Dog-friendly lodging | Dog-friendly hikes | Dog-friendly parks | Dog-friendly water

California’s Coastal Beaches

There’s nothing like the sight and sound of the sea to perk up a dog’s ears and set her tail to wagging—and California’s 840 miles of coastline offer plenty of fun for pups and their people. Don’t know where to go? has identified almost 200 dog-friendly beaches along the coast, with information, amenities, leash rules or not, hours and more. Click on the region below for a complete list and check out stories we have written about our partner destinations below. For directions, use the map on the listing page or download the new DogTrekker mobile app. See you coastside!

Please click a region to see dog-friendly beach listings

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North Coast.
Photo: Hotash
San Francisco Bay Area
Photo: jean-boris-h
Central Coast
Photo: Jen
Southern California
Photo: John Liu

Paw-tested Reader Favorite Beaches

From the editors: We thank John Poimiroo for this special tribute to Cooper, a passionate and loyal DogTrekker! Check out his adventures after the "more" below.

Cooper loved to travel. You might say was created for Coop.
In his ten years, this Lab/border collie/cattle dog mix traveled to seven states, but most of all he loved going anywhere DogTrekker recommended. Coop teamed up with Niki Frost when he was just eight weeks old. His mom had been rescued by Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue when she was pregnant with 10 puppies.
Niki relates that at seven months she took Coop to the vet, worried that his rough paws might need ointment. She recounted, "When I asked the vet, she grabbed his paws and looked at me in the eyes and said, 'This dog is not a house cat! His paws should be rough. He is made to swim in oceans, run in sand, climb on rocks and go on adventures. I would be concerned if they were not rough."
And so, Niki set out to assure that Cooper's paws never softened. Only her heart would do that.  She and Coop became avid DogTrekkers, though the jury is still out whether Coop loved the beach or the mountains more.
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It’s oyster season! And it’s hard to imagine a more ideal place to enjoy a delectable dozen than at Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar, a cherished dog-friendly restaurant and lodging property on Tomales Bay in Marin County.

Santa Claus also makes his annual trek by boat to his boathouse workshop on December 6, 2020, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Safety will be his main concern so kids will not sit on his lap this year, but able to have a socially-distanced photo with him (bring and wear your masks).
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It's finally summer (Indian at least) and it's hot, hot, hot! Many DogTrekkers will be heading for the beaches over the next several weeks, both mountain and ocean! For a fun and safe time for pups and the entire family, please be follow the above safety precautions (click to enlarge or download).

Yes, COVID-19 is still here and there are posted restrictions. Yes, surf, sand and sun still pose dangers to everyone. And yes, the beach is a place to have a lot of fun!

Use or the DogTrekker mobile app to finds beach websites, park phone numbers and directions. Here are some starting points from our partners:
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By now, we all know the drill: wash your hands, cover your face in public, maintain six feet of “social distancing” between yourself and anyone else who is not a member of your household “bubble.” So where does your dog fit in? Right by your side, as always! In Mendocino County, you’ll have access to many activities that let you have fun while still adhering to the guidelines. Here are a few suggestions.
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Summer is here, and so is beach season. This year, however, looks strangely different due to Covid-19 restrictions. Many of the 1,500 beaches in 15 coastal counties still have temporary beach and parking lot restrictions. While some beaches are open in every county, no counties have all beaches and facilities fully open and operating. Check out the full county by county list.

DogTrekker is monitoring beach restrictions, openings and other guidelines on a regular basis and will continue to update our readers through our Paw Press Blog, Facebook, Instagram and weekly newsletter: sign up here. Please be sure to help all dog parents get through this time by following social distancing and safety tips above; and help us keep the beaches open to dogs by always packing in and packing out, Leaving Only Paw Prints.

Check out’s California Coastal Beaches guide and stories and stay safe!
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Great news for dog parents! The East Bay Regional Park District reopened Point Isabel Regional Shoreline today, June 1, 2020, with special restrictions to keep dogs on leash. The popular Point Isabel was closed out of an abundance of caution to limit crowding and maintain social distancing.

The temporary district wide restriction to keep dogs on leash because of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements are now in effect. “We know this park has traditionally allowed off leash dogs who run and play along the shoreline,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. 

“We understand people need parks for health, wellness, and stress relief, now more than ever,” said Doyle. “We are doing everything we can to keep parks open for the public during the COVID-19 crisis and need the public’s help.”
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As summer approaches, so does beach season. However, this year looks strangely different due to Covid-19. Many of the 1,500 beaches in 15 coastal counties have temporary beach and parking lot closures. While some beaches are open in every county, no counties have all beaches fully open and operating. Check out the updated list by county.

The California Coastal Commission, which oversees the coastal zone, is allowing county and local officials to provide guidance as to restrictions, with the goal of “limiting exposure through social distancing, wearing masks and gloves as needed and not participating in group activities.”

The commission goes on to say that “at the same time, as recreational beach and coastal access play important roles in maintaining mental and emotional health, public agencies and local governments should strongly consider maintaining access to such public spaces where rules are followed and there is no obvious increased risk to public health.”

Stay healthy!

Check out the latest county by county list of beach restrictions as of week of May 18, 2020.

