Double Trouble: Surfing dogs in San Diego. Dog in pink is the one and only Surf Dog Ricochet! Photo by Dan Merchant
By Emily Randolph, owner of Happy Lady Books and an award-winning author of children’s books for luxury hotels and resorts, as well as the author of the ‘It’s a King’s Life‘ kids’ book series about very special, dog-friendly places.
The furry truth (disclosure): We’ve nominated San Diego in GoPetFriendly‘s 2014 competition for best city for pet travelers. If we win the top prize, we will be able to go to San Diego and write our next book in our King’s Life children’s book series about this terrific pet-friendly city. Philanthropy is in our bones®, and so we donate a great deal of our revenue to animal rescue and pet therapy charities. Last year, we donated approximately 40%. We hope we are doing some good and hope we’ll be able to do even more. So, there you have it. We hope you don’t mind our dogged determination nor our ulterior motives and that you will raise your paw and cast a vote for San Diego! Here are the top 10 reasons why we love San Diego:
1. Pet-friendly hotels. You can’t have a pet-friendly city without lots of pet-friendly accommodation choices. San Diego has them all, from budget to ultra luxury, like the US Grant, Hotel Solamar, Loews Coronado Bay, and The Grand Del Mar. Check out these links for all the dozens of choices: GoPetFriendly and San Diego.
Hitching a ride at the Loews Surf Dog Competition 2013. Photo by Dan Merchant
2. Beaches galore. San Diego just doesn’t have one beach, it has eight great ones for dogs to socialize and get wet. The Loews Coronado even holds an annual dog surfing competition!
Here are just a few:
- Dog Beach – On Ocean Beach, this popular spot is off-leash all the time!
- Fiesta Island – Located in Mission Bay, this beach has still waters and sandy dunes for dogs more interested in a calm stroll than catching big waves.
- North Beach Dog Run – In Coronado, this dog-friendly beach is also 24/7 off leash and is great for dogs who love strong surf.
- Del Mar Dog Beach – This beach, located in Del Mar, is off-leash post-Labor Day through June 14.
3. Exercise! Beyond beach running there are tons of things to do with your dog in San Diego to meet other furry-minded friends. Check out Leash Your Fitness to find out about runs, kayaking, events, and exercises classes like yoga and doga!
4. Dining. Oh yes, dogs love to eat just as much – OK, more! – than we do. So, what’s an ‘epicurious’ dog to do? San Diego Pets Magazine has a complete listing for you to munch your way through town. One of our favorites? Sally and Henry’s Dog House. You won’t go hungry in this town!
5. Treats just for Trigger. Naturally, in such a dog-luvin’ town there are places catering just to pets’ pallots. Drop by Paw Pleasers, My Best Friends and Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe for tasty treats for a snack on the go or a special birthday celebration.
Happy, Lady & Lucy really dig The Honest Kitchen’s pet food!
6. Pet Stores. Does your dog go ah naturelle? Find your inner growl at Howlistic for natural pet food supplies. Nor, will you want to miss Dexter’s Deli, just up the road in Del Mar (and in Carlsbad), billed as the ‘original health food store for your pet.’ At City Dog, you can pick up your dinner and use the self service dog wash, too. If you’re cantering down Orange Avenue in Coronado, stop by WagN’ Tails. San Diego is also home to our favorite pet food, The Honest Kitchen. Notably, it’s the HQ for Petco, too, which might explain the name of the San Diego Padres’ baseball park…Silly me, I thought it was a dog park when I first visited San Diego!
7. Shopping. Shopping with your best friend is no problem in San Diego. Many stores encourage your dog to come on in for a belly rub. Seaport Village is a notable and fun spot to take your dog, though you might not have any time to get into the stores with all the people wanting to pet your pooch! Maybe art is more your thing? Peruse the beautiful works in the Spanish Village Arts Center.
Off-Leash Dog Parks in San Diego
8. Parks. You name it, they have one near you. The City of San Diego has an official page for you to find both on and off-leash parks. Their map off off-leash areas, including beaches, is very handy.
9. Boating. Ahoy, Fido! Perhaps your dog loves to power boat or sail? By all means, rent a boat and let Fifi play skipper for the day. Head on over to Downtown Boat Rentals at 385 W Harbor Drive.
10. Yappy Hour. And when the day is done, there is nothing more fun than attending a Yappy Hour. While there are several around town, the newest addition is from the Hotel Del Coronado “for guests and locals with pets on its Sun Deck, from 4 to 5 p.m., Sundays starting May 4. Pets can snack and schmooze to their heart’s content while lapping up Evian and kibble, while their owners take in the spectacular ocean setting partaking in pet-inspired libations such as a Greyhound or a Salty Dog.”
It’s a King’s Life in San Diego® is our next planned children’s book. My husband, Dan Merchant, will be taking photos of our Cavaliers, Happy, Lady and Lucy, all over this great city to produce his famous photo illustrations for our book. We can’t wait to create it for you. Please help us make it a reality and vote for San Diego!