Finding a dog-friendly beach in the Western part of America is not always easy. For example, in the over 25 miles of beach that make up the coastline of Los Angeles County, there are only two beaches where dogs are allowed. That is Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, where pups can run free off leash from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu, where they must be on a leash. Otherwise, stiff fines (think $400!) are levied on dog owners who bring their animals onto an L.A. beach.
However, much of the rest of the West Coast is more welcoming to dogs (assuming that owners pick up after them, of course). San Diego has four beaches where dogs romp, including The Original Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, one of the first official leash-free beaches in America. Fiesta Island in Mission Bay has sand dunes for them to race across, while both North Beach on Coronado Island and Del Mar Dog Beach are beautiful places that also allow your dogs to run free.
Up the coastline, dogs who love a little sand in their paws can find happiness off leash at Arroyo Burro Beach Park in Santa Barbara, Carmel Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Mitchell’s Cove Beach in Santa Cruz and at Baker Beach, Lands End’s Mile Rock Beach and Ocean Beach in San Francisco. There are also several beaches that require dogs to be on leashes in Monterey at Monterey State Beach and Del Monte Beach, in Santa Cruz at Lighthouse Field State Beach/Its Beach, Rio Del Mar State Beach, Seabright State Beach and Santa Maria Beach; and in San Francisco at Stinson Beach.
In Oregon, terrific beaches welcome dogs all along the coastline, and many beaches allow them to run off leash, but they must always be under voice command. Check the local rules, which vary, especially in areas where the western snowy plovers lay their eggs. Try Cannon Beach, the Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, Pistol River State Park, Del Rey Beach Recreation Site and the numerous other state beaches. They really do love wet, sandy dogs in Oregon!
Further north in Washington, they love Fido just as much. The state beaches all allow dogs on a leash, but they are not permitted in designated swimming areas. For off-leash romping, go to Bloedel Donovan Parkin Bellingham, Double Bluff Dog Beach on Whidbey Island or Richmond Beach Saltwater Park in Shoreline; all are terrific places for some fun with your dog.
Doing a road trip with your dog up the coast is made easier by stopping into dog-friendly hotels along the way. At San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, for example, book a lovely cottage where you can rinse off the sand from both you and your dog in your private outdoor shower; then your dog can luxuriate in the comfy dog bed the hotel provides and play with a special Beanie Baby toy (Ty Warner of Beanie Babies fame owns the ranch).
At the family-run Hofsas House in Carmel-by-the-Sea, dogs are welcome to visit and run on the beach nearby – and the hotel will even steer you to restaurants in town that allow dogs to join you for lunch and dinner! Up in Oregon at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach, they pull out all the stops for your pooch. Their canine welcome pack includes everything from a pet bed, sheet, towel, placemat, and food and water bowls, to a cookie jar full of delicious doggie treats. There is also a foot and paw wash near the hotel’s beachfront path; and they even have a Dog Show on the Beach every October (the 2015 event will be the 18th annual), featuring wacky categories like Best Bark and Owner Lookalike. If that isn’t a fun day at the beach with your dog, what is?
The East Coast also has a great number of dog-friendly beaches, from the bottom of the Florida Keys, all the way up to Maine. Discover where you can take your pet to frolic on the shoreline there in our article on dog-friendly beaches in the Eastern USA.