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Dog-Friendly Guide to San Diego, CA (Hotels, Restaurants, Beaches)

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

san diego
Population: 1.41 million
Off-leash dog parks: 17
Dog Friendly Hotels & Accommodations: Excellent
Dog Friendly Restaurants, pubs, & cafes: 560
Most popular dog breed: Siberian Husky
San Diego is one of the most pet-friendly cities in the United States. This city loves its dogs so much that it even hosts the Hornblower Annual Pet Day on the Bay and the Unleashed Surf Dog Competition in Imperial Beach. You can even enroll in a Pup Paddleboard or Doggie Yoga class.

Finding hotels, restaurants, and activities that cater to both you and your dog is easy to find compared to many other major cities. Take a look at some of our favorite dog-friendly activities and locations that are sure to inspire your next travel itinerary.

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Looking for a specific dog-friendly guide to San Diego? Try:

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The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Hotels in San Diego

Most hotels in San Diego will welcome pets and include some information on their websites. However, make sure to call the hotel beforehand so that you have the most updated information on their pet policies. Here are some pet-friendly hotels that are sure to pamper your pet during your stay.

1. Hotel Republic San Diego

Hotel Republic San Diego logo

Maximum Number of Pets: 2
Weight Limit: 50 pounds
Additional Pet Fee: $100

Hotel Republic San Diego is conveniently located near several attractions and many noteworthy restaurants. It welcomes pets but has some breed restrictions. So, make sure to give them a call before booking your stay to ensure that your dog can stay with you.

The hotel has its own Pup & Paws Package that includes a dog bed, chew toy, dog tag, and food bowls and mats. They also have a daily special menu, so your dog can enjoy an extra treat while it’s on vacation with you.

2. Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego logo

Maximum Number of Pets: None
Weight Limit: None
Additional Pet Fee: None

The Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego is a favorite amongst pet owners because it’s one of the few hotels that don’t have a weight limit or additional pet fee. Guests with pets can only book rooms on dedicated floors for pets. So, booking a stay at this hotel might be a challenge.

The hotel offers amenities for pets, including food bowls, beds, and treats. Each room also comes with a “Pet in Room” door hanger, so other guests can be mindful of your pet while walking down the hallways.

3. Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Loews Coronado Bay Resort logo

Maximum Number of Pets: 2
Weight Limit: 40 pounds
Additional Pet Fee: $150/night

Loews is a luxurious hotel that warmly welcomes both humans and pets, and it’s conveniently located near Coronado Dog Beach. Its pet services are top-notch, and it was even featured in National Geographic’s The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel.

This hotel goes above and beyond to make sure your pet feels comfortable and safe. The pet service includes food and water bowls, bedding, toys, treats, and other pet supplies. The room service even includes features catered towards pets, such as dog walking and dog sitting.

4. Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego logo

Maximum Number of Pets: 2
Weight Limit: 50 pounds
Additional Pet Fee: $100/night

The Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is known for its spacious rooms and stunning views of the beach. This hotel welcomes pets and provides dog bowls and treats for each room. You can also make a request for its pet-friendly room service menu to ensure that your pets are taken care of if you have to leave them for a part of the day.

Currently, Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego charges a pet fee of $100 per night for up to 6 days. For 7 days or more, an additional $100 will be charged for deep cleaning.

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The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego

Your time with your dog doesn’t have to be restricted to outdoor areas. There are hundreds of restaurants and cafes that also welcome pets, so it doesn’t hurt to call the establishment beforehand for their pet policy.

Here are some of our favorite restaurants and cafes that are also dog-friendly.

1. Brickyard Coffee and Tea

Brickyard Coffee and Tea logo

  • 675 W. G St.

Brickyard Coffee and Tea serves delicious coffee drinks and has a limited, curated menu where all dishes are made to order. This cafe also displays artwork of local artists, and these displays change monthly.

The venue has a large patio where you and your dog are welcome to sit and relax. If you’re in the area on a Friday, make sure to stop by and listen to some live music.

2. Caffe Calabria

Caffe Calabria logo

  • 3933 30th St.

Caffe Calabria is a fun spot that serves up superb coffee, cocktails, and pizza. It’s a great place to grab a quick coffee and pastry for breakfast or eat a savory pizza for dinner after a long day of exploring. This restaurant has a nice outdoor space where your dog can rest and sit with you.

3. Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ

Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ logo

  • 1127 W. Morena Blvd.

Bull’s Smokin’ BBQ welcomes all well-behaved dogs and has a dog-friendly patio reserved for their furry guests. Along with making accommodations for pets, this location serves up delicious BBQ classics including pulled pork, BBQ chicken, and ribs.

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The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Parks in San Diego

San Diego has many beautiful parks where you can relax and enjoy spending time in nature. Here are some of the best parks that have special dog parks or dog-friendly areas.

1. Cadman Community Park

  • 4280 Avati Dr.

Cadman Community Park welcomes dogs and requires them to be leashed except in the designated off-leash area. This park hosts many classes and events, so it’s a great space for you and your dog to enjoy activities alongside community locals.

2. Capehart Park

  • Soledad Mountain Rd. and Felspar St.

Capehart Park is open 24 hours, so you can bring your dog out there at any time of day. The dog park is a spacious area where your dog can just let loose and expend any pent-up energy. It has two fenced areas that are designated for small dogs and large dogs.

3. Grape Street Off-Leash Area

  • 1998 28th St.

Grape Street Park is a secluded and quiet getaway located in a residential area. It has a large dog park that spans 5 acres and includes washrooms for people and dog fountains. Keep in mind that the area is unfenced, so it may not be the safest location for dogs that tend to chase small animals or escape easily.

4. Nate’s Point Dog Park

  • 2500 Balboa Dr.

Nate’s Point Dog Park is an off-leash area that’s about 2.3 acres. It’s fenced and has a drinking fountain for dogs and some picnic tables where you can rest while your dog runs around.

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The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Beaches in San Diego

All city-operated beaches have special hours where you can bring your dog, as long as it’s leashed. For the most part, you and your dog can enjoy the beach in the mornings before 9 am or in the evenings after 6 pm.

If you’d prefer to visit beaches during the middle of the day, you can visit several dog beaches in the area.

1. Coronado Dog Beach

Coronado is generally a very pet-friendly area that has many restaurants, shops, and hotels that welcome dogs and provide expert-level services and care for your pets. Coronado Dog Beach is no exception and is a wonderful beach that you and your pup can enjoy together.

This beach is surrounded by beautiful scenery and you can get nice views of the Point Loma headland and Hotel del Coronado. Just keep in mind that this beach is a very popular location, so it can get pretty crowded, especially during peak tourist season.

2. Fiesta Island on Mission Bay


Fiesta Island is a small island park located in Mission Bay. It’s open to dogs, and they can walk around off-leash anywhere outside of several fenced areas. The beach also has fairly calm bay waters, so your dog will have an easy time swimming around.

Fiesta island also has an off-leash dog park. So, if you have a particularly social dog, it’ll love spending time meeting other dogs in this area.

3. Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Ocean Beach Dog Beach is located on the north side of Ocean Beach City Beach. Since it’s one of the more popular dog beaches in the San Diego area, it can get packed pretty quickly. There’s a large parking lot that can get filled up, but you can also find street parking nearby.

The beach has a lifeguard on duty and you and your dog can enjoy both swimming and surfing in the water. The beach has people-only showers located onsite, but you can find a dog wash station a couple of blocks away.

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The Top 4 Dog-Friendly Hikes in San Diego

Along with beaches, San Diego also has many hiking trails and walking paths that are perfect for nature-loving tourists and their dogs.

1. Cabrillo Tide Pools Coastal Trail

If you have a water-loving dog, it’ll love this trail. The Cabrillo Tide Pools Coastal Trail is a short half-mile hike that takes about an hour to complete with your dog. You can both walk along tidepools and enjoy walking alongside the ocean. Just keep in mind that dogs aren’t allowed in the tidepools, and they must be leashed at all times.

2. Cowles Mountain Trail

Cowles Mountain Trail is a relatively easy trail that’s about 3 miles long. You can expect to complete it in about 2 hours with your dog. It reaches the highest point within city limits, so it’s worth visiting if you want to see some nice views.

3. Marian Bear Memorial Park

Marian Bear Memorial Park is located in San Clemente Canyon. Most of the trails in this park are flat, so they’re ideal for an afternoon stroll with your dog. Keep in mind that your dog must be leashed throughout the whole park.

4. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is a dog-friendly natural park that also has plenty of hiking trails of varying difficulty levels for you and your dog to explore. As its name states, this park has many cliffs where you can rest and enjoy stunning sunset views. All dogs must be leashed throughout the entire park.

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Interesting Facts

  • According to San Diego Animal Control, more than 2,500 dog bites are reported in the city each year.
  • Dogs in San Diego can be declared “Dangerous Dogs” or “Public Nuisance Animals.” If this happens, you’ll have to pay extra fines and fees for licensing your dog. If a dog has attacked two people within a time span of 48 months, it’s considered a “Dangerous Dog.” To be labeled a “Public Nuisance Animal,” the dog must kill or injure another animal, violate local laws, or damage the community in some way.
  • San Diego has far different favorite breeds than the rest of the country. Throughout the US, the Labrador Retriever reigns supreme as the clear-cut favorite for many years. In San Diego, the Siberian Husky earns the top spot, followed by French Bulldogs, Poodles, Pugs, and Maltese.

Leash Laws & Licensing

All dogs within San Diego must be licensed. Licenses can be renewed on an annual, bi-annual, or three-year basis. While most of the San Diego suburbs follow similar licensing laws, some of them have their own fees, fines, or regulations. Vista and Oceanside, for example, both have their own fee schedules related to licensing.

Every dog in San Diego must also be vaccinated against rabies between the ages of three and five months. There are costly fines associated with failing to get your dog vaccinated during this time.

Dogs must be controlled when on the owner’s premises, either by voice, electronic containment system, or other restraint, such as a leash or enclosure. Dogs in public must be restrained on a leash that’s no longer than six feet by a person that’s able to completely control the animal. When dogs are traveling by car, they must be protected by a harness or similar device that will protect them from falling, jumping out the window, or being thrown.

Walking the pack of dogs on city sidewalk
Image Credit: katz, Shutterstock

Average Cost of Ownership

Pet ownership in San Diego is on the pricey side, just like everything else about living in this city. You’ll have to figure in extra cost for your living accommodations, plus the cost of licensing fees. Since San Diego is such an expensive city, everything related to your pet costs more as well. Pet care, for instance, costs an average of $13.75 per hour, just for dog walking and dog sitting services. You can expect healthcare and food for your pet to be similarly expensive as well.

Licensing your dog isn’t too pricey, luckily. You will have to renew your dog’s license since they only come in one, two, and three-year time frames. A one-year license for an altered dog is $18, or it’s $36 if your dog isn’t fixed. For two years, a fixed dog costs $33, and a license for an unaltered pooch goes for $66. If you want a three-year license, you’ll spend just $36 if your dog is fixed, or $90 if not.

Though San Diego is a very pet-friendly city, finding dog-friendly living accommodations can still be a bit of a battle since there are so many people in the market for pet-friendly homes. Because of this, pet rent and deposits can be prohibitively pricey here. It’s not uncommon to spend between $500 and $1,000 just in deposits to keep your pet in your home with you. Don’t forget the $25-$50 per month of additional pet rent, which adds up to a total yearly cost of $300-$600. And this is all for just a single dog. If you’ve got more in tow, you can multiply these figures by the number of dogs in your household, which means multi-dog families can spend an awful lot on their living accommodations.

Shelters & Rescue Centers

When you want to add a new dog to your family, the many animal centers, rescues, and shelters in San Diego make that easy to do. Places like Second Chance Dog Rescue and PAWS of Coronado make adoption accessible to everyone who qualifies. Depending on where you go and what age dog you get, you might spend anywhere from $30-$500 to adopt a dog in San Diego.

Of course, one of the best places to go for your dog adoption services is the San Diego Humane Society. They make it incredibly affordable to adopt a new best friend, with some dogs’ fees costing a mere $30.

San Diego, California
Image Credit: sanguin2, Pixabay

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Wrapping Up

San Diego is the perfect city to visit with your dog because you’ll both feel welcomed and cared for from start to finish. There are so many activities that you can do together, and you can easily make reservations with your hotel’s pet room service to care for your dog while you explore on your own.

Dogs can be some of the best travel companions, so make sure to plan your next vacation together in San Diego. It’s sure to be a fun trip filled with wonderful memories.

Looking for more cities to explore with your pup? Check out our list of the 20 best dog-friendly cities in America!

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Featured Image Credit: Dancestrokes, Shutterstock

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