Year-Round Off-Leash San Diego Dog Beaches
Taking your dog to the beach soon? Well, in San Diego, you have quite a few choices. Whether you prefer off-leash or on-leash, crowded or empty, you will find great options for you and fido. We take our dog, Robby, to the dog beach in San Diego regularly. He loves the water can’t get enough of playing in the waves. So here are my recommendations for the best San Diego Dog Beaches so you can pick the best one for you and your pup.
Ocean Beach Dog Beach
Address: 5156W W Point Loma Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107
Ocean Beach is by far my favorite dog beach in San Diego. The beach is large enough that even on the weekends it is not sooo crowded. If you walk to the other side of the parking lot, there are also restrooms and outside showers, which makes rinsing your dog off after a breeze. After the shower, we usually take Robby for a walk along the walk/bike path along the channel until he dries off before we take him home and finish brushing and grooming him there.
Another reason why I love Ocean Beach Dog Beach is parking. There is a huge parking lot right on the beach and except for high-season weekends, you usually find a spot pretty quickly.
Coronado Dog Beach
Address: Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118
Coronado is also a really fun dog beach in San Diego. Located right on the northern tip of Coronado, just south of the military base, you will find a big off-leash dog beach area. Be aware that it is not closed off and you have to keep an eye out for signs, where the dog beach starts coming from the south. Coronado dog beach is one of the most scenic beaches in San Diego – a wide stretch of white sand, looking out to the Point Loma peninsula and the iconic (and dog-friendly) Hotel Del as your backdrop.
On the beach near Sunset Park, you will also find restrooms and outdoor showers if you want to rinse off before getting back in the car.
Coronado dog beach is huge and while it is usually busy, it tends to be a little less crowded than Ocean Beach. There is no dedicated parking lot, so you will have to try your luck with street-side parking. If you plan to visit on the weekend, go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and find parking more easily.
Fiesta Island Dog Beach
Address: 1750 Fiesta Island Rd, San Diego, CA 92109
10Best named Fiesta Island the best Dog Beach in the United States and it is definitely a great one to check out. Located on East Mission Bay, you will find calm waters, sand dunes, long narrow beaches, and lots of grassy areas, picnic tables, fire rings, and park amenities. There is also plenty of free parking all throughout the park.
This dog park is off-leash year-round and fenced in. The water in the bay is usually very calm, almost lake-like. If you have a small dog or a dog that is afraid of the waves, this is the San Diego Dog Beach I recommend.
Important: Bring water for yourself and your dog, as there are no water fountains nearby.
On-Leash Dog Beaches in San Diego
Below are some of the more restricted dog beaches in San Diego. They have varying rules on when you can bring your dog to the beach, when they need to be leashed etc.
Del Mar Dog Beach
Del Mar has two beaches that are dog-friendly that are both absolutely stunning.
Del Mar South (Powerhouse Park – 6th Street)
Address: 1658 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014
Del Mar South Beach sort of blends into Torrey Pines State Beach (which doesn’t allow dogs, so be careful). Dogs must be leashed at all times, so keep this in mind when you go. During high tide, the sandy beach strip can be quite narrow, so it can be a bit crowded.
There is free parking along the street, but especially during the summer, it is quite hard to find a spot, especially during weekends. There is also free parking around Powerhouse Park and Seagrove Park on the northern tip of the beach and that is also where you will find easy beach access.
Leash Rules: Dogs must be leashed at all times.
Del Mar North (29th Street to Solana Beach)
Address: 101 Border Ave, Del Mar, CA 92014
This is a really great dog beach in North County. I love the little inlet with quiet water on the southern end and the sandstone cliffs on the northern end are so stunning. This is a great spot, if you want to take some beach pictures with your dog.
Free parking is almost impossible to find, but there are usually plenty of spots with meters along the street. There are no facilities, so make sure to bring water for yourself and the pup and plan for a restroom stop before you come.
Leash Rules: Off-leash before 8 AM, on-leash 8 AM to dusk. Please note that the rules have changed in 2018. It was
La Jolla Beach
Address: 8246 La Vereda, La Jolla, CA 92037
La Jolla Shores is one of the longest beaches in San Diego, over a mile long. This give you plenty of space to enjoy a long walk on the beach with your best friend. Please see the rules below when you can take your pup to the beach.
There are several large (and free) parking lots, so parking should not be an issue, except for high season weekends during peak times. There are also amenities like restrooms, showers, as well as shops and restaurants nearby.
Leash Rules: Dogs are only allowed on-leash and during certain times. During the winter (October – March), you can bring your dog on-leash any time before 9 AM and after 4 PM. In the summer (April – September), you can take fido before 9 AM and after 6 PM.
Imperial Beach City Beach
Address: Imperial Beach Blvd, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
Imperial Beach City Beach is dog friendly (on-leash), except between Beach Boulevard and Palm Avenue. There are amenities, like restrooms, showers, picnic benches, and grass areas at Dunes park.
Leash Rules: North of Beach Boulevard, dogs are allowed at any time, but only on-leash.
South Imperial Beach Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 301 Caspian Way, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
This beach is located right on the border to Mexico and allows dogs on leash. However, due to sewage pollution of the water in this area, I highly recommend staying out of the water and wet sand in this area – humans and pooches alike. However, it is also one of the quietest dog beaches in San Diego and you rarely find anyone else there – human or pooch.
Leash Rules: South of Palm Avenue, dogs are allowed at any time, but only on-leash.
Dog Beach Etiquette
- IMPORTANT: Don’t take an aggressive dog to the dog beach. If your dog is not properly socialized and is reactive to other dogs and humans, do not take it to the dog beach. Training, socializing, and exposure to new things can improve your dog’s behavior and hopefully make your dog ready to join in at the dog beach.
- Make sure your dog has a strong recall, even if your pup is distracted by all the excitement around them.
- Pick up after your dog and throw away the poop bags. This is especially important at the dog beach, as everyone is barefoot.
- Watch your dog and interfere if necessary. Not all dogs are going to get along and you need to watch for signs before a fight breaks out and a dog or person gets hurt.
- If your dog is a humper, interfere, if it becomes excessive and the other dog is not, uhm, enjoying it as much as your dog.
- Teach your kids how to interact with dogs. If you take your kids, make sure that they know how to interact with dogs they don’t know. While your dog might be ok with getting his ears pulled, not all dogs are. Some dogs are not used to be around kids, so make sure you keep them close by and watch out for them, so they don’t get injured.
- Don’t take your favorite beach towel or dog toy, don’t wear your favorite beach dress or bikini. It’s a dog beach. You might get peed. Your dog’s favorite toy might get swept out to sea or shredded by other dogs. Think practical.
- Do not take your sick dog to the beach. Just like humans, dog spread disease between each other, so your dog could potentially infect quite a few others.