Dog-Friendly Activities in San Diego: A Complete Itinerary
Take Your DOG On A Hike
Mission Trails Visitor Center Loop
Looking for things to do with your dog in San Diego? Burn some calories on a dog-friendly hike!
Starting at the visitor center of the Missions Trails Regional Park, the Mission Trails Visitor Center Loop is a short but worthwhile hike that extends 1.5 miles.
The trail is perfect for a relaxing hike with your pupper. It takes you through native flora and fauna, including chamise and buckwheat, while surrounded by the backdrop of Fortuna Mountain. Within a half mile of the hike, you’ll hear the roaring waters of the San Diego River as the trail begins to follow its winding path and the plants shift, transitioning to willows and sycamores.
After about another half mile, the trail will intersect the San Diego River with access to other dog-friendly trails leading to Fortuna Mountain and different sections of the Mission Trails Regional Park.
Coast To Crest Trail
The Coast To Crest Trail is an ongoing restoration projection. When the project is finished, the lengthy trail will feature more than 65 miles of expanse, stretching from the ocean at Del Mar to the Volcan Mountain, the San Dieguito River’s source.
Currently, the Coast To Crest Trail is segmented, beginning in Del Mar and winding along the San Dieguito Lagoon to the horse park, picking back up again in Rancho Santa Fe, west of the Crosby Estates. The longest section of the trail extends 23 miles from the Crosby Estates to the west of the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
The Coast To Crest Trail is an enjoyable hike, perfect for taking the dog, with rewarding views from the cliff.
The Kumeyaay Lake Trail is a short 1.3-mile out-and-back trail located in Mission Trails Regional Park.
Perfect for beginners, the trail is open year-round, offering stunning views of Lake Kumeyaay throughout. It is important to note that when the lake is full, water can flood the path, but at any other time of the year, the Kumeyaay Lake Trail is a refreshing stroll through nature on a dirt path.
The trail is popular for hiking and bird watching. But, if you time it during the less crowded points of the day, the Kumeyaay Trail is the perfect place for a quiet hike with man’s best friend.
At Lake Calavera Preserve in Carlsbad, the trail loops through the nature-filled oasis away from the city. The trail passes wetlands, a serene lake, and along what was once a volcano. The trail is a loose dirt path that begins at the Sky Haven East Trailhead parking lot. Continuing along the route, you’ll cross a creek—be careful, as the way can be extremely slippery if wet!
Watch out for sightings of birds like egrets, herons, and ducks as you pass through the coastal sage scrub habitats along the trail.
Sunset Cliffs Walk
Just under three miles, the Sunset Cliffs trail is part of the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in the San Diego area.
The Sunset Cliffs Walk follows along the ocean, and there is no shade, so ensure that you come prepared for yourself and your dog. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Many people enjoy the coastal scenery, from having a picnic to painting the outstanding views.
As you travel along the Sunset Cliffs Walk, at the top, you’ll find the Open Ceiling Sea Cave, which is surrounded by a fence at the top. The sunset views at the top are breathtaking, so try to time your hike to the notorious Sunset Cliffs!
Roam Around Balboa Park
The expansive historic urban cultural park is famous for its top San Diego attractions, including gardens, theaters, the San Diego Zoo, museums, and walking paths. But is Balboa Park dog friendly?
Though dogs are not allowed in the museums and some of the other attractions, leashed dogs are allowed to walk around Balboa Park.
Hike the tropical oasis at Palm Canyon, featuring more than 450 palms and 58 species. The winding path guides visitors into a luscious canyon primarily shaded. Next, walk the Trees for Health Garden is an educational garden that teaches visitors about medicinal plants. Finally, roam the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden, thriving with more than 1,600 roses of over 130 varieties. The options are endless in Balboa Park!
The tallest peak in the area is Mount Woodson. The challenging trail that takes on this hefty hike is known as the “Potato Chip Hike” for the iconic geologic formation at the top of the mountain’s peak. If you have an energetic dog that can take on the challenge along with you, then taking on the Mount Woodson Trail’s demanding 6.4-mile path is a doable and rewarding one for both of you!
Take on steep uphill climbs and weave through chaparral until you reach the top of Mount Woodson. From the top, hikers will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of Palomar Mountain and Lake Poway.
One of the most popular hiking spots in San Diego, the Cowles Mountain trail offers several routes. The trailhead begins at Golfcrest and Navajo, the most favored of the courses.
Crowds or not, the Cowles Mountain hike is beautiful, offering some of the best viewpoints within the city. It’s a moderate hike, so if you’re looking for an active day with your doggy, this is the one to choose.
