From left to right: Ace (Ashley Ryan, Editorial Assistant), Stella (Randy Tierney, Publisher), Snickers (Kevin Yoshimasu, Art Director), Harley (Niccole Miller, Director of Operations), Romeo (Belinda Cushing, Media Sales Director, South County).
While the kids are off at school or on a play date with their friends, grab your pooch and head outdoors. Orange County is filled with parks and beaches that are sure to delight the furriest members of the family. And what better time to explore these play areas than the month of October, national Adopt A Shelter Dog Month? Whether you found your dog at the shelter or at the finest pet store in town, these are our picks for OC puppy paradise. Check out the photos above to spot some Parenting OC staff dogs as well!
Most Southern California beaches only allow dogs early in the morning or in the evening, but Laguna Beach welcomes dogs anytime from September 17 through May. Dogs must remain on the leash; however, variety rules — take a stroll on the wooden boardwalk along Main Beach for a view of the cove and lots of seagulls, or venture out to Fisherman’s Cove for a sandy day of exploring.
Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach
Orange Dog Park
Visitors can take their pets in the off-leash dog park or walk their leashed dog in the neighboring Yorba Park. There are two divided areas, the bigger for large active dogs. With ample space to run and plenty of green grass, dogs are often seen chasing each other and wrestling in the sun. The alternate side, meant for small or elderly dogs, has trees providing tons of shade. Both areas have plenty of benches and water jugs next to dog bowls.
190 South Yorba Street, Orange
Huntington Dog Beach
As the only beach in OC where Fido can roam sans leash, Huntington Dog Beach provides almost a mile of surf and sand for dogs to explore. Many OC beaches restrict the hours dogs can be on the sand, but this dog beach is open to pooches from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. This truly is a slice of paradise for dogs of all ages and breeds, giving them a unique place to run free, splash into the water for a swim or play Frisbee on the warm sand.
100 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach
Huntington Central Park
The dog park within Huntington Central Park is fun for owners as well. The path leading to the entrance is called the “Doggy Walk of Fame,” with the names and paw prints of past canine visitors cast in tile. This addition connects visitors to the park, creating a unique culture that other OC dog parks don’t have.
Edwards Street, Huntington Beach
Laguna Niguel Pooch Park
Start your adventure with a short hike — this park is set back from the road nestled in a lovely spot of OC wilderness. With a fenced-in acre of land, there is plenty of room for dogs to run and play. Unlike most dog parks, there is no grass; instead it is filled with wood chips. A non-functional fire hydrant is sure to thrill furry visitors and on hot afternoons, dogs can cool off with bowls full of water while owners rest underneath the two shade shelters.
31575 Golden Lantern Street, Laguna Niguel
Arbor Dog Park
With a spacious grassy area and trees providing tons of shade, this park is an ideal spot to relax while your pet plays. A large double-gated entrance system helps dogs relax as they are let off the leash before entering the open area. The park is also stocked with waste bags to ensure its cleanliness. Filled with dog lovers who correct their pets’ behavior, it is a space for dogs to frolic without worrying about running into aggressive animals.
3900 Lampson Avenue, Seal Beach
Unlike the other dog parks in Orange County, Irvine’s Central Bark has a wood chip section in addition to the sprawling green grass so dogs can choose where they play. There is covered seating and big trees providing shade so you can stay cool on sunny days.
6405 Oak Canyon Road, Irvine
San Onofre State Beach
Of the six trails at San Onofre, two are dog-friendly. Trails one and six both line the bluffs overlooking the ocean, providing a gorgeous view of the ocean. It’s even better at sunset. Your pup will love wandering the dusty trails and seeking out wildlife. While dogs are not allowed on the beach, they are welcome at the campground on top of the bluffs so it is a good spot for a peaceful getaway.
Old Highway 101, San Clemente