In San Diego we play at the beach year-round. Rain or shine (which is most of the time), in the heat of the summer or the cool of the winter we love the beach. Our dogs love the beach even more than we do. Even dogs who aren’t keen on swimming, surfing (yes, SoCal dogs surf!), or just wading along the shoreline love running around at the beach and rolling in seaweed.
Here are four dog beaches in our area.
- Ocean Beach dog beach: Leash free year round 24 hours a day.
- Del Mar dog beach: Seasonal restrictions.
- Coronado dog beach: Leash free year round.
- Fiesta Island: Leash free year round, but this is a multi-use area and access may be restricted due to other events. You may want to visit the City of San Diego's special events calendar before heading over to the island. The island is open from 6 am to 10 pm.
Dogs are allowed at other San Diego beaches and nearby parks, however, there are restrictions. In general, leashed (6’ maximum) and legally licensed dogs are allowed on beaches, park areas near the beach, and boardwalks in the city of San Diego after 6 pm and before 9 am from April 1st to October 31, and after 4 pm and before 9 am from November 1st to March 31st. These restrictions do not apply to service dogs as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please remember, picking up after your pooch is the law for all but unsighted people with guide dogs.
Please be aware of a few situations, as they may effect you and your dog’s safety:
- Rip currents: These are strong currents that flow seaward from the shore. Although you may know to swim parallel to the beach to get out of the rip current, your dog probably doesn’t. If you are unsure about where rip currents occur or what they look like then it’s best to stay in one our bays.
- Jellyfish: Their population increases during the summer where along the coast, and sometimes in the bays, these sea creatures get washed ashore as they come in close to eat plankton. Curious dogs can get stung while investigating these odd critters as they swim or frolic on the beach.
- Stingrays: Summer is stingray mating season along the coast, and as with jellyfish, the stingrays become more numerous near the shore. Shuffling your feet as you enter the water is how people easily warn off the stingrays and avoid painful encounters. Dogs, however, have four feet plonking down in the water as they run after their favorite fetch toys — twice as much chance to get stung!
- Everyone knows that hot pavement burns bare feet and paws, but we often forget that sand also gets very hot! Use the same common sense approach at the beach — if the sand feels hot to your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s feet.