Dog beaches with winter rules in San Diego, CA

San Diego dogs on beach

Dog on the beach in San Diego | Photo via Pexels

Winter means shorter days, and beaches are getting a little less crowded — but they’re not closed. Any time of year can offer a great beach trip, and the winter allows more opportunities to include your dog in your plans.

Until March 31, dogs are welcome to visit Mission Beach + Pacific Beach after 4 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next day. That means your four-legged friends will never need to miss a sunset. However, they will need to be on a leash at all times.

A good day for the dogs on Ocean Beach

Wet fur after a dip in the Pacific | Photo via @the.great.ape

Some dogs just want to run free. If your dog would rather go off-leash there are some fantastic dog beaches offering plenty of freedom. Ocean Beach Dog Beach is fully dog-friendly year-round, as is Fiesta Island, and there probably isn’t a better name for this beach. Located in Mission Bay, this is the one spot where dogs can go off-leash and there are fire rings for bonfires. Perfect for those chilly nights.

Sandy paws on Del Mar Beach

Sandy paws on Del Mar Beach | Photo via @mozziethegb

If you’re up north, Del Mar has seen some seasonal changes — many of their beaches are dog-friendly for those staying on a leash. Since Labor Day, North Beach allows dogs to run off-leash until summer hours begin on June 15 (when off-leash hours last from dawn to 8 a.m.), so you have plenty of time to plan a beach trip with the pups.

Dog owners already know they need to follow some rules. Always have a leash + bags ready. Accidents can — and will — happen. For the dogs who haven’t used all of their energy, why not take them to a nearby dog-friendly adventure?