Not all Southern California dog owners are like Jamie Lee Curtis in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”. Sure, they love their dogs – that’s not just a movie storyline. What’s different is that many – if not most – don’t really carry their dogs around in designer bags. We actually like to let them run around! Witness the many city, county and state dog parks in L.A. and Orange Counties. Here are a few favorites:
Alice Frost Kennedy Dog Park (Within Vina Vieja Park)
3026 E Orange Grove Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
Hours of operation: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily
Known affectionately as Alice’s Dog Park, this park has 2 ½ acres of off-leash space for large dogs and a one-acre grassy space for small dogs and dogs with special needs. This hilly park offers water, benches and lots of friendly dogs in an area that’s protected by a double fence. Visitors also like that there are tennis balls and toys around for the dogs to play with – equaling a good time for pooch and parent alike.
Runyon Canyon Dog Park
2000 North Fuller
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Hours of operation: Dawn to dusk daily
Parking: Limited Street on Fuller; dirt parking on Mulholland entrance (west of Outpost Drive)
The name of this park always puts the image of dogs running in my head. And that’s exactly what happens at this 160-acre park, which has 90 acres of off-leash dog park area. It is set on a steep hill offering stunning views of Los Angeles. The hiking trail makes this park popular with those looking for a workout for themselves – as well as their dogs. And there’s a kids’ park, too (no dogs are allowed there.) But look out! You just might spot a celebrity or two here, too.
Silverlake Dog Park
1850 W Silver Lake Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Hours of operation: Wednesdays: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; every other day: 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Parking: Can be a little difficult – you can find parking on the street but be ready for a short walk
This massive regional park offers 1.25 acres of off-leash dog park areas. It has separate areas for each big and small dogs, which the visitors love – and the “pup parents” are friendly. Near the Silver Lake Reservoir, this park has pretty views. The two complaints: not enough grass in the big dog area (resulting in dust) and not enough shade. But it’s well-lit at night.
Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park
17550 Victory Blvd.
Encino, CA 91406
Hours of operation: Daily, dawn to dusk, except Friday mornings when it’s closed until 11 a.m. for ground maintenance.
Parking: Lot holds 100 cars
This South Valley dog park offers five acres of off-leash areas and separate areas for each small and timid dogs. This park features plenty of grassy area – perfect for throwing the ball for your dog – as well as shady spots and water spigots with drinking bowls for the dogs. The park also has picnic tables for the humans to rest while the pups play.
Fullerton Pooch Park
201 S. Basque Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92832
Hours of operation: Daily 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Wednesdays when it’s closed for maintenance
Parking: There’s a lot but parking can be difficult
This beloved dog park features 3 areas – one for small dogs under 25 pounds, another “wood chip” area for all dogs, and a big dog area. Toys and pup-friends are plentiful – as is the space to run around – making it fun for the doggies. And pup-parents like this place because it’s clean and the people are friendly. A great place to wear out the pooch and make some new friends. A warning: this park can be hard to find, and is closed on Wednesdays.
Huntington Dog Beach
On Huntington Beach on the west side of Pacific Coast Highway
between Seapoint Street on the north and 21st Street on the south
Hours of operation: 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily
Parking: Metered parking lots – though they close at 8 p.m.
This dog beach is an important part of the Huntington Beach community – a non-profit organization that depends on the donations of its “fans” to stay open. And the fans are supportive – via direct donations, fundraising events, HDB t-shirts and more. The community support results in this one-mile-plus stretch of sand being made available for off-leash dog frolicking. The beach area offers dog bags a-plenty, and is cleaned daily by staff and volunteers. It’s a great place for two- and four-legged lovers of surf, sand, and sun to have fun.
Laguna Beach Dog Park
20672 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Hours of operation: Dawn to dusk daily except Wednesdays, when it’s closed for maintenance
Parking: Metered nearby
With lush grass and beautiful views, this park is a doggie parent favorite. Small dogs frolic freely in their own space away from where the bigger dogs run and play. It’s known for its great expanse of grassy area, foliage that’s great for exploring and cool breezes. The people are friendly and responsible. And the park is supported by a non-profit organization- Friends of Laguna Beach Dog Park – that also supports responsible pet ownership education and local dog rescue organizations.
7600 E. La Palma
Anaheim, CA 92807
Hours of operation: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Parking: Free lot on the West end of the park
Adjacent to the Santa Ana River in Anaheim, this park offers scenery, picnic areas and a great deal of serenity. While dogs are permitted only on their leash, dog-parents like that the park offers baggies along the path in case you forgot to bring your own. A great place for a walk where you know all the other dogs will be leashed, too – and good to know you can have a barbecue here with friends – and bring your furry friend along.
Jennifer Vides blogs at JenniferVides.com.