San Francisco is technically a beach town, but it’s not exactly known for fun in the sun. (Lookin’ at you, Karl.) Still, San Francisco has more dogs than children, so the city actually has a decent number of pretty great dog beaches!
In and Around San Francisco
Okay, this is the other contender for “best place to Instagram a photo of your dog in front of the GGB.” Located in the (gorgeous) Presidio, there’s typically ample parking around Crissy Field and it’s a great spot if you want to head out for food afterwards. Your dog is allowed off-leash in certain, well-marked spots, and there’s a huge, well, field where your dog can run around, too.
Baker Beach is arguably the best spot in town to get a pic of your dog in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, but it’s not a huge beach. It can get crowded, especially on weekends, and dogs must remain on-leash. Rip-tides are strong here, so swimming’s not recommended!
Not only is Fort Funston easy to get to, it’s huge! Parking is usually pretty easy and your dog is welcome to roam off-leash. Just beware of rip tides and other off-leash dogs, which there are always at least a few of at this picturesque cliff side spot.
Does your dog like mazes? Lands End, located directly off the PCH by the Sutro Baths, offers several smallish hikes and a compact off-leash beach open to dogs. There’s a lot to see along the way (including a rock maze and some great GGB views!) but know there are a lot of steps; this is not a good beach for dogs with joint issues.
Stinson Beach is one of the Bay Area’s classic day-trips. It’s a great place to sit and watch people play watersports and the adorable town of Stinson Beach has charm to spare. Plan your trip as early in the day as possible to beat the throngs of other beachgoers, and know that your dog must remain on-leash at all times.
Located in the Marin Headlands, Rodeo Beach is an easy drive from the city and has tons of easy hikes in case you want to hit one up with your dog. It’s not entirely off-leash so look for signs, and note that the area gets pretty crowded on weekends – come early.
Muir Beach is relatively small and rocky but it usually doesn’t get too crowded, which is nice. You may allow your voice-controlled dog off-leash in designated areas, but beware that there’s usually a decent amount of wildlife here your dog might want to chase. You may even spot a whale! Also, it’s a black sand beach which is undeniably cool.
Located in Pacifica (which has several dog-friendly beaches), Esplanade is a great pic if you’re looking for somewhere mostly-enclosed. The views are spectacular and off-leash roaming is allowed on the north end of the stretch. Just beware: the currents here are strong so swimming is not recommended for pooches or people.
If you really, truly want to get off the grid with your dog, head to Point Reyes. The National Seashore is chock full of dog-friendly beaches, from Kehoe Beach to Limantour Beach. Most are off-leash in certain areas only, and beware there’s not many food or services once you leave the town of Point Reyes. Bring plenty of fresh water along!
Point Isabel Dog Park
This hidden gem is in Richmond, just across the Bay Bridge. It’s actually one of the largest dog beaches in the entire country so there are always other dogs to play with! If your pet really needs room to run, this is the beach for you. Hit up the Sit and Stay Cafe before you leave for sandwiches and ice cream, too.