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Home > Dogs > Top 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches Around Capitola, CA: Off-Leash & On-Leash Places to Go

Top 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches Around Capitola, CA: Off-Leash & On-Leash Places to Go

chocolate labrador at the beach

If you’re planning a beach trip in Capitola, California, there’s no reason your dog should miss out. Though there is only one dog-friendly beach in Capitola itself, fortunately, there are plenty of beaches nearby in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Aptos, and Davenport—some of which are less than a 10-minute drive away. Read on to find out what your options are for a beach trip with your pooch in and around Capitola.

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Top 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches Around Capitola, California

1. New Brighton State Beach, Capitola

🗺️ Address: 📍1500 Park Avenue, Capitola, CA, 95010
🕐 Open Times: 8:00 AM to sunset
💲 Cost: $10 parking fee, bus parking fees $50 and $100 depending on the number of passengers
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Popular camping spot for tents and RVs
  • Hiking trails along forested bluffs
  • Stunning views of Monterey Bay
  • Pacific Migrations Visitor Center in the campground which includes a park store
  • Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times


2. Seabright State Beach, Santa Cruz

🗺️ Address: 📍East Cliff Drive and Mott Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, 95062
🕐 Open Times: 6:00 am to 10:00 PM
💲 Cost: Free parking on surface streets in the neighborhood
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Sandwiched between the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the Santa Cruz Harbor
  • Views of boats around the Santa Cruz Harbor and Walton Lighthouse
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash
  • Bonfires are permitted in fire rings provided by State Parks
  • Free parking available


3. Mitchell’s Cove Beach, Santa Cruz

🗺️ Address: 📍West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
🕐 Open Times: Sunrise to sunset
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-leash allowed? Yes, before 10:00 AM and after 4 PM

  • Off-leash hours before 10:00 AM and after 4:00 PM, at other times dogs must be kept on a leash
  • Famous for its low congestion and quieter vibes
  • You may be able to spot migrating gray whales, other sea animals, and birds
  • Lighthouse Field State Beach (another dog-friendly beach) is nearby
  • Heads-up—this beach may not be accessible during high tide


4. Lighthouse Field State Beach, Santa Cruz

🗺️ Address: 📍West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
🕐 Open Times: 7:00 AM to sunset
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Lighthouse State Beach is the Uypi tribe’s (an Ohlone Tribe) homeland
  • Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet
  • Hiking, biking, and running trails are available
  • Great spot for glimpsing sea lions and Monarch butterflies
  • Free parking available


5. Manresa State Beach, Watsonville

🗺️ Address: 📍1445 San Andreas Road, Watsonville, CA, 95076
🕐 Open Times: 8:00 AM to sunset
💲 Cost: $10 parking fee, $50 and $100 fee for bus barking depending on the number of passengers
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Sweeping cliff, sand, and sea views
  • Tent camping is an option from mid-May through October, but unfortunately, RVs are not permitted
  • Keep an eye out for wildlife including white-crowned sparrows, California gray whales, sea otters, dolphins, and brush rabbits
  • Be careful not to disturb Western Snowy Plover nests—this is a federal law violation


6. Twin Lakes State Beach, Santa Cruz

🗺️ Address: 📍East Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz, CA, 95062
🕐 Open Times: Sunrise to sunset (day-use area)
💲 Cost: Free parking in the off-season, summer parking permit required
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Schwan’s Lake, which is adjacent to the park, is the place to go if you’re a fan of birdwatching
  • The downtown Santa Cruz small craft harbor is located approximately in the center of Twin Lakes Beach
  • Dogs are required to remain on a leash
  • You can purchase a summer parking permit from the kiosk across from the beach
  • Schwan Lagoon is a hiking trail within Twin Lakes Beach


7. Rio Del Mar State Beach, Aptos

🗺️ Address: 📍Rio Del Mar, Aptos, CA, 95003
🕐 Open Times: 8:00 AM to sunset (day-use area)
💲 Cost: Free parking in the town center, $10 for platforms area parking
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Dogs are required to remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet
  • If you enjoy a casual stroll and taking in some views, check out the promenade
  • Aptos Creek ends at Rio Del Mar Beach and forms a lagoon in summer
  • Convenient location with nearby restaurants and markets
  • Keep an eye out for whales, sea lions, dolphins, and various birds


8. Seacliff State Beach, Aptos

🗺️ Address: 📍State Park Drive, Aptos, CA, 95003
🕐 Open Times: 8:00 AM to sunset
💲 Cost: $10 parking fee, $50 and $100 for buses depending on the number of passengers
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • A popular beach for swimming and picnicking
  • RV access to the campground
  • The USS Palo Alto concrete ship is at the end of the pier
  • Dogs are allowed on this beach on a leash no longer than 6 feet


9. Davenport Beach, Santa Cruz

🗺️ Address: 📍446 CA-1, Davenport, CA, 95017
🕐 Open Times: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM
💲 Cost: Free parking
🐕 Off-leash allowed? No

  • Dogs are allowed on Davenport beach but not on nearby Scott Creek beach
  • At the base of the cliffs, you might be able to spot shallow caves and unusual rock formations
  • Moderately congested
  • A good spot for whale and bird watching
  • Check out the tide pools on the south side

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Conclusion

So, if you’re planning a getaway in Capitola and/or its surrounding areas, we hope this guide has helped you pick out where you’d most like to go with your canine companion. When visiting any of these beaches, we recommend double-checking the rules on taking dogs with you in case of any future changes. Also, don’t forget to pick up after your dog before you leave to help keep the beaches clean and pleasant places for everyone.


 Featured Image Credit: Carolina García, Pixabay

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