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SoCal Day Trip: Huntington Dog Beach

My family loves to take day trips and we decided that we wanted to take Mr. Jackson along with us to Huntington Dog Beach.  I don’t know about you, but my dog is part of the family.  Yes, I’m one of those people!  But if you met Mr. Jackson, AKA “SoCal Dog,” you would completely understand.

Happy dog

On this particular day, we decided to go to Dog Beach in Huntington Beach, followed by lunch at Park Bench Café.  Read on for some tips for your visit!

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Head to Huntington Dog Beach!

Where is it located?

We started out our trip by driving out to the Huntington Dog Beach.  This beach is located in Huntington Beach along Pacific Coast Highway, between 21st Street and Seapoint Ave.  You can either park in a 2-hour lot or pay for a meter on the street.

How did your dog handle the beach for the first time?

We took our dog to the sand and gave him some time to get used to the texture and the scenery.  Jackson had not been to the beach before and he looked a little overwhelmed at first.

Seeing so many dogs, big and small, was also shocking for him.  Mr. Jackson can be a little anti-social initially.  Once we threw the ball around a few times, he seemed comfortable.

Jackson running

The ocean was beautiful and it was fun to see all of the cute dogs.  My kids absolutely loved the outing and it was a whole new experience for them to have all of these dogs running around on the beach.

Beach fun

My youngest was a little intimidated by the bigger dogs at first.  Just an FYI in case you go with people that are hesitant around dogs.

We threw the ball around for at least an hour until Jackson basically plopped down and refused to run anymore.

Have towels at the ready!

He was a big mess when all was said and done.  We had to use a towel to dry him off and try to remove at least some sand from his fur.

Messy dog

Jackson getting dry

Park Bench Cafe for everybody’s lunch!

After all of this playtime, everyone was hungry.  We made our way to Park Bench Café in Huntington Beach.  This little café is located inside a park.  We took a walk around once we got there to check it out and to give Jackson some more time to dry off.

Park walk

This café has food for both people and dogs, making it friendly for all family members!  Mr. Jackson ordered hot dog.  However, that didn’t stop him from trying to get some of our food.

Jackson the Lurker

The kids and adults both enjoyed the food ordered.  We had an overall great day and really enjoyed our day trip.  Everyone was tired, but nobody more than Mr. Jackson!

Tired SoCal Dog

Some tips for a day trip to Huntington Dog Beach:

Take money for parking.

You will need coins  for the parking meters (quarters) or cash for beach parking lot. Otherwise, try to find a spot on the street nearby.  Meters on Pacific Coast Highway accept Visa/Mastercard, and coins. As of the date of this post, parking meters cost $1.75 per hour.

Huntington Dog Beach is free!

Huntington Dog Beach hours are 5am to 10pm.

Don’t forget your leash and collar.

You still have to use a leash up until you reach the designated areas. You also want your dog to have a tag in case you get separated.

Take your swimsuit.

You want to be prepared in case you have to go in the water after your dog.  We once saw a dog go in the water to fetch his ball, and he just kept swimming further into the ocean.  His owner jumped in but tired before he could reach the dog.  Thankfully, a lifeguard paddled out on a board and grabbed the dog’s collar to pull him to shore.  That collar definitely helped save that dog’s life.

Take a ball with you.

The best is one of those ball thrower gadgets.  Be prepared for other dogs to steal your dog’s ball.  They just want to play and will eventually give it back.

Take doggie bags for picking up after your dog.

It’s not cool to let your dog go in the sand and not take care of it.  Pretending to be engrossed in conversation with someone else does not give you a free ticket to not clean it up either.  Seriously, it takes two seconds and will go a long way toward convincing the City to continue to allow the dog park to exist!

Take a bowl and or water bottle for your dog.

If your dog does not think he’s a person, you can pour water into a bowl for them.  Trust me, they’ll need it because their ball will roll in the sand, the sand will get in their mouth, etc.  If, on the other hand, your dog is like Mr. Jackson and thinks he’s human, just take a water bottle.  I open his mouth and pour water directly on his tongue and he laps it up.  It’s not ideal, but it’s better than your dog getting parched.

Take at least TWO towels with you.

One towel to dry your off and try to wipe the sand/mud off of his hair.  The other towel to protect your car seats.

No alcohol, smoking, or glass are allowed on the beach.

Don’t assume your dog knows how to swim or likes the water!

Make sure to look after your dog.  Sometimes the waves coming in can be pretty big!

We once saw a dog that wouldn’t stop paddling and had to be rescued by a lifeguard.

Check out these dog-friendly posts!

SoCal Day Trip: Rosie’s Dog Beach and Open Sesame

Dog Costume DIYs: So Easy A Kid Can Make Them!

Gift Ideas Your Dog Will Love!

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  1. We used to go to Huntington Beach in the late 50’s. Nice to see it still rules.

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