“A dog reflects the family life. Whoever saw a frisky dog in a gloomy family, or a sad dog in a happy one? Snarling people have snarling dogs, dangerous people have dangerous ones.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Del Mar Dog Beach, Ca. is one of the most fun, entertaining places to go in San Diego…even if you don’t have a dog! Our two Labradoodles (Read more about them here!) have been down to Dog Beach with my fiancé, Patrick, on several occasions, but last week was my first visit with them! Check out this website for more information about Dog Beach, officially known as Del Mar‘s North Beach. There aren’t tons of parking spaces, but there are meters that have shorter limits, so there are usually a few spots available. There is no formal parking lot, but Highway 101 is a long stretch of road, and you can park anywhere along it close to the northern end of Del Mar‘s stunning beaches. You can also buy a $4 all-day pass from the little pay-and-display-your-ticket box at the top of Camino del Mar, just before Villa de la Valle (via Del Mar Guide). When I visited Del Mar Dog Beach last week for the first time, I parked right along the highway within a two minute walk and headed down to the sand!
Once I was on the beach, I saw various volleyball courts that are setup for anyone to play on. Patrick’s daughter, Ella, mentioned that Del Mar Dog Beach is one of her favorite places to play volleyball in the summer!(Read the article here!) People were playing volleyball, Smashball, sunbathing, and of course, walking their dogs. Our dogs immediately knew where we were and walked as far ahead as they could on their leashes. Earlier that day, my son and I picked up some adjustable leashes that you can make longer or shorter, so that the dogs could wander out a bit without me having to worry about them running away on the beach. I know that our dog Creampuff especially likes to wander around off of her leash, so I figured it would be better just to keep them connected. You can read more about the exact leash laws at Dog Beach here, but the summary of the laws is that you have to be able to control your dog while they are off the leash, and you cannot let your dog off a leash from June 16th through Labor Day. I tried hard to keep the leashes untangled, but even after just two minutes on the beach it was almost too much to handle with both dogs. There were so many other dogs on the beach running up to our dogs to say hello, fetching toys and enjoying the ocean waves. There were more than 20 different breeds there and dogs of all sizes. It was so delightful to see everyone having fun and all of the dogs getting along. (Tip: Don’t bring any toys to Dog Beach for your dog. Any toy you throw will end up in another dog’s mouth getting carried away to a random spot on the beach, and you will end up having to search diligently for it.)
Finally after five strenuous minutes trying to keep my Labradoodles from running away, a man came up to me and told me they probably felt uncomfortable on leashes, and that it would be totally fine if I let them run wild. I panicked inside, imagining Cocoapuff going too far in the water and getting swept off to sea, or Creampuff running down the beach all the way to Torrey Pines or La Jolla! I tried to reason with the man, telling him I wasn’t sure they would really listen too well, but his reply was, “They’re good dogs, right? They’ll listen, don’t worry.” So I mustered up the courage and unhooked their leashes. They immediately knew they were free to roam the beach, and they took full advantage of it, sprinting away at top speed. My heart skipped a beat, and I chased them around making sure they were staying close to me. Surprisingly, they did listen very well, and they LOVED getting to explore the sandy coast! Their ears were flopping around and their tongues were hanging out of their mouths. They jumped in the waves, ran along the shore, and met every single other dog on the beach! My son started to build a sandcastle and every time a dog would come running by he would guard it to make sure it didn’t get trampled on. All of the dogs were very polite and friendly, and even dogs that were bigger than my son came up to lick his face and say hello.
After 30 or 40 minutes Creampuff and Cocoapuff both came over to our towel panting and laid down to rest. We had such a wonderful experience at Dog Beach; it is one of the easiest places for any dog to meet new friends and run full speed in the wind and sand. If you’re new to San Diego and have a pooch, make sure to bring them by Del Mar Dog Beach (as long as they listen to you when they are off their leash), and if you don’t have a dog, visit just for the experience. It is truly a spectacle to see close to 100 dogs mingling and having the time of their lives in San Diego! Oh, and make sure you visit soon; in less than a week no one can let their dog off their leash, even at Del Mar Beach!