Our rescued brittanys love hiking with us and have even ridden on kayaks, but I think their favorite thing to do is go to the beach (just like us). We knew that our friends visiting from France could enjoy Huntington Beach Dog Beach as much as the dogs, so it was an easy choice for a Saturday in August. Knowing Gwenn is still learning to come when called and that Mitch can get distracted when around many dogs and picnic baskets, we stopped at REI and picked up the supplies to improvise two light-weight, salt-water impervious long leashes for our dogs. Using a screw-in stake that works well in the sand, we were able to have enough rope to let the dogs play in the surf and also to be able to have room to roam back at our beach chairs.
Getting in the water
There’s a pattern we go through each time we head for the water…the dogs are always eager to go in, forgetting the last lesson about waves and water that gets deeper as you go. They invariably charge into the water without fear, only to be surprised at the depth and of course by the first wave to come along. Mitch runs for the beach the first time he gets nervous, and Gwenn tries to jump the waves or stand on her back legs to stay above. She’s a very clever dog.
We are able to take Mitch off leash for periods of time provided we keep an eye on his whereabouts. This gives him a great chance to run, and he takes full advantage. If we run with him on the beach he stays alongside, barely putting in an effort, but when he takes off on his own he’s a racehorse, tearing up the sand and getting the whole beach’s attention with his speed and energy. His specialty is making large circles around us, usually watching to see that we’re nearby and paying attention to his antics.
If you love going to the beach, going with your brittany is just that much better. There are people, other dogs, waves, wind, and of course, birds to watch/stalk. A tired brittany is a great brittany in the evenings after a beach day. One thing to remember about brittanys and water: It is a good idea to make sure their ears are dry and clean after a day in the water. This will save you from a vet bill and the dogs from having the pain of an ear infection. We take Q-tips and gently clean and dry their ears as soon as we’re home. We also take dry shampoo and give them a once-over when we get home to make sure the sand and any other beach ‘stuff’ is out of their fur. Happy, tired, clean brittanys.
Our favorite beaches in Southern California are listed below, in order.
1. Huntington Dog Beach – Huntington Beach, CA
The Huntington Dog Beach is our favorite by far for several reasons. It is located between Seapoint Avenue and 21st Street, but is easiest accessed at the point where Golden West hits the Pacific Coast Highway at the north end of Huntington Beach (before Bolsa Chica State Park). The beach is clean, there are lifeguards on duty, the dogs can run off leash, and the waves are fantastic for swimming and surfing. There are limited places to eat outdoors with your dog in downtown Huntington Beach, however, but we found My Hero Subs just off Main Street. It was inexpensive, tasty and had outside tables that weren’t dog-limiting.
2. Fiesta Island – San Diego, CA
The Fiesta Island Dog Park is a remarkable place. While it doesn’t have the waves and nearby shopping and dining that Huntington Beach provides, it is an enormous area for dogs to roam off-leash in beautiful Mission Bay. There are sandy dunes, lagoons and lots of shoreline for dogs and their owners to enjoy. The downside to this part is the distance, of course, but if you are in San Diego with your pooch, this is the place to go. Bring water and food, as the island is not near amenities.
3. Rosie’s Dog Beach – Long Beach, CA
Rosie’s Dog Beach is found along Ocean Boulevard between Roycroft and Argonne Avenues. This is a beach definitely for dogs more than humans as the view is of the artificial islands offshore and the waves are small due to the sheltered location. The crowds are friendly, there is ample parking, and it is very accesible from many parts of Los Angeles thanks to nearby freeways.
4. Leo Carillo State Park – Malibu, CA
Leo Carillo State Park is the most restrictive and further drive of the three we have visited. This is a great beach for being remote and having an accompanying campground that dog owners can use to both stay at a beach and have their dog in the surf. This beach, however, enforces a strict leash rule. Probably the best beach for campers, but not the best for non-locals who aren’t staying overnight.