Retreat Down the Street

Image Source: National Park Service

Taking a walk on the beach is fun all on its own, at least in my opinion. Watching the waves come crashing in and searching the sand for intact seashells offers plenty of entertainment, with less physical exertion than the typical hike. Fort Funston, just outside of San Francisco, allows all dogs to be off-leash, so if you’re looking for a place to take your dog to wear them out for the day, or to simply see a bunch of dogs running around enjoying themselves, then it’s the place for you. Along with this, the average temperature during the summer is 62 degrees Fahrenheit, so it offers a nice escape from the heat of the cities further inland.

Fort Funston boasts a long stretch of beach after a relatively short hike down to the water. My family takes the short trip to Fort Funston on a regular basis, meeting up with my brother and his significant other to allow our dogs to get their energy out while getting our usual weekend hike out of the way. During the warmer months, the path down to the water and the beach is packed with dogs and their owners, giving dogs plenty of options for play. There will be dogs chasing after balls and dogs chasing the dog that’s going after the ball (this is my dog’s favorite thing to do). While your dog tires itself out, you can enjoy your walk on the beach and chat with family and friends. 

The only thing to watch out for at Fort Funston is the marine wildlife. While uncommon, seals have turned up on the beach, and my family has seen one injured and another that had unfortunately died. Ensuring that your dog leaves these animals alone can be a difficult task when they’re off-leash. If the animal happens to be alive, there will often be volunteers ensuring people give it space and keep their dogs away. However, it’s best to keep an eye on your dog–there are plenty of other things for them to get into. 

When you’re ready to head back to your car and head home, there are a couple of options: going back the way you came or finding the set of stairs that take you right back up to the main parking lot. After a leisurely walk along the beach with your dog, it’s a nice burst of physical exertion (and a not-so-nice surprise if you forget they exist). 

Next time you’re looking for a hike with your dog or looking to dog-watch, check out Fort Funston! There are plenty of dogs to play with, and the marine layer in San Francisco ensures it won’t get too hot. You might even want to bring a light sweater!