Best dog-friendly lakes in California

By: Roger Coryell
Dogs on the beach at Lake Tahoe.

Looking for a great place to take your furry friend for a swim? Look no further! California is home to many beautiful lakes that are perfect for dogs. In this blog post, we will list some of the best dog-friendly lakes in the state. From Northern California to Southern California, we have you covered. So pack up your pup and get ready for some fun in the sun!

Lake Tahoe

Let’s start with the largest lake in California: Lake Tahoe. This gorgeous alpine lake is dog-friendly and perfect for a day of frolicking in the water. Boating, fishing, swimming – all are available to you and your pup at this dog-friendly lake. Tahoe is also home to Wild Blue Dog Camp. Just make sure your dog is on a leash, as this lake is also home to other wildlife.

Dog-friendly beaches at Lake Tahoe are a paradise for both pooches and people. For starters, check out Pope Beach on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. It is located at the campground at Fallen Leaf Lake, between Camp Richardson and Baldwin Beach. Here, furry friends are allowed to romp in shallow waters and play catch with their owners on the beach’s ample grassy area.

At Sand Harbor, located north of Incline Village, dogs are allowed on the beach in certain areas. There is also a boat launch and picnic area where pets can hang out with their owners. Pet parents should be aware that there is an 8-foot leash requirement for all dogs. Also, it’s important to note that there are no lifeguards at Sand Harbor, so make sure your pup stays close while swimming.

For those seeking a less crowded beach option, try Secret Cove on the West Shore of Tahoe. This secluded spot has limited parking but offers plenty of space for both people and their four-legged friends to enjoy the sand and water. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards or amenities here, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water for you and your pup.

For more options, head north to Kings Beach State Recreation Area on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. This beach is open to dogs under voice control at all times. It has plenty of grassy areas to play fetch and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake. Just a reminder that dogs must remain on leashes at all times, and please don’t forget to clean up after your pup! Here’s a rundown on dog-friendly Lake Tahoe beaches.

San Luis Reservoir

Next up is San Luis Reservoir, located in Merced County. This large freshwater lake offers plenty of room for swimming and dog-friendly activities. You can even set up camp at an RV or tent site nearby, making it perfect for longer stays with your pup!

Pyramid Lake

If you’re looking for something closer to Los Angeles, try out Pyramid Lake in Valencia. It’s the perfect spot for a swim or kayaking adventure with your dog! Just make sure you bring plenty of water and dog-friendly snacks, as the lake can get quite hot during summer months.

Pyramid Lake offers two separate beaches that are open to dogs and their owners. The first is the South Beach, located at the south end of the lake. This beach has plenty of sand and shallow water, making it ideal for playing fetch or cooling off on hot summer days. The second is North Shore Beach, located at the north end of the lake. It has more rocks and deeper water, making it a great spot for swimming or floating in the lake with your pup. Both beaches offer plenty of space to run free and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature together.

Big Bear Lake

If you’re looking for something a little bit closer to the coast, try Big Bear Lake. This dog-friendly lake lies just northeast of Los Angeles and offers plenty of outdoor activities for you and your pup. Swimming and fishing are both popular pastimes here, but there’s also plenty of room for a picnic or two. Plus, it’s close enough to the city that you can easily take a day trip up!

The dog-friendly lakes don’t end there – in fact, there are many more throughout California. From Shasta Lake in the north to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the south, we have you covered.

Clear Lake

Next up is Clear Lake. Located in Northern California, this lake has been used for boating, fishing, and dog swimming for over 100 years! Its clear turquoise waters are perfect for paddle boarding and dog swimming alike.

Elkhorn Slough

If you’re looking to get out on the west coast, look no further than Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve near Monterey Bay. This reserve opened up its dog-friendly lake to the public in 2015, and dog owners have been taking advantage ever since. Here, you can take your dog for a swim and explore the reserve’s stunning natural environment.

Castaic Lake

And last but not least is the dog-friendly lake at Castaic Lake Recreational Area. Located in Southern California, this lake offers plenty of activities for people and pooches alike. Whether you’re looking to go boating or just take a leisurely stroll around the lake, this is a great spot to visit with your pup.

There you have it – some of the best dog-friendly lakes in California! So grab your pup, pack up the car, and get ready for a day of fun in the sun