12 Dog-Approved Ways to Experience San Diego with Your Canine Pal

Image by Johan Larsson via Flickr

12 Dog-Approved Ways to Experience San Diego with Your Canine Pal

If you’re looking for dog-friendly activities in the San Diego area, you’ve got more than a few options. In fact, you’d be hardpressed to find a city that’s more pandering to your precious pooch. Home to multiple dog beaches, hiking trails, and dog-friendly restaurants, San Diego is the perfect travel destination for dog owners.

Whether you’re vacationing or you’re a lifelong resident, there’s no shortage of ways to explore and enjoy “America’s Finest City” with your furry friend. Here are 12 wonderful ways to experience San Diego with your dog. 

1. Take in a baseball game at Petco Park’s Barkyard

Celebrate your love for America’s favorite pastime with a ballgame at Petco Park’s Barkyard. You can now cheer on the Padres from one of five semi-private, dog-friendly viewing booths.  $100 will get you reservations for a booth that accommodates up to four people and two dogs. Your ticket also comes with sun-blocking umbrellas, a watering station, a designated pet relief area, and a pet concierge to escort you and your dog to your seats.

2. Share a memorable meal at the Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar

Image by Alison Pang via Unsplash

Take advantage of San Diego’s balmy weather by dining alfresco with your furry friend. The Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar hits all the right notes with its relaxed ambiance and dog-friendly outdoor seating. Their eclectic American menu includes options for your doggy date. Along with a bowl of refreshing H20, your dog can dine on his choice of hamburger or grilled chicken and rice. Bone appetite! 

Of course, Lazy Dog is far from the only dog-friendly restaurant in the San Diego area. Indulge your inner foodie and get a reservation at one of the following dog-friendly joints:

  • The Quartyard—this unique event space, constructed with repurposed shipping containers, hosts a variety of cultural events, concerts, and markets. Dogs are welcome at this hip venue that features a coffee shop, beer garden, dog run, art space, and eatery. 
  • The Wine Pub—it’s no secret the folks at the Wine Pub have a soft spot for canines. Their website states: “Don’t leave your pup at home—bring them with you!” This Point Loma wine bar graciously invites you to imbibe with your furry pal on their dog-friendly patio. Be sure to order Fido something special from their doggy menu.
  • Backyard Kitchen & Tap—this casual Pacific Beach eatery has a dog-friendly patio where your canine companion can dine on fresh treats made in-house. 

3. Hit up one of San Diego’s many dog-approved hiking trails

Image by Ewen Roberts via Flickr

Looking for a way to blow off steam with your dog? San Diego has you covered with plenty of dog-friendly walking trails.

  • Batiquitos Lagoon—Enjoy the view of the lagoon’s north shore along this scenic trail. Dogs are welcome to explore the 3-mile trek at this popular nature center, but they must be leashed.
  • Penasquitos Canyon—With roughly seven miles of trails, there’s ample terrain to explore in San Diego’s Penasquitos Canyon. This preserve features a breathtaking waterfall, majestic sycamore groves, and diverse wildlife. 
  • Sunset Trail, Laguna Mountains— At Sunset Trail, you’ll enjoy the cool forest shade, beautiful meadows with a variety of plant life, and a tranquil lake.
  • Mission Trails Regional Park—Get your cardio in at this sprawling park that features 60-miles of dog-friendly trails. 

4. Blow off steam and socialize at Balboa Park

Work on Fido’s social skills while getting some exercise at Nate’s Point Dog Park, located at Balboa Park’s West Mesa. This 2.3-acre off-leash area is completely fenced-in and features a watering fountain and picnic tables. 

Other San Diego dog parks to check out: 

  • Capehart Park—At the corner of Felspar and Soledad Mountain Road, you’ll find Capehart Park: a one-acre dog park complete with drinking fountains, picnic tables, and parking. Capehart features two separate pens, one for small dogs and one for big dogs, both filled with artificial turf.
  • Cadman Community Park—Ditch the leash, and let your dog roam freely at San Diego’s Camdman Community Park
  • Doyle Community Park—Located in University City, this dog park features separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, shade structures, and a barbeque area.
  • Dusty Rhodes Neighborhood Park—Share a day of fun in the sun at the Dusty Rhodes Dog Park. This large park has wide open spaces perfect for your energetic pupper.
  • Rancho Penasquitos Dog Park—Just across the street from the Penasquitos library, this off-leash dog park welcomes all dogs, big and small.

