Pet-Friendly San Diego, CA: Hotels, Restaurants, and Beaches

May 20, 2022

Sun, surf, and plenty of SoCal fun await those lucky enough to visit America’s Finest City. Fortunately, San Diego is also a Fido-approved destination.

Follow along as we guide you through the best pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and beaches in San Diego.

From wandering through the tropical Palm Canyon at Balboa Park to splish-splashing at the La Jolla Shores Dog Beach, there are a multitude of ways to entertain your mutt.

Let Rover work off the zoomies on a leash-free dog run, or settle in for some world-class seafood at Seaport Village. However you and your four-legged friend decide to explore this oasis of outdoor thrills, you are guaranteed a near paw-fect adventure!

Pet-Friendly Hotels

The Sofia Hotel

Discover a world of urban bliss in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Sofia Hotel is a testament to true style, effortlessly marrying the new with the old. Guests can enjoy upscale accommodations such as designer toiletries, flat-screen TVs, and in-room mini-fridges, all within the glamor of a 1926 gothic revival building.

Savor sumptuously appointed VIP suites, or take advantage of their onsite yoga studio or 24-hour fitness center. Fitness fiends can get in even more movement when they borrow an urban bike to explore. In addition to being a proud member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America, the Sofia also welcomes furry friends.

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Pets are permitted for a $35 per night pet fee. However, the hotel kindly asks that you request a pet-friendly unit at the time of your reservation. 

View of entrance to the Sofia Hotel, a yellow brick building with green accents and the light on at night in San Diego, Califonira, USA

photo credit: The Sofia Hotel via Facebook

Carlsbad by the Sea Resort

Does your San Diego sojourn include a layover at LEGOLAND? Stay close to the bricktacular action when you reserve a room at Carlsbad by the Sea Resort. Embrace your inner tranquillity as you revel in the garden courtyards, gazebos, and refreshing pool waters.

Spot the iconic Carlsbad Windmill or pencil in some R&R when you hop aboard the complimentary beach shuttle. Just over a mile from LEGOLAND California and minutes from the Carlsbad Premium Outlets, the Sea Resort is an ideal reprieve after a day of San Diego sightseeing.

Hole up in your newly remodeled modern suite complete with a flat-screen TV, or treat yourself to some epic eats at the Windmill Food Hall. While Fido can't hang out with you at the Mill bar, he's more than welcome to stay in a pet-friendly room.

Carlsbad by the Sea Resort permits pooches for a non-refundable fee of $75 per stay for dogs under 35 lbs. 

Kimpton Solamar Hotel

Chic and sleek digs just minutes from Petco Park. Both baseball fans and the stylistically inclined will be drawn to the luxury amenities and features of the Kimpton Solamar Hotel. An intriguing amalgam of SoCal cool and elevated comfort, Solamar delivers spacious rooms in a bold palette of blue, gold, ebony, and berry.

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Indulge in self-care with designer toiletries, or melt away stress in a whirlpool tub. Bring along the pup and crack open a cold one at the hotel rooftop's 'yappy hour' every Wednesday from 5-7 pm. Revel in outdoor games, fire pits, scenic views, and sizzling discounts on the roof.

Post-imbibing, you won't have to walk far to relieve Rover, as there is a grass parkway right in front of Solamar's front entrance. Solamar accepts all pets with zero breed or weight restrictions. 

exterior of Kimpton Solamar Hotel at night with view of street in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Solamar San Diego via Facebook

Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach

SoCal is calling, and it's time you answered! So gather up the whole family for a wholesome stay by the ocean when you stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach. Conveniently located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from both LEGOLAND California and the Sealife Aquarium, this premium Hilton outpost is perfect for fur babies too.

Both cats and dogs can stay at the Hilton Garden Inn for a non-refundable fee of $75 and with a maximum weight of 35 pounds.* Once your furry friend is settled, be sure to explore the hotel's exclusive lounge at South Ponto Beach. Fitness fiends can work on their gains in the fully outfitted gym.

While those looking to unwind can grab a frozen cocktail at the onsite bar and savor sweeping Pacific Ocean views. Feast on a full continental breakfast at the Coast 6450 Restaurant before you explore the Flower Fields of Carlsbad or build brick masterpieces at LEGOLAND. 

