California State Parks offer a variety of outdoor activities for both humans and their furry friends. From scenic hikes to beachfront adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, including dogs. Here are eight of the best dog-friendly state parks in California.
Bean Hollow State Beach
Located near Pescadero, Bean Hollow State Beach is a small, secluded beach perfect for a peaceful day out with your pooch. The beach is surrounded by towering cliffs and the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Your dog will love the soft sand and calm surf, and you’ll love the serenity of this hidden gem. Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash and dispose of any waste properly.
Hearst San Simeon State Park
Hearst San Simeon State Park is a sprawling coastal park that covers over 44,000 acres of land. The park is home to Hearst Castle, a magnificent estate once owned by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. While dogs are not allowed in the castle, they are welcome on the grounds and in many of the park’s hiking trails and boardwalks. The trails lead to stunning beaches and views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding countryside, and your dog will love exploring the diverse landscape.
Heber Dunes is a popular spot for off-road vehicle enthusiasts, but it’s also a great place for dog owners. The park is home to over 800 acres of sand dunes that are perfect for your dog to run and play. The dunes are surrounded by dense forests, and there are plenty of trails to explore. Remember to keep your dog on a leash, as the dunes can be dangerous for off-leash dogs.
Lake Del Valle
Lake Del Valle is a man-made lake located in the East Bay area. The lake is surrounded by rolling hills and scenic valleys, and it’s a great place to take your dog for a swim. There are several beaches around the lake where your dog can play in the water, and there are plenty of trails for hiking and exploring. Dogs are allowed on leash in the picnic and most other developed areas; they are also welcome on most rental boats. The park offers plenty of picnic areas to relax and enjoy a picnic with your furry friend.
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve is a unique and fascinating park home to various geological formations. The park is centered around Mono Lake, a large, shallow lake home to towering tufa towers. Tufa towers are strange and beautiful formations formed when freshwater springs mix with the lake’s saltwater. Your dog will love exploring the lake and its surrounding hills, and you’ll love learning about the unique geology of this one-of-a-kind park.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento State Historic Park is a unique park that takes visitors back in time to the old west. The park is centered around the city of Sacramento and is home to several historic buildings and museums. While dogs are not allowed inside the buildings, they are welcome on the park’s many streets and sidewalks. Your dog will love exploring the old-fashioned streets, and you’ll love learning about the history of this exciting park.
Palomar Mountain State Park
Palomar Mountain State Park is a beautiful park in northern San Diego County, high atop the west side of Palomar Mountain. Large pine, fir and cedar trees make the park one of the few areas in southern California with a Sierra Nevada-like atmosphere. The park features camping, picnicking, hiking, and fishing (trout) in Doane Pond. Coniferous forests cover much of the 1,862 acres, in contrast to the mountain’s dry lowlands. The park is centered around Palomar Mountain, a towering peak that rises over the surrounding landscape. The park is home to several scenic trails that lead to stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and your dog will love exploring the diverse landscape. Just be sure to keep your dog on a leash.
Sonoma Coast State Park
Sonoma Coast State Park is a beautiful stretch of coastline in California that offers stunning views, diverse wildlife, and plenty of recreational opportunities for visitors. The park spans over 17 miles of pristine beaches, rugged cliffs, and serene coves, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
For dog owners, the park is a great place to bring your furry friend, as several beaches are designated as dog-friendly. These beaches include Marshall Gulch, Carmet Beach, Schoolhouse Beach, Portuguese Beach, Duncan’s Cover, Wright’s Beach, Furlong Gulch, Shell Beach, Blind Beach, and Russian Gulch. These beaches are great places to let your dog run, play, and enjoy the sun, sand, and surf.
It’s important to note that not all areas of the park are dog-friendly. In order to protect the park’s delicate ecosystem, dogs are not allowed in Pomo Canyon and Willow Creek environmental campgrounds. Visitors are asked to respect this rule and leave their dogs at home when visiting these areas.