Try to not smile. Just try! Photo: Wikimedia
5. Rosie’s Dog Beach
5000 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90803
Rosie’s Dog Beach remains Los Angeles County’s only off-leash dog beach. It is located just a few blocks east of the Belmont Pier where there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby. The waves aren’t particularly big here so you don’t have to worry about the smaller dogs getting washed out into the ocean. Parking is free if you can find a spot on the streets; otherwise you can pay by the hour in the parking lot adjacent to the beach. Rosie’s is a great place for you and your dog to socialize, but the crowd can be a little overwhelming during peak hours of 4 to 6 p.m. If you don’t mind a little seaweed and driftwood (which makes for excellent fetching sticks) Rosie’s Dog Beach is a excellent choice.
Truly picturesque. Photo: Snap Man
4. Leo Carrillo Beach
35000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, California 90265
Dogs on leashes are allowed in the park’s day use areas, campground and north of lifeguard tower 3. Not many choices for shopping and restaurants around here, but it’s a great spot to post up for the day and get away from the craziness in Los Angeles. Leo Carrillo is a great right-hand point break that works best in the summer months when south swells are most common. Generally, Leo Carrillo is a good spot to longboard, but it can get super rippable for shortboarders with a decent size south swell.
3. Dog Beach Del Mar
006 Sandy Ln, Del Mar, CA 92014
This long and beautiful beach is an awesome spot for your dogs to roam while your kids enjoy a fully equipped playground. (Check local regulations for the months that dogs are not permitted to be on the beach without a leash.) The waves here are great and open to swells from all directions. Great running, paddling, fishing, and diving in the area. Trails, coastal bluffs, wildlife, and the natural surroundings truly make this area very special.
2. Ocean Beach
Ocean Beach Bike Path, San Diego, CA 92109
Perhaps the most popular canine hotspot in San Diego. Known for a laissez-faire mentality, dogs can roam leash-free 24 hours a day and nearby waters are quiet and calm. However, waves just to the north and south – particularly the areas surrounding the jetties — are open to all kinds of swell and can be firing at any time of the year. For all other beach enthusiasts — volleyball courts, bonfire pits, and pier walks will keep the whole family plenty busy.
1. Huntington Beach Dog Park
100 Goldenwest St, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
This beach has it all! Just north of Huntington Beach Pier is a stretch of beach over a mile long that gives dogs and their owners plenty of room to roam. Public restrooms, water fountains for dogs, easy accessibility, clean beach, and epic waves is why Surf City USA comes in at number one. By law, dogs are supposed to be on leashes, but most reviews explain law enforcement only cites pet owners who have dogs not following the rules of the beach or threatening others. However, keep your dog on the leash to be safe. Huntington Pier and surrounding beaches are swell magnets — there is something to surf nearly everyday of the year.
Be sure to clean up after your dog. Many dog beaches provide waste bags but they often run out — so bring your own waste bags. Also, check local regulations for restrictions that often change depending on the time of year.