Grab Delicious Eats At These San Diego Dog-Friendly Restaurants & Tasty Spots
The Cottage La Jolla
In operation for more than 25 years, The Cottage La Jolla serves mouth-watering, delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
The menu is focused on traditional American and Southern California cuisine, with the Victorian-style interior of the cottage restaurant serving up a soothing atmosphere. Stopping by The Cottage La Jolla with your dog is guaranteed to be an enjoyable venture filled with great food and a welcoming ambiance.
Order a serving of Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes for breakfast., the Chili Lime Shrimp Bowl for lunch, and the Blackened Chicken Pappardelle for dinner. The options are endless and consistently delicious, no matter what time of day you pop in with your pupper!
It’s time to sit back and relax at Moniker Coffee with your pupper lazing about by your side or at your feet. But, if you need to stock up on food, Moniker Coffee is served exclusively in Moniker General, a health food store and retail space with plenty of yummy options.
Serving up coffee since 2016, Moniker Coffee welcomes all to begin your daily routine with a cup of fresh joe. Helping fuel your productivity with a much-needed boost of energy, Moniker Coffee is the place to go for inspiration paired with a cozy atmosphere. And with the added benefit of Moniker Coffee being dog-friendly, you’ll be getting the job done in no time!
Start the day with fresh coffee drinks like the Vanilla Mint Cold Brew, a Cortdado, or sweet lattes like the Lavender latte made with house-made lavender syrup. Pair it with choices like the acai bowl, the yogurt granola bowl, or the Bae Breakfast Sando.
Coronado Brewing opened its doors in 1996, establishing itself as a place where friends could come together over a good meal, great beer, and an easygoing vibe. Today, Coronado Brewing serves up award-winning beer coast to coast.
Enjoy specialized ambers, wheat beers, and classic West Coast ales. Then, get a taste of the Palm Sway IPA that won the 2021 award at the Great American Beer Festival. The Island-style ale is teeming with tropical hop flavors, and you can experience the taste of an award-winning ale at Coronado Brewing with man’s best friend while savoring the laid-back vibes!
Featuring stunning ocean views through its panoramic glass doors, Firehouse in Pacific Beach is a well-known restaurant with top-class cuisine and design.
Dogs are only allowed on the patio as classily designed as Firehouse’s interior. There is a staple fire pit and four private seating cabana options. During the summer, there is a retractable awning to provide cooling shade. But no matter what time of the year, there are spectacular ocean-viewing options from the dining tables.
For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can grab a scrumptious meal at FirehousePB. From Creme Brulee French Toast for breakfast, a Firehouse Burger for lunch, or Honey Baked Salmon for dinner, the options are one-of-a-kind at FirehousePB!
Mia Marie Vineyards
Resting on 105 acres with spectacular scenery of Highland Valley, Mia Marie Vineyards is a family-owned and operated vineyard serving outstanding craft wines. Dedicated to quality, the vineyards cultivate their grapes and produce their wines.
Mia Marie Vineyards started planting its vineyards on ten acres of what was once an avocado ranch. They cultivated Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot, and other delicious varieties. The warm climate combined with coastal breezes and refreshingly cool nights benefits the quality of the vineyard, along with the decomposed granite that softened the minerality of each wine.
Join the rejuvenating vibes with your dog companion at Mia Marie Vineyards, with panoramic views from the tasting pavilion. Try award-winning wines like the Dry Muscat, which tagged the “Best San Diego County White Wine” award in 2020.
Happy Does Bar
Happy Does Bar is an outdoor retro watering hole in the historic Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, where you’ll find the party, the people, and the dogs!
Playing the best soundtracks with frequent opportunities to listen to live music, it’s not hard to feel the upbeat energy power up your mood. Join in on the backyard games on the patio with your pupper. Enjoy American classics like Jumbo Chicken Tendies (or the vegan alternative of Beyond Chicky Tendies), steak fries, and the Big Kenny Chicken Sandwich, made with housemade jumbo tenders, pickles, mayo, buttered bun, and southern slaw. If that isn’t enough to make you drool, then you need to check out the diverse drink menu to satiate your appetite and quench your thirst!
Take On These Exciting Activities With Your Pupper
One of the best dog-friendly activities, take your dog on the ultimate adventure with a ride on a hydrobike across the water!
Hydrobikes are perfect for adventurers looking to try something new and take their time exploring the water from above. Easier than riding a bike on land, you and your pupper can have a blast cruising San Diego’s waters of Mission Bay. It’s nearly impossible to tip a hydrobike, making it easier to keep you and your doggo dry!