Check out’s California Coastal Beaches guide and stories.
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From Santa Cruz County all the way down to Ventura, California’s Central Coast is a wave-washed mecca for DogTrekkers. You’ll find lots of choices for dog-friendly cabin and cottage lodging as well as tempting properties offered on,, and other home-sharing sites. Here are a few of our favorite retreats up and down this scenic slice of the state.
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For the month of February, we are teaming up with the Beach House Inn in Fort Bragg to give away a two-night stay with waived pet fees to one lucky California dog (or dogs) and their two ­legged best friend(s)!
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From Marin Dog:

Take Action to Stop the 2019 Superintendent’s Compendium By Wednesday, November 27!

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area recently released a Superintendent’s Compendium that attempts to implement parts of the withdrawn Dog Management Plan—but without a public process.  If the National Park Service gets its way, there will be new restrictions in Marin County, right in the middle of our most popular off-leash areas.

These changes are unnecessary, unjustified and almost impossible to enforce. This also impacts GGNRA lands in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. DogTrekker asks that you continue reading to better understand this new approach and what you can do to once again stop this craziness.
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Stanford Inn is a standout in the dog-friendly world not simply because it was one of the first in California to roll out the red carpet for pets. It was also one of the first to adopt sustainable practices, helping to kick off the “green” revolution that resonates today. And it might just be the only vegan resort in the nation. If you’re an omnivore, don’t be put off, be adventurous! What you’ll sample at The Ravens, the inn’s acclaimed restaurant, will turn your head and your mind. It starts with a cooked-to-order, plant-based breakfast (included in the rates).
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A mere five minutes from Little River, much-photographed Mendocino Village, with its wealth of lacy Victorians and colorful saltbox cottages, is loaded with places to enjoy with your four-legged friend. Our top pick is Stanford Inn by the Sea, just south of the village across Big River. Once you’ve explored the compact downtown, get your tails over to Mendocino Headlands State Park, which surrounds the town on three sides.
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Enjoy excellent food, terrific wine, silent and live auction, opportunity drawings, live entertainment and dancing at Wags N Wine.  This event will be held June 16, 2019 (this Father's Day) at the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, benefiting Waggin' Trails Rescue Foundation.  
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Lake County is named for that big puddle of blue on the map, and there’s lots to wag tails about on its shores. But Clear Lake is hardly the only body of water in the vicinity. Blue Lakes (Upper and Lower), just five miles away, are a pair of clear, spring-fed bodies of water ideal for swimming and fishing. Only human-powered craft and electric motors are allowed (speed limit is 5 mph), but you can rent an electric “yacht” or pontoon boat from the Lodge at Blue Lakes and pile the kids and dogs on board for a great day of cruising about.
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Many say that coastal Mendocino County is not so much a place as a state of mind. And for DogTrekkers, full immersion wouldn’t be complete without a dog-friendly paddle excursion along the serene Big River estuary. Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too, which shares ground with the extremely dog-friendly Stanford Inn by the Sea, has been putting paddlers on the 8.3-mile estuary since 1972. A decade or so ago, it introduced Canine Cruisers to its fleet of handmade redwood outrigger canoes. The dog-friendly craft feature a raised, padded deck centered in the middle of the canoe between paddler positions in bow and stern.
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Nine miles. Four-plus hours of water time. Countless tail wags, big smiles. A float/paddle on a secluded section of the Russian River is a DogTrekker must-do for visitors to Sonoma County. With your water-loving dog on board in a custom-made SOAR inflatable canoe from Russian River Adventures, you’ll explore a secluded section of the waterway downstream from Healdsburg and linger at swimming holes and beaches, picnicking, playing fetch and wishing the adventure would never end. If DogTrekkers act fast, the usual $10 dog fee will be waved mid-week through the end of June (use code DOG10TREK19 when booking reservations).
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Here's Cruiser, a happy, playful Lab/pit mix guy who, like lots of other dogs, lost his home due to the Camp Fire. Luckily for him he landed with the good folks at Butte Humane Society in Chico, where he's waiting for his new folks to come find him.
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Whether your drive all or just some of intoxicating Highway 1 hugging the Mendocino County coast, you’re sure to find many places to pull over and get some sand between your and Buster’s toes. Go slow, stop often and be sure to check out these highlights.
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Noyo Beach, Mendocino County. Legal places to romp off-leash with your dog are few and far between on Mendocino County’s gorgeous coastline, but one place you can unclip and let your pup run free is Noyo Beach Off-Leash Dog Area in Fort Bragg.
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You’re sure to have a Beach Boys sound track playing in your head as you and your pup cavort on aptly named Dog Beach, the leash-free segment of 3.5-mile-long Huntington Beach, centerpiece of the city of the same name (also known as Surf City USA). Surf culture rules in this SoCal mecca for more than 8 million annual visitors—and sometimes, especially during the annual Surf City Surf Dog competition (Sept. 24 this year), it seems like there are that many dogs, too!
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You’re never far from the water when following the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) through Santa Cruz County. The curvy coastline is studded with 29 miles of beaches providing lots of options for DogTrekkers. Fifteen strands are dog-friendly, and one, Mitchell’s Cove, is legally leash-free during daylight hours before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
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You’ll forget all about work, worries and traffic woes once you get within sight and sound of the sea. And in Sonoma County, there are dozens of places where you and your pup can splash to your hearts’ content and then bed down to the ceaseless whooshing of the restless Pacific.
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Diesel and Oliver's parents, Ashley and Chris P. were the lucky winners of our Nick's Cove 2015 DogCation. The whole family got to enjoy a wonderful seaside adventure along Tomales Bay.
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