Jul 17, 2023 - Things to Do

5 dog-friendly beaches in San Diego

A dog catches a tennis ball in its mouth on a sandy beach with the ocean and other dogs in the background.

Dog Beach in Ocean Beach allows dogs to run around off-leash and splash in the waves all day, every day. Photo: Josh Utley

It's summertime, and both pups and their owners are excited for more beach days.

Whether you're visiting San Diego or a local who needs a reminder, here are some beaches where your dog can roll around in the sand, chase seagulls and splash in the water with friends.

Of note: Dogs are generally allowed on San Diego beaches after 6pm from April 1 to Oct. 31 and after 4pm from Nov. 1 to March 31, according to the city.

  • You can walk your dog on the beach at night and early morning hours until 9am, but they need to be on a leash.

North Beach in Del Mar

  • Soft sand and beach volleyball courts lead into wide open spaces for dogs to run around where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Dieguito River.

Details: From 29th Street north to Solana Beach, dogs are always welcome. They must be on-leash from June 16 through Labor Day, except early mornings before 8am. Paid street parking is available and enforced.

  • Del Mar's South Beach allows leashed pups year-round, along with Main Beach during the off-season, but no dogs are allowed in the summer.

💭 My thought bubble: Del Mar's dog beach is our favorite spot to bring our mini goldendoodle Penny! But don't expect to lay out or nap because Penny will come say hi — along with probably 16 other dogs — and your towel is likely to get trampled over.

Dog Beach - Ocean Beach

  • This was one of the first official leash-free beaches in the country and it's San Diego's only beach where dogs are allowed 24-7.

Details: Located at the west end of Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach, it's one of the most popular dog-friendly beaches in San Diego. You'll catch surfers and dogs side-by-side in the waves.

Cardiff State Beach

  • Meet your friends and their pups at this low-key, but busy beach in Encinitas and then grab a bite and a drink at a dog-friendly restaurant like Best Pizza and Brew across the street.

Details: Dogs must be on-leash at Cardiff Reef and Seaside, south of Tower 16, but either beach is great for a long walk or a full day. There are designated parking lots, but check if they're closed from storm damage beforehand.

  • There is free parking around the neighborhood and businesses nearby, but spots can be hard to find.

Fiesta Island

  • Bring your pup to this sandy island in Mission Bay Park where dogs can run and play or take a dip in the calm bay waters.

Details: It's surf and turf! Dogs and horses are allowed all over the island and your pup can romp around without a leash in the sand dunes or grassy areas. Plus, there's free parking across the island.

Coronado Dog Beach

  • This iconic white-sand beach is a beautiful spot to take your dog year-round and offers a designated leash-free area.

Details: The dog beach is across from Sunset Park on Ocean Boulevard near Coronad's North Island U.S. Naval Station. Street parking is free, but keep your pup on a leash until you reach the shore.

A toddler in striped swim trunks walks with a white and brown spotted dog on the beach.
Kids and pups play together at Dog Beach in San Diego. Photo: Josh Utley

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