San Diego, a city coined “America's Finest,” is famed for its miles of white sandy beaches and world-class, family-fun attractions. But did you know it also topped the polls as having one of the most pet-friendly destinations in America?
In fact, with a plethora of dog-friendly parks, beaches and hiking trails at your disposal, San Diego really is a pet paradise! So whether you and your pet are locals, or you simply have the joy of house sitting in this great US city, there are lots of pet-friendly places to visit in San Diego with your dog by your side.
We spoke to Trusted members and Ambassadors, Maryse and Jeff, who, as San Diego locals, have the best inside knowledge of where to take your dog for a great day out. Here’s what they told us…
Dog beaches to visit in San Diego
San Diego County has 70 miles of coastline right on the Pacific Ocean with an incredible variety of beautiful sandy beaches to walk on. And lucky for the dogs (and for us!), several of them allow dogs.
Del Mar North Beach
3200 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar
Opening hours: 24 hours
Take your pooch for a beach day at Del Mar North Beach. This two-mile stretch of beach is off-leash (except during the summer months, between June 15th and Labor Day) and is a great place to take your dog for a run around while you soak up the rays.
Coronado Beach Dog Park
100 Ocean Boulevard, Coronado
Opening hours: 5 am - 11 pm
Located directly across from Sunset Park on Ocean Boulevard is Coronado Beach’s leash-free, designated dog park. Fun for humans and canines alike, this San Diego spot is great for watching the sun go down with your pooch by your side.
Ocean Beach Dog Beach
Ocean Beach Bike Path, Ocean Beach
Opening hours: 4 am - 2 am
A true dog (and dog lover) paradise, Ocean Beach’s vast, off-leash dog beach is a great spot for dogs to play along the shore, or to indulge in a game of fetch. This popular spot is frequented by many canine locals, so it’s a great place for your pooch to socialise while exerting some energy.
Fiesta Island Dog Park
1750 Fiesta Island Road, Fiesta Island
Hours: 6 am - 10 pm
Head on down to Fiesta Island Dog Park for sandy dunes and tranquil, bay waters. This designated, off-leash dog park has more than enough room for your pup to run, swim and explore in, and as a popular San Diego beach spot there are lots of opportunities to make a four-legged friend or two.
Dog parks to visit in San Diego
Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park
425 Santa Fe Drive, Encinitas
Opening hours: 8 am - Sunset
Our favorite! Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park has two acres of land and a designated dog area, which includes a large turf area and a show circle. There are also separate areas for large, small, and shy dogs to congregate. Drinking fountains are also provided.
Kearny Mesa Dog Park
Where: 3170 Armstrong Street, Kearny Mesa
Opening hours: 6:30 am - 10 pm
This one-acre park provides a large, open area for dogs of all shapes and sizes to roam, and boasts lots of large trees and seating areas — perfect if you or your pooch need a cool down in the shade. Water bowls are provided, as well as separate drinking fountains for dogs and humans.
Alga Norte Dog Park
6565 Alicante Road, Carlsbad
Opening hours: 8 am - 10 pm
As well as providing designated areas for small and large dogs, this off-leash San Diego dog park also features an agility course area. Perfect for pooches of all sizes who like to sit, stay, and play!
Canine Corners Dog Park
9550 Milden St., La Mesa
Opening hours: 7 am - 6 pm
If the name alone didn’t give it away, Canine Corners Dog Park is a great place for dogs to congregate, and is supported by local volunteers and donations. Located within Harry Griffen Regional Park, La Mesa, this off-leash dog park features small, medium, and large dog separation pens, as well as multiple shady spots to rest in.
Dog-Friendly Neighbourhood Parks
Where: 482 Orpheus Ave., Encinitas
Hours: 5 am - 10 pm
Orpheus Park boasts gorgeous ocean views for both you and your pet to enjoy during their designated off-leash hours (up-to-date hours are available on the website). This friendly neighbourhood park also features a field, a fenced-in playground, plus water fountains for dogs and their humans.
Dusty Rhodes Neighbourhood Park
2469 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., Point Loma, San Diego
Opening hours: 24 hours
Dusty Rhodes is a great, family-friendly park to visit in San Diego, and features a huge off-leash and fully fenced-off dog park for your pooch to enjoy. Dog water fountains are also available.
Morley Field Dog Park
2225 Morley Field Drive, Balboa Park, San Diego
Opening hours: 6 am - 10 pm
Morley Field Dog is nestled just between Morley Field Sports Complex and Balboa Park tennis courts. Here, dogs of all shapes and sizes can burn off some energy in the large, off-leash dog area. Or, pop your dog on a leash and go for a wander up by the nearby Florida Canyon Nature Trails.
Mount San Miguel Park
2335 Paseo Veracruz, Chula Vista
Hours: 5 am - 10 pm
You and your dog are bound to make friends at this popular, off-leash dog park. Mount San Miguel Park features separate areas for both large and small dogs to play in, as well as plenty of benches for their owners to sit and rest. Drinking water for dogs and humans is provided.
Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails
Mission Trails Regional Park
1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Carlos
Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm
Mission Trails Regional Park has seven acres worth of space to explore, with a trail to suit everyone: from a gentle, one-mile hike to an energetic, 5-mile elevated hike. Dogs are allowed at this regional park but must be kept on a leash at all times. It can quickly get warm up there, so always remember to take plenty of water for you and your dog!
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park
5180 Tecolote Road, Morena, San Diego
Opening hours: Tuesday - Saturday 9 am - 4 pm; Sunday 9 am - 2 pm
Tecolote Canyon Natural Park offers up 6.5 miles of beautiful, scenic trails (as well as a visitor’s centre), and provides a suitable terrain for jogging, walking or mountain biking. Dogs are welcome throughout, but must be kept on a leash.
San Elijo Lagoon Trail
2710 Manchester Ave., Encinitas
Opening hours: Sunrise - Sunset
A must-visit for any dog-owning San Diegan. This three-mile hike trail runs up by the lagoon, and its local wildlife provides the perfect opportunity for a spot of bird watching. You'll find poop bags provided throughout, plus plenty of shaded spots for you and your furry pal to stop and take in the views. Just remember, dogs must be kept on their leashes here.
Iron Mountain Trail
Junction of Poway Road and Highway 67, Poway
Opening hours: Sunrise - Sunset
For an energetic afternoon, take your pup to Iron Mountain Trail for a 6-mile round hike. As well as spotting some natural wildlife, you can expect to encounter fellow human and canine companions on this popular hiking trail. Do remember to bring lots of water and visit during the cooler part of the day, as it can get very hot during peak sunlight hours.
Other Popular Dog Spots
Cadman Recreation Center
4280 Avati Drive, Clairemont, San Diego
Opening hours: Fall, Winter, and Spring, 7:30 am - 10 am and 4:30 pm - 7 pm; Summer, 7 am - 9:30 and 5 pm - 7:30 pm
Fun for all the family! Cadman Recreation Center has a playground and ball field, as well as an off-leash dog park for your pooch to enjoy and run around in.
Otay Ranch Town Center
2015 Birch Road, Chula Vista
Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 9 pm; Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
For a bit of retail therapy, head to Otay Ranch Town Center, just a few minutes from downtown San Diego. This dog-friendly, open-air shopping destination features a designated fenced-in dog area, with fresh water bowls and poop bags provided throughout.