With San Diego's awesome weather and spectacular scenery, it's no wonder locals are also big dog lovers. With so much to do outdoors, it only makes sense to have a canine companion alongside when you’re out and about, either walking through the neighborhood or strolling along the boardwalk or stopping at a coffeehouse. But dogs also need a place where they can let go and romp around and be, well, dogs. Luckily, San Diego has a variety of off-leash dog parks.
San Diego has some specifically designated outdoor spots to take your dog to socialize with others of their ilk and do whatever dogs love to do: you know, sniff, bark, growl, chase, pant, and, uh, mark. Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular doggie-friendly designated dog off-leash areas around San Diego County. And remember to adhere to each area’s rules and regulations, 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 leash-free space adjacent to Rancho Bernardo Community Park, and includes additional parking for dog park users.
Wells Park – El Cajon
This 1.4 acre spread within El Cajon's Wells Park is the East County's second leashless dog park and is a grassy haven for pooches. It has gravel and grassy sun areas and dual drinking fountains (for pets and their owners). Located in the southwest part of Wells Park at 1153 E. Madison Avenue, the off-leash area is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is lighted for night use.
Dog Beach – Ocean Beach
Located in northern Ocean Beach, Dog Beach is the original beach spot to take your pooch in San Diego and remains popular. This beach area is located at the west end of the San Diego River Floodway, also known as the Ocean Beach Flood Control Channel. With a wide swath of sand and the Pacific surf to roll in, Dog Beach is a special place to bring your mutt, or just to come and 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 leash-free for dogs. It has lots of sandy dunes to romp in, and the calm bay waters lets the more adventurous dogs take a quick dip. Open 24 hours.
Nate’s Point – Balboa Park
This is an enjoyable setting for dogs and owners alike. A large grassy lawn in the middle of Balboa Park is the perfect place to play catch with balls and frisbees, and to socialize – both for the dogs and their owners. Located along Balboa Drive at 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 city of Coronado, the dog beach in Coronado is at the most northern end of the beach next to the Naval Air Station. Wide and sandy, with the Pacific surf 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-in, lighted, off-leash area for dogs within the City of Poway's Community Park. Poway Community Park is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Lights in the dog park off-leash area extend evening hours to 9:30 p.m. Located at 13094 Bowron Road in Poway.
Dog Beach – Del Mar
A nice, low key spit of sand to let your dog roam in lovely Del Mar, but with limitations: the off-leash designation is seasonal only, so bring your dog without its leash only from September to June. Parking is also at a premium and you may have to pay for street or lot parking. Located along Camino del Mar in Del Mar.
Harry Griffen Park – La Mesa
This large, pleasant neighborhood park in the La Mesa suburb of San Diego 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, on turfed areas: one for small dogs and one for large or all dogs, 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 is available for off-leash use only during the following designated days and times: Monday through Friday: 7:30am to 9:00pm, Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: 9:00am to 9:00pm. Google Map
Kearny Mesa Community Park - Mesa College Area
Located at 3170 Armstrong Street, this 1-acre park offers one area for all dogs. The site is near lit ball fields which "spill" on to the leash free site which allows for evening use. According to a reader who suggested this park, the users help keep water & bags available for those who forget and they're currently fundraising for a dog water fountain and a second gate. Parking can be a challenge during the day as the closest parking lot is used by students attending Mesa College. Google Map
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA Dog Park - Oceanside
Oceanside's only Dog Park is open from daily 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The hours are 7 days a week from 7am-7pm. The park features one park for more active dogs, one park for less active dogs, restrooms, seating, shade, waste bags, but no lighting. Google Map