The 5 Most Popular Friendly Dog Beaches of San Diego

Summer is in full swing! Sand, sun and friendly dog beaches, anyone? Taking your dog to the beach is more common now. With more friendly dog beaches in San Diego County, every day should be a beach day for you and your pup.

San Diego County has dog friendly beaches where you can frolic the waves with your pup, without worrying about the “No Dogs Allowed” signs.

Of course, like almost any beach,  there are rules as far as being a responsible pet owner such as picking up after your pet, keeping an eye, etc. 

You can have lots of fun at the beach and finish the day walking the beautiful downtown areas. Some of the dog beaches have beautiful downtown’s where you can grab a bite to eat after your play time and leisurely sit outside. I did this a couple times and my pup loved it.

Except for the puppy-eyes my cockier spaniel was giving me, we had an awesome time! Of course, with almost any beach, there are precautions you should take into account.

Read below as we breakdown what the most popular dog beaches are to take your pup. 

Top dog friendly beaches in SD that will love your dog

Ocean Beach in San Diego

Ocean beach has been known as one of the very first dog beaches in San Diego that rose back in 1959. The town council continues to support this legacy by allowing dogs to mingle with their owners and surfers without boundaries.  

This beach is one of the most popular beaches in all of San Diego for pups. This beach loves them as much as your dog will too. You will find plenty and plenty of friends for your dogs to play with.

It is worth the drive if you have never been there. Summer does get a lot busier and a lot nicer. Although parking can be limited.

  • Distance from SD Airport: 4-5 miles
  • Rules: off-leash at all times

Coronado Dog Beach in San Diego

One of my favorite dog friendly beaches of all times.

I do love this dog beach and I would most definitely make the drive to it. The western end of this beach belongs to your pups.

It is located along Ocean Boulevard between Sunset Park and the naval base. So if you walk to the end you can see the dividing rope fence that ends the dog park area.

The other end of it is the Naval Air Station side. My pup used to slip under the fence area and I have to call her back.

Just keep your eye on your little pup as they love to mingle everywhere. 

The nice thing about this beach is that there is great surfing, fire rings for bonfires, and awesome views. The beach is open 24 hours a day, but of course I would not recommend going at night. It’s just plain scary. 

Also if you do plan on staying somewhere nearby, I have heard many recommendations of Hotel Coronado located right behind this beach. I, for one, have never been there, but I have heard it is beautiful as it is historic. Something you may want to check out. 

Photo by Justin Aikin

Coronado dog-friendly beach is one of those beaches that does have dog rules. For one, you cannot have your dog off leash until you reach the sand. If you do, you can incur a $500 fee. 

Read more about what to expect when visiting Coronado Dog Friendly Beach.

  • Distance from SD Airport: 15miles
  • Rules: Off leash; when they touch the sand ONLY

Del Mar Beach in San Diego

Del Mar Dog Beach that has been a home to many dogs for years. This beach is one of the most popular dog beaches for your pups to enjoy.

It is filled with happy dogs running everywhere just having the time of their lives. A must go!  

It is half a mile long and stretches all the way to Solana Beach. This beach is one of those interesting beach rules you have to be aware of before you go. 

Photo by Andrew Pons

There are many on-leash and off-leash rules that you need to keep in mind. Which can get kind of confusing if you have never been.

Pretty much, in the summer you must keep your dog leashed at all times. So your looking at June 15 through Labor day.

On other non peak days you can keep your dogs off lease from sunrise to sunset. 

If it still sounds confusing, then read this article right here as i breakdown exactly what you have to know in order to keep things right when you visit with your pup. 

  • Rules:  Leashed dogs (6-foot leash max) = year-round
  • Off leash (seasonal) Labor Day – June 15
  • Distance from SD Airport: 24miles

Fiesta Island on Mission Bay

It is true, this may not be a complete dog BEACH per say, but it is the closest thing you can get to a beach. The beach part of it does not allow dogs necessarily, but its neighboring BAY will. And let’s not mention it is very popular among people and dogs. 