*Pet fees can be broken down as follows $50 for 1- 4 nights, or $75 for five nights or more with a maximum of two pets. 

Human-Friendly Activities

Got your cuddly canine all squared away? Make the most out of your SoCal getaway when you carve out time for a visit to the world-famous Zoo or a historical jaunt through Old Town San Diego.

Marine mammals, floorless dive coasters, and plenty of live encounters! Get up close and personal with orcas, sea lions, sharks, and more at SeaWorld San Diego.

Travel to the African Plains, the Australian Outback, and more when you hightail it to the San Diego Zoo. For over a century, this iconic institution has entertained visitors with thousands of rare species, sparkling botanic gardens, and interactive animal encounters. 

'The name is Bond, James Bond.' Channel your inner international man (or woman) of mystery when you experience the thrill of an F13 vessel on your Speed Boat Adventure Tour. Enjoy a fully narrated tour as you speed by San Diego's most searing sights, including Coronado Bridge, the downtown skyline, and Seaport Village.

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Ready to hit the ground running? The Old Town Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour is an ideal primer into the premier sights of America's Finest City. Dive into the history, culture, and iconic landmarks of San Diego as you make stops at Coronado Island, Old Town State Park, Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo, and more. 

Close up of a family on the new Emperor rollercoaster at SeaWorld on a sunny day in San Diego, California, USADog-Friendly Beaches and Parks

Ocean Beach Dog Beach

No pooch-approved San Diego getaway is complete without a visit to one of the original leash-free dog beaches in the United States. Ocean Beach Dog Beach is a celebration of the California spirit. A place where humans and hounds alike can frolic, play, swim, and surf in the azure waters of the Pacific.

This perennially popular park is a San Diego favorite and can be found at the west end of Voltaire St.

photo credit: Visit California via Facebook

Fiesta Island

Mosey on over to Mission Bay Park to experience the serene beauty of Fiesta Island. Voted 'best dog park' in San Diego, well-behaved pups are allowed on and off-leash. Fiesta Island is a favorite local hangout, as this area is home to plenty of calm ocean waters, sand dunes, and grassy fields.

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Spot can run in circles in the designated off-leash location or hop in the water for a quick dip. 

photo credit: San Diego Reader via Facebook

Del Mar Dog Beach

Wide sandy beaches, shallow water, and unique rock formations make Del Mar Beach, also known as 'Dog Beach,' a near-perfect spot for pups looking to play. Dogs of all shapes and sizes come here to run through the surf or play fetch with a frisbee. Active owners can engage in a few rounds of beach volleyball or sneak in a quick surf session.

However, please note that dogs may not be allowed in certain areas during peak season or the summer months or may be required to be leashed.

La Jolla Shores Beach

Want to experience the jewel of San Diego? Then, pack a picnic and bring Rex along when you hightail it to La Jolla Shores Beach. This leash dog park is bursting with photogenic cliffs, sandy coves, and staggering rock formations. Soak in a spellbinding sunset, rent a kayak, or snorkel among the kelp beds.

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Please note that La Jolla Shores does impose the following pet restrictions: Dogs are allowed at the beach before 9 am and after 4 pm from November 1st through March 31st. Dogs are allowed on the beach before 9 am and after 6 pm during the busier season.

Balboa Park

Art museums, botanic gardens, and sweeping Spanish Colonial Architecture. With over 50 miles of nature-filled trails to explore, it would be a tragedy to not bring your tenacious terrier to Balboa Park. While feisty pups must be kept on a leash at all times, there are a few exceptions.

These include the amenity-filled Nate's Point Dog Park and Grape Street Park. From the El Cid statue to the Cabrillo Bridge to stunning cactus gardens, there are endless ways to enjoy the splendor of Balboa's 1,200 lush acres.

close up of white and brown dog running with tougue out and purple flower petals on ground at Nate's Point Dog Park at Balboa Park in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Michael Rosenzweig via Facebook

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Knotty Barrel

A welcoming ambiance and locally sourced pub grub, with a gourmet twist, make the Knotty Barrel an East Village standby. Featuring a selection of over 100 domestic, local, and imported craft beers, Knotty Barrel really knows its suds.

