The sunny Californian city is one of the most pooch friendly regions in the USA with numerous bars and restaurants welcoming your doggie friends and there are many fantastic dog friendly hotels in San Diego too. There are many beaches which will also allow dogs as long as you’re aware that there could be a few restrictions. Here is our guide to the best dog friendly beaches in San Diego…
The Original Dog Beach, Ocean Beach
Probably your best bet if you want a carefree, relaxed day by the sea. No leash restrictions here, as long as you stay on the ‘dog beach’ side – the other side is for humans only! You still need your dog to be licensed and as the beach is completely open with no fencing, a GPS tracker is recommended. As the beach is open day and night, you can go anytime whether to watch the dawn rise or the sunset. Plenty of restaurants and bars where your dog is welcome can be found here as well. Lovely sandy beach, equipped with toys, balls, doggie bags and drinking fountains make this beach fun and well equipped. Go early at the weekend to get access to parking close by.
Fiesta Island, Mission Bay
Another leash-free beach on this island, more of a park location than big sandy beaches, but nevertheless, a great spot for an adventurous doggie. What’s great about Fiesta Island is that the waters are calmer on one side, but great waves on the other, and less of a risk for your dog to get swept away. Lots of fun for them as they clamber up and down sand dunes, frolic in the sea, whilst checking that you are still there! Remember though to take plenty of water and doggie bags, as these are not supplied. Whilst easy to park anywhere on the ring road, it is closed to vehicles between 10am – 4pm. If you enjoy a bit of seclusion, this is such a large area that you can walk for miles and not necessarily see other dogs. GPS tracker recommended as there is no fencing.
West Beach, Del Mar
Whilst dog friendly, this beach has quite a few restrictions as to leash control and times, particularly during the peak, so do check out the local council site for accurate timings, which changed in the fall of 2018. Even such things as the length of the leash, which must be 6ft or under – so do be cautious, and make sure your dog wears his license on his collar in full display – hefty fines are in place for breaking the rules.
In Del Mar, you can choose between the Main Beach, North or South Beach, all with varying restrictions, but North Beach (also known as Del Mar Dog Beach) is the most popular with dog owners. Don’t let the restrictions put you off visiting, Del Mar is a very friendly place and a great place to take the kids as well. Take your own water and doggie bags, as these are not supplied, so clearing up after your pooch is always welcomed. Make sure you have a few dollars in your pocket as parking gets very crowded and you may have to pay for space.
Del Mar Dog Beach
As stated before, this beach is also known as North Beach, Del Mar, and is really the most unrestrictive dog beach in Del Mar. From 29th street all the way to Solana Beach dogs can run freely and have fun, although not in the peak summer months, where they must be on leash. You are likely to come across surfers in this area and it has a friendly and relaxed vibe. Visit the lagoon area where there is an expanse of sand, but there are often volleyball nets put up, so if pooch loves to play ball you may have a problem!
San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff by the Sea
Be careful if you think that your dog can run free here on the beach – it is simply not allowed on to the sand here, you have to go towards Tower 16 where you will find a campground with a beach that runs alongside the river and lagoon. They can swim here and there are plenty of families with dogs of all shapes and sizes, so pooch can have a good time playing with them. The main beach, however, does not allow dogs, and hefty fines apply if you break the rules.
Coronado Dog Beach, Coronado
You need to head to the west side of the beach for a relaxing leash-free day with your dog. It is signposted, so you shouldn’t go wrong. It’s a beautiful area with glorious scenery, but can be difficult to park close, which can mean a long walk with pooch before you reach the beach, and they must be on a leash all the way along the public roads. Doggie bags are provided at the entrance to the beach, and there is even somewhere to wash off your furry friend covered in sand and sea water! This beach is open 24 hours a day but does operate a ‘no tolerance’ set of rules – no food or dog treats, no excessive barking or aggression and no contagious diseases.
Be careful if you are expecting to go anywhere on Pacific Beach with your dog – it’s highly restrictive and dogs are not allowed on the main beach under any circumstances. Walking around the area is also restricted to certain times and seasons, so you need to check before setting off.
Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I’ve always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia.