Sick of your dog giving you the sad eyes every time you leave? We get it! We also hate leaving our dog home while we go out and enjoy the world.
Fortunately, San Diego residents and visitors needn’t worry – the city offers a ton of activities you can enjoy with your pet. Best of all, taking your pooch on a pet-friendly outing doesn’t just let you avoid the puppy-dog eyes, it also serves as a great chance to provide the kind of canine enrichment she needs to live a full life!
We’ve tried to help below, by assembling a list of the best dog-friendly activities you can enjoy in San Diego. Check ‘em out!
The 9 Best Dog-Friendly Activities in San Diego
Let’s be clear: Not every kind of pooch-appropriate activity will work for every woofer. High-octane hounds may enjoy some activities, while low-key Lhasas may prefer others.
But don’t worry – we’ve put together a variety of different activities you can do with your dog, to make sure there’s something for everyone. Let’s jump right in!
1. Visit a pup-friendly bakery.
Every doggo loves a treat. Why not spoil yours with a fresh one from an dog bakery?
A trip to a dog-friendly bakery introduces your pup’s sniffer to an assortment of new, enticing scents. Plus, it spoils her with something for her doggone good behavior during your San Diego adventure. Most mutts will readily gobble down these goodies!
Dog-friendly bakeries use canine-safe ingredients, but that doesn’t always mean products will sit well in your pooch’s tummy, especially if she has a sensitive system. Offer a small portion of any new food and remember your dog’s food allergies or intolerances when ordering. No one wants to battle surprise dog diarrhea!
Bring a tail wag to your terrier’s tush at one of these area dog bakeries.
Original Paw Pleasers
About: This barkin’ good bakery isn’t fluffin’ around, making their canine cakes with a grain-free base mix of human-grade ingredients. They also offer doggy ice cream, training treats, and adorable toys. Word of warning: You must order cakes in advance, so mark you calendar for your pup’s birthday to secure the goods!
Address: 2818 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92104
Phone Number: (619) 293-7297
- Open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 Am to 6:00 PM, Friday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
- Check for special store events and closures online before your visit
- There’s also a location in Chula Vista
Woofpak Pet Kitchen
About: Natural ingredients are the foundation of this floof-friendly bakeries business where you can pick up pawesome pupper eats like pupcakes, dog food toppers, and ice cream. Want some next-level pooch pampering? See The Mudroom — the bakery’s unique take on a dog spa!
Address: 4545 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92122
Phone Number: (858) 800-3692
- Open 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday to Saturday and 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM Sunday
- The seasonal pupcakes are only available for a limited time, so grab ‘em while you can!
2. Splash around a dog-friendly beach.
San Diego is a sea lover’s paradise – pups included!
Heading to the beach offers fun in all forms for your floof, from swimming to running to chasing waves. Your woofer can also roll around or nap in the sand, making it a good choice for doggos of all ages. Just be sure you fill in any holes your doggo starts to dig, as nothing sours a day at the beach more than a tumble.
Only visit designated dog-friendly beaches, and be sure to pack a towel to thoroughly dry your pooch after a swim. Respect leash laws, too, as not every dog beach allows woofs to run free. For safety’s sake, we recommend keeping your canine on a long leash or having her wear a dog life vest.
Escape the heat with your hound at one of these San Diego beaches for barkers.
About: Located just off Ocean Beach Park, Dog Beach is a must-visit stop for water-loving woofers with great recall. It has ample space for sniffers to zoom around with canine friends and does allow off-leash fun, letting your woofer really let loose.
Address: Ocean Beach Bike Path, San Diego, CA 92107
Phone Number: (619) 236-5555
- Open 24 hours for off-leash fun
- Visiting woofs must wear their county license tag
- Super popular among locals and visitors alike
About: Pups are permitted anywhere outside the fenced areas on this Mission Bay island, where the water is calmer than oceanside beaches. It’s another unfenced off-leash area, so make sure your dog reliably comes when called before removing his lead.
