Looking for dog-friendly beaches in Malibu to get your paws sandy? Are there leash-less or off-leash dog beaches in Malibu? Keep on sniffing! This SoCal Yorkie has you covered!
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WOOF, as a former furry Greek Island beach bum, I’ll be the first to get my paws sandy and dig for gold on any beach. My stylish undocked tail is wagging as I bark about one of my favorite beach cities in the world – Malibu! Although generally considered as “LA,” Malibu is, indeed, its own city – a very fine one, I must bark. West of the city of Los Angeles along the stunning Pacific Ocean, Malibu is a fabulous (I mean PAWbulous) beach city with some Top Dog prestige, unlike any other. ARF-ter all, it’s infested with (not fleas, thankfully BUT) A-listers and multi-million dollar ocean view homes. ARF-my-Dog, these furry residents are of an elite class! From Baywatch to Two and a Half Men, Malibu beaches are, without a bark, world-famous and attract domestic visitors and tourists from all over the globe, from Europe to Asia to Australia.
Are Malibu beaches dog-friendly? Can you have a beach day with your dog? As a furry world traveler with a long-time base in SoCal, I am wagging my stylish tail to bark – YES, you can take your dog to Malibu. However, contrary to popular belief, very few dog-friendly beaches in Malibu exist.
Despite this star-studded city boasting over 21 miles of coastline, the city actually prohibits dogs on public beaches. According to the city’s official website, “Dogs are not allowed on any beach in Malibu. If you bring your dog to the beach, you will be asked to leave, and you may also be cited. Leo Carrillo State Beach (near the Malibu/Ventura County line) does allow dogs on leash in some areas. Malibu has a designated dog park area located in Trancas Canyon Park.”
And for more bad news: “The city’s ordinance states that animals are not allowed on any public beach in Malibu. Owners on private beaches may have their dogs on their own beach, but dogs must always be on a leash. Even on private beaches, dogs are NOT allowed on the public part of the beach, which is below the mean high tide line.” GRRR.
Sniff out the official rules about dogs on Malibu beaches HERE.
So, what does all this mean? Dogs can’t go to a public beach with their humans? Who has the money for a house with a private beach? Do dog-friendly beaches really not exist in Malibu?
ARF, here’s the REAL bark about dog-friendly beaches or off-leash beaches in Malibu – while the public city beaches in Malibu are not dog-friendly, there is ONE public state beach in Malibu. Yes, beaches can be under different jurisdictions.
Technically there’s only ONE public beach in the city that allows dogs, and one beach only. If other dog websites are directing you to the off-leash Rosie’s Dog Beach, please note that this is NOT in Malibu but in the city of Long Beach, which is an hour away (not accounting for the nasty LA traffic). The same goes for claims of other “dog-friendly beaches in Malibu” – they’re likely outside Malibu city limits but in LA or Ventura counties. However, there’s no need to lower that tail now because that beach is still pretty PAWsome.
Now, how’s that one and only dog-friendly beach in Malibu? Follow my alpha paw prints, and I’ll also let you in on a little secret!
The REAL Bark about the Dog-Friendly Beach in Malibu:
The dog beach is part of Leo Carrillo State Park, which is under the jurisdiction of the State of California (NOT the city of Malibu). Resting along the Malibu coast and featuring 1.5 miles of sandy beach, dogs are allowed ON-LEASH only in North Beach in the area north of Lifeguard Tower 3. This includes Staircase Beach, which is also dog-friendly with a separate entrance at 40000 Pacific Coast Highway. Therefore, there’s technically ONE dog-friendly beach in Malibu – with a beach within a beach, if that makes sense. BUT, if you’d like to see it as two dog-friendly beaches, by all means – go for it. I won’t call (I mean, bark) you out on it. This area is also PAWpular with surfers.
North Beach (north of Tower 3): 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, CA
Staircase Beach: 40000 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, CA. Make a U-turn when you see 40000 Pacific Coast Highway. Then, slowly and carefully drive back south past the gated state park manager’s residence until you see the discrete entrance to your right. Unfortunately, I didn’t see a sign. GRR.
A BARK OF CAUTION: Parking can be found on the Pacific Coast Highway, but you should check for any parking restrictions. It can also be dangerous to pull your car into a spot on the side of a busy highway, so please be careful! After parking on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) near Tower 2, my furry alpha paws hit the ground running toward the water only to find a “No Dogs Allowed” sign. GRRR (again). As I headed towards Tower 3, my tail wagged to sniff out the following sign:
Needless to bark, this small dog-friendly beach is pretty easy to find!
The beach is clean, well-maintained, and quiet (especially for a weekend in the summer). Plus, no unpicked up poop! WOOF-HOO! I sniffed out a few canine pals getting their paws sandy with their humans and a very chic Yorkie chick hanging out with her family under a beach umbrella. ARF, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this place. You know you’re in SoCal when you are ARF-so-mesmerized by a cutie you just met! This place didn’t feel like a crazy dog park, which can be overwhelming for a senior alpha dog like me. Since it wasn’t busy (and I’m so well-behaved), my humans felt tempted to let me off-leash, BUT rules are rules. GRRRR.
