Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego

Dog Friendly San Diego

I finally got to experience dog friendly San Diego last weekend!

Unfortunately, I didn’t travel with my pups, so of course I missed them.


I got my puppy fix when I met up with my friend Kristina, her hubby Kyle and their two Australian Shepherds Shade & Solea.

Also, when I met Lindsay from and her Lab mix Ace…and then there were the gazillion dogs I saw all over town!!

Fun fact: Did you know that I’ve been contributing blog posts to ThatMutt since 2017?

Dog Friendly San Diego

Exploring dog friendly San Diego

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail

Several of my friends & I met for a 5 mile hike in Los Peñasquitos’ parking lot.

It’s located at 12020 Black Mountain Rd, San Diego, CA 92129.

The terrain is mostly a mix of stone/gravel/sand and is meant for hikers, joggers, bikers, and equestrians.

Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego, CA


There’s a huge parking lot right at the beginning of the trail, and also a porta potty.

Just FYI: Use the address mentioned above if you want to check out this hiking area. I found several addresses for Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail when I googled the place.

The first one I typed into Maps lead us into a residential area about 5 miles away from the parking lot we were trying to find.

Sharing The Trail

While we didn’t see any horses at all, we came across several other hikers, some with dogs, joggers and TONS of mountain bikers!

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Reminder To Leave Only Paw Prints At Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail

They weren’t particularly good about announcing themselves – here in NC, you’ll hear a “on your left/right” when bikers are about to pass you in hiking terrain.

Not so much there in southern California, so we had to actively look out for them and move the pups out of the way, especially when the trails were narrow.

Kristina has always done an excellent job training Shade & Solea, so it was no big deal.

They gladly followed her commands and loved their treat rewards Kristina pulled out of her clip-on treat pouch 😉

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Hiking At Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail With Aussies Shade & Solea

Both pups’ recalls are spot on, by the way, which was rewarded with off-leash time on about 2/3 of our 5 mile hike.

Whenever they were about 50 feet ahead of us, Kristina or Kyle would call them back, and they came back every.single.time.

Right away, claiming their treat rewards 🙂

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Kristina Rewarding Aussie Solea For Sitting Nicely


We hiked along the Peñasquitos Creek until we reached a waterfall, just about 2.5 miles into our hike.

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Hiking At Los Peñasquitos

While there is no manmade crossing, it’s possible to climb the rocks in the water to reach the other side. That’s exactly what we did, including the pups who loved the adventure of course.

Yours truly was proud not to have fallen into the water 😉

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Crossing A Waterfall At Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail
Me not falling into the water!

We then hiked back on the other side of the creek, for a total of 5 miles, as mentioned earlier.

We walked at a moderate speed and spent about 20 minutes at the waterfall area, for a total of 2 hours.


Los Peñasquitos Canyon Trail is a good hike with ample parking, a porta potty in the parking lot, as well as trash cans.

Wear hiking shoes for the best traction, or better yet, vibrams. I wished I would have brought mine when it came time to cross the waterfall area.

As always, you should be respectful of others and nature and pick up after your pup(s), and only let them hike off-leash if their recall is solid.

I know it’s hard to fathom, but not everyone likes dogs and some people are outright scared of them.

P.S. If you aren’t familiar with In ‘n Out Burger, you’re missing out. I rarely eat fast food because my stomach can’t handle all the grease and artificial ingredients. 

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - In n Out Burger After Our Hike

My friend John, who also came along for the hike, convinced me to give this joint a try afterwards, and OMG!

Their food is so fresh, it’s unbelievable, and made without the use of any artificial preservatives. I & my stomach loved it (I didn’t feel sick at all afterwards, yay!).

After all, I feed my pups minimally processed raw dog food, so I allow myself the same treatment.

The Original Dog Beach in Ocean Beach

Yes, you probably guessed it, I got my dog fix and then some at the original dog beach.

It’s located at Ocean Beach Bike Path, San Diego, CA 92109!

The beach is about a mile long and allows off-leash dogs year-round. 

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - Paw Print At Original Dog Beach

Most other beaches in San Diego allow dogs as well, but they have specific time frames when dogs are and aren’t allowed.

That said, I saw signs that allowed dogs from Nov 1 – Mar 31 before 9 am and after 4pm, and then between Apr 1 – Oct 31 before 9 am and after 6 pm.

Dog-Friendly Things To Do In San Diego - The Original Dog Beach

Daniels Coffee at the Spanish Village Art Center

While touring San Diego, I also got to explore Balboa Park in downtown San Diego.

It’s an artsy urban area with wide walking paths lined with:

  • Museums
  • Theaters
  • Gardens
  • Art galleries
  • Street art (I experienced a live belly dancer performance)
  • Gift shops
  • Restaurants 
Exploring Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

It was such a nice experience strolling across the park and very much reminded me of Europe.

