Having a friend in town from the U.K. gave us the perfect excuse to explore more of Southern California and finally take Cooper to Huntington Dog Beach in Orange County.
We already have a great repertoire of dog beaches for our yellow Labrador, Cooper, but we've been meaning to take him to the one-mile stretch of golden sand for ages, where dogs can frolic off-leash in the surf and along the shoreline.
He regularly enjoys visiting Sycamore Cove in Ventura County, not strictly an off-leash beach, but dogs are allowed and off season in the early mornings we've never had a problem playing along the quiet sandy bay.
Further up the coast in Santa Barbara, there's the wonderful Hendry's Beach, which has both an on and off-leash section of beach (plus fabulous dog showers to wash the sand and salt out of your pup's fur) at the end of the day.
Finally there's the Long Beach Dog Zone, which is disappointing by comparison in its size (not that Cooper minds whilst he's dashing around like a mad thing), but at least it's the only official off-leash section of dog beach in L.A. County.
Anyway, back to our weekend adventures. We headed off early from West Hollywood to beat the freeway traffic and about an hour later arrived at Huntington Beach.
We parked at the meters along the PCH by 21st Street where the dog section of the beach starts.
Cooper could taste the salty air and couldn't wait to race down the sandy shores to the Pacific Ocean, then realising he'd left us behind so he looked around as if to say "well what are you waiting for?"
Weather reports had warned of thunder storms along the coast, so we'd nearly called our trip off.
We were glad we didn't and like typical Brits we spent most of the day marveling at the heat, sunshine and blue skies, especially considering it is the end of November, when typically back home all there is is cold and rain.
Cooper was in his element and didn't really care whether the sun was shining or if there was driving rain, all that mattered to him was there were dogs to play with and balls to endlessly chase.
Huntington Beach is a lovely stretch of sandy shore and even more importantly it's clean.
You can tell that dog walkers don't take this brilliant beach for granted.
It was lovely to relax walking along the sandy shore, with a refreshing wind to blow away the cobwebs and surprisingly it didn't feel that crowded, either with dogs or people.
Cooper didn't really swim that much in the ocean this time. He did follow a few dogs into the water after their toys, but the waves were crashing in and the current looked strong, so you could see why it was a favourite with local surfers.
We tested out his new tennis ball launcher (to save our shoulder joints) and he didn't really stop running up and down the beach after them.
Off in the distance we could see the seaport of Long Beach and there's a picturesque pier at Huntington Beach, so it's a nice place to spend an hour or so, especially when pup is having so much fun.
Cooper refused to give up playing with his tennis ball, but towards the end you could tell he was exhausted.
He was so tired he almost didn't have the energy to move out the way when the waves came rushing in.
As we were in the neighbourhood, after our playtime at Huntington Beach we decided to head down the coast to Laguna Beach to explore some more.
More on our adventures there tomorrow...