Now, did I sniff dogs off-leash at this Malibu beach? WOOF, I sure did (just as there were on-leash dogs). Dog, did I want to go off-leash to chase them myself! Butt chasing with tangled leashes is always annoying for both dogs and humans. GRR. Now, if you choose to let your dog off-leash (and break the rules), do so at your discretion since you could technically be subject to a citation (if caught) or a lecture from an uptight rule follower. Chances are you will probably (I mean, PAWbably) be OK (if your dog isn’t disruptive), but it’s still a risk that YOU choose to take.
Although I’ve lived on the Greek Islands, I’m not much of a furry swimmer myself. Instead, I prefer to stand back with an upright tail and watch those turbulent waves from a safe distance. My sidekick Penny Gurl is even more terrified of the water and ocean sounds, so she tries to stay as far back as PAWsible. But heck, I know many dogs who love to take a dip. As for me, I like to keep my furry paws nice and dry. With that barked, I don’t mind if my nose and paws get sandy as long as they’re not wet. My favorite part about going to the beach is getting down to business and digging for gold (or some shade against the scorching SoCal sun). However your dog chooses to enjoy the beach, be sure to have a handy supply of poop bags handy and clean up after your dog like a responsible pawrent. Help keep dog-friendly Malibu beaches clean; otherwise, dogs may lose access.
A TV show was actually being filmed during my visit, which was pretty cool (although it looked like a bootleg Baywatch). Since LA is one of my home bases in California, I’ve become quite accustomed to seeing Hollywood sets; hence, my little wet nose didn’t do any extra sniffs. Nevertheless, for visitors new to LA, seeing a film crew and actors on set can be tail-waggin’ exciting (I mean, ARF-citing)!
TOP DOG FACT: Many Hollywood blockbusters were filmed at Leo Carrillo State Beach, including Inception, 50 First Dates, The Karate Kid, Grease, and Alice in Wonderland. AWOOO, way too many movies to bark out at once!
Unless you can find parking on the highway shoulder as I did (which probably isn’t the safest anyway), be ready to cough up some cash for the following rates to park at Leo Carrillo State Park:
- All-day – $12.00 per car, per day
- 3 hours – $9.00 per car
- 2 hours – $6.00 per car
- 1 hour – $3.00 per car
Just a quick bark that there’s also a parking lot right behind the dog beach.
Besides the dog beach at North Beach, dogs are also allowed in the Park’s day-use areas and campgrounds at Leo Carrillo State Park. WOOF-HOO!
Whatever you do, keep those paws off at South Beach or other beaches at this park because dogs are prohibited.
Top Dog Secret
OK, Malibu may only have one public dog-friendly beach, but the secret is that there’s a small semi-private beach that allows dogs. Also popular (I mean, PAWpular) with surfers, Little Dume Beach is located on Point Dume State Marine Reserve at Whitesands Place Malibu, CA 90265. Most imPAWtantly, this beach welcomes dogs “above mean high tide level, but not below it.” The REAL bark is that dogs can walk in the “public” part of the beach, which is where the sand is wet (along the waters). The dry part of the sand is technically private. Confusing, right? That’s enough to tilt my little Yorkie head.
There IS a catch – the only way to access this dog-friendly semi-private beach is to walk from Paradise Cove Beach or Big Dume Beach at Point Dume State Park, but both beaches prohibit dogs. WTH?!?! So, what does that mean? GRRR, if you can carry your dog across from either beach, then you can let your dog down once you get to Little Dume Beach. Sadly, dogs are not allowed to walk from adjacent beaches. Therefore, unless you can carry your dog across, you won’t be able to access this dog-friendly beach. This is surely a WIN for small dogs like me who can easily be carried (but that doesn’t mean I like being carried). If you have trouble carrying your big dog on your own, bring someone along for help and make it a beach PAWTY.
Again, if you choose to walk your dog across, do so at your own discretion because you are “technically” breaking the rules.
Dog-Friendly Beaches NEAR Malibu
ARF, just because there’s only one dog-friendly public beach AND one dog-friendly private beach in Malibu doesn’t mean you should stop your furry adventures here! If you want to sniff out more dog-friendly beaches near Malibu, I’ve got you covered.
AWOOO, listen to my howl: LA/SoCal traffic is awful, which means a 10-mile drive can easily take an hour during rush hour. And, if you’re not used to it, consider yourself warned. Did you hear my growl? GRR. Be smart by planning your drive times to avoid being stuck in nasty traffic.
In nearby Ventura County (to the west of Los Angeles County), there are 3 ARF-mazing dog-friendly beaches on the 5-mile stretch of coastline at Point Mugu State Park – all worthy of some sand diggin’ and wet nose sniffing! Per the official rules, on-leash dogs are allowed on the Park’s day-use areas, campgrounds, AND beaches. WOOF-HOO! Dogs, however, are prohibited on trails and dirt roads.
