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
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in San Diego with a dog? Here are my top picks:
- 🌟 Best Overall Hotel – The Seabird Resort
- 💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Pendry San Diego
- 👪 Best for Families – Paradise Point Resort & Spa
- 💻 Best for Business – Hilton San Diego Bayfront
- 🛎️ Best Boutique – Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
- 🏞️ Best near Beachtown – Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa
- 🛏️ Best Budget – Stay Pineapple Hotel Z
- 🌴 Best on an Island – Hotel Del Coronado
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 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:
- Close to breathtaking southern California beaches
- Tons of pet-friendly hotels in a more upscale neighborhood
- Central location to drive to other parts of San Diego County
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
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in La Jolla
🍽️ Where to Eat – Mustangs & Burros ($$$), Barbarella Restaurant & Bar ($$), The Cottage ($$)
🍸 Where to Drink – Hennessey’s Tavern, Cove House, The Shack Bar And Grill
🎟️ Top Attractions – The Beach, the La Jolla Shoreline
🐾 Dog Stores – Deckers Dog and Cat, Woofpak Pet Kitchen
For stunning coastal hotels in San Diego, I recommend staying in Carlsbad. This San Diego beach town is only 40 minutes away from downtown and home to plenty of off-leash dog parks.
Carlsbad Village, the center of town, is an especially good place to stay in San Diego with your dog. It’s within walking distance to a ton of nearby restaurants with pet amenities and shopping, so you’ll never be without a mission. My pup loves to grab a frozen frosty paw at Handel’s Ice Cream.
Dog owners can book a stay at pet-friendly hotels like the Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort & Spa. It’s fantastic for dining outdoors with one of their bacon-infused puptails and tasty treats on the happy hour dog menu.
Pros of Staying in Carlsbad Neighborhood:
- Plenty of great dog-friendly restaurants and bars
- Tons of dog-friendly shopping destinations
- Variety of off-leash dog parks and San Diego hiking trails
Cons of Staying in Carlsbad Neighborhood:
- Transportation is needed unless staying in the Village near the beach
- Dogs are only allowed on the boardwalk, not on the beach
📚 Carlsbad Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Dog-Friendly Restaurants
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Carlsbad
🍽️ Where to Eat – 264 Fresco ($$$), 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
👉 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
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Del Mar
🍽️ Where to Eat – Poseidon ($$$), Brigantine ($$), Monarch Ocean Pub ($$)
🍸 Where to Drink – Viewpoint Brewing Co., WestBrew, Tamarindo
🎟️ Top Attractions – Del Mar Dog Beach, One Paseo, Del Mar Highlands, Powerhouse Park
🐾 Dog Stores – Dirty Dogs, Mr. Bodhi’s Grub & Scrub
San Diego Gaslamp
Downtown San Diego is commonly referred to as the Gaslamp District. It is right near the Airport, Petco Park, San Diego Zoo, USS Midway Museum, and the Harbor.
Those looking to do a lot of sightseeing on foot or take a quick drive to surrounding districts will enjoy the ease of staying in the San Diego Gaslamp. Downtown has a great Little Italy Dog Park that’s close to Hotel Del Coronado, and a Kona Island Paws Package at Kona Kai on Shelter Island.
For a convenient location that’s close to many of the city’s finest attractions, I highly recommend staying at the Pendry San Diego. They have a rooftop swimming pool for humans, and a luxurious pet bed and dog bowl included during your stay.
The Hilton San Diego Bayfront is a popular location, however, they don’t have as many dog-centric amenities.
Pros of Staying in San Diego Gaslamp Neighborhood:
- Very walkable and in the hub of action
- Diversity of restaurants, bars, and nightlife
- Plenty of local pet boutiques in every sub-neighborhood of Downtown
Cons of Staying in San Diego Gaslamp Neighborhood:
- An area more affected by economic hardships
- Parking is hard to find and overpriced paid parking lots
- Very loud and crowded
📚 San Diego Gaslamp with a Dog Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Convenience
🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Downtown San Diego
🍽️ Where to Eat – Sally’s Fish House & Bar ($$$), 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 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:
- Impacted by some San Diego safety concerns
- Some public spaces are in need of improvement
📚 Ocean Beach with a Dog Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Dog Beach
🏠 Apartments – Browse 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
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
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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