The author Jess Levy with her dog chilling on the hotel bed, where to stay in San Diego with a dog

Dog-Friendly Places to Stay in San Diego (Hotels & Areas)

👉 Jump to: Best Places to Stay in San Diego With a Dog | Neighborhoods & Areas | Tips | FAQ

With ideal weather year-round, dog-friendly beaches, and walking trails, it can be quite overwhelming to choose where to stay in San Diego with a dog. Thankfully, San Diego is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world, and there are some epic dog-friendly San Diego hotels to stay with your pup. 

I’m a San Diego local and resident dog mom, I know the pawfect local gems, dog-friendly San Diego restaurants, and places to stay in San Diego with a dog. In this article, I’ll give you the best areas, hotels, and tips for a San Diego overnighter with your pup. Let’s dive in!

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Best Dog-Friendly Hotels & Places to Stay in San Diego

The author Jess Levy holding a glass of drink with her dog and friend at Elixir De La Lune
Besties sipping herbal concoctions at Elixir De La Lune

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in San Diego with a dog? Here are my top picks: 

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in San Diego with a dog: 

5 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in San Diego With a Dog

San Diego, also known as “America’s Finest City”, has no shortage of pet-friendly places to live, play, and visit. From north to south, the city is 65 miles long, with the San Diego beach towns up north and the airport and metropolitan neighborhoods down South. 

In fact, there are over 100 neighborhoods and areas to stay in San Diego. That’s a lot of options! But never fear, here are the five best neighborhoods and areas to stay in with your dog:

La Jolla

The author Jess Levy, chilling with her dog and friends on a day bed in Mission Estancia Pool Day
Mission Estancia Pool Day with my faves
The author Jess Levy, wandering around the courtyard with her dog at Mission Estancia during nighttime
Nighttime courtyard roaming at Mission Estancia

👉 Best Area For Luxury | ✨ Best La Jolla Hotels: Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa ($150 pet fee) • Empress Hotel La Jolla ($35 pet fee) • La Jolla Budget VRBO

La Jolla is a 20-minute drive north of the downtown Gaslamp district of San Diego. It is also 15 minutes by car from Ocean Beach Dog Beach, one of the best beaches in San Diego, and close to San Diego Bay. This beach town absolutely radiates luxury and opulence, and there are some seriously fun things to do in La Jolla.

In contrast to the larger chain hotels in downtown San Diego, you’ll find more boutique hotels around the La Jolla shore. These give a certain ambiance for you and your pup, especially at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa – it has great amenities such as dog beds, dog menus, and plenty of grassy areas.

Pros of Staying in La Jolla Neighborhood:

Cons of Staying in La Jolla Neighborhood:

  • Very expensive compared to other neighborhoods
  • You’ll need a rental car to get around
  • Parking is lacking, especially on weekends

📚 La Jolla Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxury 
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsEstancia La Jolla Hotel & SpaEmpress Hotel La JollaVRBO

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in La Jolla

🍽️ Where to Eat – Mustangs & Burros ($$$), Barbarella Restaurant & Bar ($$), The Cottage ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Hennessey’s Tavern, Cove House, The Shack Bar And Grill

🎟️ Top Attractions – The Beach, the La Jolla Shoreline

🐾 Dog Stores – Deckers Dog and Cat, Woofpak Pet Kitchen


A glass of drink with the author's dog at Chandler’s
Sunset Yappy Hour at Chandler’s

👉 Best Area For Dog-Friendly Restaurants | ✨ Best Carlsbad Hotels: Park Hyatt Aviara ($150 pet fee) • Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa ($75 pet fee) • The Cassara Carlsbad ($85 pet fee)

For stunning coastal hotels in San Diego, I recommend staying in Carlsbad. This San Diego beach town is only 40 minutes away from downtown and home to plenty of off-leash dog parks.

Carlsbad Village, the center of town, is an especially good place to stay in San Diego with your dog. It’s within walking distance to a ton of nearby restaurants with pet amenities and shopping, so you’ll never be without a mission. My pup loves to grab a frozen frosty paw at Handel’s Ice Cream. 

Dog owners can book a stay at pet-friendly hotels like the Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa. It’s fantastic for dining outdoors with one of their bacon-infused puptails and tasty treats on the happy hour dog menu. 

