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? DogTrekker.com 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!

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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

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 DogTrekker.com’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 airbnb.com, vrbo.com, homeaway.com 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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