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Family & Pet Friendly Destination Guide San Diego CA

Located just 120 miles south of Los Angeles, San Diego is California’s second largest city and the United States' eighth largest.

Home to Balboa Park, Downtown and Old Town, the city's other attractions include the world-famous SeaWorld San Diego, the USS Midway Museum, a historical naval aircraft carrier museum located in downtown San Diego, the Gaslamp Quarter, the 128-acre Legoland theme park, almost 90 golf courses, and the Cabrillo National Monument which commemorates the place where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo became the first European to land on the U.S. West Coast in 1542.

Make sure to enjoy the view of San Diego and the Bay from the Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma!

Looking for a pet-friendly place to stay?

Choose from a wide range of pet-friendly properties catering for every taste and budget, including several where pets stay free!

Pet Friendly Hotels San Diego California

Best Dog Parks in San Diego

Grape Street Dog Park
Fiesta Island Park
Canine Corners Dog Park
Nate’s Point Dog Park

San Diego Attractions

Balbao Park

Balboa Park is a magnificent 1,200-acre cultural oasis that includes open space areas, natural vegetation zones, green belts, gardens, and walking paths, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, and California’s best collection of museums, 17 in total, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Air and Space Museum, the San Diego History Center, the Botanical Building and the Fleet Science Center.

Balboa Park San Diego California

Balboa Park San Diego California

The largest urban cultural park in North America, Balboa Park started 150 years ago, when civic leaders took the audacious step of setting aside 1,200 acres of a scrub-filled mesa overlooking downtown San Diego to establish this park.

SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is located in Mission Bay (part of Mission Bay Park, the largest man-made aquatic park in the country). At this 189-acre park, you’ll discover spectacular shows, dozens of exhibits containing marine life from around the globe and heart-thumping rides where thrill-seekers can experience the 60-foot wet plunge on Journey to Atlantis or the ultimate rush on Manta®, the roller coaster shaped like a giant manta ray that reaches its max speed in only 2 seconds. Follow that with a breathless helicopter simulator ride through the perilous, icy landscapes of the Arctic Circle, or a deep “dive” into the world of sea turtles at Turtle Reef.

SeaWorld San Diego California

SeaWorld San Diego California

USS Midway Museum

The longest-serving U.S. Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century, the USS Midway Museum is docked at Navy Pier in Downtown San Diego.  Highlights of this historical naval aircraft carrier museum includes the four-acre flight deck with more than 20 aircraft – feel free to enjoy the climb-aboard cockpits and flight simulators. Families can request the child's audio guide tour with content geared specifically for 7-12 year olds.

USS Midway Museum San Diego California

USS Midway Museum San Diego California


Hailed by Golf Digest as "one of the top 50 golf destinations in the world," and past host to the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, San Diego is home to almost  90 golf courses in every conceivable setting - from oceanfront to desert to mountains. 

Public Transportation Pet Policy San Diego MTS - Metropolitan Transit System
Trained service animals accompanying persons with disabilities are always welcome on board bus and Trolley services.  Non-service animals must be fully contained inside an enclosed carrier that you can hold on your lap and transport by yourself.  Animals must be kept under your control at all times.
Operators have the right to refuse to transport your animal because of noise or odor.

San Diego MTS Pet Policy.

Off-Leash Dog Beaches

The city of San Diego is one of the most accommodating municipalities for dog owners. On all their beaches you can take leashed dogs early in the morning and in the evening. There are four excellent off-leash dog beaches to choose from and they are spaced out nicely:

Ocean Beach Dog Beach
Ocean Beach Dog Beach, San Diego's only 24-hour beach for dogs, is a sandy area at the north end of the beach. This is a dog-run area where dogs are always permitted without a leash. Dog owners are responsible for control and clean-up of their dogs. Standard dog laws apply on other portions of Ocean Beach and are strictly enforced.

The Ocean Beach Municipal Pier is at the south end of the beach and is available to the public for walking and fishing. Fishing from the pier does not require a fishing license, but catch regulations (including minimum size, bag limits and seasons) are enforced. There is also a restaurant and bait shop on the pier.

Coronado Dog Beach

Coronado's Dog Beach is leash-free year-round on the western part of the beach. It's marked by signs that run along Ocean Blvd. from Sunset Park on Ocean Drive to the border of the U.S. Naval Station. Parking is available along Ocean Boulevard, but it is a rather long walk to the beach from there, so be sure to keep your dog leashed until you reach the beach.

Del Mar Dog Beach

Del Mar, the only city in North County to allow off-leash dogs on the beach, decided in April 2018 to expand the area and the hours for the animals to run free, the first change to its canine regulations in 30 years.

Del Mar Dog Friendly Beaches Rules:

Fiesta Island on Mission Bay

Fiesta Island, a large peninsular park located within Mission Bay, is a popular location for charity walks and runs, bicycle races, time trials and other special events. It is also the home of the annual Over-the-Line tournament.

The Fiesta Island Youth Camp and the Aquatic Center are on the island. There are bonfire rings around the shore of the island and dogs are allowed off leash.

San Diego Zoo

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula on the southern

The monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay in 1542. This event marked the first time a European expedition set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States.

Please note: Dogs (on leash) are only allowed in a small portion of the park - the tidepool area.

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