Pros of Staying in Carlsbad Neighborhood:

  • Plenty of great dog-friendly restaurants and bars
  • Tons of dog-friendly shopping destinations 
  • Variety of off-leash dog parks and San Diego hiking trails

Cons of Staying in Carlsbad Neighborhood:

  • Transportation is needed unless staying in the Village near the beach
  • Dogs are only allowed on the boardwalk, not on the beach

📚 Carlsbad Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Dog-Friendly Restaurants
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsPark Hyatt AviaraCape Rey Carlsbad BeachThe Cassara Carlsbad

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Carlsbad

🍽️ Where to Eat – 264 Fresco ($$$), Park 101 ($$), The Compass ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Carruth Cellars, Dini’s Bistro, Crackheads, Choice Juicery

🎟️ Top Attractions – Camp Store, Carlsbad Strawberry Company, Carlsbad Premium Outlets, The Forum, Shoppes, Fired Up Ceramics Studio, Agua Hedionda

🐾 Dog Stores – Carlsbad Pet and Feed, EarthWise Pet 

Del Mar

The author Jess Levy on a Santa costume with her dog on reindeer costume at Powerhouse Beach
Annual Red Nose Run at Powerhouse Beach and lunch after at Poseidon

👉 Best Area For Outdoor Fun | ✨ Best Del Mar Hotels: L’Auberge Del Mar Resort & Spa ($200 pet fee) • Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, an IHG Hotel ($75 pet fee) • Les Artistes Inn ($50 pet fee w/ $100 refundable deposit)

Del Mar is a northern San Diego beach town that’s less than a 30-minute drive from La Jolla. It has no shortage of pet-friendly hotels, a family favorite being the L’Auberge Del Mar Resort & Spa. Not only do they have a swoon-worthy outdoor pool, but they also have outdoor dining with an incredible sunset ocean view. 

Del Mar North Beach is seasonally an off-leash spot for dogs, and it is one of the best beaches around town. This city is at the heart of dog walking trails, hikes, shopping, pet-friendly restaurants, and plenty of parks great for picnicking. 

Pros of Staying in Del Mar Neighborhood:

  • Dog-centric upscale area with well-maintained public spaces
  • Easy to walk to Del Mar Dog Beach 
  • Variety of dog shops with self-wash stations, great for out-of-towners

Cons of Staying in Del Mar Neighborhood:

  • Less night time entertainment offerings than in other areas
  • Traffic can be a pain, especially with the racetrack and fairgrounds
  • Pricey area for food, hotels, and attractions

📚 Del Mar Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Outdoor Fun
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsL’Auberge Del Mar Resort & SpaHotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, an IHG HotelLes Artistes Inn

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Del Mar

🍽️ Where to Eat – Poseidon ($$$), Brigantine ($$), Monarch Ocean Pub ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Viewpoint Brewing Co., WestBrew, Tamarindo

🎟️ Top Attractions – Del Mar Dog Beach, One Paseo, Del Mar Highlands, Powerhouse Park

🐾 Dog Stores – Dirty Dogs, Mr. Bodhi’s Grub & Scrub

San Diego Gaslamp

The author Jess Levy with her dog chilling on the hotel bed in Downtown San Diego
The pup and I having a relaxing staycation downtown San Diego.

👉 Best Area For Convenience | ✨ Best San Diego Gaslamp Hotels: Pendry San Diego ($100 pet fee) • Stay Pineapple Hotel Z ($25 daily pet fee) • Kona Kai Resort & Spa ($100 pet fee per stay)

Downtown San Diego is commonly referred to as the Gaslamp District. It is right near the Airport, Petco Park, San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, and the Harbor. 

Those looking to do a lot of sightseeing on foot or take a quick drive to surrounding districts will enjoy the ease of staying in the San Diego Gaslamp. Downtown has a great Little Italy Dog Park that’s close to Hotel Del Coronado, and a Kona Island Paws Package at Kona Kai on Shelter Island. 

For a convenient location that’s close to many of the city’s finest attractions, I highly recommend staying at the Pendry San Diego. They have a rooftop swimming pool for humans, and a luxurious pet bed and dog bowl included during your stay. 

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront is a popular location, however, they don’t have as many dog-centric amenities. 