Address: 1590 E Mission Bay Drive, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone Number: (619) 525-8213
- Open 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily
- No fresh water source is available, so be sure to pack your woof water
3. Stretch your doggo’s legs and see some landmarks.
San Diego is a beautiful city with so many awesome landmarks to photograph and explore. Best of all, many of these sites are dog-friendly!
Now, sightseeing seemingly isn’t the most exciting activity for dogs, but many mutts will appreciate the exercise and chance to roam a new area full of fresh scents. This is especially true of older dogs lacking everyday mental stimulation.
Respect posted rules and leash your doggo at all times while taking in San Diego with your sniffer. Remember: Not every landmark lets pups inside but often, the outdoor grounds permit pooches. Just call and ask!
Check out these must-see spots with your mutt.
About: Leash up your pup and venture to this pooch-positive place, boasting three dog parks, walking trails, and gorgeous gardens. The architecture is nothing to sneeze at either, making the ideal backdrop while snapping a selfie with your pooch.
Address: 1549 El Prado, San Diego, California
Phone Number: (619) 239-0512
- Open 24 hours a day
- Entry and parking at 11 nearby lots are free
- Check the events calendar for upcoming gatherings that can spawn huge crowds
About: Within Tuna Harbor Park, your leashed pup is allowed to come along as you appreciate this sculpture. This classic post-war image of lovers in a joyous embrace stands a whopping 25-feet-tall and makes for an awesome photo prop with your pooch.
Address: 43-99 Tuna Lane, San Diego, CA 92101
- Open 24 hours
- While this statue is in a dog-friendly space, don’t let your pooch tinkle on the monument, please!
About: You and your mutt are welcome to be wowed by more than 100 murals at this pup-positive park, tucked beneath the I-5 freeway. It’s well-shaded and paved, giving you a cool and clean place to roam on warmer days.
Address: 1960 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113
- Open daily from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
- Check the social calendar for fun events (and days to avoid to beat the crowds!)
4. Snag a deal at a dog-friendly shop.
Leash your Rover and head to one of San Diego’s many dog-friendly stores or shopping districts for a day of tail-wagging fun and hopefully, barkin’ good buys (including some for your sniffer!)
Shopping gets your mutt up and moving, from her paws pounding the pavement to her nose taking in all the exciting scents. It may not seem super exciting for your pup, but her mind sure will get a workout!
Shopping trips are best for mature dogs who are housetrained and well-mannered with obedience and loose leash walking skills, as you don’t want to risk a potty accident or destructive doggo. It’s not a good pick for puppies, though it can be made friendlier for floofs with mobility issues by using a dog stroller.
See which pup-positive shop sounds like a right stop for you and your pooch.
About: This waterside spot is home to several dog-friendly shops and restaurant patios, making it a prime spot to visit with your well-behaved, leashed pup. Retail relaxation aside, you can also unwind with your woofer and take in the epic water views from the grassy, shaded areas.
Address: 849 W Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
- Open daily from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
- Check out the walking paths along the water and sneak in extra steps
About: Dig into the deals at this dog-friendly retailer with your Rover and see pupcakes, chews, training toys, and more. One of our favorite finds is the dog party section, where you can score cute pupper party hats, toys, and themed treats.
Address: 3773 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104
Phone Number: (619) 738-8677
- Open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Open 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve
- There are 3 San Diego area locations: North Park, Delmar, and Carlsbad
Point Loma Pet Pantry
About: Your dog’s favorite part of this dog-friendly shop is sure to be the healthy treat bar, but you’ll find loads more to love, like premium dog food, loads of pup toys, and woofer wellness products. This store views pet care through a holistic lens, aiming to carry the best natural products for puppers and kitters.
Address: 3704 Voltaire Street, San Diego, CA 92107
Phone Number: (619) 222-1986
- Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Closed Sundays
- Check their social schedule for in-store pupper events
5. Hike a pawesome trail.
San Diego and the surrounding areas contain countless named and unnamed trails – many that work great for pup parents after more than a neighborhood stroll with a sniffer.
Hiking with your pooch lets you both escape urban life for a dose of nature. The pathways aren’t always tricky, either, with many beginner-friendly treks making up the area’s trail system.
Easier trails typically feature short routes with flat terrain and fewer obstacles, suiting senior pups or those getting acclimated to hiking. Don’t worry; there are plenty on trails for experienced hikers too!
When hiking around San Diego, it’s vital to check the weather in advance, as the heat can be dangerous. Pack plenty of water and avoid going out on hot days that’ll risk overheating. It’s also important to keep your canine leashed and on the trail. San Diego is home to lots of dangerous wildlife, including venemous snakes and coyotes.
Break out of the city’s clutches and visit one of these dog-friendly trails around San Diego.
Mission Trails Regional Park
About: More than 60 miles of trails crisscross this stunning park, with everything from quick and easy routes to more challenges journeys for puppers whose paws have seen their fair share of travel. There isn’t much shade, so be sure to wear a hat, apply sunscreen, and pack enough water for you and your woof.
Address: 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego, CA 92119
Phone Number: (619) 668-3281
- Open 24 hours
- All visiting dogs must be leashed
- Pay attention to the map and avoid equestrian areas
Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve
About: A maze of trails that take you up close to stunning scenery make this park the perfect place to explore with your woof. Some pathways are designated for hikers, while others also allow bikers and horses, so be sure to double-check the map to find the best option for your pooch.
Address: 12020 Black Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129
Phone Number: (619) 525-8213
- Parking lots are open from 8:00 AM to sunset daily
- All dogs must be on a lead that’s 8 feet or less
- Coyotes are known to frequent this area
- Trails may close due to flooding or damage (check in advance!)
6. Rest at a dog-friendly hotel.
Need a nap after your adventure or not ready for the fun to end? Stay at a pet-positive hotel!
Instead of battling traffic while heading home, extend your barker bonding into the night will a sunset stroll down the coast or squeeze in another dog-friendly activity before retiring to a night of comfort and canine cuddles.
A dog-friendly hotel stay is perfect for a well-manner woof who has aced housetraining, but it’s not a good match for destructive doggos or pups suffering from anxiety, as the change in scenery can send them into a stress spiral.
Put up your paws with your pup at one of these San Diego area hotels that allow woofs.
Ocean Beach Hotel
About: The lack of a pet fee lets your save cash on your canine-friendly stay at this hotel. Situated on the shoreline, you can enjoy awesome water views from you room or while walking your Rover. Just be sure to leash your dog stick to pooch-friendly areas around the property and beyond!
Address: 5080 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
Phone Number: (619) 223-7191
- Check-in is at 3:00 PM, and check-out is at 11:00 AM
- There is a limit of 2 pets per room
Blue Heron Cottages
About: Mimic the feel at home for your mutt at this adorable cottage-style, dog-friendly resort. For a $25 fee, you’re permitted to bring up for four dogs of any size for your stay, where you can enjoy the fully-fenced common courtyard. Best of all, Dog Beach is a quick 20-minute walk away!
Address: 1685 Cable Street, San Diego, California, 92107
Phone Number: (619) 929-1949
- Check-in at 3:00 PM and check-out at 11:00 AM
- There are 2- and 3-night minimum stay requirements, depending on the date
- For an additional $25 fee, owners can bring more than 4 doggos
- Any damage or additional cleaning will accrue fees
7. Take your pooch to a Rover-ready restaurant.
You want to really see your pup’s tail start wagging? Take her to a dog-friendly restaurant in San Diego. Not only will she enjoy the novelty of visiting a new space, but there will be tons of delicious smells to sniff while she’s there.
Just make sure that you don’t share any people foods with your pet, unless you specifically know that the items aren’t toxic to dogs. Better yet, give your pet something you know is safe, whether it is from the dog-friendly menu many restaurants offer or something you bring from home (like a long-lasting chew).
