Dog-Friendly California State Parks Fido Will Love

dog-friendly california state parks

Finding dog-friendly California state parks can be challenging, especially ones that allow dogs on the trails and campgrounds. 

Luckily, there are a few state beaches, parks, and historic destinations where you can bring your fur baby. Here’s a list of the ones you should visit: 

Dog-friendly California state parks, beaches, and recreation areas

1) Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Camping and hiking are some of the best things you can do at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Its overnight facilities range from family campsites to group campsites and RV sites with hookups. 

You can also go biking or horseback riding along the trails on-site. They also have a Visitor Center, which is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M.

There’s also a historical and cultural site at the park and picnic areas. You can also join the exhibits and programs on-site or go to their nature and wildlife viewing. 

Meanwhile, dogs are welcome in the campgrounds and on designated park roads. They can also check out the visitor center and campground trail with you. 

Make sure Fido is wearing a leash when visiting the park. Bring everything you need to clean up after your dog and make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated while playing. 

Parking and clean restrooms are also available on-site. 

2)  Asilomar State Beach

Itching for a little beach trip? Take Fido to Asilomar State Beach. It’s a narrow 1-mile strip of sandy beach and rocky coves. Dogs are welcome to explore Asilomar Coast Trail, which is a 3/4-mile coast walking trail. However, make sure Fido is wearing a leash. 

You also need to make sure you bring poop bags so that you can clean up after your dog.

3) Bean Hollow State Beach

Leashed dogs are also allowed on Bean Hollow State Beach. You’ll find it one mile south of Pescadero. It has a few picnic tables where you can sit, relax, and enjoy the view. 

The park is open from 8 A.M. to sunset. 

4) Donner Memorial State Park

Donner Memorial State Park has several beautiful trails and historic spots, so you won’t run out of things to do with your family and friends. 

You can check out the exhibits at the park’s visitor center or go camping. They have over 150 sites with picnic tables and beach access. 

Meanwhile, you can bring your dog to the lakeside interpretative trail, which features panels that highlight the natural and cultural resources you’ll find in the area. 

Leashed dogs are also allowed on the Zig Zag Trail, the fire roads, and along the shore of Donner Lake.

5) Empire Mine State Historic Park

The Empire Mine State Historic Park is home to one of California’s oldest and deepest gold mines. 

Although dogs are not allowed inside the historic buildings and mine shafts, they are free to explore the roads and trails within the visitor center. 

You can also take your dog to the grounds within the historical zone of the park, provided he’s wearing a leash.

6) Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the most dog-friendly California national parks you can visit. There are trails, beaches, and open spaces where you can walk your dog while he’s wearing a leash. 

Some of the locations where you can bring your dog include the Alta Trail, Muir Beach’s beach area proper, Oakwood Valley, Rodeo Beach, Orchard Trail, and Miwok Trail, to name a few. 

Remember to clean up after your pet to help preserve the beauty of the park.

7) John Muir National Historic Site

If you’re looking for a unique experience for you and your pet, stop by the John Muir National Historic Site. This beautiful destination was named after one of America’s most famous naturalists and conservationists. Through Muir’s writings, he fought to protect some of his favorite destinations, like Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, and Mt. Ranier.

Leashed dogs are allowed in the two main areas of the park: Mt. Wanda Unit and the orchards around the house.

8) Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is home to famous Malibu beaches, old movie ranches, and Native American centers. 

There are also up to 500 miles of trails on-site that you can explore. Dogs are welcome in most parts of the park as long as they’re on a leash. Check the signages to see which parts of the park you can check out with Fido. 

Access to the park is free, and there are also special events and programs that you can join.

Before stopping by dog-friendly California state parks

There are a couple of things you need to remember and prepare before you visit national parks with Fido, much like what you would prepare when you visit dog parks near you. 

The first and most important thing you need to do is to research the park you plan to visit. Each state park is unique, and they all have their own set of rules. 

Always do your research before you head out. Researching allows you to prepare ahead of time and learn more about what you can expect. 

Some natural parks have strict rules about bringing dogs, while some are lenient. Read ahead so you can come prepared. 

Don’t forget to bring dog park essentials like poop bags, your dog’s bowl, plenty of water, a first-aid kit, and even a backup leash.

There’s nothing like learning about a state’s history through its wildlife and landscapes. It’s a great bonding experience for you and Fido, too!

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