Coronado Dog Beach / Photo: Cindy Chow
Sun, sand and surf are what drew you to bring your pup to San Diego in the first place, right? Well, you certainly hit bingo. No pilgrimage-con-canine would be complete without a romp on Ocean Beach, aka Dog Beach, San Diego’s only 24-hour sandy strand where dogs are permitted to tear joyously around off-leash.
It’s quintessential Southern California, surfers, bikinis, lifeguards and all. Keep an eye on the signs: while the north end of the mile-long strand is an off-leash doggie paradise, you’ll have to tether up if you venture further south.
On Fiesta Island in Mission Bay Park, dogs are welcome to romp on almost all of the 1.5 miles of waterfront. Views are best from the south side. Car traffic can be a hazard, so make sure your dog has an absolutely reliable recall before cutting her off leash.
And then there’s Coronado Dog Beach on Coronado Island. It runs along Ocean Boulevard, with the off-leash portion located at the north end of Central Beach. And in Del Mar, dogs are allowed off-leash September through June 15 on North Beach and a portion of Main Beach.
If you’re happy to take in the views and the sea air with your four-legged sidekick on a leash, you’ll have lots more choices. And if a fenced dog park will do the trick in the exercise department, you’ll find more than a dozen in the greater San Diego area.