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Dogs on Dog Beach in San Diego, California, USA
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This is your comprehensive guide to Dog Beach in San Diego, also known as Ocean Beach Dog Beach and The Original Dog Beach. We hope that you find the information useful and accurate.

Dog Beach in San Diego is without doubt one of the best dog beaches in the USA. We’ve got tons of information here, to help you make the most of your trip.

And if you’re staying for more than a day, we’ve even got info on some dog-friendly hotels in San Diego.

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As with all of our dog beach guides, if any of the information needs updating, please drop us a comment. This helps out all dog parents and dog lovers. And helps to keep us on our toes!

Enjoy!

Estimated reading time: 19 minutes

#1 Dog Beach in San Diego – The Scoop

Two brown Dachshunds on a San Diego beach - photo taken by Tatiana LM from Pexels
Two brown Dachshunds on a San Diego beach – photo courtesy of Tatiana LM from Pexels

Dog Beach in San Diego is the original dog beach. Situated at the far northern tip of Ocean Beach, this beautiful spot is indeed a true haven for all dogs and dog parents.

For dog owners, there are few more accommodating stretches of coastline than that of San Diego. There are four fantastic off-leash dog beaches dotted along the stunning coastline of San Diego County, and Ocean Beach Dog Beach is surely one of the finest.

Just a short drive from downtown San Diego, this gorgeous mile-long dog beach is at the meeting point of the San Diego River and the Pacific Ocean. This lovely stretch of beach is broken up by several naturally-formed rock jetties.

The mixture of marine water and fresh water attracts lots of birdlife, as well as supporting some interesting and diverse species of plants.

All of this creates the perfect backdrop for dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes.

First designated as a dog beach by the Ocean Beach Town Council’s Dog Beach Committee back in 1972, it is famous all over the United States and was one of the first official leash-free beaches in the country.

In fact, this beautiful off-leash beach is completely open, with no fencing – an absolute treat for all dogs and their owners! And dogs are also permitted to swim in the sea.

Your dog can dash around on the beach, frolic in the surf, sniff seaweed, socialize with other dogs and generally have an awesome, fun-packed time! And as a dog parent, you’re sure to meet lots of other like-minded dog parents too, which is an added bonus!

Dog Beach Is Open 24/7

There are no hourly restrictions on The Original Dog Beach, as it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can get quite busy on Saturdays and Sundays, but is usually much quieter during the week. You’ll probably find that evenings and early mornings are best for parking, but you should still be able to find a parking spot at other, busier times of the day.

For off-leash beach activities, your furry friend must be kept north of the Ocean Beach Bike Path. You’ll also need to avoid the area between the path and the beach pier.

The beach is very clean and well kept, with owners being respectful and cleaning up after their dogs. And there are lots of trash cans dotted around the beach, to dispose of any doggy waste.

If you get there at low tide, your furball (and you, if you wish) can get the chance to run through some beautiful tide pools, which are on the far side of the beach.

As you would probably expect from a location that enjoys as much annual sunshine as San Diego, there is a very laid-back, friendly, casual atmosphere about Ocean Beach Dog Beach.

Aside from the great facilities at this beach (more info here), the general atmosphere about the place is definitely one of its strong points, and something that will undoubtedly make you want to come back here again and again.

#2 Activities To Do

Dog Beach in San Diego also offers a splendid grassy picnic area, located adjacent to the parking lot. This gives you the option to bring along plenty of food and drink (and some doggy treats!) and make a whole day of it, if you wish.

Spend some time splashing with your furry friend in the waves, or go for a nice relaxing walk along the beach – the choice is yours!

And if hunger strikes, and you haven’t brought any food or drink with you, then Ocean Beach offers a plethora of bars and restaurants for you to choose from. Many of them are dog-friendly and happily allow dogs into their premises. Some of them are listed below.

As Dog Beach is open 24 hours a day, a wonderful thing to do is to watch the breaking of dawn or the setting of the sun with your favorite four-legged friend. You can get some truly spectacular sunset views from this gorgeous expanse of wide sandy beach – it truly is a beautiful experience!

#3  Admission And Parking

Parking lot sign - photo taken by Paul Brennan from Pixabay
Parking lot sign in San Diego – photo courtesy of Paul Brennan on Pixabay

Admission and parking are free. The Dog Beach Parking Lot is situated at the west end of West Point Loma Boulevard. Click the following link for a map of the area, showing the location of Dog Beach in San Diego.

If the Dog Beach Parking Lot is full, then you could try one of the other parking lots that are close by. Two options are very close to the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station.

