While most San Diego beaches have some allowance for on-leash dogs, we only have four primary dog beaches. These four beaches all allow off-leash dogs to run, play, swim, and socialize at will. However, even some of these beaches have limitations at certain points throughout the year. It can all be a little difficult to wrap your head around if you’re new to the dog beach world. But don’t worry! Read on and we’ll get you and your pup equipped with the knowledge you need to have the best doggone summer ever.
One of the most popular, year-round, off-leash dog beaches in San Diego is located at the west end of Voltaire St. in Ocean Beach.
What you should know
Dogs are only allowed to run free on the portion of the beach North of the long rock jetty. They are required to stay on-leash everywhere else in the area. The beach is a wide sandy strand with great views of the jetty and the San Diego River. There's plenty of space to play fetch or just lounge around in the sun. Trash cans are spread along the beach for convenient waste disposal.
Plentiful parking is available in the parking lot at the west end of West Point Loma Boulevard and on the street. As with any popular beach, parking becomes more difficult on weekends and during events like Volleyball tournaments which are regularly held here throughout the year.
Public restrooms and showers to wash off sand are available near the volleyball courts on the south side of the jetty. However, showers are not for dogs.
Coronado dog beach is one of the largest, most picturesque beaches you can bring your dog to. It has plenty of space to run, easy surf to swim in, and some of the best sunsets around.
What you should know
Coronado is famous for being a dog-friendly city. This leash-free Dog Beach, which is adjacent to Sunset Park on Ocean Boulevard and borders Coronado's North Island U.S. Naval Station, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year long. This beach is wide and open, full of soft white sand that piles up in dunes before flattening out into a shallow, with an extremely walkable shoreline. Between the views of the Point Loma headland and the open ocean, the backdrop of the Hotel del Coronado, and all the dogs having a good time around you, it's not often that you find such a beautiful location.
Parking is free on adjacent streets. It can be challenging to find a spot close to the sand, so be prepared to walk a block or two.
There is a dog wash station near the northern end of the beach with a couple of hoses you can use to rinse all of that sand out before your pup hops back in the car.
The Del Mar dog beach is just across the lagoon from the famous race track. It’s a little more difficult to get to than other beaches in this article, but an ideal location for a quick outing.
What you should know
Between 29th Street and Via De La Valle, the northernmost access to San Dieguito River Lagoon is known as North Beach. Dogs are permitted to run freely from 29th Street north to Solana Beach, except during the summer months when they must be on a leash. The main section of this beach is located on the north side of the San Dieguito River Lagoon entrance next to Camino del Mar. With plenty of volleyball courts, sand bars that cause gentle surf, and access to nearby restaurants, Del Mar dog beach is a perfect place for a family beach excursion.
Limited parking is available along Camino del Mar, which runs parallel to the beach and ends at 29th Street. There is a small, paid parking lot at the west end of 29th street.
No easy-access public bathrooms or showers are available at Del Mar dog beach. Plan accordingly.
Nearly this entire island in mission bay is dog and horse friendly. Perhaps the most easily accessible location to bring your dog so they can run in the sand and play in the ocean.
What you should know
Fiesta Island is a man-made island in Mission Bay. It's a popular spot for recreation, hosting a continuous beach around its perimeter that's perfect for swimming, picnicking, sunbathing, and more. It can be a busy place, but it’s great for a dog’s day out! Dogs are permitted on Mission Bay Park's lawn, beach, and sports fields (seasonal) while they're not allowed on the Youth Campground or Least Tern nesting sites. The island is open daily from 6:00 am. to 10:00 pm. The beach that runs the entire perimeter of Fiesta Island in San Diego's Mission Bay has quieter seas and dunes for dogs to run on.
Parking is easy to find on the island. There is free parking anywhere on the island. Really. Anywhere. Pull your car directly onto the sand and park wherever there is space.
There is only one restroom on the island, located in the campground where dogs are not permitted.
Dogs are allowed to join you on these beaches, but only if they stay on leash and only under certain conditions.
San Diego City Beaches - All city-operated beaches are open to leashed dogs in the morning before 9:00 am. and in the evening after 6:00 pm. (or after 4:00pm. November through March). This makes San Diego one of Southern California's most dog-friendly cities!
These beaches include:
- Black's Beach
- Children's Pool
- La Jolla Cove
- La Jolla Shores
- Mission Bay Beaches
- Mission Beach
- North Pacific Beach
- Ocean Beach
- Pacific Beach
- South Mission Beach
- Windansea Beach
Grand Caribe Shoreline Park - This little-known park with a tiny bayside beach may be more your speed if you don't enjoy the crowds at Coronado Dog Beach. It's a wonderful rest stop for leashed dog walking.
Imperial Beach - Leashed dogs are permitted on the beach south of Imperial Beach Boulevard on South Imperial Beach. North of Palm Avenue, a tiny section of the main Imperial Beach City Beach is accessible to leashed dogs. Carnation Avenue is the best way to get there.
Del Mar - There are different dog regulations on each of the city beaches in Del Mar. Leashed dogs are allowed on South Beach all year. From Labor Day to June 15th, dogs can be walked on a leash at Del Mar City Beach (not permitted the rest of the year).
Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach - Dogs are welcome at Cardiff State Beach. However, they must stay on a 6' leash and under the control of their owners at all times.
Don’t bring your dog to beaches in these cities
Oceanside, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, and Encinitas all have strict rules prohibiting dogs on their beaches.
Doggy beach trip checklist
Toys - Give your dog something to chase after, jump for, dive for, and have fun with.
Leash - Never leave home without it!
Treats - The beach is a great training opportunity full of distraction. Make sure your pup will listen to you by bringing some of their favorite treats.
Towel - Your dog is going to get wet and/or sandy. No need for them to stay uncomfortable when they get back in the car. Bring a towel to clean them off a little.
Water - Playing in the sun and salty water is hard work! Make sure you bring enough water to keep your dog healthy.
Doo bags - These are essential to keep the beaches clean and ensure that we all can enjoy them for years to come. Clean up after your dog!
Dog Beach etiquette
Our San Diego dog beaches are beautiful—and popular. There are a lot of dogs and a lot of dog owners sharing the beach with you. Make sure you don’t start playing with someone else's toys, grab someone else's dog, or allow your dog to be a major, unwanted disturbance to other beach-goers.
Pick up after your dog
Leaving your dogs mess behind isn’t only rude, but it could lead to the dog beaches being shut down. To enjoy access to such a unique perk of living in San Diego, we must keep the beach clean and clear of harmful waste.
Maintain verbal control of your dog
The beach is a dangerous place for an untrained and uncontrollable dog. Not only could an out-of-control dog hurt other dogs or people, but they could also run away, get lost, get hit by a car, get caught in a rip current, or any number of other dangerous situations. So it’s good etiquette to keep good verbal control of your dog while they are off-leash. At the very least, your dog should have good recall before attempting to bring them to an off-leash beach.
Keep your dog on a leash until you get to the designated off-leash area.
Similar to the above point, be sure to keep your dog’s leash attached until it is safe to take them off. It's safer for your dog and ensures that dog beaches stay open.
San Diego is a unique place for dog lovers. Where else do you have such easy access to such a variety of beautiful places to take your pup? Mountains, Wineries, miles of trails, an abundance of trendy dog-friendly businesses, top-notch community parks, and of course, the beaches. Our beaches are our crown jewel and should be used as often and as respectfully as possible.
No matter where you live in San Diego, you have a dog-friendly beach within driving distance! When you visit, just be sure to stay safe and respectful, follow the rules, and most importantly, have fun!