San Diego, California, welcomes tourists and their canine companions with open arms. Renowned for its stunning coastline, mild climate, and dog-friendly attitude, San Diego offers a paradise for both humans and pets. From miles of dog-friendly beaches to pet-friendly dining options, this coastal city promises a memorable experience for travelers exploring with their four-legged friends.
With numerous parks, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures suitable for dogs, San Diego ensures that every tail wags with joy. Its commitment to inclusivity allows visitors to share the city’s natural beauty and cultural treasures with their beloved pets, making it a top destination for dog-loving travelers.
Should You Travel with Your Dog?
Whether or not you should travel with your dog depends on your dog’s personality and health. If your dog gets anxious easily, bringing them on a trip isn’t ideal. However, some dogs are great at adapting to new situations and love exploring different places, so those dogs would probably do well on the go.
Regardless of your dog’s temperament, there may be times when they need to travel with you, such as if you’re moving to a new location. If that’s the case, you may need to take extra precautions to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible. That could include stopping more frequently during a long drive or asking your vet about whether or not medications could help.
What to Pack When Traveling with Your Dog
Your dog may not need as much stuff as you do for a trip, but they still need the essentials. Plus, bringing items that look and smell familiar to your furry friend can help them feel more comfortable.
Here’s a list of supplies you should bring for your dog:
This list is just a general guide of things you may need. Your packing list may vary based on where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and what activities you have planned. If you have space to spare, it can’t hurt to pack extra pet supplies out of caution.
What to Include in a Dog First Aid Kit
A dog first aid kit should include essential items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, a thermometer, and a muzzle for safety. It’s also important to have saline solution for eye washing and a blanket for shock or cold. For a complete list of everything you need, see a comprehensive dog first aid guide here!
Finding a Dog-Friendly Hotel
While planning your trip, make sure you find a dog-friendly place to stay. Many lodging options, whether they’re a large hotel chain or a small local property, are willing to allow pets with some restrictions. The best way to know if your dog is welcome is to call the property before booking.
Looking for a pet-friendly Hotel so you can share your vacation with your four-legged friend? We’ve partnered with top travel sites to find you the best possible deals around. Just enter your travel plans below, and you’ll find pet-friendly hotels wherever you’re traveling.
Other Lodging Options
Even though most popular hotel chains allow pets to some extent, they still might not be the right choice for you. Many prevent large dogs or more than two dogs at a time. Some may also prevent you from leaving your dog alone in the hotel, which can be difficult if you have some plans that aren’t pet-friendly. In this case, consider finding your pup a pet sitter who can take care of your dog while you’re enjoying a quiet dinner, seeing the sights or even taking in a show.
So, if you’re struggling to find a good hotel, you may want to check other types of lodging, such as campgrounds or booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Those options are often more flexible with pet restrictions because they don’t need to follow the policies of big chain hotels. Like with hotels, you should always contact the property to get the most detailed information on their pet restrictions.
Dog-Friendly Transportation Options
For most dogs, the scariest part of going on a trip is getting there. Dogs who aren’t used to riding in a car are likely to be anxious during a road trip and even more so on an airplane. So, here are some tips for how to keep your dog safe and comfortable when heading to your destination.
Driving with Your Dog
If possible, driving long distances with your dog will usually be easier and more comfortable than flying, especially if you have a large breed. However, you should make sure your dog is okay with riding in the car before you bring them on a road trip. If they don’t ride in the car much on a regular basis, start by taking them for short drives in preparation for the trip.
Here are some tips for taking a road trip with your dog:
- Get your dog’s energy out before the long drive (take them for a walk, play fetch, etc.)
- Make sure your dog is secure and comfortable (use a crate or dog seat belt, and make sure they have a cozy bed)
- Stop more often than you need to so your dog can stretch their legs and do their business
- Offer your dog fresh water every time you stop
- Never leave your dog alone in the car on a warm/hot day
Flying with Your Dog
Most dogs have ridden in the car at one point or another, but flying with your dog is a much different experience. If your dog is under 20 pounds, they can ride in the cabin on most airlines, but if your dog is larger than that, they may have to fly in the cargo hold. Not being able to see your dog during the flight can be stressful, which is why families with larger dogs typically prefer to drive when possible.
