Dog Friendly Beaches In Central California

Dog friendly beaches that allow dogs off-leash

Central California Dog Friendly Beaches

Dog Friendly Beaches – Everybody loves the beach! Especially dogs! Finding a beach that allows dogs, though, isn’t always easy. Here’s a easy to use resource for finding dog beaches in Central California.

Chihuahuas playing on the beach


Dogs and beaches seem to go together.

It is a joy to see a pooch chasing the surf, digging in the sand or just enjoying the exhilaration of being able to run without fences.

Some Central California Beaches Allow Dogs To Run Off-Leash

There are a number of beaches here in Central California where you and your dog can take in the soothing atmosphere that is uniquely found at the beach.

There are even a few beaches where your best friend can enjoy the surf leash-free.


Before we get to the list of beaches, it is necessary to cover basic dog etiquette. Now these are things that you already know and follow, but just for safety’s sake we’ll restate them. Some beaches which previously allowed dogs have now banned them mainly because some people ignored these simple and courteous rules.

Basic Dog Etiquette for the Beach

  • Keep your dog leashed (6 foot leash max.) unless the beach expressly allows dogs unleashed;
  • If the beach allows dogs unleashed, your dog MUST be under good voice command;
  • Always clean up after your dog (carry their litter away, don’t bury it);
  • Allow your dog to approach other dogs or people ONLY if invited;
  • Always keep your dog in sight if unleashed;
  • The California State Parks (and some other beaches) require you to have proof of rabies vaccination for your dog. It’s a good idea to keep it with you.

Why Dogs Aren’t Allowed On Some Beaches

There are a number of Central California beaches where dogs are banned. It is not a spiteful thing, nor rules which haven’t been well thought out.

The main reason dogs aren’t allowed on these beaches is the Snowy Plover. This little bird is listed as threatened. Their preferred nesting sites are sand spits, dune-backed beaches, beaches at creek and river mouths, and salt pans at lagoons and estuaries, all of which describes a fair amount of the beaches in the southern section of Central California.

The plovers scrape little nests right in the sand from March to September which is when access is limited on these beaches.

Western Snowy plover

The Western Snowy Plover

Dog Friendly Beaches in Central California

BeachCountyLeash Required?Proof of Rabies shot?Comments:Jalama BeachSanta BarbaraYesYesSmall entry fee required for dogsOceano Dunes SVRASan Luis ObispoYesYesPismo BeachSan Luis ObispoYesYesDogs not allowed on the pierAvila Beach – Fisherman’s BeachSan Luis ObispoNoNoAKA “Dog Beach”Avila Beach – Old Port BeachSan Luis ObispoNoNoCayucos State BeachSan Luis ObispoYesYesFrom south end of Studio Drive north to the Cayucos Pier (~ 2.5 miles)Pfeiffer BeachMontereyYesNoA great beach, but hard to find. Be sure to check out the link to the left for directions.Garrapata State BeachMontereyYesYesThis State Park was scheduled to close on July 1, 2012, but will stay open with volunteer and other public sector assistance.Carmel River State BeachMontereyYesYesCarmel City BeachMontereyNoNoBest Dog Friendly Beach in Central CaliforniaAsilomar State BeachMontereyYesYesPacific GroveMonterey State BeachMontereyYesYesDogs are allowed only South of the Monterey Beach Resort hotel.Moss Landing BeachMontereyYesNoThis is NOT Moss Landing State Beach which is north of the harbor entrance. No dogs are allowed at Moss Landing SB. Directions: Highway 1 to Moss Landing Road; right on Sandholdt Road to Salmon Way then left to parking area.

As you can see from the table above, there are quite a number of good beaches which you can enjoy with your dog.

Here are a couple of tips which will help you and your dog have a fun time at the beach:

  • If your dog has a light colored nose, you might want to slather a bit of sunscreen there so it doesn’t burn; and
  • Be sure to bring some fresh water and a dish for your dog. Drinking sea water will make them sick.

Enjoy your time at the dog friendly beaches!

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