Swimming with dogs in the Southwest

One of Fish and Ares’ very favorite pastimes is to swim.  Living in the desert certainly puts some limits on this activity, but over the years we’ve found a few places where they can splash to their hearts’ content.

Southern Nevada:  Lake Mead

We love to rent a dog-friendly patio boat and spend a day exploring this beautiful desert reservoir.

Joseph and Ares captaining the boat

Joseph and Ares captaining the boat

There are plenty of places you can drive in and park by the lake as well, but we discovered the easiest way to find a place where we can let the dogs swim off-leash is to take a boat and find a secluded beach on our own.

Fish looking out at the scenery

Fish looking out at the scenery while we search for a good beach area

There are not a lot of amenities at Lake Mead unless you’re at one of the marinas, so be sure to bring your own water, dog bags, and whatever else you might need for a day at the lake.

Fish being a fish at Lake Mead

Fish being a fish at Lake Mead

Southern Utah:  Sand Hollow State Park

Just outside of St. George and Washington in Utah is this beautiful little reservoir.  It has gorgeous red sand, clear blue water, and plenty of good spots for a picnic.  Of course, if your dog likes to roll in the dirt or sand, be prepared for a unique experience:

Bonnie, from our dog park, rolling in the sand

Bonnie, from our dog park, rolling in the sand

Sand Hollow is a very popular spot in the summer time, so you may want to plan a trip on a weekday or early in the morning to avoid large crowds.  There are several spots with picnic tables and a few restrooms, but you’ll want to pack your own dog bags for this trip.

Sand Hollow 3

Southern Utah:  Navajo Lake

Navajo Lake is located in the Dixie National Forest near Duck Creek Village.  We were lucky enough to have a family friend with an A-frame cabin nearby, so we had a lovely day trip with our dogs and her family.

Navajo Lake One of the unique aspects of this lake was a cement retaining wall that ran all the way from one side to the other.  We were able to walk alongside Fish and Ares while they swam all the way across and back.  We were there in July and pretty much had the lake to ourselves.  Again, no amenities, so be sure to bring bags and water with you.

Navajo Lake 2San Diego: Ocean Beach Dog Beach

OB Dog Beach is a leashless dog beach near San Diego.  A stop here is a must whenever we travel to the coast with Fish and Ares.  We love watching our dogs play with the waves amid such beautiful scenery.

San Diego Dog Beach OB Dog Beach has bag stations located around the beach, but be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and your dogs.  If your dogs love fetch you may want to bring several toys you don’t care about; the beach is very popular and we’ve watched many a tennis ball disappear with another, faster dog.

Dog Beach One of the perks of this dog beach is a dog wash just a few blocks away.  We really appreciate getting the sand and salt water off of these two before we put them back in the car!  You can find their website at:


Do you have other places you like to take your dogs swimming?  Or tips on how to make it an even more enjoyable experience?


3 responses to “Swimming with dogs in the Southwest

  1. Wow what fantastic options for the dogs. Although we live in Sydney there are few ‘official’ dog beaches or places to swim. Glad you found some expanses of water because labradors need it! ps. also liked you home improvement section.

  2. I experienced my first dog park in British Columbia with a friend’s German Sheppard, was messy but fun!! We have an 8lbs yorkie who avoids water at all costs 😉

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