1.13 Turning the Dog Beach into a Family Date Day

A funny thing (to me) about LA is that the number of people who own dogs is extremely high, while the number of apartments that allow dogs and/or have a yard for said dogs is extremely low. Lucky enough for us, we have all three: a dog, an apartment that allows dogs, and a big fenced in yard for our pup to run around in. I think LA knows that this is absurd – or at least the Southbay does – and so they make up for it with a pretty good selection of dog parks in the area.

But one thing that I’ve found extra peculiar, is that dogs aren’t allowed on the beaches. They’re allowed on the strand that parallels the beaches, but not on the sand itself. And they must always be leashed.

Restaurants are all very supportive of dog ownership – anyplace that has a patio most certainly allows you to bring your pup to your table – and you can almost always find a water bowl every couple of storefronts. Even a couple of the small local businesses have let me bring my pup inside.

So why not make the beaches dog friendly? Safety and cleanliness I suppose. Nevertheless, you don’t have to go far to find a good dog-friendly beach.

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Al and I knew that when we adopted our crazy bull terrier pup, Marty, back in April, that he was going to require a lot of work and even more attention. That’s just the nature of the breed. What we didn’t know, however, is that he would pretty much despise walking on his leash (anyone out there have any pointers? We are making progress, even if that progress is extremely slow). Needless to say, we’ve become big fans of our local dog parks. Al and I switch off pretty much every morning with who takes him to the park before work for an hour. We were dead set since the beginning on socializing our little guy and getting him more than enough exercise so that we wouldn’t run into any problems later on down the road. And it’s most definitely paid off – he is the sweetest, friendliest little pup I’ve ever known…his best friends are Huskies, German Shepards, and teeny tiny Frenchies. We also try and send him to puppy camp once a week or so – the staff at Camp Run A Mutt in Gardena are our absolute favorites, and there’s no one else we trust more with our little man when we go on trips for a few days at a time!

But weekends are when we really like to step out of our routine and let our Marty run – whether it be on a hike, a weekend trip, or an afternoon spent at the dog beach. There are two off-leash dog beaches just south of us in Orange County: Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach and Huntington Dog Beach in Huntington Beach. Our favorite though, is definitely Huntington.

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Why We Love Huntington Dog Beach:

  • It’s a quick 25-30 minute drive on the weekends from where we live.
  • Parking is easy with a few different lots, and affordable – they let you pay with cash or card!
  • It’s huge. As soon as Marty sees the place, he gets super excited and just runs down along the water for a good half mile or so before he starts to just chill out. We don’t have to worry about him entering a “no dog zone” like at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach.
  • It sits far and below the road – From the parking lot, you actually walk downwards to the beach, so it’s shielded from the busy road with big rocks/cliffs, making it safer if your dog is an escape artist 😉
  • It’s clean. The Dog Beach has an incredible source of volunteers who pick up the beach weekly, so you’re not stepping on trash and your dog isn’t eating it either 😉
  • There’s a pretty big gaggle of surfers there…and they all love dogs.
  • Everyone we’ve met there has been nothing short of friendly – both two legged and four legged!
  • Bathrooms are easily accessible.
  • There are a wide array of picnic benches and tables up along the super nice bike path – perfect to have a picnic on after running around with your four-legged friend!
  • The area is cool. Huntington Beach rocks.


Our Ideal Weekend Date Day:

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Marty is one of those dogs who, once you get him out for a good bit, pretty much snoozes the rest of the day. So in that regard, he’s easy as long as you get him moving early on. Al and I have found that when we take him to Huntington, it’s easy to turn it into an enjoyable little date afternoon. We’ll run him around for a good while, then we’ll set up a picnic with whatever food we had around the house – usually sandwiches and fruit and crackers – and we’ll take in the gorgeous coastal views. Alex and I kept commenting about how nice it was to do something so simple together, about how a date day as wonderful as this one didn’t require any money to be spent. Live simply; enjoy fully.

On another dog beach occasion, my neighbor Lauren and I took our pups for a beer at Riip Beer Co. just about two miles from the beach. (I wanted to take Al here, but he had a super long run the next day and so he was trying to *hydrate…not dehydrate 😉 ) They don’t look like much from the outside (they sit in a strip mall), but they are totally cool and awesome on the inside. And they’re dog friendly, both on the patio and indoors. They allow outside food, and even provide you with a couple of local menus, and they make their own dog treats and give you an entire baggy of them for your pooch. The inside is filled with lots of “Best Of Huntington Beach” ribbons, and the tables are etched and drawn on, and the whole place just has this really cool laid-back local vibe that I love. My favorite beer of theirs thus far is called “Hippy Lettuce,” and it’s an IPA.

And when it’s all said and done, we drive back and are home by mid-afternoon with a pooped pooch, and we’re set to enjoy the rest of our day!

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So, if you’ve got a husband who likes beer, and a pup who enjoys running around in the sand and sunshine (and maybe even enjoys swimming too, although ours doesn’t!) then I think I just gave you the perfect Sunday Funday! You’re welcome 😉


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