Top Dog Beaches in Marin County

Matt Dolkas - MALT

By Matt Dolkas, Senior Manager, Marketing

May 25, 2023

This time of year, I always get the itch to hit the dog beaches in Marin County. With the long days of summer fast approaching, the weather is warming quickly and a trip to the beach with our four-legged rascal is so much more inviting. It’s that time of year again, friends. Time to hit the beach!

What I love about taking our dog to the beach in Marin County is that it’s one of those experiences where the “journey really is the destination,” as cliche as that sounds. Every time I make the trip west, it’s like going back in time — a chance to experience our region’s bucolic rolling hills, towering redwoods, and breathtaking ocean vistas.

It’s good for the dog, sure, but it feels good for me, too.

Of course, this expansive landscape of land is no happy accident. Over 50% of Marin County is protected land — much of which was protected by us here at the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). Since 1980, MALT has protected more than 55,000 of farm and ranch lands from the threat of luxury estates, subdivisions, and development. This land is now preserved for the future health of our ecosystems, communities, and planet. Our experiences in this place today are the result of decades of diligent land conservation.

So what are you waiting for? Below are few of my family’s favorite dog-friendly beaches and some local tips for making the most of your visit.

Get out there!

Kehoe Beach

Follow an easy, 1.2 mile roundtrip trail to one of the most remote dog-friendly beaches in the Bay Area. Deep within the Point Reyes National Seashore, this beach offers world-class views and the chance to see an abundance of local wildlife, including whales during the spring and fall migration seasons, if you’re lucky.

A trip here for our family isn’t complete without first stopping at the Inverness Park Market for some of the best sandwiches west of the Mississippi. Load up on goodies and local cheeses to make a picnic on the beach. It’s a bit of drive to this trailhead, but well worth the effort.

*Please respect any beach closures to protect the threatened western snowy plover. From Mar-Sep, dog’s are only permitted on the beach north of the trail (to the right as you face the ocean).

Where to park: Find directions for parking here

More information: From the National Park Service website

Limantour Beach

If you’re looking for a remote beach that doesn’t require a hike to access, this is your spot. Near the mouth of Drakes Estero, you’ll enjoy expansive views of the unspoiled coastline and miles of sand and surf. It’s a must-see for any fan of the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Better protected from the prevailing northwest winds, the waves within Drakes Bay are usually much smaller than those on the west-facing beaches, so it’s relatively safer for people and dogs to play along the water’s edge.

*Please be sure to respect the leash requirements while visiting this National Park; it’s the best thing for our local wildlife. The norther portion (right as you face the water from the trailhead) of this beach is closed to dogs, so please stay to the south side.

Where to park: Find directions for parking here

More information: From the National Park Service website

Muir Beach

As one of the better-known dog-friendly beaches in Marin County, Muir Beach is a popular spot, especially on weekends. Halfway between Stinson Beach (see below) and the Marin Headlands, this beach is tucked within one of the more rugged parts of the county’s coastline. The drive alone, in my opinion, is worth the trip.

The trail from the main parking lot is wheelchair accessible and there are two beach wheelchairs available upon request. There’s an accessible boardwalk from the parking lot to the edge of the sand as well. After getting cold and sandy, my family likes to stroll over to the Pelican Inn for a cup of hot chocolate. The lawns outside are dog-friendly and provide the perfect place to sit and soak in the coastal vibes.

*Dogs at Muir Beach must remain on leash or under voice control, meaning they return to a leash when called.

Where to park: Find directions for parking here

More information: From the National Park Service website

Stinson Beach

This is the Miami Beach in the west coast dog world — the place all dogs go, not just for sun and sand, but for a chance to sample the local flavors at Breakers Cafe or the Parkside Cafe, both of which offer dog-friendly seating. The only downside to treating your dog to a visit to Stinson Beach is that they might never be the same.

Dogs are allowed on the north end of Stinson Beach but not the southern portions. The further north you walk along the beach the more relaxed both owners and dogs seem to become. I recommend timing your visit at low tide and walking the length of the beach to the mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon.

Where to park: Find directions for parking here

More information: From the National Park Service website

Keep It Classy

Leash Regulations: Check the beach rules and regulations regarding dogs. Some beaches may require dogs to be on a leash at all times, while others may have designated off-leash areas. Adhere to these guidelines to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all beachgoers.

Cleaning Up After Your Dog: Always carry waste bags and promptly clean up after your dog. This helps maintain a clean and sanitary environment for everyone and prevents pollution of the beach and water. Leave no trace, so take your waste bags to the nearest trash receptacle on your way out.

Wildlife Awareness: Many beaches are home to diverse wildlife. Keep your dog away from wildlife and nesting areas to avoid disturbing or endangering animals. This includes birds, marine life, and protected species like nesting turtles, elephant seals, or snowy plovers.

Water Safety: If your dog enjoys swimming, be aware of the water conditions and any specific regulations related to dogs in the water. Not all beaches may allow dogs to swim, so follow the guidelines and keep your dog safe around waves, currents, or any potential hazards.

Have fun!

More stories like this:

Hen investigating the camera at Hicks Mountain Hens - MALT

Egg-cellence at Hicks Mountain Hens: Your Next Stop for Fresh Eggs

May 16, 2024

Hicks Mountain Hens, just of Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, offers some of the freshest eggs in Marin County – plan you next visit.

Read More

Wildflowers fill a valley in Marin, California

May Events in Marin County

May 1, 2024

Enjoy our May roundup of farm visits, walks, markets, nature talks, and volunteer opportunities.

Read More

The Secret Lives of Grasshopper Sparrows

April 22, 2024

Hidden among the coastal agricultural grasslands of Marin lies a fascinating inhabitant: the grasshopper sparrow.

Read More