Most of the Island is considered “Dog Island” which is why a lot of people know this as a go-to place for you pups to run, chase, and play. 

The nice thing about this dog island is that there is a grassy interior for your dogs to run in. So it is not all dirt and rocks. 

There really is no excuse to picking up after your pup. There are poop bags at the entrance of the dog area. Grab a few and keep an eye on your pet.

But at the same time do not forget to enjoy the beautiful views of downtown, Sea World and of course Mission Bay!

Also it is free to park here. Since you don’t have to worry about paying extra to visit. A plus in my book. 

People also enjoy the camping aspect of Mission Bay which is quite popular among many families. 

Read more about what Camping at Mission Bay offers you here. 

  • Distance from SD Airport: 6 miles (depending which route you take)
  • Rules: off leash

Things to Remember when Visiting a Dog Beach in SD

Photo by Marcus Wallis
  • keep your beaches clean by picking up after you dog/ dispose of your dog’s waste properly; with plenty of waste bin everywhere, there really is no reason why you should be doing this
  • keep your dog on a leash until you reach the beach. Places like Coronado Beach has strict rules and trust me, no nobody wants a ticket.
  • bring plenty of water for your dog. I recommend anywhere from a half gallon to a gallon.
  • a pack extra water for yourself,  I know you will get thirsty too. Running around to catch your pup is also a workout.
  • keep an eye on your stuff; a dog once peed on my backpack while I play with my pup. I don’t think you want to happen to your stuff
  • keep an eye on your pup at all times, some dogs can get aggressive. I’ve seen it first hand. 

Make sure your dog/s are not aggressive and always have your pets vaccinated before you go. You never know what irresponsible pet owner will fail to do so.

Keep your end safe and do not forget to bring plenty of water for your pup. 


San Diego has some of the most popular dog friendly beaches in almost all of California. If you’re even thinking about considering a trip here with your pet or hope to one day visit then be sure you visit one or all of these dog friendly beaches while here.

Both you and your pup won’t regret it. Trust me.

The first dog beach is one of the most friendly dog beaches found in all of San Diego. In fact it was named as the grandfather of all. It has been around for some time.

Trust me, it still falls as the go-to beach in all of San Diego. Ocean Beach dog friendly area is the place to take your pup if you want your pup to be lease-free the entire time. 

Yes. It’s true. 

Your pup doesn’t have to be on leash at all. Of course you still have to make sure you pick up after your pup because nobody likes a messy irresponsible dog owner. Keep this beach clean and everyone also happy. 

The second most popular dog friendly beaches in San Diego is Coronado Dog Beach. The place that most people go to relax and take in the views of Coronado Bridge and its upbeat town.

This beach has an area specifically where you can take advantage of taking your pets and with views of Hotel Del Coronado in the background, you really can’t ask for something more. 

Your pup will enjoy the number of friends it can meet here. One thing that Coronado Beach is strict about is keeping your pup on leash till it reaches the sand.

Make sure you don’t let your pups run free till they reach the sand. Something to note.

Third, Del Mar Beach. One of the biggest dog beaches in all of San Diego. It has popularized overtime for dogs, and there has also been a fight among owners to increase leniency towards the rules.

Nonetheless, it is still a dog beach your pup will adore if you visit.

 I loved taking my dog here and she enjoyed so much. Just keep in mind those tricky rules. Read this article as I breakdown what you should expect when visiting this beach. 

And Finally, Fiesta Island in Mission Bay! This beach is also a dog haven. Though, not necessarily a beach, but it still has a lot of potential fun for you and your pup to enjoy.

After all, this place has not been called “Dog Island for nothing”!

Read this blog to learn what dog accessories we recommend you take with you on the next visit.

So do tell, which dog-friendly beach have you visited in the past?

Jess and Jeanette
About Jess and Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette are two sisters who created Unseen Beaches. This beach travel site was inspired by their family beach vacations while growing up. Helping you discover the best U.S. beach destinations worth visiting, staying, and eating at.

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️


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