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Dog running on beach in dog-friendly San Diego

Roam: Stay, play, shop, and dine in dog-friendly San Diego

Go west to find one of America’s most dog-friendly cities: San Diego. This sunny town ranked #4 on a 2016 SmartAsset list of 100 most dog-friendly cities, thanks to its pleasant weather, walkability and pet amenities. 

San Diego’s beaches and dog parks are a big part of its appeal. You’ll also find do-it-yourself dog washes, healthy canine menu options and even facials for your furry friend.

Hotels And Other Accommodations
Indulge yourself and your dog at La Valencia Hotel, where a VIP (Very Important Pet) package includes a chic leash, a collar tag and nutritious treats. Extras include doggie yoga and massage therapy. 

Pets are allowed anywhere with you inside Hotel Indigo, where the dog beds are fluffy and the treats are plentiful. Get a list of dog-walking routes and local veterinarians at luxurious Lowes Coronado Bay Resort. Toys, leashes, and pooper scoopers are also provided. 

Find more pet-welcoming accommodations visit, or for rental homes, apartments and other getaways visit Airbnb.    

Let your dog can browse for a new bandana or designer duds at Muttropolis, or stroll through more than 100 open-air boutiques and Bark Park at Westfield UTC.  

Fourteen-acre Seaport Village, on the waterfront, features a large dog park on the bay, pet-friendly restaurants, an outdoor concert series you can both enjoy and over 50 unique shops. 

Playful Parks, Beaches and Activities  
Several San Diego beaches welcome dogs; be sure to visit their websites for regulations. If your pup loves the ocean, check out the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon at Del Mar Dog Beach, an annual event that raises money for orphaned pets. 

Get your feet and paws wet at The Original Dog Beach, or take a dip on Fiesta Island and let your dog run off leash along the shore. Teach your dog new tricks at Aqua Adventures, where instructors lead clinics on kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding with pets. 

San Diego has lots of fun dog parks, complete with shade trees, water fountains and benches for humans with tired feet. Canine Corners offers three separate fenced areas for dogs of different sizes. Canines can drink from the lick faucet at Poway Dog Park, while pups that play well with others are invited to Nate’s Point Off-Leash Park, open 24 hours a day. 

Dog Washes 
After you’ve romped at the beach, shake off the sand at Dog Beach Dog Wash. This DIY wash provides towels, brushes, warm water, dryers and shampoo.  

Pamper your pet with an organic shampoo at South Bark Dog Wash. An aromatic blueberry facial is free when you use the self-serve wash tubs and drying stations. 

The groomers at Dirty Dogs will clean up your furry friend, or you can scrub her in the U-Do-It area. You’ll find everything here from ear cleaner and cotton balls to colognes and perfumes. 

Many pet-friendly patios, terraces and courtyards in San Diego have breathtaking views of the ocean. Enjoy artisan foods and handpicked wines at The Wine Pub, where “Woofer Wednesdays” support animal charities. 

Grab a breakfast sandwich or lunchtime crab melt at Daybreak Island Grill, where pets and people relax on the thatched roof-patio. The grill also makes a freshly baked Kona Dog Bar. Pets can dine on grilled burgers or chicken with brown rice—while you chow down on ribs or bison meatloaf—at Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar

San Diego is proud to call itself a “pet friendly paradise,” so use the city’s guide to traveling with pets to discover more.    

Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.

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