Almost every airline allows dogs, but some have stricter rules than others. Always check an airline’s pet policy before planning to fly on it with your pup.
How to Travel with an Anxious Dog
If you have an anxious dog, driving and flying might both seem tricky. Luckily, there are things you can do to help a stressed-out dog feel more at ease while on the go.
- Get your dog familiar with travel – take them to places they enjoy, such as the park, instead of only the vet.
- Bring familiar items, such as their favorite beds and toys.
- Keep their feeding times and bathroom breaks as close to their normal routine as possible.
- Give them lots of exercise before getting in the car or entering the airport.
- Stay calm – your dog may pick up on if you’re stressed and become more worried as a result.
- Try anti-anxiety products, such as ThunderShirts and heartbeat toys.
While the above tips may reduce your dog’s anxiety, extremely anxious dogs will likely still show some fear in unfamiliar situations. Pet CBD Products, such as those made by Cannanine, can help calm down nervous pups during travel. Cannanine offers CBD oil and soft chews, both of which effectively calm dogs while being THC-free. Plus, every Cannanine product purchased donates meals to shelter dogs.
Top Tourist Attractions in San Diego, California
San Diego, California, boasts a wealth of popular tourist attractions and events that highlight its coastal beauty, cultural richness, and outdoor activities. Here are some of the most prominent ones:
- Balboa Park: A sprawling urban park housing museums, gardens, and the San Diego Zoo, offering a blend of culture and nature.
- San Diego Zoo: World-famous for its diverse collection of animals and conservation efforts, the zoo is a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts.
- San Diego Zoo Safari Park: Located north of the city, this park offers a unique safari experience and the chance to see animals in more open, naturalistic settings.
- Seaworld San Diego: An aquatic theme park featuring marine life shows, rides, and interactive exhibits.
- USS Midway Museum: A floating museum on the aircraft carrier USS Midway, showcasing naval history and aircraft.
- Legoland California: A family-friendly theme park with Lego-themed rides, attractions, and a water park.
- Old Town San Diego State Historic Park: Discover San Diego’s rich history and Mexican heritage through preserved buildings, museums, and cultural events.
- La Jolla Cove: A picturesque coastal area known for its stunning cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for snorkeling and wildlife viewing.
- Coronado Island: Accessible via the iconic Coronado Bridge, the island offers beautiful beaches, historic architecture, and the historic Hotel del Coronado.
- Cabrillo National Monument: Visit this monument on Point Loma for panoramic views of the city, historical exhibits, and hiking trails.
- San Diego Comic-Con International: The world’s largest comic book and pop culture convention, attracting fans and celebrities from around the globe.
- San Diego International Film Festival: A showcase of independent and international films, attracting filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts.
- San Diego Pride Parade and Festival: One of the largest LGBTQ+ pride events in the country, featuring a colorful parade and entertainment.
- San Diego Restaurant Week: A culinary event showcasing the city’s diverse dining scene, with prix-fixe menus at participating restaurants.
- San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival: A celebration of gourmet food and fine wines, featuring tastings, cooking demonstrations, and celebrity chefs.
- Fleet Week San Diego: An annual event honoring the military with ship tours, air shows, and patriotic festivities.
- December Nights in Balboa Park: A holiday tradition with festive lights, music, and food, offering a magical atmosphere in the park.
- San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering: A week-long event promoting STEM education and featuring interactive exhibits and workshops.
- KABOO Del Mar: A multi-genre music and arts festival showcasing top artists, comedians, and food experiences.
- San Diego Beer Week: A craft beer celebration with tastings, brewery events, and beer-related activities.
San Diego’s diverse array of attractions and events ensures there’s something for every traveler to enjoy throughout the year, whether it’s exploring the outdoors, delving into cultural experiences, or attending exciting festivals and conventions.
Picking Activities Your Dog Can Join in San Diego, California
If you’re traveling with your dog for vacation, you should make sure they can join you for most, if not all, of your activities. Since dogs aren’t allowed indoors in many places, you should travel when the weather is nice to ensure you can spend time outside with your furry friend.
