Dog Rules for Parks and Beaches in San Diego

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These are the official dog rules for Mission and Pacific Beach and all San Diego parks, and beaches as written by the city of San Diego municipal code. The main things to understand is dogs are NOT allowed on the beach, except for certain accepted hours.

  • Dogs are NOT allowed on the beach:
    • From November 1 through March 31, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • From April 1 through October 31, between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m
  • At all other hours, dogs must be leashed.
  • Owners are expected to pick up after their dog.
  • Dogs are prohibited at other hours of the day, except at Dog Beach (adjacent to Ocean Beach) and Fiesta Island (in Mission Bay).

No Dogs on the Beach

Let’s break these rules down one by one and get to the meaning of each rule:

First it can be a bit confusing because dogs are actually allowed on the beach, just in certain hours during the day when less people are likely to be at the beach.  As long as the time is after 4pm during winter (6pm during summer) and before 9am, you may have your dog on the beach.


Of course its tempting to let your pup round wild, especially when there is less people around and lifeguards are not yet on duty during the morning or evening hours.  But you should definitely keep in mind that at all times dogs must be leashed.

These days in all urban public areas it goes without saying that dog owners are expected to pick up after their dog. Conveniently placed for you by the city there are free waste bags available at polls and lighting fixtures along the boardwalk.  If you didn’t bring your own, just grab one and you’re on your way to contributing to a cleaner San Diego.

Theres more good news, the city provides many locations specifically designated for dogs, which brings up to our next subject of…

Beaches and Off-Leash Dog Parks

Below are a few dog-friendly parks and beaches in San Diego that are great for your dog to play fetch in the vast sand, perfect its doggy-paddle in the Pacific Ocean or bay, or have a nap under the umbrella in the warm sand.

  • Make sure that your dog is wearing a current license and has all its required, up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Keep your dog on a leash until you get to the designated off-leash area.
  • Please always clean up after your pet.

Dog beaches

  • Dog Beach – Ocean Beach
    (24 hr. off leash) – located at the west end of Voltaire St., this off leash dog beach is one of the most popular in San Diego
  • Fiesta Island – Mission Bay
    Located in Mission Bay Park, dogs are allowed in all areas except for the Youth Campground and Least Tern nesting sites (seasonal). Daily 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM, this area offers calmer waters than the ocean and sand dunes to run on.
  • North Beach Dog Run – Coronado
    (24 hr. off leash) – located on Ocean Blvd. near Sunset Park at the northern end of the beach next to the U.S. Naval Station entrance. Dogs must be leashed until you reach the beach. Foot shower and free dog litter bags at the entrance to the run.
  • Del Mar Dog Beach – Del Mar
    (post-Labor Day thru mid-June off leash) – located at the rivermouth along Highway 101, between 29th Street and Via De La Valle.

Off-leash dog parks & recreation areas by region

Downtown

  • Grape Street Dog Park – South Park
    This 5-acre, unfenced area is available for off-leash use Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 9:00 pm; Saturday – Sunday and Holidays, 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. Located at Grape St. and 28th Street.
  • Morley Field Dog Park – Balboa Park
    (24 hr. off leash) – located northwest of the tennis courts at Morley Field.
  • Nate’s Point – Balboa Park
    (24 hr. off leash) – A large, flat, grassy lawn located at Balboa Dr. off El Prado, on the south side of Cabrillo Bridge.

Mission Bay & Beaches

  • Capehart Dog Park – Pacific Beach
    (24-hr. off leash) – Located at the corner of Felspar and Soledad Mountain Road, this one acre park offers two fenced pens, one for small dogs and one for large or all dogs. The park also includes a drinking fountain, picnic tables and benches, and a parking area.
  • Dusty Rhodes Park – Ocean Beach
    (24-hr. off leash) – A 1.5 acre, fenced area located on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. between Nimitz and West Point Loma Blvd. Closed Mondays, 6:00 – 9:00 am for maintenance.

Mission Valley & Old Town

  • Cadman Community Park – Clairemont
    Located at 4280 Avati Drive, the off leash dog park is unfenced and its hours adjust seasonally. No off leash dogs on the 4th of July or Saturday mornings during Little League season.
  • Kearny Mesa Community Park
    Located at 3170 Armstrong Street, this 1 acre park offers one area for all dogs. Parking can be a challenge during the day as the closest parking lot is used by students attending Mesa College.

La Jolla

  • Doyle Recreation Center – La Jolla
    (24-hr. off leash) – Turn south on Cargil Ave from Nobel and turn left on the second street. This one acre park offers two fenced pens, one for small dogs and one for large or all dogs. The park also includes a drinking fountain, picnic tables and benches.

East County

  • Harry Griffen Park – La Mesa
    Located at 9550 Milden Street, this neighborhood park has a designated acre for off-leash dogs.
  • Wells Park – El Cajon
    Open daily from 7 am to 9 pm and lighted for night use, the 1.4 acre off leash dog park has gravel and grassy sun areas and dual drinking fountains (for pets and their owners). Located in the southwest part of Wells Park at 1153 E. Madison Ave.

North County Coastal

  • San Diego Humane Society and SPCA Dog Park – Oceanside
    Open daily from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, this park features two off leash dog areas, one for more active dogs and one for less active dogs. There are also restrooms, seating, shade and waste bags, but no lighting.
  • Torrey Highlands Dog Park
    One acre park located on Lansdale Drive off Del Mar Heights Road.

North County Inland

  • Poway Dog Park
    Located in the southwest corner of Poway Community Park at 13094 Bowron Road, there are three fenced-in off leash dog areas. The park is open from sunrise to sunset daily, however, lights in the dog park areas continue until 10:00 pm year-round.
  • Rancho Bernardo Off Leash Dog Park
    San Diego’s newest off leash dog park, this 2.5 acre park at 18448 West Bernardo Drive in Rancho Bernardo offers leash free space adjacent to Rancho Bernardo Community Park, and includes additional parking for dog park users. Open dawn to dusk except for maintenance.
  • Rancho Peñasquitos Dog Park
    Open dawn to dusk, this one acre off leash dog park has separate fenced ares for small and large dogs, plus benches. It is located on Salmon River Road at Fairgrove Lane across from the Rancho Peñasquitos Branch Library.

These rules are in place for all dog owners all the time.  Please enjoy the beach!

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