Just to the north of the lifeguard station is the 1962 Abbott Street Parking Lot Beach Access and just to the south is the Diamond Parking Service, located at 1920 Abbott Street.

There is also the main Ocean Beach Pier Parking Lot, located at 5099 Newport Avenue.

Street parking is available all along Newport Avenue, from the beachfront Ocean Beach Hotel at the end of Abbott Street, all the way down to the intersection at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

As with all California beaches, do ensure that your dog has had all its required up-to-date vaccinations and that it is also displaying a current dog license. Click the following link to see some information about dog vaccinations and dog license requirements.

The only condition of allowing dogs to swim in the sea and run free on the beach without their leashes, is that dog owners must clean up after their dogs – which should be the expected behavior anyway!

#4  Gorgeous Views From Dog Beach In San Diego

Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the mouth of San Diego Bay - photo taken by NOAA on Unsplash
Old Point Loma Lighthouse at the mouth of San Diego Bay – photo courtesy of NOAA on Unsplash

Once on Dog Beach in San Diego, there are some simply gorgeous views to be had. Notably, Cabrillo National Monument, at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula.

First established in 1913, the Cabrillo National Monument is named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Spanish-born explorer, who led the first European expedition to set foot on what is now the west coast of the United States.

Along with some fantastic vistas and wonderful walking trails, the monument also has a charming memorial statue to Cabrillo and his crew, and the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which has become one of the main visitor attractions in recent years.

One of the longest piers on the US west coast, Ocean Beach Pier is at the far southern end of Ocean Beach. Built in 1966, this huge architectural marvel is 1,971 feet (601 metres) in length, making it the longest concrete pier in the world.

Ocean Beach Pier is the perfect spot for fishing and the great thing about it is that you don’t even need to have a California fishing license to fish there.

Please note that, although Ocean Beach Pier was closed for repairs in the first half of 2021, it partially reopened on Friday May 28th, 2021.

#5  Dog-friendly Hotels Near Dog Beach In San Diego

Photo of a hotel sign - photo taken by Shimbhu Saini from Pixabay
San Diego hotel sign – photo courtesy of Shimbhu Saini on Pixabay

Looking slightly farther afield, there are lots of excellent dog-friendly hotels in San Diego too.

Ocean Villa Inn: The fabulous dog-friendly Ocean Villa Inn is just a stone’s throw away from Dog Beach in San Diego. In fact, the hotel not only allows dogs, but it specifically caters to them, with such wonderful amenities as a grassy dog-walking area, a communal fenced-in dog run and even a luxurious dog wash, fully stocked with shampoo and towels, so that you can REALLY pamper your pooch!

Ocean Villa Inn also offers all its 4-legged guests complimentary dog treats and a special doggie care package. What more could you and your dog ask for?!

Ocean Beach Hotel: Occupying a perfect beachfront location on the corner of Abbott Street and Newport Avenue, the Ocean Beach Hotel in San Diego is the ideal spot for you and your pooch to relax and unwind. All of the ground floor Patio Rooms in this delightful hotel are dog-friendly, and without you having to pay an additional fee.

In fact, the hotel has dedicated its entire first floor to dog-friendly rooms! And many of these rooms have their own enclosed private patio – simply perfect for you and your pooch!

And not only are you literally just steps away from the beautiful sandy beach, but you’re also just steps away from Newport Avenue, one of the main streets in Ocean Beach for both shopping and dining, with a veritable plethora of stores, cafes, restaurants and bars to choose from. 

An Upmarket Dog-Friendly Hotel And Resort

Kona Kai Resort & Spa: For a dog-friendly hotel in San Diego that exudes modern luxury, the Kona Kai Resort & Spa is just 5 miles away on Shelter Island, a pretty spit of land jutting out into San Diego Bay.

This upmarket hotel and resort not only has an outdoor swimming pool and a jacuzzi to enjoy, but it also has its own private beach that you and your pooch can make full use of – fabulous for a bit of luxury pampering!

Fun fact: In Hawaiian, Kona Kai means “The sea of Kona”. Kailua-Kona is a town of around 15,000 people on the west coast of Hawaii Island, commonly known as the Big Island. It is the largest town on the west side of the island and contains Hawaii’s oldest Christian church. The phrase can also mean “sea of the leeward side”.

#6  Dog-friendly Restaurants And Cafes

Store sign saying San Diego - Americas Finest City - photo taken by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels
Store sign saying San Diego – Americas Finest City – photo courtesy of Stephen Niemeier on Pexels

There are lots of dog-friendly restaurants and cafes in San Diego. These are some of our favorites.