Also, be sure to keep your pooch on a short leash while at the restaurant. You don’t want her bothering the staff or other patrons, nor do you want her to become a trip hazard. Also, consider taking a long walk before you arrive, so that she’ll be a little tuckered out (and therefore calmer) and have a chance to “empty” herself completely.
8. Grab a drink with your doggo.
Need to kick back with a cocktail after a long day? Well, there’s no need to go solo when grabbing a drink in southern California – San Diego has a ton of dog-friendly bars you can visit. From fancy digs with trendy cocktails to quiet little dives specializing in cold domestic brews, there is a watering hole for everyone in America’s Finest City.
Make sure that you select a dog-friendly bar that suits your specific pet, though. You don’t want to drag a shy or anxious pooch to a rowdy sports bar, for example. Also, make sure that you keep your pooch leashed, close by, and out from under the feet (and tables) of other patrons.
But above all else, remember that alcohol is toxic to dogs. So, don’t share suds or sips with your pet (we wish it weren’t necessary to say this, but you’d be surprised…). If you think your barker would really love a brew, just whip up a dog-friendly non-alcoholic beer for her instead!
9. Get out the zoomies at an off-leash dog park.
All pups need some time to run, jump, and play, and there are few better places to do so than a good off-leash park. And fortunately, San Diego has a litany of off-leash dog parks to choose from!
Now, not all doggos are good fits for off-leash parks. Pups who struggle with reactivity or are aggressive with other dogs will want to look elsewhere for exercise. Also, young, old, or mobility-challenged canines may need to skip the dog park in lieu of other, calmer places to play.
But for those dogs who’re well-suited to social scenarios, dog parks are usually a beloved activity.
Be sure to practice good dog-park etiquette during your visit, though. This means, among other things, picking up and disposing of your dog’s poop correctly, preventing your pooch from annoying other dogs, and leaving the treats at home (this can spark resource-guarding issues with other woofers).
Dog-Friendly Activity Etiquette: Do This; Don’t Do That!
No matter what kind of dog-friendly activity you decide to do with your dog, you’ll want to be a good pet parent while doing so. Don’t worry – that doesn’t mean doing anything difficult. Just follow the guidelines below and you’ll be off to a good start!
- Always keep your dog leashed outside of explicitly marked “off-leash” areas. You may think your pup is friendly and adorable, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does too. Some people don’t like dogs, some dogs don’t like other dogs, and some areas have fragile wildlife or landmarks your pooch may damage. But once you’re in a designated leash-free zone, let her go wild!
- Be ready for mutt messes. If you’re heading for a dog park or beach, bring a dog towel. You may also want to invest in a set of car seat covers, to protect your upholstery from your pooch’s paws.
- Be sure your dog is properly vaccinated. You don’t want your dog getting sick nor do you want your pet getting other dogs sick while you enjoy dog-friendly activities. One good way to help do so is by making sure your pup is vaccinated against rabies, parvo, and anything else your vet thinks is a good idea.
- Deal with your doggo’s droppings. No one wants to step in pooch poop while walking down the sidewalk (or even at the dog park). So, do your part as a responsible pet parent; bring plenty of poop bags and use them.
- Keep biting bugs at bay. Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can ruin your otherwise-awesome outing. So, make sure that you employ sound flea– and tick-prevention strategies to keep your canine critter-free.
- Always try to beat the heat. San Diego can get hot in the summer, so take care to keep your pet safe and comfy. Carry a good portable water bottle to provide water to your pet, and avoid walking around outdoors in the middle of the day. Also, consider fitting your floof with a cooling vest to prevent overheating.
Taking your terrier out to enjoy some pet-friendly activities is a great way to keep her brain buzzing, legs tired, and heart fulfilled. Hopefully, you’ll find one or more options above that sound like a good fit for your floof.
But we’d love to hear from you, San Diego residents and visitors! Which of the activities discussed above did your pet like? Are there any other fun dog-friendly activities in San Diego that we missed?
Let us know in the comments below!