Humans crave physical activity outside every once in a while, it would only make sense that dogs would too! What better way to connect with nature than being outside with your favorite companion? Luckily, in dog-friendly areas like Southern California, there are plenty of parks and beaches you can take your dog to. After a hearty raw dog food breakfast, take your dog out to burn some energy. Just don’t forget the poop bags!
This dog park is quietly tucked away behind the OC fairgrounds in an area that only locals know about. Luckily, it is still listed as a public park and your map should be able to take you right to it with plenty of parking around the area. It is hard to miss a wide gated area with dogs happily playing together. If you have concerns about your pup running with the big dogs, there is a separate mini bark park area for dogs under 30lbs or older canines. Not too far from the Bark Park is a dog-friendly Tewinkle Park (link), a lovely open space with a large pond full of wildlife you and your dog can stroll through afterwards. Another bonus, the Costa Mesa Bark Park is very close to Cali Raw! Come on over for local pickup and get your dog's food for the month!
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Park Hours: 7:30 am - 8:45 pm; Thursday - Tuesday; Closed all day Wednesdays
Another wide, open space for unleashed dogs of all sizes to frolick through the grassy and/or dirt areas. Separated areas for big and small dogs, you can watch your dog socialize and play safely with others their size. Amenities include dog drinking fountains, poop bags and scoopers as well! Amenities for humans include plenty of parking, some chairs and a public restroom adjacent to the dog park!
Park Hours: Open every day, except Wednesday, from dawn to dusk, weather permitting.
This park was beautifully renovated with artificial grass and separate gated entries for big and small dogs. Dogs are encouraged to be unleashed to properly socialize with others just be sure to leash them when you leave the gated areas. Water stations and poop bags are also available here to encourage guests to keep the park clean.
Park Hours: 7 am - 5 pm everyday
The entire Civic Center Park is a dog-friendly area that just so happens to have a dog park within it! Feel free to walk around the perimeter full of flower bushes and trails that lead up to the dog park before unleashing them in the designated area. With dirt patches, synthetic grass spots, and shaded areas under trees, your dog can decide how dusty or clean they want to come out of the park. If you need to run some shopping errands after the park, Fashion Island (link) is about a 10-minute walk away from the park that happens to be a dog-friendly outdoor mall.
Park Hours: Open every day 7 am - 6 pm except Wednesdays are open 9 am - 6 pm
This park is a little smaller than the rest of them and therefore does not offer a separate play area for big and small dogs. The idea is to hopefully socialize dogs of all shapes and sizes together in a supervised area where owners can keep an eye on their playful pooch. With beautiful views of the ocean and the city of Dana Point, it is sure to be a spot that you’ll want to come back to enjoy some fresh air with your furry friend! Don’t forget to bring the water bowl to keep your dog and yourself hydrated during exercise.
Park Hours: Every day 6 am - 10 pm
This one might sound familiar, mentioned in our previous blog “California’s Best Dog-Friendly Restaurants” (link) the gated leash-free dog park is a few walks away from The Park Bench Cafe. An ideal day at this large central park would be to take laps along the park trail, next grab some lunch at the dog-friendly cafe (with a dog menu included), then make your way over to the dog park to burn that last bit of energy. With separated areas for big and small dogs, there are plenty of places your dog can sniff around, and even a dog walk of fame along the fence to admire!
Park Hours: Every Day 5 am - 10 pm
A public dog park that is conveniently located in a safe environment for play, socialization, and exercise! There is a separate small dog area that is considered quite small, feel free to bring your smaller pup into the larger main play area to run freely. But, if your pooch is quite timid and shy the small dog pen is probably safer for them. If you forgot your water bowl don’t worry! There are some buckets provided next to a faucet so your dog can stay hydrated after running amuck. Or if they prefer drinking from the running water that’s fine too.
Park Hours: Closed Monday and Friday Mornings open from 12 pm - 8 pm; Every other day is open from 7 am - 8 pm
Here’s a fun place to run around in grass, concrete, dirt, or woodchip areas for your dog! Although they probably don’t care as long as they are unleashed and running freely, it’s nice to have options. There are benches in the shade, some obstacles including a large tire and even some boulders to jump around so your dog can stay active. Watching the dogs have so much fun you might even want to join in yourself!
Park Hours: Park is closed every Wednesday, be sure to check their website for varying park hours.
This Irvine bark park offers tons of space for dogs of all shapes and sizes. The main area allows dogs both big and small to socialize with each other while the smaller and more fragile dogs have a small gated area if needed. Grass, trees, and dirt provided, it’s everything a dog needs to get some fresh air and exercise. Poop bags and a water faucet area is available to use freely.
Park Hours: Every day 6:30 am - 10 pm except closed on Wednesdays
Dog beaches are the perfect spot for humans and dogs to both co-exist with the ocean we are all fortunate to live by. With no gates or fences to cage your dog, there is truly a sense of freedom that comes with taking them to the beach every once in a while. With beaches, there are no restrictions on what kind of dog is allowed and certainly no division of small and large pets. Dog beaches should be for dogs that are highly socialized and are trained by voice command. So don’t forget the water, poop bags, and those venison jerky treats because by the end of the day, your dog will need to be carried to the car after so much playing!
This beach is famously known for being one of the first leash-free dog beaches in California! Dogs, surfers, and tourists can all get together to enjoy the warm sun, crashing waves, and playful pups. The best part is you can even teach your dog how to swim in the ocean. Who knows, by the end of the day, your dog might be a professional surfer! This beach only has street parking available so try to get there early to snag a spot.
On low tide days, North Beach has very gentle waters with rocks for adventurous dogs to climb over and maybe even explore a tide pool. The Del Mar community is very dog friendly but during the busy Summer months, dogs are expected to be on a leash. The rest of the year you can bring your dog leash-free! In the fall, the Helen Woodward Animal Center hosts the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon (link) and offers Surf and Stand up Paddle Board lessons (link) so you and your dog can enjoy quality time together participating in water sports.
This is technically a park that overlooks the ocean on a cliff with stunning views of Laguna Beach, but there are stairs that take you directly to the ocean and you can definitely bring your dog too! Unfortunately, they do have to be leashed at all times and there are restrictions in the busy Summer months when you cannot bring your dog. But most local Southern Californians know to stay away from the touristy beach in the Summer anyway. So, feel free to bring your dog any other time of year to enjoy a sunset or a quick stroll on the sand.
Known as the most dog-friendliest beaches, this is a 1.5 mile stretch of beach that is dedicated for dogs to roam free, supervised by their owners of course. The Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach (link) is a nonprofit organization that offers guidelines for bringing dogs to the beach. Proper dog etiquette is required and of course, humans are encouraged to clean up after their pets. The famous So-Cal Corgi Nation meets here so check out their calendar to see when the corgis will meet next! Keep an eye out for the Surf City Surf Dog competition to see some dogs shred some waves too.
Welcome to the only dog-friendly off leash beach in all of LA county! From 6 am to 8 pm dogs are allowed to socialize, exercise and swim in the ocean with their owners. Nearby showers can be used to rinse off the saltwater and sand from their fur after a full day at the beach. Remember to keep the beaches clean so you and your dog can keep coming back to play on sunny days in Southern California!