Point Loma Mini Golf Loma Club
The Loma Club dates back to the early 1900s, establishing itself as a popular hangout spot for locals and tourists.
The club is found in the Naval Training Center, now called Liberty Station, once used by the Navy in the 1920s for training. The historic course, indoor and outdoor, was specially re-designed with a modern twist by famous San Diego architect Cary Bickler.
Dogs are welcomed at the Point Loma Mini Golf Loma Club. They are allowed on the patio, and the mini golf course but must be leashed at all times. So if you’re looking for something different to do with your pupper besides dog-friendly beaches and parks, then Point Loma Mini Golf Loma Club is a fun, new activity to consider!
Eco Boat Rentals
If you and your doggo love hitting the water or trying new adventures, consider booking an Eco Boat Rental!
Next to Point Loma Seafoods Restaurant, these Eco Boat Rentals are featured as the best boat adventure in San Diego Bay. Whether a local or a tourist, this water activity is a fun new adventure filled with relaxation and sightseeing. The perfect amount of room is on the eco pedal boat, which can reach a four-person capacity plus a pet. The rental has life vests for dogs available, so you don’t have to stress about bringing one.
OB Dog Beach
If you’re looking for dog-friendly things to do in San Diego, OB Dog Beach is one of the best of them!
A nationally acclaimed San Diego dog beach, the Original Dog Beach is one of the first leash-free beaches opened in the nation.
Located in the community of Ocean Beach, at the mouth of the San Diego River, this famed dog beach is beloved by locals and tourists, including pets, of course! All sizes and breeds of dogs are welcomed to the Original Dog Beach, where they strive to preserve and improve the beach for years to come.
Dogs have free access to getting their fur wet in the ocean, where surfers are often found surfing the Dog Beach break. If your dog likes to play with fellow canines, then a trip to the OB Dog Beach, a hot spot for dog owners and their dogs, is a must!
That Dog Society
The happy place for you and your dog, That Dog Society, is a sports bar and cafe where people and dogs can socialize.
That Dog Society offers everything you can imagine: a beer garden, boarding, grooming, and outdoor game area—you name it!
The cafe is perfect for anyone trying to get work done without leaving their furry friend’s home. The free WiFi and healthy dosage of accessible espresso drinks make for an exemplary workspace station with man’s best friend at your side and caffeine in hand. If you’re on the other spectrum and want to socialize or watch the game with fellow fans, then the brewery is the place for you! That Dog Society has 12 beers on draft, kombucha, and hard seltzers available to quench your thirst while watching the big game with your favorite pupper by your side.
Coronado Dog Beach
Across from Sunset Park on Ocean Boulevard, the Coronado Dog Beach is a leash-free dog park where your dog can play to their heart’s content!
The scenery around Coronado Dog Beach is stunning, with the Point Loma headland to your right and the classic Hotel del Coronado to your left. There is accessible free parking down Ocean Boulevard, which depending on the day, can mean you might have a short or long walk to reach the dog beach.
Your dog can play with fellow canines, take a dip into the ocean, and race across the sand at the Coronado Dog Beach for a thrilling active day of fun and socialization for your pupper!
Consider heading to historic Old Town San Diego for some more dog-friendly things to do and helpful travel tips. But are dogs allowed in Old Town San Diego? They are! The historic area is full of dog-friendly attractions such as Fiesta Island Dog Park, though it’s essential to check with a business to verify it is dog-friendly. Or head to Grape Street Dog Park, an expansive dog park surrounded by water fountains and eucalyptus trees.
Enjoy A Stay At These Dog-Friendly Hotels
San Diego Staycation Cassara Hotel
If you’re looking for dog-friendly San Diego Hotels, The Cassara Carlsbad Tapestry Collection By Hilton is a beautiful pet-friendly hotel to stay at during your vacation to San Diego. There is a pet fee of $85, and only two dogs are allowed, with a weight limit of 25 lbs.
Mere footsteps from the best of Carlsbad, this dog-friendly hotel features free shuttles to the Carlsbad beaches. A stay includes access to two resort pools, the fitness center, the family splash pad, an on-site restaurant, and more!
San Diego Mission Bay Resort
You and your dog can live in luxury at the San Diego Mission Bay Resort!
The resort boasts indulgent spa treatments, a waterfront pool within walking distance of the beach, a shallow wading pool for kids, poolside cabana rentals, and much more. And because San Diego Mission Bay Resort knows your dog is a part of the family, they welcome you and your dog for a stay. Up to two dogs are allowed per room, 75 lbs maximum, with a fee of $100 per dog with a pet relief area on the side of the property.