5. Visit the beach

Image by Alonso Reyes via Unsplash

Love the beach? Drink up San Diego’s stunning coastline with a sunny trip to the beach. You have your pick of dog-friendly choices: 

  • The Original Dog Beach—This San Diego hotspot is considered the first dog beach in the state. Soak up some rays while your pooch runs freely sans-leash. If you work up an appetite, follow your beach day with a stroll to one of the area’s dog-friendly bars or restaurants.
  • Fiesta Island—For avid swimmers, check out this peninsular park in Mission Bay. Fiesta Island offers plenty of space for Fido to run in the sand dunes, and the area’s calm bay waters provide ideal conditions for a little doggy paddling.

Coronado Dog Beach—Your dog will have the time of his life at the Coronado Dog Beach on Ocean Boulevard. In fact, the entire Coronado island is teeming with dog-friendly amenities, from hotels to boutiques and restaurants.

6. Work up a sweat at a “Leash Your Fitness” event

Launched by Dawn Celapino in 2005, Leash Your Fitness is dedicated to promoting physical activities outside of your standard dog-walking routine. As such, these “all-purpose” exercise classes combine elements of yoga, cardio, core strengthening, and balance. 

Join fellow dog-lovers at a group hike, running club, yoga class, or boot camp. This doggy-and-me fitness program wins bonus points for incorporating obedience training into every workout. 

7. Try stand-up paddleboarding

Itching to try something new? Allow us to introduce SUP Pups: a private one-hour course that teaches eager dogs and their owners the ins and outs of paddleboarding. Whether you’re a fledgling newbie or a seasoned pro, stand-up paddleboarding is a delightful way to spend a day with your favorite four-legged friend.

8. Feed your sense of adventure with a doggy kayaking excursion

Image by Miguel B via Flickr

Maybe you’re more into kayaking, in which case Aqua Adventures has you covered. This water-sports rental center in beautiful Mission Bay is a great way to introduce your pup to kayaking. Once he’s properly outfitted with a doggy life jacket, your dog will learn to appreciate this popular sport, while you brush up on water safety basics. 

9. Volunteer together

For folks looking to make a difference in their local community, volunteering with your dog can be both rewarding and fun. If your dog is friendly and outgoing, perhaps he’d thrive as a canine volunteer for the San Diego Humane Society. As part of this program, your dog can educate children in the classroom or visit with people at local events. 

If your dog is on the calmer side, perhaps he can participate in their Pet-Assisted Therapy program. These dogs provide comfort to people in nursing homes and hospitals. 

10. Rent a hydrobike with your pup

For a new way to experience the water, hop on a hydrobike rental from Hydrobikes San Diego. Dogs ride free and will delight in the sights and sounds of Mission Bay. Doggy life vests are included with your rental.

11. Spoil your furry friend with a shopping spree at Muttropolis

Reward your dog for being his awesome self with a stylish, new collar or a cozy dog bed from Muttropolis. This canine boutique in Solana Beach offers convenient curbside pickup and free next-day delivery for residents within a 5-mile radius of the store.

12. Dig into dessert together

Dessert is the cherry on top of a perfect doggy day. Treat your pooch to a canine-approved confection at Paw Pleasers. This pet bakery in North Park whips up custom doggy cakes, surfer-shaped biscuits, and novelty ice cream flavors for both cats and dogs. 

If your dog has a sweet tooth, check out these other San Diego bakeries that cater specifically to our animal friends:

  • Three Dog Bakery—These dessert pros pride themselves on using fresh, “from-scratch” ingredients. Perennial favorites include: “SnickerPoodle Cookies”, “Peanut Mutt-er Woofles,” and “Cinna-Mutt Roll Cookies.” 
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes—This bakery makes sugar-free “pupcakes” in La Jolla.

San Diego certainly knows how to celebrate “man’s best friend.” For more dog-approved businesses in the San Diego area, visit Grumble Dog today.

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