Rover wants to swim
April 18, 2006 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Are there any dog friendly lakes and swimming holes in the state of California?

All of the state and national parks I've found that allow dogs do not permit them to come within 100 feet of lakes and rivers. I do know of a few beaches that are dog friendly, but I'm looking for calmer waters. Information on lakes that are not part of a national or state park has been hard to find. I'm especially interested in locations near Southern California but anywhere in the state is fine.
posted by hindmost to Travel & Transportation around California (8 answers total)
Have you tried looking in The Dog Lover's Companion to California? The edition for Chicago is excellent.
posted by j-dawg at 1:44 PM on April 18, 2006

Unofficially, I see a fair number of dogs swimming in Lake Anza in Berkeley, but I think that it's technically not allowed. (My dog loathes getting wet, so it's not an issue for me.)

Googling around for the Lake Anza link, however, I came upon this, which adds another dimension to the rules against dogs in fresh water:

Why you should keep your dog(s) out of streams and away from shorelines.
Dogs that consume raw/uncooked salmon and trout are at risk of infection by "Salmon Poisoning Complex." The bacteria carried by a parasitic trematode worm may cause death in infected dogs.

The disease is found in members of the salmon and trout family along the western slopes of the Sierra and Cascade mountains of California, Oregon and Washington, and can be found in ocean-going salmon as well as rainbow trout stocked in Bay Area lakes.

Dogs that consume raw/uncooked trout or salmon tht carry the bacteria often develop fever, vomiting, diarrhea and enlarged lymph nodes within 5-7 days. If not treated by a veterinarian, the dog may die.

posted by ambrosia at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2006

I don't have a definitive answer, but I did find what looks like a pretty good resource for you to look through:

You can click by region and browse through dog-friendly hotels/camp grounds/beaches and see which allow swimming.
posted by empyrean at 1:58 PM on April 18, 2006

There's a lake by my parents' house where I remember seeing dogs. It's north of San Luis Obispo, but a lot of LA folks come up during the summer and on weekends. Sure enough there's a link to Lake San Antonio on and dogs are allowed in the water.

I imagine you can find other lakes closer to where you are at on the site.
posted by wilky at 1:58 PM on April 18, 2006

There's a great beach in Santa Cruz just north of the Board walk that allows dogs after 4:00. There's always lots of dogs there and they seem to having a really good time.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:30 PM on April 18, 2006

Whoops, actually it's just north of the Light House which is about a mile north of the boardwalk.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:31 PM on April 18, 2006

Someone I know takes her dogs to Point Isabel, where it's legal to let your dog off-leash as long as you follow some guidelines (voice control, pick up after the dog, etc.) It's North, though.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:50 PM on April 18, 2006

There are some reasons why dogs and beaches don't mix well when it comes to wildlife. Please consider keeping your pets under control. Thanks.Bummer, kites cause problems too. :o(

From the first link:
Where CAN I take my dog?

Dogs on-leash are allowed at Montara State Beach, Bean Hollow State Beach, and beaches that are not managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, such as Poplar Beach and Surfer’s Beach in Half Moon Bay.

Leashed dogs are allowed in State Park campgrounds, picnic areas, parking areas and roads (with the exception of Año Nuevo State Reserve) and on Half Moon Bay’s Coastal Trail.

Many local and regional agencies manage off-leash dog areas. For example, Smith Field, at the western end of Wavecrest Rd. in Half Moon Bay, is a designated off-leash dog park. Contact Half Moon Bay City Parks and Recreation Department, (650) 726-8297,

Please also see the Bay Area District pamphlet, "Where Can I Take My Dog?"
posted by squink at 8:12 PM on April 18, 2006

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