People were sporting smiles on their faces, many walking around holding hands, some had professional wedding/engagement photos taken, and many were accompanied by their furry best friends.

A very calm and serene setting. 

I had a delicious Chai Latte at Daniels Coffee, located right inside the Spanish Village Art Center at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, CA 92101.

I couldn’t help but notice the filled water bowl for doggie visitors, which made the experience even more enjoyable.

After a quick search on my phone, I found and followed Daniels Coffee on Instagram!

Dog-Friendly Patios In San Diego

They’re pretty much all over town, but I only snapped a picture of one mural of an al-fresco bar/restaurant that stated that friendly dogs are allowed on their patio until 7 pm. It was somewhere in Pacific Beach.

I noticed it when biking past it on my way to breakfast on the beach at this AWESOMELY delicious place in Pacific Beach that serves breakfast all day, Kono’s.

They’re located at 704 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109-2408. 

I had their french toast with the perfectly crispy bacon for breakfast/brunch 3 days in a row.

Sooo good.

Highly recommend it, but they don’t take cards, so bring cash.

If you’re interested in a listing of all dog friendly restaurants in San Diego, check out Bring Fido’s 187 entries for San Diego (that’s the most nationwide.).

I met up with two fellow dog bloggers who are lucky enough to call Southern California their home.

You should absolutely check them out if you haven’t just yet –  Lindsay from, and Colby from

Meeting Fellow Dog Bloggers At A Starbucks in La Jolla
From left to right: Me, Lindsay with Ace, and Colby

Both offer incredibly valuable dog training advice, and Lindsay is also a raw feeder. 

We met at a Starbucks in La Jolla that has a dog-friendly patio.

Reason enough for Lindsay to bring her pup Ace!

It was a pleasure to finally meet him as well.

He’s such a gentle senior K9 citizen.

Dog Friendly San Diego: Bottom Line

There’s a reason why San Diego is ranked 4th most dog-friendly city in the US!

There really aren’t many places where dogs aren’t allowed-  I personally noticed only two instances.

One was a seal sanctuary/watching area in La Jolla to protect the marine mammals.

The other one was on Coronado Central beach right by the famous Hotel del Coronado (but there is a dog beach in Coronado).

Either way, my dog loving heart skipped several beats when I noticed the many runners, bikers, and hikers who were out and about the city with their dogs.

I didn’t notice too many obese dogs by the way, which makes sense seeing how much exercise they get. 

The one draw back of the city for me is the high cost of living combined with California being the highest-tax state.

A one bedroom, 900 sf apartment costs a little more than our 2,500 sf home here in NC…

But I’ll be back to visit for sure 🙂

Have you been to San Diego and do you have a dog-friendly location to share with us? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.







6 responses to “Dog Friendly San Diego”

  1. Lindsay Stordahl Avatar
    Lindsay Stordahl

    Such an awesome post! This makes me appreciate the city I live in. I haven’t been to the trail/park you mentioned, and I also want to walk my dogs in Balboa Park. Thanks for reminding me how lucky I am to live in such an amazing dog friendly area.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Lol, my pleasure 😉 You really do live in a beautiful, beautiful corner of this world! I was just so bummed that I didn’t have the pups with me. Buzz would have loved playing fetch at the beach and Missy would have enjoyed walking the town with me. I always feel so naked when I’m not holding leashes in my hands.

  2. DZ DogAdventures Avatar

    We don’t get down to CA much, but I love the little list you put together of things to do! I’ll have to remember it when/if we go with the dogs since we’re living closer to the border now.
    Good job not falling in the water!

    BTW – how did Buzz/Missy get their names? I was hoping you’d share. 🙂

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you 🙂 Yes, there are so many things to do in San Diego, with and without dogs in tow…I was proud of myself for not falling in…those rocks were a little slippery.

      I completely forgot to explain that!! Sorry!! Well, it was very odd. Ian & I agreed to do the following – he would name Buzz, and I would name Missy. We didn’t want to do a whole lot of name pondering, so we both would have to spit out the name that came to mind first. Ian had “Buzz” at the tip of his tongue, and I “Missy”. That’s how we named them!

  3. Colby Avatar

    Wow! You did a lot during your short time in San Diego! It was great meeting up with you and Lindsay. Those hiking pics really make me want to get back out on the trails. I used to hike all the time back when I lived in Arizona. Let me know next time you’re in town.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Yes, Sir, I sure did! 3 days packed with lots of exploring. I’m just bummed that I didn’t get to see the peeps from Real Pet Food. I’ll have to do that next time I’m in town. I’ll definitely let you know- would be cool to go hiking in a larger group with all of our pups!

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