.

Amenities: Lifeguards and dog waste bags

Bike rack: Yes

One of the best dog beaches in San Diego, La Jolla Cove is known for its gentle, slow-moving waves and sensational views. The beach welcomes the canine crew after 6:00 p.m. during the summer season and 4:00 p.m. during the winter. La Jolla Beach offers a dog-friendly playground, with a wide coastline where dogs of all shapes and sizes can join in on the fun. The neighboring Rose Canyon Bicycle Path is a former “rail-trail” that now functions as a spot for afternoon walks with Fido. After your leisurely stroll, stop at Shorehouse Kitchen for a delectable lunch for you and your pup (yes, there is a doggie menu, and it sounds delicious).

Throw the ball for Fido along the shores of Del Mar Beach while admiring the scenic views.

5. Del Mar Beach (North Beach)        

Location: 3200 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

Hours: Sunrise–sunset

Parking: There is metered parking behind the beach.

Amenities: Lifeguards, volleyball courts, trails, and toilets

Bike rack: Yes

Del Mar Dog Beach—known to non-dog owners as North Beach—is the only off-leash space amongst the four Del Mar beaches. The half-mile shoreline stretches to Solana Beach; it’s a fantastic spot for fur babies to improve their swimming skills. During the busy summer days, dog owners are required to keep their dogs on a six-foot leash; however, on off-season days, your canine cuties can roam free. Serving specialty sandwiches since 1979, the nearby Board and Brew is a must-visit for pet owners looking for food after their day at the beach.

6. Cardiff State Beach

Location: Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Hours: Sunrise–sunset

Parking: Paid parking is available by the beach.

Amenities: Lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables

Bike rack: Yes

One of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego, Cardiff State Beach spans about 15 miles. The on-leash dog area is located along the west side of the large wetlands by San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center. Take in the scenery and watch the rad waves while playing with your pup, then drop by Pacific Coast Grill for delicious coastal cuisine, incredible ocean views, and a heated dog-friendly patio.

Take your best friend for a leisurely stroll along the San Diego coast at San Elijo State Beach.

7. San Elijo State Beach

Location: 2050 South Coast Highway 101, Cardiff

Hours: 24 hours

Parking: Paid parking is available next to the beach.

Amenities: Lifeguard, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables

The south end of San Elijo State Beach is an ideal place to watch the dogs while they explore. Though the beach's south end has a strict on-leash rule, the invigorating views and relaxing vibe make it worthwhile. The dog-friendly Pipes Cafe is a 14-minute walk from the beach and has been preparing mouthwatering breakfast and lunch dishes for over 25 years. San Elijo State Beach also features a state-run campground equipped for tents and RVs offering both inland and ocean views. The campgrounds welcome families and their four-legged members.

Want to extend your staycation in San Diego? Treat yourself and your pup to a night at one of San Diego’s best dog-friendly hotels.

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