Last weekend we took our new rescue dog named Coco to Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, California. This was our first time taking a dog to the beach, although we frequent this beach quite often. There are a lot of great dog beaches in Southern California. One of my other favorite dog beaches is the one in Huntington Beach, CA. Although I haven't taken Coco there yet, I do visit that beach quite regularly. I do love that beach because it is so very large and there is a lot of space for the dogs to run around. I think I do prefer it to Rosie's, but Rosie's is a bit closer to our house. The other reason I love Rosie's is that the water in Long Beach is warmer and calmer than other beaches in Southern California. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when taking Coco for the first time. So, here are some things I learned about taking a dog to the beach for the first time. 4 Things to Consider When Taking a Dog to the Beach 1. Keep the Leash On One of the most important things about taking a dog to the beach is learning your dog's behavior when there are a lot of distractions. The moment we set our stuff down, my kids ran to the water. I took Coco off her leash and she followed the kids right in. At first, I thought she was fine and was going to stay with her kids. But, then she saw a man throwing a ball into the water and she took off. I chased her down and brought her back over to where the kids were. Then, she saw another person throwing something and she took off again. I quickly learned that although Coco is generally a good dog, and can be off-leash in very calm environments, she cannot be off-leash at the dog beach, just yet. The day we visited was super packed, so there were so many distractions for her. I think on a less-busy day she would be less likely to run off without us. If you do want to test whether your dog can be off-leash, I'd suggest dropping the leash and letting your dog run freely. But having a long leash behind them will make it easier to catch them if they do run away. I wasn't so smart the first time, so at various times my kids and I were all over the beach chasing her. I learned my lesson and put her leash back on. She ended up sitting on a blanket by me for the rest of the time. Although I know she would be happy to have kept exploring, it was a bit tiring for us to chase her. We are going to continue to work on off-leash training so she can fully participate at the dog beach very soon. 2. Bring a Water Dish for your Pup I'm hoping the next time we consider taking a dog to the beach, we all have even a better experience. After running around Rosie's Dog Beach so much (and likely drinking a lot of ocean water), Coco was thirsty! I brought a small little dish so I could give her fresh water to drink every 30 minutes to an hour. It was a hot day too, so I wanted to make sure she stayed hydrated. Taking a dog to the beach requires you pack even more things - including a dog dish. You might also want to make sure you bring something to create shade for your dog if they are prone to overheating. 3. Pack Extra Towels As you probably can imagine, your dog is going to get wet and dirty (assuming they like the water). I was actually shocked how much Coco liked the water! She ran right in after my kids and was fully emerged in the water. Of course, she then got super sandy after leaving the water, so it was great for her to have her own towel to dry off. 4. Be Prepared For a Mess! No matter how many towels you bring, you're still going to have a soggy and sandy dog. I knew going in that she would need a good bath when we got home. I came prepared with ample towels and took her straight from the car to the bath afterward. We also hit up the car wash later that afternoon to vacuum out all the sand that had accumulated. Overall, we had the best time taking a dog to the beach. We will definitely bring Coco back to Rosie's Dog Beach another time.