San Diego Is the Best Place for a Dog-friendly Vacation — Here's What to Do With Your Pup While You're There (Video)
San Diego’s outdoor lifestyle and pet-friendly atmosphere make it the perfect destination for traveling with your furry best friend. You’ll find lots to do together, a range of lodging options that will welcome you with open arms and sometimes wagging tails, as well as dining spots from casual to upscale.
Cruise Mission Bay on a Hydrobike and take your dog along for a free ride. For a workout with sea breezes and fun for your best friend, you’ll both love it. Life vests for dogs of all sizes are free with your rental.
Hike the northern shores of San Dieguito Lagoon for an easy three to four miles and take your dog along. The trail starts at “Dog Beach” where dogs can play off-leash between Labor Day and June 15. Other dog-friendly hiking spots are also available in the San Diego area.
Take your dog to Fiesta Island, where your furry friends can run and play in the sand dunes leash-free or even take a dip in Mission Bay. Remember to bring water and avoid fenced-in areas. Dog Beach, one of the first off-leash beaches in the country, is another one to visit.
Paddle around Mission Bay on a kayak or stand up paddleboard with your dog. It’s such fun being on the beautiful bay together, and Aqua Adventures will rent you what you need for your adventure.
Let your dog run and play in Nate’s Dog Park, located on the West Mesa of Balboa Park. The park is completely fenced with amenities that include a double-entry gate, drinking fountain, and picnic tables. It’s open 24 hours a day. More leash-free parks are listed here.
Stroll through Old Town San Diego State Historic Park with your pup while you learn about life in the 1800s, the city’s history, and its beginnings as a Mexican pueblo. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Take your pooch to a baseball game at Petco Park and watch from The Barkyard, featuring five semi-private dog-friendly viewing areas in left center field. Each area fits up to four people and two dogs. There’s a designated Pet Relief Area, watering station, paw-cooling artificial turf, and in-seat menu service.
Nearly 600 San Diego hotels are dog-friendly, giving pooches and their humans lots of choices. Ask about amenities, pet fees, and size limits when booking. Here are some hotels that will welcome your dog along with you in various San Diego neighborhoods.
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego welcomes dogs up to 50 pounds, with a pet charge per stay. Amenities include dog bowl, treats, pet-friendly room service menu, and a squeak toy.
Hotel Republic treats dogs to Yappy Hour on Thursdays, with complimentary dog biscuits and “puppy beer.” There’s a pet charge and 50 pound maximum.
Pendry San Diego welcomes your dog with no additional fee and has dog treats, bowls, and waste bags available if needed.
Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego welcomes your dog with amenities that include plush pet-bed loaners, food, water bowls, and mats. There’s no extra charge and no weight limit. Plus your pup can join you at the nightly wine hour.
Mission Bay & Beaches:
Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is located near dog-friendly beaches and activities. There’s a pet deposit and maximum weight of 75 pounds.
Paradise Point welcomes pups under 15 pounds with up-to-date vaccinations. There’s a non-refundable pet fee.
Catamaran Resort and Spa features a weekly Yappy Hour in partnership with Second Chance Dog Rescue and Leash Your Fitness.
Estancia LaJolla Hotel & Spa treats your dog to a luxurious pet bed, food and water bowls, and outdoor dining on the terrace, with a one-time non-refundable pet fee.
Empress Hotel of La Jolla provides a pet bed and a baggie of milk bones with stays in their boutique hotel for a non-refundable one-time fee.
Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, just minutes away from Del Mar Dog Beach, welcomes two dogs up to 70 pounds with a one-time non-refundable pet fee.
Dog-friendly Bars and Restaurants
San Diego’s mild, sunny weather makes dining outdoors a pleasure for everyone. And that makes traveling and eating out with your pets fun and easy. Just check ahead, and you’ll find that you and your dog are welcome at many restaurants, breweries, and bars. Here are a few examples:
In Downtown and the Gaslamp Quarter, visit Union Kitchen & Tap for craft beer and creative cuisine or try Pier Cafe along the Harbor at Seaport Village. Indigo Grill in Little Italy offers Central and South American dishes on their pet-friendly patio. The Prado at Balboa Park also welcomes dogs to their patio tables. Of course, the Regal Beagle would be a place to dine with your pet on their patio.
In La Jolla, the historic Public House features indoor and outdoor dining as well as 40 beers on tap. In Mission Bay, Backyard Kitchen & Tap allows dogs in their outdoor areas with cabanas, fire pits, and an indoor/outdoor bar. The open air patio at the Lazy Dog naturally welcomes dogs and features happy hour and weekend brunch. In the heart of Old Town, Fred’s serves traditional Mexican food and there’s even a doggie menu, large patio, and outdoor bar.