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A day at the beach with your dog in South LA

A happy dog runs away from the action at Dog Beach.
A happy dog runs away from the action at Dog Beach.
G. Wendel

Waves crashing on the shore. Crisply clean, cool sand, soggy near the water’s edge. Footprints, from happy feet and paws.  Paws?  Yes. You’re at Dog Beach, Huntington Beach, California, where canine is king, free to roam on wet sand.   

The fine people at preserve the right to keep the beach a place for both people and dogs to enjoy. They keep it clean through donations and volunteering and provide “doggie bags” so that those enjoying the beach can help keep it clean as well. 

Monday through Friday, especially in Winter, finds the atmosphere to be one of quiet solitude. The weekends tend to get busier and most of the crowd is found at the beach entry areas.  The good news is that there is plenty of space for everyone; if you seek solitude, you can find it here. Many bring chairs and umbrellas and camp for the day, while others are just there to take a quick run with their dog or throw a ball into the waves for some playtime.

Surprisingly, there’s little barking.  The dogs are too busy greeting and meeting each other, sniffing, kissing, jumping and dancing in the process. All shapes and sizes, from Dachshunds to Great Danes.  Sometimes, groups form, and there’s four or five dogs racing around each other.  And if your dog goes on a quick romp with a few of them, hey, it’s okay. 

But the clientele goes beyond dogs and the people who love them. Huntington Beach is known as Surf City for a reason; on many days, the surfers are out in full force; most enjoyable to watch while cooling your toes on the shoreline.

Dog Beach stretches for a mile, with the south end at Golden West and Pacific Coast Highway.  Best place to park is just below Golden West, right on PCH.  Some of the parking lots do not have easy access to the beach, so unless you’re a seasoned mountain climber, don’t bother. Also, it’s very hard to find a space to park in the lots on the weekend.   And bring plenty of quarters for the parking meter.

For more information on Huntington Beach, click here


  • Paul Kaplan 5 years ago

    I think you should include pet friendly places in Palm Springs too! Where can we take our pets to lunch with us?? hiking trails, etc...

  • paulbritphoto 5 years ago

    HB has always been very dog friendly, especially being one of the few beaches ... I concur with Paul above that Palm Springs is also one of the most dog friendly places I've ever encountered - this is a great article Gerry and thanks for posting it!!

  • Kent Birch 5 years ago

    Hi Gerry,
    Very good. It's a great idea to have some choices when travelling with a pet. Amazing how un-pet friendly some places can be.

  • valerie 5 years ago

    Very good! Makes me wish I were there! You're a natural. I'll share the link, especially to my pet loving friends.

  • Rachelle Reese 5 years ago

    Nice article and a wonderful pic. It makes me want to take my dogs there to play too! They've never even smelled the ocean.

  • Linda H 5 years ago

    AWESOME article on fun for dogs and their owners. I don't have a dog (yet), but I will probably go to that beach just to enjoy the day and atmosphere of people and their dogs frolicking on a nice California beach. Perhaps it will help make me get a dog sooner.

  • elyse 5 years ago

    How about Pet Friendly places on the East Coast?

  • Todd Appleman 5 years ago

    What a nice article. I had no idea just how dog friendly HB is for us K9 lovers. My four Akitas would have a ball playing in the surf!

    I can't wait to see you next post. I'm sure you have some more great ideas that others don't know about!

  • Laurie 5 years ago

    Great article! Sounds like a wonderful place to take our babies aka pets! The picture is adorable too!

  • debbie 5 years ago

    HB's dog park is the best. What a great article describing the place. Thanks, Gerry. It was exactly as described, and is a fun place for those of us who cannot have pooches for whatever reason! The parking hints are always appreciated. Oh, and a great pic of Mighty Joe running!