by Carie Broecker
Photos Courtesy of NatureDogs.com
San Diego is an awesome place to visit with your dogs. There are numerous off-leash beaches, hiking trails, a 1200-acre park, and islands to explore.
In addition to all the recreational activities you can enjoy with your pooch, San Diego and the surrounding communities have an abundance of pet-friendly cafés, many of them right on the oceanfront, and pet-friendly hotels with all the amenities.
If you are planning to do some tent camping or hook up your RV, Campland on the Bay is a great choice. It includes bay-front sites and is centrally located on Pacific Beach Drive.
Most of the hotel chains allow dogs (Sheraton, Marriott, DoubleTree), and there are also many nice, lesser-known hotels like the Ocean Villa Inn in Ocean Beach or Hotel Palomar downtown. If you want to treat your dog to something special, check out the Lowes Coronado Bay Resort.
With such perfect weather year round in San Diego, finding pet-friendly outdoor dining is easy. Some favorites are Shades Oceanfront Bistro in Ocean Beach, Café 1134 in Coronado, or The Wine Pub on Shelter Drive.
You’ve found your place to stay and grabbed a bite to eat — now what to do?
You can either drive or take the ferry to Coronado Island. The dog beach is located at the most northern end of the beach on Ocean Boulevard near Sunset Park. It is a deep, white sand beach with beautiful views in all directions. You will have to park a ways from the beach and keep your dogs on leash until you get to the beach, but Coronado Dog Beach is definitely worth the extra walk to get there.
You and your dogs will also want to go to Dog Beach in Ocean Beach. Locals refer to this as the “original” Dog Beach. The beach is located at the end of Voltaire Street at the mouth of the San Diego River, which flows into the bay. There is a big, free parking lot with easy access to the beach. Your dog can run, swim, and dig to his heart’s content. You can also both walk along the sandy banks of the river quite a ways or even take a dip in the fresh water, which makes this beach very special.
The third “don’t miss” beach is Del Mar’s Dog Beach also called North Beach, which is located just north of San Diego. The beach is north of 29th Street and stretches nearly one-half mile to the border of Solana Beach. This beach includes a stretch of coastal bluff. Be sure to check with local authorities regarding leash laws. Although North Beach is off-leash most of the year, there are some months during the summer when dogs are required to be on leash.
You will also want to check out Fiesta Island in Mission Bay just off of East Mission Bay Drive. There are no leash laws on Fiesta Island. The island is about five miles in perimeter and there is a road that goes around the island, so you will still want your dogs on leash while near the road. You will see lots of locals and tourists fishing and enjoying watercrafts on the island. Your destination with your pooches is going to be to the large fenced-in open space, which you won’t miss while driving around the island. There is lots of parking, green grass, trees, the beach, the bay, and a view of Sea World. Dogs love romping here!
The Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula. The Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail in the National Monument is an easy half-mile coastal hike. Dogs must be on leash on the trail to the tide pools, but it’s ok for them to romp around unleashed at the tide pools. The Tide Pools Trail is actually the only area in the monument where dogs are allowed. It is a nice short walk that you and your dogs will enjoy after a big day of beach hopping.
Balboa Park is a wonderful place to explore with your dog. Your dog must be on leash while enjoying the walking trails in the park, but there are two fabulous off-leash areas to enjoy. The first is Nate’s Point on Balboa Drive at El Prado. It is over two acres of lush green grass and trees. This is a popular park with the locals. The entrance to the other off-leash park is near Alabama Street and Morley Field Drive. This park also has an immense grassy field and lots of small trees. It is near the start of the Florida Canyon Nature Trails, which provide five miles of leashed hiking for you and your dogs.
This article barely scratches the surface of all San Diego has to offer, but hopefully it has piqued your interest. Have a great time in San Diego, and tell them Coastal Canine sent you!