LivingTravelBest off-leash dog parks and beaches in San Diego

Best off-leash dog parks and beaches in San Diego

With San Diego’s incredible weather and spectacular scenery, it’s no wonder the locals are huge dog lovers too. With so much to do outdoors, it only makes sense to have a canine companion by your side when you’re out and about, whether it’s walking around the neighborhood or strolling the boardwalk or stopping at a coffee shop. But dogs also need a place where they can loosen up, play, and be, well, dogs. Fortunately, San Diego has a variety of off-leash dog parks.

San Diego has a few specifically designated outdoor spots to take your dog to socialize with others of his kind and do what dogs love to do: you know, sniff, bark, growl, chase, pant, and, uh, mark. Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular off-leash designated dog areas in all of San Diego County. And remember to comply with the rules and regulations of each area, which may differ.

Rancho Bernardo Park – Rancho Bernardo

This Northeast San Diego off-leash dog park is located at 18448 West Bernardo Drive in Rancho Bernardo. The 2.5-acre park offers off-leash space adjacent to Rancho Bernardo Community Park and includes additional parking for dog park users.

Wells Park – El Cajon

This 1.4 acre expanse within El Cajon’s Wells Park is East County’s second off-leash dog park and a grassy shelter for dogs. It has gravel and grass areas with sun and double fountains for drinking (for pets and their owners). Located in the southwestern portion of Wells Park at 1153 E. Madison Avenue, the off-leash area is open daily from 7 am to 9 pm and is lit for night use.

Dog Beach – Ocean Beach

Located in North Ocean Beach, Dog Beach is the original beach spot to take your dog to San Diego and continues to be popular. This beach area is located on the west end of the San Diego River Floodway, also known as the Ocean Beach Flood Control Channel. With a wide stretch of sand and the Pacific waves to roll, Dog Beach is a special place to bring your stray dog, or just to watch dogs be dogs in the surf and sand. Open 24 hours.

Fiesta Island – Mission Bay

Most of this large sandy island in Mission Bay is designated off-leash for dogs. It has plenty of sandy dunes to play with, and the bay’s calm waters allow more adventurous dogs to take a quick dip. Open 24 hours.

Punta de Nate – Balboa Park

This is a friendly environment for dogs and owners alike. A large lawn in the middle of Balboa Park is the perfect place to play with balls and frisbees, and to socialize, for both the dogs and their owners. Located along Balboa Drive in El Prado, on the south side of the Cabrillo Bridge. Open 24 hours.

Morley Field – Balboa Park

Morley Field is located on the east side of Balboa Park, northwest of the tennis courts. This off-leash dog spot is ideal for residents of nearby North Park.

Dog Beach – Coronado

Located in the picturesque town of Coronado, the Coronado Dog Beach is at the northernmost end of the beach, next to the Naval Air Station. Wide and sandy, with the waves of the Pacific and the Hotel del Coronado in the background, Coronado’s Dog Beach is a nice getaway. Located on Ocean Boulevard near Sunset Park.

Poway Dog Park – Poway 

Poway Dog Park is an award-winning 1.75-acre fenced, lighted, and off-leash area within the City of Poway Community Park. Poway Community Park is open from sunrise to sunset every day. The lights in the off-leash area of the dog park extend the evening hours to 9:30 pm Located at 13094 Bowron Road in Poway.

Dog beach – Del Mar

A nice, low-key sandpit to let your dog roam charming Del Mar, but with limitations – off-leash designation is seasonal only, so bring your dog off-leash only from September to June. Parking is also a premium and you may have to pay for street or parking lot parking. Located along the Camino del Mar in Del Mar.

Harry Griffen Park – The Table

This large and friendly neighborhood park in San Diego’s La Mesa suburb has a designated acre for off-leash dogs. Located at 9550 Milden Street in La Mesa.

Capehart Park – Pacific Beach / La Jolla

Located at the corner of Felspar and Soledad Mountain Road, this one acre park offers the following amenities: two fenced pens, in grassy areas: one for small dogs and one for large dogs or all, areas to provide water for dogs, a drinking fountain, picnic tables and benches, and a parking area. It is open 24 hours. Google map

Grape Street Park – Balboa Park Area

Located at Grape Street and Granada Ave, this site is unfenced and available for off-leash use only during the following designated days and times: Monday through Friday: 7:30 am to 9:00 pm, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays : 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Google Map

Kearny Mesa Community Park – Mesa College Area

Located at 3170 Armstrong Street, this 1-acre park offers an area for all dogs. The site is close to lighted ball fields that ‘spill over’ onto the off-leash site allowing night use. According to a reader who suggested this park, patrons help keep water and bags available for those who forget and are currently raising funds for a dog water fountain and second gate. Parking can be a challenge during the day as students attending Mesa College use the closest parking lot. Google map

San Diego Humane Society y SPCA Dog Park – Oceanside

Oceanside’s only dog park is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Hours are 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The park has a more active dog park, a park for less active dogs, restrooms, seating, shade, trash bags, but no lighting. Google map

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