Friday, July 31, 2009

Dog Beach & What Not to Do There

PICNIC, for one thing! Because if you do, some big ol' chocolate lab is bound to come along and grab a hunk of pricey cheese off your makeshift table and gobble the whole thing down. And then he'll come back for seconds and go for the remaining block of cheese and the crackers. And you won't be able to get him off your stuff, because he is big as a tank and loves cheese. It takes your DHs running from the surf's edge to haul him off your sandy beach towel. And then you look at your own pup and she seems like the sweetest, most well-trained dog (which is quite the opposite of the truth most of the time). And you vow you won't be like that big ol' chocolate lab's owner who was no where in sight when the cheese heist was going on...because that's irresponsible.

I want it known that Dog Beach was not my idea. It was also not my idea to have a picnic. In fact, it was a surprise (and such a nice one until...). But friends invited us, and when my DH shocked me and agreed, I went along with the whole crazy plan (never having been there before).

I'm here to tell you that OB Dog Beach is everything you've heard it is. No waves (which is kind of creepy), clumps of heavy seaweed along the water's edge, crowded with sunbathers ignoring the sand fleas. The air does not smell fresh. Like you don't want to take a deep breathe, close your eyes, and smile while you exhale. You try not to breathe. It's just instinct.

We walked away from the crowd along the channel that leads to the San Diego River and it's tepid, still water. (I could go on with a gazillion adjectives but I'll spare you). Few people down that a'way as you can tell from Scout's picture up above. And just one big ol' rogue chocolate lab. Oddly enough, no seagulls anywhere in sight. Hmm. I'm not sure what that says, but it was eerily quiet.

Now OB doesn't bother everyone, of course, since the beach by the parking lot is crowded. But if you're used to the pristine beaches further north guarded by cliffs with terns running crazy outlining the waves and fresh breezes above a crashing surf, you will be disappointed.


  1. And the hot sun...don't forget the sweating and the burn!

    Believe it or not, DH and I moved into a scary little OB "hotel" (and I put that in quotes for a reason) when we left LA and didn't have anywhere to live in SD. So with a Siberian Husky and 2 cats, we crammed into a little efficiency and walked the dog to dog beach every day. Did I mention the "hotel" fronted that ocean wash back that even 15 years ago was just as you described it is today. Delighful! And the dog beach hasn't changed much either. It was always on the verge of being shut down by the city due to all the reasons you described, but the residents always managed to pull it back from the brink!

    PS - Winter used to be a much nicer time to go there - no tourists who didn't take responsibility like the choc. lab's Dad - only a few flies and fresher air! I've always thought of it as the "hippies" dog beach. Of course that is OB's origin...complete with "The Black", head shops and barefoot beachie stores! A true flashback in time!

  2. You might try dog beach in Coronado next time, at the north end of Coronado beach, by the entrance to the military base. Lots of waves, brisk breezes, seagulls and dog action, even doggie showers to partake in at the end of your visit. No guarantees about the rogue Lab though... best to keep your lovely cheese under wraps until a party of people is surrounding the cheese with full military protection in force! Also good to remember that graceful hat, or sunscreen! ;o)

  3. Yes, Coronado sounds like a much better venue! I like the military protection idea alot.

  4. I agree with Val- try Coronado, but have the picnic somewhere else before you go there!