Plant Power Fast Food: At 2204 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, right on the corner of Voltaire Street, is this fabulous fast food restaurant that is proud to serve only 100% plant-based products, including burgers, fries, and shakes.

Their signature burgers include The Holy Guacamole, The Rambler and The Big Zac, and their tasty breakfasts are served daily until 11am. They are very dog-friendly and allow dogs inside the restaurant.

Breakfast Republic: A few blocks back from Ocean Beach Pier Parking, at 4839 Newport Avenue, this great little chain cafe is fast becoming one of the top spots in Southern California to enjoy the most important meal of the day.

Currently open daily from 7am to 3pm (in December 2021), Breakfast Republic was recently voted as the home to the “Reader’s Choice Best Breakfast” by the clued-up readers of San Diego Magazine.

Newbreak Coffee and Cafe: This lively and friendly cafe is located at 1959 Abbott Street, just across from the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station. The outdoor seating area in front of the cafe is dog-friendly. The extensive menu includes breakfast bowls, egg specials, open face bagels and healthy wraps.

#7  Dog-friendly Bars

San Diego city skyline at night - photo taken by David Mark from Pixabay
San Diego city skyline at night – photo courtesy of David Mark on Pixabay

There is an abundance of dog-friendly bars in San Diego, catering for many different tastes. These are some of our favorites.

Ocean Beach Brewery: Just along from Ocean Beach Pier Parking, at 5041 Newport Avenue, the OB Brewery has rapidly become one of the top craft beer spots in San Diego. Some of the core beers on offer here include such fabulous names as Hop On Board, Hidden Gem, Staring At The Clock and our favorite, Couples Therapy!

They also have a great food menu, with salads, burgers and a Happy Hour Menu available from 3pm to 6pm, Monday through Friday. The OB Brewery is incredibly dog-friendly and if you and your favorite canine companion are looking for gorgeous, relaxing, rooftop ocean views, then this is most definitely the place for you!

South Beach Bar & Grille: Directly across from the Ocean Beach Hotel parking lot is the South Beach Bar & Grille. Since opening its doors in 1992, this fantastic San Diego bar and restaurant has always attracted a lively mix of locals and visitors alike.

More than 40 different beers are available here, including a huge selection of microbrews. And if you’re a tequila lover, then you’re in for a real treat, as the bar featured 22 different tequilas at last count!

This is a great dog-friendly bar close to Dog Beach in San Diego and the views of the Pacific Ocean from here are simply stunning. The staff here are extremely friendly and have even been known to prepare food for your dog – but you have to ask them nicely!

A Large, Modern, Dog-Friendly Pub in San Diego

Raglan Public House: At the intersection of Bacon Street and Niagara Avenue, just a few hundred feet from Ocean Beach Pier, is Raglan Public House, a large, modern pub, with a New Zealand-themed menu.

First opened in Ocean Beach in 2012, this hip establishment specializes in 100% organic, grass-fed beef burgers, many with catchy New Zealand-inspired names, such as Queenstown Fave, Kiwilango, and our favorite, Maui Waui.

They also claim to have the best craft beer and cocktails in all of San Diego – a pretty bold claim, considering the stiff competition! Bring your dog and enjoy a craft beer and one of their famous burgers on the beautiful patio.

#8  Dog Vaccinations And Dog License Requirements

Paw prints in the sand - photo taken by Katrina S from Pixabay
Paw prints in the sand on Dog Beach in San Diego – photo courtesy of Katrina S on Pixabay

The San Diego County Department of Animal Services requires the owner of every dog older than 3 months to vaccinate their dog against rabies. As of June 2021, a rabies vaccination for your dog costs $10, and a microchip costs $20. Click the following link for the official up-to-date information on dog vaccinations in San Diego County.

By law, all dogs must be licensed. Your dog’s first license must be purchased before it is 5 months old, or if you’re new to the area and your dog is older than 5 months, then within 30 days of your move.

As of June 2021, dog license fees for altered dogs cost $18 for 1 year, $33 for 2 years and $45 for 3 years. For unaltered dogs, the license fees are somewhat higher, costing $36 for 1 year, $66 for 2 years and $90 for 3 years.

The dog license fees help the San Diego County Department of Animal Services carry out their excellent work, including promoting animal welfare, health and safety and helping to pay for the care of lost and orphaned pets.

#9  Facilities On And Around Dog Beach In San Diego

A dog standing on Dog Beach in San Diego - photo taken by Alex Rybin on Unsplash
A dog standing on Dog Beach in San Diego – photo courtesy of Alex Rybin on Unsplash

The facilities here are excellent. Here is a list of what to expect when you visit:

Beach Area: A huge, mile-long beach for you and your dog to enjoy!

