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 dogbeach.org 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