San Diego is constantly rated a dog friendly destination for many reasons, so there’s really no excuse for travelers to leave a fluffy family member behind when visiting America’s Finest City.
With near perfect weather year-round and plenty of wide-open spaces to fetch, sniff and roll around, dogs can have as much fun vacationing in San Diego as their human companions.
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 plenty of San Diego’s hotels. Hotel Indigo, or maybe it should be called “Hotel InDogGo,” in Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, has a Pet Getaway (BYOP…Bring Your Own Pet?) that includes a welcome treat, dog bed, bowl and free parking for the two-legged parents.
In addition, there are no restrictions on the weight, breed, size or number of pets. Nothing is off limits, either, as pets are welcome anywhere throughout the hotel.
For those hankering for a view of the beautiful La Jolla Cove, La Valencia‘s VIP (Very Important Pet) package allows visitors to get some vitamin D and dine outdoors with their pup along with a $25 al fresco dining credit. The hotel also offers extras including a welcome tote bag, leash, bottled water, healthy dog eats and a VIP collar accessory.
Unleash the Hounds
San Diego beaches and parks aren’t just for humans to enjoy; canines can sun, run and splash about, too. Pups can practice their doggy-paddle all 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 a fan 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 masters can browse the latest in pet fashions and stock up on squeaky toys while their furry baby munches 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 definitely not something 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 the length of their ride as well as their 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 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 accommodating up to four people and two dogs.
Dogs can double as a workout buddy 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 one-of-a-kind stand-up paddle board 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 zone, 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, make 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 for 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 tons of fun for humans, including over 100 craft and local beers on tap.
For more information on San Diego’s offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at www.sandiego.org.