Watching our dog Gregor play with a hundred dogs, all running amuck on the beach, splashing in and out of the ocean, is completely worth the 12+ hour drive from Utah. Which is why we’ve been to the Ocean Beach dog beach twice in the past three years. It has become a tradition, of sorts, for us to make the pilgrimage across the Western states over the Thanksgiving weekend to California. And for the last four years, where we’ve gone has pretty much been based on where our dog could go to a beach. And it has never disappointed.
The Ocean Beach, a quick 15 minute drive from downtown San Diego, is one of our favorite places we’ve been in California. It’s a town that couldn’t be more dog friendly. All the breweries we went to, dogs are allowed inside of and welcomed. All of the restaurants have outdoor seating, which means dogs can accompany you for any meal. Plus, its 70 degrees and sunny every single day, so there isn’t much to complain about. And the main reason why we come here, is their famous Dog Beach.
Their Dog Beach is truly a spectacular experience for any dog (and owner alike). This is one of the country’s first dog beaches, where this famed beach park allows dogs to run free off-leash & swim in the water. As soon as you hit the parking lot, your dog knows they’re in heaven. Very quickly, you can let them off leash, and ready to roam with over a hundred other dogs on a massive swath of beach that measures over 25 acres of freedom. There are no fences or walls, just an imaginary boundary from a sidewalk on one edge and the ocean on all the other sides. For most dogs, this is their first real chance to roam endlessly.
As for my dog, Gregor, a 55lb, medium sized Springer/Heeler breed, gets lost in the pack that is filled with dogs ranging from 10lb toy sized French Bulldogs, to the massive +100lbs large Great Danes and St. Bernards. Of course, not all dogs get along, but that’s the beauty of it, because there’s so many dogs they can just move on to another new friend to make. Each day we’ve gone to the Dog Beach in Ocean Beach, Gregor meets and makes dozens of new friends. He chases them in and out of the ocean, chasing tennis balls, digs holes in the sand, and eventually just plops down on the beach to take a nap. After a day or two of this, in a row, Gregor will legitimately sleep for an entire day straight after having that much fun. Plus, it’s fun for us humans. We bring our beach chairs just to sit and watch our dog play with everyone around, while getting greeted by all the other friendly pups around us.
Well, after our second trip out to Ocean Beach for this, our little dog 100% knows the phrase “Dog Beach” when we say it out loud to him. His ears perk up, his tail wags, and he gets excited. We live over 1,000 miles from the nearest dog beach, but my dog can’t wait for the next opportunity. He’s not alone, I think my wife, Courtney, and I might love the dog beach experience even more than our dog does, and I think you and yours would too!
My name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.