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You and your thirsty mutt can relish the balmy San Diego weather on their 2,300 square foot open-air patio as you debate what to order. Fill up your grumbling tummy with some luscious beer cheese dip served with a fluffy German pretzel, or opt for an incredible Knotty Burger. 

photo credit: Knotty Barrel via Facebook

The Prado at Balboa Park

Romantic date for two, er three? No need to search for a pet sitter when you bring the pooch along for an amorous evening at the Prado at Balboa Park. This historic eatery simply oozes charm from its picturesque outdoor patio to its fresh, inspired Californian fare.

Dine al fresco with your doggie in tow as you enjoy spicy calamari fries, charred broccolini, and Pan Roasted Sea Bass served with pancetta, asparagus, potatoes, preserved lemon, and white truffle corn puree. Don't forget to keep up with their promotions, many of which offer menu specials and deals for two. 

photo credit: The Prado Restaurant via Facebook

Lazy Dog

Spoil your fluffy friend with their very own entree from the pup menu when you break bread at Lazy Dog. As their moniker suggests, Lazy Dog is as pooch-friendly as they come. So snag a patio table and settle in for some home-cooked, stick to your ribs fare.

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Whet your appetite with an order of crispy hush puppies or fried jumbo coconut shrimp. Next, devour a tangy slice of BBQ Bison meatloaf or steaming chicken pot pie. Let your lucky labradoodle chow down, too, with their own personal order of grilled chicken, brown rice, and veggies.

Fred's Mexican Café

Ole! Sprint over to Old Town San Diego for some South of the Border flavor at Fred's Mexican Cafe. For over 20 years, this fur baby-friendly establishment has been slinging giant margaritas and festive Baja-infused cuisine. So hang out on the sun-soaked outdoor patio, and gobble down mouth-watering tacos, queso, and guacamole.

Share a massive 94 oz Margarita or tantalize your taste buds with a spicy mango option. Then, treat Toto to some sliced carne asada or scrambled eggs from the pup menu before you tackle the tacos. You really can't go wrong from Spicy Pork Adobada to Fred's ground beef Gringo taco.

photo credit: Old Town San Diego via Facebook

Sally's Fish House & Bar

Appreciate the elevated atmosphere and seaside sophistication of Sally's Fish House & Bar. Enjoy the Bay scenery and luxurious ambiance of this Seaport Village seafood eatery. Dine al fresco with your cuddly BFF as you delight in the waterfront views and Instagram-worthy cocktails.

Kick things off with a deep-sea gin and tonic, or lean into the beach aesthetic with Sally's Mai Tai. Feast on crab cakes, steamed coconut mussels, and intoxicating seafood paella.

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Don't forget to reward Rex's good manners with a frozen yogurt pawpsicle or surf and t-arf from the Dog Menu.

Mavericks Beach Club

Live music, Pacific Beach vistas, and a multi-level entertainment complex make Mavericks Beach Club the place to be. An homage to California surf culture and sports, Mavericks features 15,000 square feet of entertainment and epicurean delights.

First, grab a glass of vino or Michelada at one of their five bars. Then, treat your hungry hound to some vet-approved mahi-mahi and rice, or explore their prolific human food options.

Keep it light with an order of fresh ceviche, or embrace the Baja vibes with a hearty burrito stuffed full of cilantro-lime rice, black beans, cheddar jack cheese, and your choice of protein. Finally, end your beachy blowout with a classically nostalgic sweet treat, such as a Chipwich or Choco Taco. 

friends wearing shades with glasses and champagne bottles at outdoor area at Mavericks Beach Club during day in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: Mavericks Beach Club

Miles of soft sand beaches, hidden coves, and Spanish Colonial architecture make the 'birthplace of California' an enticing destination year-round. From the world-famous Zoo to the historical splendor of the Hotel del Coronado, there is much to discover in San Diego.

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Thankfully, this city of saltwater and surfing is all about the four-legged friends. As a result, there is no shortage of pet-friendly establishments to frequent, from hotels to beaches, bars, and eateries.

Grab Grover for some socializing and swimming at Del Mar. Or hit up Fred's Cafe for some Mexican-infused merriment in Old Town.

America's Finest City is an awesome epicenter of animal-friendly activities and attractions, from long days of sandy play to romantic evenings under the stars. 

Tell Us, Where's Your Favorite San Diego Pet-Friendly Locale?

Leave us a comment below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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