Pros of Staying in San Diego Gaslamp Neighborhood:

  • Very walkable and in the hub of action
  • Diversity of restaurants, bars, and nightlife 
  • Plenty of local pet boutiques in every sub-neighborhood of Downtown

Cons of Staying in San Diego Gaslamp Neighborhood:

  • An area more affected by economic hardships
  • Parking is hard to find and overpriced paid parking lots
  • Very loud and crowded

📚 San Diego Gaslamp with a Dog Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Convenience
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsPendry San DiegoStay Pineapple Hotel ZKona Kai Resort & Spa

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Downtown San Diego

🍽️ Where to Eat – Sally’s Fish House & Bar ($$$), Fig Tree Cafe ($$), The Dog Society ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Station Tavern, The Regal Beagle, Queenstown Public House

🎟️ Top Attractions – Petco Park, Balboa Park, Fiesta Island

🐾 Dog Stores – Dexter’s Deli, Paw Pleasers

Ocean Beach

A woman with her dogs on a hammock near the beach at sunset
Bring your hammock to Sunset Cliffs

👉 Best Area For Dog Beach | ✨ Best Ocean Beach Hotels: Ocean Villa Inn ($30 pet fee) Blue Heron Cottages ($25 pet fee)Ocean Beach Hotel ($0 no additional pet fee)

Ocean Beach is the closest beach to downtown San Diego. Staying in “OB,” as locals refer to it, means you’ll be super close to all the attractions in Mission Beach, Mission Bay, and Pacific Beach. Ocean Beach is bustling with a funky vibrance that you won’t get anywhere else in San Diego. 

The best part of this area for pet owners is the off-leash Ocean Beach Dog Beach. Ocean Villa Inn is conveniently located right in front of this beach, making for one of the top water-centric, pet-friendly hotels in San Diego.

Pros of Staying in Ocean Beach Neighborhood:

  • A very casual, laid-back atmosphere
  • Great walkability 
  • Plenty of nature and easy beach access 

Cons of Staying in Ocean Beach Neighborhood:

📚 Ocean Beach with a Dog Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Dog Beach
Google Map

✨ Best HotelsBlue Heron Cottages ($25 pet fee) • Ocean Beach Hotel ($0 no additional pet fee) • Ocean Villa Inn ($30 pet fee)

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Ocean Beach

🍽️ Where to Eat – Breakfast Republic ($$), OB Noodle House ($$), Daybreak Island Grill ($$)

🍸 Where to Drink – Ocean Beach Brewery, Raglan Public House, Wonderland Ocean Pub

🎟️ Top Attractions – Ocean Beach Dog Beach, Sunset Cliffs, Dust Road Park, SUP Pups

🐾 Dog Stores – Dog Beach Dog Wash, Shore Thing Pet Supply

Tips for Staying in San Diego With a Dog

Pack Travel-Friendly Pet Supplies

A dog chilling inside the hotel's bath tub
Spa time in the bath with my pup

Always be sure to pack pet-friendly gear for beach days, hiking, road trips, a nighttime walk, or staying cool in the heat. My favorite items include Ruffwear harnesses and leashes that dry fast from the ocean, a no-waste water bottle, and a hands-free pouch. 

Check Beaches for Dog-Friendliness Beforehand

Off-leash beaches in San Diego include Ocean Beach, Del Mar, and Fiesta Island. All the other San Diego beaches aren’t dog-friendly or are only on-leash during specific hours (before 9 AM and after 6 PM). Make sure to check online before you go or the nearby signage so you can avoid a ticket. 

Bring Your Doggy Hotel Amenities

The author Jess Levy and her dog posing outside near the mural of Mission Estancia La Jolla
Curls day out at Mission Estancia La Jolla
The author Jess Levy with her dog and friend chilling on the hotel bed
Friend, pup, and I winding down after a pool day

While some hotels will offer you pet amenities during your stay, I recommend coming prepared with at least your bowls and travel dog bed. Keep in mind, most San Diego hotels prohibit leaving your pup in the room unattended.

FAQs About Where to Stay in San Diego With a Dog

What are the best pet-friendly hotels in San Diego?

The best pet-friendly hotel in San Diego is The Seabird Resort, a Hyatt Destination in Oceanside, CA. Other pet-friendly hotels include the Pendry, Estancia La Jolla, and Kona Kai

Is San Diego a dog-friendly city?

San Diego is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world. Many hotels, restaurants, trails, stores, and activities in San Diego cater to dogs and their owners. 

Are all beaches in San Diego dog friendly?

Not all beaches in San Diego allow dogs. Some beaches prohibit them altogether, while other beaches allow leashed dogs during certain months and times of the day. Please check websites and policies before going to avoid fines. 

Can dogs go to Old Town San Diego?

Dogs can walk around the Old Town district of San Diego. However, Old Town generally isn’t very dog-friendly, and many restaurants do not allow pets there.


Thanks for reading my guide to where to stay in San Diego with a dog! With outdoor adventures, dog-friendly hotels, and more, I hope my guide to the top places to stay in San Diego with a dog has inspired your travels. Up next, check out this awesome guide to the best time to visit San Diego.

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