Sycamore Cove Beach – 5 miles from Leo Carrillo State Park
This sandy cove boasts a dog-friendly beach and picnic tables for a pawsome treat break with your dog. Sycamore Cove Beach is located in southern Ventura County near the border of Los Angeles County. Some websites even list this beach as being in Malibu, but it looks like its official location is in Ventura County. On-leash dogs are welcome.
Thornhill Broome Beach – 6 miles from Leo Carrillo State Park
To the west of Sycamore Cove Beach lies Thornhill Broome Beach. Situated in front of a 2-mile-long oceanside campground on Pacific Coast Highway, this beach is across from a gigantic sand dune that attempts to block your ocean view. Dogs are welcome on leash with open paws.
Mugu Beach – 8.4 miles from Leo Carrillo State Park
Resting north of Point Mugu Rock against the backdrop of the Santa Monica mountains, Mugu Beach is a heavily photographed beach next to Point Mugu Naval Base. While I love watching ocean waves dashing over black rocks, I cannot let my guard down as deaths from waves have occurred in the past. ARF-my-DOG! Therefore, be sure to keep your dog safe and be wary of waves.
WOOF! If you and your dog don’t mind a long drive from Malibu, get your furry buttocks over to Long Beach, where the only OFF-LEASH dog beach in Los Angeles County exists.
Rosie’s Dog Beach (Granada Beach) – 62 miles from Leo Carrillo State Park (fastest route)
With a whoppin’ 4 acres of beach on Ocean Boulevard between Roycroft and Argonne Avenues, dogs can roam around OFF-LEASH in the “Dog Zone,” from 6 am to 8 pm everyday. WOOF-HOO!
So, are there off-leash dog beaches in or near Malibu?
The closest off-leash dog beach is Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, which is over an hour away from Malibu WITHOUT traffic. If you’re coming from Hollywood, getting to Long Beach can still easily take an hour even though it’s 30 miles away. Regardless, Rosie’s Dog Beach is technically the one and only OFF-LEASH dog beach in Los Angeles County. In Malibu, dogs can visit North Beach (including Staircase Beach) and Little Dume Beach, but they must remain ON-LEASH (even though it’s not exactly rare to find off-leash dogs frolicking on the sand).
Dog Beach Safety Tips
#1 Pack a water bottle and to-go bowls – Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, cool water. On a sunny day, keep the water cool with a stainless steel water bottle. If you fail to provide water, your dog may resort to ocean saltwater in desperation, which could cause a tummyache later. GRR, A BIG NO-NO.
#2 Provide adequate shade and shelter – Make sure you find a shady spot or bring an umbrella for your dog to retreat. Even if you don’t think it’s hot, your dog may still find it unbearable, especially if he has a long coat or is in his senior years like myself.
#3 Don’t go to the beach when it’s hot – Dogs and heat are a deadly combination! Remember, dogs naturally have fur that humans lack, which means they can’t tolerate heat at the same level as humans. If you see your dog panting, then you must take him indoors or to a shady or cool spot immediately. A cool 70s to low 80s degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for a beach outing with your dog, but you should reconsider once the temperature hits high 80s.
#4 Be careful of hot sand – Have you ever walked on hot sand? OUCH! No thanks, I don’t wanna yelp while I do some hind leg kicking! Despite padded feet, hot sand can burn your dog’s paws. That’s why it’s so imPAWtant to skip the beach on a hot day. Test out the temperature with your own feet before allowing your dog on the sand. To be on the safe side, you can always walk your dog near the water for some cooler (and wet) sand.
#5 Don’t force your dog in the water – As I barked earlier, some dogs love water while others (like myself and Penny) don’t. Forcing your dog to get in the water when he is resisting is NOT right. A beach day should be fun, not scary! Gotta keep those tails up.
#6 Keep a close watch at all times – Don’t fall asleep on the beach! For your dog’s safety, you should alwways monitor your dog’s actions and watching for any hazardous items (e.g. broken glass). As barked earlier, it’s not rare to find a dog going off-leash (despite the rules), so you’ll want to ensure your dog has a PAWsitive interaction with other canines.
#8 Consider sunscreen protection – Like humans, prolonged exposure to UV rays are harmful to your dog’s skin. As a matter of bark, dogs can get skin cancer. If you plan on being at the beach for more than an hour, then it’s best to give your dog some sun protection. ARF, believe it or not – they do make sunscreen for dogs.
#9 Give your dog a bath – Rinse off all the sand, salt, and any yuckiness your dog might have picked up from the beach. As much as I hate baths, I’ll still bark that taking a bath after a beach day is a MUST, especially if your dog has gotten into the water. Not bathing your dog after the beach can cause skin irritation. Watch me hide from a bath HERE.
Watch me explore Malibu’s dog beach:
ARF, hope you enjoy visiting dog-friendly beaches in Malibu and nearby! How was the Malibu beach day with your dog? Be sure to share your experience with me. BARK AT ME!
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob