Davenport Landing Beach: For Surfers and Swingers

Davenport Landing Beach Swing

Are you into wild and rugged NorCal beaches but not so into roughing it down a sketchy cliffside?

Looking for a spot you can tow a full ice chest or access via wheelchair, that doesn’t require you to just “hold it” until you get back to civilization?

Davenport Landing Beach has all that, and  a swing set, which makes you wonder: Why don’t all beaches have swing sets?

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Law of the Leash: Where to (Legally) Exercise Your Dog in Santa Cruz

Olive Springs Trail Soquel
Imagine 51,000 dogs crowded onto Mitchell’s Cove Beach on West Cliff.

That’s what would happen if every dog in Santa Cruz County gathered at the only off-leash beach in Santa Cruz.

Mitchell’s Cove is the only beach in Santa Cruz County where dogs are allowed to play, fetch, swim and run off-leash.  Another startling fact to throw at you…off-leash romp time is limited to before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm.

Just east of Mitchell’s Cove is Its Beach. This beach is ironically referred to by some (including Google Maps) as “Dog Beach,” even though dogs are not allowed off-leash. Once upon a time Its beach did have legal off-leash hours.

“Our off-leash beach areas are minimal and few for the tens of thousands of dogs in this county,” says Karen Simmons, Chair of the Friends of Lighthouse Field (FOLF).  FOLF would like to see Its Beach allow dogs off-leash, “We are a beach community, and as a community, designating less than two percent of county beaches for dog recreation seems reasonable,” says Simmons.

Eastside pups face the same conundrum. Most people think of the beaches from 20th to 26th Avenue as being dog beaches, since we’re used to seeing happy pups frolic there. But nope, not legal.

Ted M. Coopman, Live Oak Off Leash Advocates (LOOLA) spokesperson, says, “It is the tale of two cities – it is the best of places and worst of places. On the upside, most locals are very dog-friendly, and if you do not mind the technical off-leash violation there are plenty of open spaces and beaches. However, compared to Carmel, San Francisco, or other bay area cities, we are way behind the curve.”

On visual cues alone, it’s confusing where you can legally exercise your dog in Santa Cruz. To help set things straight, we’ve gone on a dog park crawl and put together the following lists of dog-friendly recreation areas. If the curve changes, we’ll be sure to let you know. Paws crossed!


How to Use This Post

This is a long post, featuring 40 places you can take your dog (and 13 places dogs aren’t allowed), so to make it easy to navigate we created these handy little buttons below. Click on any of the four buttons to jump to the section of your choice:


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King Tides Reveal Tide Pool Treasures in Pleasure Point [Photo Gallery]

Pleasure Point Tidepooling

King Tides have brought extreme high and low tides to Santa Cruz the past couple days, and will continue to do so through Thursday.

The high tides give some insight into how rising sea levels impact our coastal regions.  However, it’s the low tides that are drawing crowds.  These extreme low tides, combined with warm and sunny December days, are proving to be a tidepooling paradise.

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