Admission Fee: Dog Beach in San Diego is completely free of charge!

Opening Hours: The beach is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Parking: Lots of free parking spaces at the official Dog Beach Parking Lot. 3 other parking lots close by. Lots of street parking is also available

Popularity: This can be a very popular spot, especially at weekends. Weekdays are quieter. Early mornings and evenings are also quieter times to enjoy Dog Beach in San Diego

Dogs: Yes, of course!

Beach Rules: Completely off-leash at all times. Your dog can run around the beach all day long! The only condition is that you act like a responsible dog owner and clean up after your dog

Swimming: Yes

Surfing: Yes

Lifeguards: Yes

Bike Parking: Yes

Good For Groups: Yes

Good For Kids: Yes

Drinking Water: There are several drinking water fountains for both dogs and humans dotted around the beach

Restrooms: Yes, on the main Ocean Beach

Trash Cans: Several dotted around the beach

More Facilities On And Around Dog Beach In San Diego

Cafes and Restaurants: There are lots of dog-friendly restaurants and cafes just a couple of blocks away

Bars: Lots of dog-friendly bars close by

Dog-friendly Hotels: Several dog-friendly hotels close to Dog Beach in San Diego and many more within a few miles

Picnic Area: There is a grassy picnic area on the other side of the parking lot

Fire Pits: On the main Ocean Beach, there are 8 fire pits that can be used by the public any time from 5am right up until 12 midnight. Fires are allowed on Ocean Beach from March 1st through October 31st 

Volleyball: The Ocean Beach Volleyball Courts are located on the south side of the Dog Beach Parking Lot

Showers: Unfortunately, there are no showers for dogs

Dog Wash: The excellent Dog Beach Dog Wash is located just a couple blocks away, at 4933 Voltaire Street

Privacy: As people are allowed to bring their dog to the beach at any time of day or night, there is very little privacy

Beach Address: 5156 West Point Loma Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92107

Official Website: https://oceanbeachsandiego.com/attractions/beaches/dog-beach

#10  Map Of Dog Beach In San Diego

Map of Dog Beach in San Diego, California, USA
Map of Dog Beach in San Diego – courtesy of Google Maps

#11  Conclusion

Dalmatian on a San Diego dog beach - photo taken by Jodie Louise from Pexels
Dalmatian on a San Diego dog beach – photo courtesy of Jodie Louise on Pexels

Dog Beach in San Diego is perhaps the perfect spot for dogs of all shapes and sizes to forge new canine friendships. As a dog owner, you’d be hard pressed to find a friendlier, more welcoming place for both you and your dog.

The Original Dog Beach is definitely a place where you can both relax, have tons of fun, walk or run around to your heart’s content, and simply enjoy each other’s company. Which is surely what owning a dog is all about!

It’s true to say that Dog Beach is much more than just a dog-friendly beach – it’s a genuine San Diego tradition! In the words of both local residents and visitors alike: This is the perfect dog beach – a happy, friendly, welcoming place, where doggie dreams are made!

So what do YOU think? Is Dog Beach in San Diego YOUR favorite dog beach? Let us know by leaving a comment – we’d love to hear from you.

Things change all the time, so if any of the information in this article is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know – just leave us a comment below. Many thanks!

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Beach in San Diego

What’s the address of Dog Beach in San Diego?

Dog Beach in San Diego is located at 5156 West Point Loma Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92107

What are the opening hours of Dog Beach in San Diego?

Dog Beach in San Diego, also known as Ocean Beach Dog Beach and The Original Dog Beach, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – there are no hourly restrictions.

Where’s the parking lot at Dog Beach in San Diego?

The Dog Beach Parking Lot in San Diego is situated at the west end of West Point Loma Boulevard. The zip code is CA 92107.

Do you have to pay to park at Dog Beach in San Diego?

No, you don’t have to pay. Admission and parking are free. Get there early to find a parking spot, though. Dog Beach in San Diego is a popular place and it can get very busy there, particularly in the summer months and at weekends.
Lots of street parking is also available. Street parking is available all along Newport Avenue, from the beachfront Ocean Beach Hotel at the end of Abbott Street, all the way down to the intersection at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Does my dog have to be on a leash at Dog Beach in San Diego?

No. As long as you and your furry friend keep to the north of the Ocean Beach Bike Path, and avoid the area between the path and the beach pier, then your dog can run around completely off-leash.
In fact, Ocean Beach Dog Beach in San Diego (more commonly known simply as Dog Beach) was one of the first official leash-free beaches in the country.

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