San Diego, California, is a haven for dog owners, offering a wide range of dog-friendly activities to enjoy with your furry companion. Here are some popular options:
- Dog-Friendly Beaches: San Diego is known for its dog-friendly beaches, including Ocean Beach Dog Beach, Fiesta Island, and Del Mar Dog Beach. Let your dog run off-leash and play in the surf.
- Balboa Park: Explore the dog-friendly areas of Balboa Park, including Palm Canyon Trail and Nate’s Point Dog Park. Enjoy a leisurely walk among beautiful gardens and architecture.
- Hiking Trails: San Diego offers many dog-friendly hiking trails, such as the Mission Trails Regional Park and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Be sure to check leash regulations on specific trails.
- Parks and Recreation Areas: Visit dog-friendly parks like Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park and Grape Street Dog Park for off-leash play and socialization.
- Pet-Friendly Dining: Many restaurants in San Diego have pet-friendly patios, including Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar and The Patio on Lamont. Enjoy a meal with your dog by your side.
- Pet-Friendly Breweries: San Diego’s craft brewery scene is dog-friendly. Some breweries, like Amplified Ale Works and Mike Hess Brewing, have outdoor seating areas for you and your pup.
- Dog-Friendly Tours: Look for dog-friendly boat tours or sightseeing tours that allow your dog to accompany you while exploring the city’s coastline or landmarks.
- Pet-Friendly Shopping: Some shopping districts, like Seaport Village, welcome dogs in their outdoor areas. Browse shops and enjoy the waterfront views with your dog.
- Dog-Friendly Events: Keep an eye out for dog-friendly events and festivals like the Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon, where dogs can ride the waves with their owners.
- Doggy Daycares and Spas: If you need a break or want to pamper your pup, there are doggy daycares and spas throughout San Diego that offer services and playtime for dogs.
Remember to carry water for your dog, waste bags for clean-up, and be mindful of local regulations and leash requirements in different areas. San Diego’s pet-friendly attitude ensures that you and your furry friend can enjoy a wide range of activities together in this beautiful city. This is just a list to get you started because the dog-friendly activities will vary based on where you’re visiting. While most outdoor events welcome pets as long as they’re well-behaved and you clean up after them, it’s always a good idea to check the event’s details to be sure. With enough planning and good weather, you can hang out with your dog the entire vacation!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are dogs allowed on San Diego’s beaches?
Yes, many of San Diego’s beaches are dog-friendly. Popular options include Ocean Beach Dog Beach and Fiesta Island Dog Park. Always follow local leash regulations and clean up after your dog.
2. Can I bring my dog to Balboa Park?
Yes, you can bring your dog to Balboa Park. While dogs are not allowed inside the museums, they are welcome in outdoor areas like gardens and select trails.
3. What are the rules for dogs in parks and hiking trails?
Rules may vary by location, so always check for posted regulations. Generally, dogs are allowed in parks on a leash, and specific trails may have leash or off-leash requirements.
4. Are there dog-friendly restaurants in San Diego?
Yes, many restaurants in San Diego have pet-friendly patios. Some popular options include The Prado at Balboa Park and Wonderland Ocean Pub. Verify the restaurant’s pet policy in advance.
5. Where can I find off-leash dog parks in San Diego?
San Diego offers various off-leash dog parks, including Nate’s Point Dog Park and Grape Street Dog Park. Check local listings for additional options.
6. Can I bring my dog on public transportation in San Diego?
Yes, dogs are generally allowed on San Diego’s public transportation, including buses and trolleys. They should be on a leash or in a carrier, and there may be specific regulations to follow.
7. Are there any pet-friendly accommodations in San Diego?
Yes, San Diego has many pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals. Options include Hotel del Coronado, Kimpton Hotel Palomar, and La Quinta by Wyndham.
8. Can I bring my dog to events and festivals in San Diego?
Some events and festivals in San Diego are dog-friendly, but policies may vary. Check event websites or contact organizers in advance to confirm if dogs are allowed.
9. Where can I find pet supply stores and grooming services in San Diego?
San Diego has numerous pet supply stores, including Petco and PetSmart, as well as local boutiques. You can also find pet grooming services throughout the city.
10. What should I do in case of a pet emergency in San Diego?
San Diego has several veterinary clinics and 24-hour emergency animal hospitals. Keep their contact information on hand in case of pet emergencies and have your dog’s medical records readily accessible.