San Diego is consistently rated a dog-friendly destination, so visitors should feel perfectly comfortable bringing their fluffy family members along. With temperate weather year-round and plenty of wide-open spaces for canine compadres to fetch, sniff and roll around in, San Diego can be as much fun for dogs as for their human companions. And from pet-friendly hotels, beaches and restaurants to swanky dog washes, boutiques and yoga, the options are endless for a memorable vacation with the pooch.
Doggone Good Accommodations
Visitors can stay, play and snuggle up with their pups at numerous San Diego hotels. The Gaslamp Quarter’s Hotel Indigo — or maybe that should be “Hotel InDogGo”? — has a Pet Getaway that includes a welcome treat, dog bed, bowl and free parking. There are no restrictions on weight, breed, size or number of pets, and nothing is off-limits, either: Pets are welcome anywhere throughout the hotel.
For those craving a view of beautiful La Jolla Cove, La Valencia‘s VIP (Very Important Pet) package lets visitors get some vitamin D and dine outdoors with their pups, with an alfresco dining credit for the dog menu. The hotel also offers such extras as a plush dog bed and a pink La Valencia tennis ball.
Unleash the Hounds
San Diego beaches and parks aren’t just for humans to enjoy; canines can sun, run and splash around, too! Pups can practice their dog-paddling year-round at San Diego’s Ocean Beach Dog Beach and Coronado’s North Beach Dog Run. After Labor Day through mid-June, dogs can chase their tails or have a snore-fest on the warm sand at Del Mar Dog Beach. For pups that aren’t fans of the sand and sea, more land-based off-leash dog parks include Nate’s Point in Balboa Park, Capehart Dog Park in Pacific Beach and Doyle Recreation Center in La Jolla. The City of San Diego has an official page so dog owners can sniff out what on- and off-leash parks they’d like to visit.
Whether a purebred pooch or a much-loved mutt, every dog deserves a little bit of pampering. With grooming options that range from neighborhood self-serve washes to nationally recognized pet spas, San Diego offers visiting pets plenty of ways to get gussied up. At the Holiday Pet Hotel in Encinitas, dogs can indulge in luxury spa treatments, including skin and coat treatments, pedicures and hydrotherapy massages. Pups can also freshen up their style at one of San Diego’s hip and trendy pet boutiques, including Paw Pleasers in North Park, where humans can browse the latest in pet fashions and stock up on squeaky toys while their furry friends munch on house-made biscuits.
The fun of catching a wave isn’t just limited to humans. Furry friends can hang 20, too — and it’s an experience not to be missed. Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, the longest-running doggie surf competition, is returning to Del Mar Dog Beach on Sept. 18 to raise life-saving funds for orphan pets at Helen Woodward Animal Center. The competition is fierce, with judges scoring dogs on length of ride as well as technique, enthusiasm and confidence on the board.
Holiday vacationers looking to “deck the paws” can head to the Gaslamp Quarter in December for the Holiday Gaslamp Pet Parade, where canines in cheery and colorful fashions proudly promenade through downtown. Padres pups and their paw-rents can enjoy a baseball game at Petco Park’s Barkyard. The elevated, backyard-inspired setting at Petco Park is a fan favorite and features five semi-private, dog-friendly viewing areas in left-center field for every Padres home game, each accommodating up to four people and two dogs.
Dogs can double as workout buddies in San Diego. While hiking and walking are the more traditional methods to break a sweat with a four-legged friend, West Coast Paddle Board Rentals SUP Pups provides the ultimate adventure for guests and their pups. This unique stand-up paddleboard lesson teaches the basics, safety and technique of the fun sport while giving tips and tricks to help dogs enjoy the ride, too. For those looking to get out of their comfort zones, Leash Your Fitness offers a variety of events and classes, including “Butt, Gut & Strut with Your Mutt” as well as yoga.
No Doggie Bag Needed
It’s no secret that in San Diego, outdoor dining options abound, making it the perfect place to take the pooch out for a nice meal. But many San Diego restaurants take it one step further by offering menus designed specifically for dogs. Fred’s, a charming café in the heart of Old Town, offers traditional Mexican food and drinks for people, and on Tuesdays it has dog-centric menu that features chicken, fries, scrambled eggs and sliced carne asada. Slater’s 50/50 in Liberty Station also offers a special menu just for dogs, along with a ton of fun for humans, including over 100 craft and local beers on tap.