6 of San Diego's Prime Parks for Pups (No Leash Required)

NBC's nationwide pet adoption drive, Clear the Shelters, runs through Sept. 19, 2021

We're well into Clear the Shelters and what better way to celebrate your pooch than with a little playtime at one of San Diego County's many dog parks. Here's a list of some spots perfect for Fido.

Grape Street Dog Park

What to Know

  • Address: 28th and Grape streets in South Park
  • Off-Leash Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
  • Amenities (or "Pawmenities," if you want to be fun about it): Lots of open fields for fetch, two water fountains for dogs and a restroom for people

This 5-acre paradise for pooches is tucked away in a residential area in South Park. It’s the largest of three dog parks in Balboa Park, known for its open fields and groves of eucalyptus trees.

In addition to the grassy fields, this dog park also features rainbow tires that dogs can run and jump through, for pups looking for a bit more exercise.

In 2019, NBC 7 interviewed some dog owners at Grape Street Dog Park who praised the park's amenities but did say the park can get crowded on the weekends. The few immediate parking spots at the park tend to fill up quickly, but street parking along the outskirts of Balboa Park is another option (but you may have to drive a few loops before scoring a spot).

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Fiesta Island Off-Leash Dog Park

What to Know

  • Address: 150 E. Mission Bay Drive in Mission Bay (just northeast of SeaWorld San Diego)
  • Hours: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Sunday
  • Amenities: A mix of trails and sandy beach to gives pups some variety

On the western side of Fiesta Island in Mission Bay is a grassy and dirt-filled plain cornered off for San Diego’s furriest friends. The peninsula is home to another park where marathons and walks are often hosted and where training for aquatic sports takes place, which may impact access to its waters.

The park is a mix of trails and beaches to give pups plenty of ways to get active. The coastline is expansive with many twists and turns, creating endless entry points for dogs to enjoy scenic Mission Bay.

In June of 2019, the San Diego City Council unanimously approved dog-friendly updates to this area.

Dirt parking is available along the outskirts of the dog park. There's also a portable restroom in the designated parking lot.

When you adopt a shelter dog, you have no idea what kind of distinguished career it might go on to pursue.

Nate's Point Dog Park

What to Know

  • Address: 2500 Balboa Drive in Balboa Park (Off-leash area is in Balboa Park’s West Mesa, south of El Prado / Laurel Street and east of Balboa Drive)
  • Off-Leash Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Amenities: Drinking fountain, picnic tables, benches, and a view of beautiful Balboa Park

Nate Point Dog Park is a 2.3-acre space that sits near the entrance to Balboa Park. The fenced-in, oval-shaped park is covered in dirt but has a scattering of tall trees to provide shade.

Stone benches are stationed throughout the park, and visitors have a great view of the heart of Balboa Park. Some street parking is available along Balboa Drive. To find parking lots in Balboa Park, check out this guide.

The park was named after former City of San Diego employee Nate Wells, according to Balboa Park.

Capehart Dog Park

What to Know

  • Address: 4747 Soledad Mountain Rd. near Felspar Street in Pacific Beach
  • Off-Leash Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Amenities: Lots of grassy land, chairs, benches, and tables with umbrellas scattered throughout the park

This dog park is separated into two fenced-off areas for small and large dogs. The small dogs’ area is mostly grassy with patches of dirt, while the large dogs’ area is mainly dirt. The park is in a residential neighborhood but is backed by a small hill covered in brush.

Roughly two dozen parking spaces are designated to the park, and a portable bathroom sits in this lot.

Coronado Dog Beach

What to Know

  • Address: 100 Ocean Blvd. on Coronado Island
  • Off-Leash Hours: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday
  • Amenities: A heat-resistant path leading to the beach, lots of shoreline to play on, beautiful views of the ocean

A heat-resistant path leads visitors to a sandy beach dedicated to four-legged friends and their owners. With a quarter-mile of coast, dogs are free to run, splash, and relax off-leash. A drainage ditch about a dozen feet wide separates Coronado Dog Beach from Coronado Beach.

On sunny San Diego days, this scenic spot is typically buzzing with pooches and their humans. For some locals, bringing their pet here is part of their daily or weekly routine.

The City of Coronado’s website describes the beach’s waves as “generally rather tame and the setting is very photogenic,” in case you're wondering how your dog might do with the water.

Honorable Mentions

The city of San Diego has a list of approved off-leash parks for pups across the county here.

Some honorable mentions:

  • Maddox Neighborhood Park in Mira Mesa
  • Rancho Bernardo Park in Rancho Bernardo
  • Torrey Highlands Park off Del Mar Heights Road

Help NBC 7 Clear the Shelters!

NBC is currently in the middle of Clear the Shelters 2021, an annual adoption drive with a mission to find forever homes for shelter pets across the U.S., including those in San Diego. To read about how to adopt or donate via Clear the Shelters, click here.

And, to see which pets are available for adoption in San Diego County, check out NBC 7's adoption guide.

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