Dog Beach Fun & Sun

Lighthouse Field State Beach, (locally known as Its Beach), Santa Cruz

Dogs are allowed on leash on the first beach north from the Lighthouse on West Cliff Drive. Staircase to the beach provides easy access. Beach size depends on the tides. “This beach has gone to the dogs”. Also known as dog beach and is a weekend favorite for many dog owners. Spacious parking lot right across the street.


Mitchell’s Cove Beach, Santa Cruz

Dogs are allowed off-leash before 10am and after 4pm at Mitchell’s Cove. The beach is easily accessed off West Cliff Drive with full staircase. Tides can change the size of the beach, and often it is full of kelp and other types of seaweed.


Manresa State Beach, Watsonville

Take the San Andreas Road exit off Highway 1 and follow San Andreas Road to Manresa State Beach. Dogs are only allowed at Manresa State Beach up the coast of the Uplands campground and must be leashed. Long wide beach great for long beach strolls and dog swim/surf opportunities. Lots of access points. 


New Brighton State Beach, Capitola

Dogs are allowed on leash on New Brighton State Beach. Take the Park Avenue exit off of Highway 1. Head toward the ocean. Turn left on McGregor Drive and right into the park. Fun part about this beach is picnic tables that have some shade and the beach is spacious. Campsites available too!


Palm State beach, Watsonville

Leashed dogs are allowed between Pajaro Dunes condos and houses, but not up coast or down the coast from residences. Go past Manresa State Beach on San Andreas Road and continue past Sunset State Beach. Turn right on the Beach Road toward the ocean to find Palm State Beach. Beautiful beach but can be windy. 


Seabright State Beach, Santa Cruz

Dogs are allowed on leash on the north side of the Santa Cruz Harbor at 7th Avenue. Spacious beach close to the harbor and harbor walks too. Parking is easiest early and late day hours. Close by is Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant enjoy the harbor and ocean views. 


Seacliff and Rio Del Mar State Beaches, Aptos

Another spot perfect for the all-day beach trip. Lots of beach to roam and coastal paths available on Seacliff and Rio Del Mar State Beaches. Take the State Park Drive Exit off of Highway 1 and head towards the ocean. Next to New Brighton Beach great for long strolls currently parking is free but it does get crowded. Cafe Rio, Flats Bistro and Pixie Deli have dog-friendly dining options too.


Twin Lakes State Beach, Santa Cruz

Dogs are allowed on a leash on the east side of the Santa Cruz Harbor. Twin Lakes State Beach offers lots of beach and within walking distance to shops and restaurants. Great beach can get chilly. Lots of kids. Fire pits available but also can be hazardous to running dogs. Not my most recommended beach.


Sunny Cove Beach, Santa Cruz

Leashes must be a maximum of 6-feet and dogs cannot be left unattended. Very fun beach with great body surfing but it is small and can get crowded. Great for morning jaunts. Would recommend if visiting the area.