If you’re a dog owner living in San Diego, congratulations, you’re officially in one of the most dog-friendly cities in all of Southern California. While many places up and down the Golden State’s coast have varying restrictions concerning beach access for our four-legged friends, San Diego residents (and their canine companions) have a pretty exceptional amount of freedom to enjoy places where the sand meets the sea.
For starters, San Diego’s earned that distinction as a dog-friendly city mainly because all city-operated beaches are open for leashed dogs before 9 am each morning. This means a lot of responsible dog owners can settle into a healthy routine of taking their pup for a morning walk just about anywhere they please. Meanwhile, from November to March, leashed dogs are allowed back on those same city-operated beaches after 4 pm, and after 6 pm the rest of the year.
But what about spending a full day on the beach with your dog? It’s where you like to play, so why not have your best friend with you as much as possible? Outside of those morning and evening windows for sunrise runs or sunset walks, there are still a handful of local beaches with more dog-friendly options.
Ocean Beach Dog Beach (The Original Dog Beach)
With a name like Original Dog Beach, it’s pretty easy to guess that this is a dependable doggo domicile. It’s name is literal — this was one of the first places in the entire state where dogs were allowed to enjoy the sun and sand, and that history has thrived here. But if you’re headed here with your pup, the beach in local speak is more popularly referred to as OB Dog Beach.
Promoting responsible ownership, you can get a specialized collar through the County Department of Animal Services that acts more or less like a passport here. It shows that a dog owner is aware of all the canine guidelines in the area as well as marks that their pup is up to date on vaccinations. With it, dogs are allowed to roam free at the OB Dog Beach, no leashes needed. If you’re visiting from out of town and don’t have a city collar, it’s no biggie, as long as your dog has normal tags and is up to date on vaccinations.
North Beach, Del Mar
The entire two-mile stretch of Del Mar’s North Beach shoreline is eye-popping, and it’s often dotted with dogs roaming freely. At least between every Labor Day and June 15th of the following year, that is. During the fall and spring months, so long as owners are keeping a close watch on their dogs, they’re allowed to explore and enjoy the beach without a leash. Dogs are still welcome here the rest of the year but are required to be on a leash when they visit through the summer months.
Coronado’s Dog Beach
Coronado’s Dog Beach is another locale where you don’t have to keep your fur baby on a leash. As soon as you two hit the area designated as its “dog beach,” you’re welcome to unhook and watch him or her enjoy the soft sand. If you don’t want to stay in the popular Coronado Dog Beach, there’s also an excellent bayside beach nearby that’s ideal for a long casual walk so long as you snap the leash back on.