Off-Leash Options Are Still Few on Peninsula Beaches

All San Mateo County beaches, except for one in Pacifica, either don't allow dogs at all or require dogs to be on a leash. Here's a look at where dogs are allowed — and prohibited — on local beaches.

At Pacifica’s Esplanade Beach you can legally let your dog run free.

A handful of other Peninsula beaches enforce strict leash laws, while several others won’t even let dogs press their paws in the sand.

All five Pacifica beaches allow dogs.

South of Devil’s Slide, however, five of the seven state beaches won’t allow your dog near the shores even if they’re leashed.

The pooch prohibition was instituted to protect the endangered snowy plover, Supervising California State Park Ranger Michael Grant said.

“There's more than just safety issues,” Grant said. “There's resource issues and there's wildlife issues.”

In Pacifica, leash laws are enforced on Linda Mar Beach, Rockaway Beach, Pacifica State Beach and Sharp Park Beach.

Leash laws are enforced by the Pacifica Police Department.

South of Devil’s Slide, leashed dogs are allowed on Montara State Beach and Bean Hollow State Beach.

Dogs on-leash are also allowed at beaches that are not managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, such as the dog-friendly Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay managed by the City of Half Moon Bay, and Surfer’s Beach in El Granada, which is operated by the county.

No dogs are allowed on the shores of Half Moon Bay State Beach, San Gregorio State Beach, Pescadero State Beach, Pomponio State Beach and Ana Nuevo State Park, however.

The only legal place in Half Moon Bay to let your dog run free in an off-leash area is at the Coastside Dog Park at Cameron's Restaurant and Smith Field at the western end of Wavecrest Road.

Fines for violations of leash laws and bringing dogs to restricted beaches vary by city to city within San Mateo County.

An animal control officer is authorized to issue a citation (the court sets the price which varies greatly) for violations of the leash law. According to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA, the San Mateo County leash law states that "all dogs are to be on leash and under control whenever they are off the owner's property. The leash must be no more than six feet in length."

"People do get cited by rangers for violating leash laws at state beaches so it is advisable to know where it's OK to bring your dog before letting it run off leash," State Park peace officer James Nothhelfer said.

Where Can I Take My Dog on the Coast? A Directory of Beaches:








Linda Mar


Must be kept on leash


Must be kept on leash

Pacifica State Beach


Must be kept on leash

Sharp Park

Must be kept on leash




Must be kept on leash

Surfer's (a.k.a. El Granada) and Poplar Beach
Must be kept on leash

Bean Hollow


Must be kept on leash

Half Moon Bay (including Roosevelt, Dunes, Francis, and Venice Beach)


No dogs allowed

San Gregorio


No dogs allowed




No dogs allowed

Ana Nuevo


No dogs allowed

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