1.Huntington Dog Beach
Open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., this official 1.5-mile-long dog beach is located on the Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint and Goldenwest Streets. There are two parking lots between Seapoint and Goldenwest that service Huntington Dog Beach, as well as meters alongside the Pacific Coast Highway. Campaigning for years to get approval for this “off-leash optional” beach for dogs, local resident Martin Senat founded The Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, in 1998. The Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach is self-funded and relies solely on donations and volunteers to keep the beach open for dogs. Visit dogbeach.org for more information.
2.Top Dog Barkery
No trip to Huntington Dog Beach is complete without a stop into the Top Dog Barkery • Bath • Boutique. After a dip in the water or stroll in the sand at Huntington Dog Beach, start by taking advantage of a self-wash station to get your dog squeaky clean again. While you’re there, pick up some “fresh from scratch” treats made right in the onsite Top Dog Barkery • Bath • Boutique. Or, order ahead of time for a special made-to-order dog cake. Does your dog need “the works”? Professional grooming is available by appointment. Top Dog Barkery • Bath • Boutique is located at 180 5th Street, #110 (near the HB Pier and Dog Beach), Huntington Beach, CA 92648 topdogbarkery.net. (714) 960-3647
3.Huntington Central Park
Huntington Central Park is over 300 acres of land with open grass fields, picnic areas, and paved paths. The park is open year-round from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dogs must be on leash except at the dog park, which is located in Central Park on the east side of Edwards Street between Ellis Avenue and Talbert Avenue.
4.Park Bench Café
Huntington Beach plays host to many spectacular pet events, from dog surfing to pet fairs. However, since 1988, one favorite spot for locals with pets has been Park Bench Café, a restaurant offering quirky and unique food for dogs and people alike. Their specialized Canine Cuisine menu features such intriguing dishes as Hound Dog Heaven, Rover Easy, and Bow Wow Wow Chicken. You’ll find the café in one of the most scenic spots in Huntington, among the picturesque landscape of Huntington Beach Central Park. Fall hours are Wednesday through Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 pm. Find Park Bench Café at 17732 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92647. Visit parkbenchcafe.com.
Open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment can be found at Pacific City, across from the Huntington Beach Pier at 21010 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. Many stores allow well-mannered, leashed dogs inside their establishments, but don’t forget to ask first. Most restaurants have pet-friendly patios, too. Holiday events include a special pet photo session with Santa. To learn more or reserve a photo session, visit https://bit.ly/3f4ioIz. Or visit gopacificcity.com for information.
Winter Beach Tips
The average daytime temperature in Huntington Beach during the winter months is 68 degrees and the average water temperature is 59 degrees. Add to those cooler temperatures factors such as cloud cover, wind chill, and damp air, and it can be pretty nippy playing in the water or surf. Depending on the breed of your dog, a quick dip or swim in the water generally isn’t a problem as long as you dry him off and warm him up afterwards. Consider bringing warm fluids to drink, like broth. Older dogs, puppies, small breeds, and dogs with short hair are generally less tolerant of colder temperatures.
Always bring water for your dog so it isn’t tempted to drink the saltwater.
If you plan to let your dog in the surf, a dog life vest or life jacket is a worthwhile investment. A rogue wave can take your dog farther out into the water than anticipated.
Hypothermia is a risk for dogs, too. Keep an eye out for symptoms like shivering, pale or gray gums, stiff muscles, lack of coordination or stumbling, fixed and dilated pupils, shallow breathing, and lowered heart rates. If you suspect hypothermia, warm your dog up and call your veterinarian.