San Diego Dog Beaches, Parks and Perks

Your pup deserves to roam, and dog-friendly locations in San Diego are easy to come by with this list from Yelp. From pup-approved beaches to dog parks, plus details on park perks and amenities, a day out and about with your furry friend doesn’t have to be ruff in America’s Finest City.

Nate’s Point Dog Park (Balboa)

Reviewers report that big and small dogs mix in a common area at this location and amenities like pup drinking fountains and picnic tables make it a great place to relax with your barking bestie. It’s fenced, so let your pet roam off-leash, but be aware that this is dirt-packed space and a bath might be in order post-playtime. A perk for dog owners: parking here is not a huge nightmare, which is always nice.

Grape Street Dog Park (Golden Hill)
If your four-legged roomie needs grass on which to run, this is the place for your daily stroll. Fair warning: no fences here, so make sure your pet will listen to you when called. This park is 5 acres with shaded trees and is billed by visitors as a popular spot for neighborhood pups to socialize. Off-leash hours are 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends.

Rancho Penasquitos Off-Leash Area (Rancho Penasquitos)
In this neighborhood park, fences separate doggies under and over 30 pounds so your hound can play with friends his own size. You’ll find water bowls and even in peak times, there is still plenty of parking available. Local residents also tout that dog owners who frequent this space are a respectful bunch who closely watch their dogs and clean up after them.

Mayflower Dog Park (Escondido)
This off-leash Dog Park has three fenced sections: one for big dogs, one for smaller pooches and a mixed space for well-behaved dogs of any size to play together. Trees, grass, water fountains and handy waste bags make it a favorite of the humans, and the dogs run free with no complaints. Free parking, but no digging allowed.

Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park (Encinitas)
Recent Yelp reviewers report the grass here has held up well this season, despite the drought, and that it’s a tucked away spot where locals meet with their furbabies regularly. Doggy bag stations and water fountains are offered, as well as large, fenced in sections for dogs of various sizes. This park is in excellent condition and Fido can run at full speed on the durable grass but note: it’s closed each Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for maintenance.

Dog Beach (Del Mar)
The most popular seaside place for your pet to see and been seen. This beach-based park currently welcomes leashed dogs on the south side but pet owners are counting down the rest of August because come Labor Day, it’s an off-leash doggy paradise. So, for now, hold off on that game of fetch and take advantage of this sandy space with a nice, collared beach walk. You’ll be able to break out the new toys to toss into the waves soon enough.

Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.

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