John and I really enjoy spending the winters in the desert, but I have to admit it has been nice to be on the coast. Is there anything better than a long morning walk on a beach? Yesterday we decided on Del Mar Beach. The entire beach is dog friendly from Labor Day to June 16. You will need to keep your dog on a leash on the south beach and main beach. They need to be under voice command on the north beach.
It took us about 45 minutes to get to Del Mar, and again the traveling was pretty easy. We have been pleasantly surprised with the traffic. We initially arrived at the north end of the beach, known as Del Mar Dog Beach. We decided to explore further before parking here and ended up parking on the south end of the beach and walking. There are parking meters at either end and the cost is $3 per hour, you can use your credit card. The walk from where we parked to the north end was about 1 mile each way. This is a great walking beach as the sand is pretty level and very hard packed. The temperature was perfect at 60 degrees. It was fun to watch the surfers as we walked. When you arrive at the north end there is a bridge that you will need to cross if you want to get to the other side of the beach. This seemed like the area that most people brought their dogs to be off leash.
After a long walk on the beach we still had time for one more adventure. We headed south in hopes of seeing the La Jolla Sea Lions. We arrived around 2pm and we were able to snag some great free parking right at La Jolla Cove. We knew that dogs were not allowed on the beach between 9am and 4pm during the winter but were hoping we could at least get a glimpse of the sea lions. We knew we were in the right area before we got out of the car because the area is permeated with the scent of rotting fish. We were able to spot lots of sea lions as soon as we stepped up on the sidewalk.
Make sure to bring a camera with a good zoom lens. I saw lots of people walking right up to the sea lions to get pictures and trying to touch them. There are warning signs throughout the area letting people know not to approach them as they can bite. I think they should be given their space as well, they are wild animals. We started walking the sidewalk/path that follows the shore. We saw lots of other people with dogs so we thought it was fine. A short distance into the hike we saw a sign indicating that even the paved trail is only dog friendly before 9am and after 4pm in the winter. We are hoping to get back up this way again as it looked like a nice walk and there are multiple areas along the way to view the sea lions.