Located just across the bay from Downtown San Diego, you’ll find a quaint and colorful community that perfectly marries together the glitz and glamour of a bygone era with the famous laid-back SoCal lifestyle. For over a century, Coronado Island has played a variety of roles within the San Diego community, including as a base for the United States Navy and a sought-after vacation destination for movie stars and other influential members of society. Today, it continues its honored tradition of providing a warm and welcoming place to escape for people…and dogs…from all over the world!
If you’ve always wanted to see the “Crown Jewel of California” for yourself, why not share the experience with your beloved pets? Besides, with so many dog-approved things to do, it would almost be a shame not to! Here is your ultimate guide to pet-friendly Coronado Island from a San Diego resident!
1. Take a Quick Stroll Through Centennial Park
Located at the far end of Coronado Island’s main strip, Centennial Park offers some of the best views of the Downtown San Diego skyline (and in my own humble opinion, THE BEST!).
The wide open space is occupied with grassy areas, romantic rose gardens and gazebos, a tiny beach, and of course, a waterside walkway that offers picture-perfect photo opportunities of the city across the bay.
Once you and your dogs have snapped the perfect picture together, it’s worth it to make the short walk to Coronado Ferry Landing and check out the small shops and art galleries.
2. Kayak and Paddleboard the Bay
If your pets don’t mind the water, then there’s nothing like soaking in the SoCal sunshine from the bay! Bike & Kayak Tours on Coronado Island will allow you to bring your pets along for FREE, and they even provide complimentary life vests for your dogs.
Just choose to join a guided tour or rent your own kayak/paddleboard, and get ready to enjoy the spectacular views of downtown, the navy base, and Coronado Island right from the waters of San Diego Bay. It’s the perfect activity for a hot summer day on pet-friendly Coronado Island!
3. Explore Historic Downtown Coronado
Also known as Coronado Village, the historic downtown area is a must-see during your visit to Coronado Island! As you and your pups wander down Orange Avenue, you’ll be greeted on either side by elegant boutiques, quaint coffee shops and cafes, galleries, museums, and more. The pedestrian-friendly layout of the area also makes it very simple to navigate, especially for those with dogs on a leash. Many of the shops and restaurants in this area are also dog-friendly and will warmly welcome you and your furry friend through their doors.
Whether you’re in an explorative mood or searching for a place to spend a leisurely hour or two with your pup, I highly recommend taking a walk through Downtown Coronado and treating yourselves to a fun and spontaneous outing.
4. Take a Bite Out of the Dog-Friendly Restaurants
Among the many things that Coronado Island provides in abundance, great food is one of them! Even better? Many of the island’s most popular eateries are pet-friendly!
Here’s a quick look at some of our personal favorites to help you decide where you and your own dogs can grab a bite to eat during your Coronado Island getaway.
McP’s Irish Pub: This lively sports bar is one of the most entertaining places to eat in town! In addition to delicious Irish and American pub fare, you and your furry companions will also enjoy pet-friendly seating on the outdoor patio complete with fire pits and live music performances. Plus, on the last Wednesday of each month, McP’s hosts a “Yappy Hour” to benefit the local animal shelter!
Cafe 1134: This restaurant is a local favorite and offers a casual atmosphere to indulge in unique and healthy food. The outdoor seating area sits right alongside the busy pedestrian sidewalks of downtown, so it’s the ultimate spot for you and your dogs to people watch and enjoy the always-perfect Southern California weather.
Tent City: This coffee shop was named after the popular “Tent City” that accommodated Coronado visitors who couldn’t afford a room at the Hotel Del Coronado (more on that later!). Not only is their breakfast phenomenal, but the restaurant’s fantastic location in the heart of downtown provides awesome views of the bustling Orange Avenue.
MooTime Creamery: When your sweet tooth calls, this is the place to go! The nostalgic parlor celebrates America’s Favorite Dessert with some of the best hand-crafted ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet available, and the high-quality definitely shines through when you take your first bite! Also, just so you don’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime, do not leave without ordering a MooPie. That is an essential.
5. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to L. Frank Baum’s Home
Fun fact! Author L. Frank Baum spent many winters on Coronado Island and even wrote three books from his Wizard of Oz series in a tiny home that still stands at 1101 Star Park Circle! Many even speculate that the Hotel Del Coronado inspired “The Emerald City.” Fans of the mystical world of Oz and literature alike should make a stop at the L. Frank Baum House a must, and it’s very easy to take a quick photo with your pet on the outside!
*Quick Tip* If you peek through one of the side windows, you just might see the face of The Wicked Witch of the West staring back at you!
6. Learn to Surf With Your Four-Legged Friend
That’s right! Coronado Island offers dog-friendly surf lessons! Coronado Surfing Academy has delivered stellar surfing experiences since 2004 for both humans and their canine companions. There are dog-friendly surfboards available to rent so you and your pooch can ride the barrel in style!
7. Coronado Dog Beach
If you went to Southern California and didn’t visit a beach, did you really go to Southern California? The Coronado Dog Beach is one of my favorite dog beaches in San Diego and offers pet owners and their companions a leash-free space to play underneath the sunshine and splash in the Pacific Ocean. Plus, in terms of scenery, it doesn’t get much better than the Coronado Dog Beach. On one side you have the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado, and on another, the scenic hills and cliffs of Point Loma stretch upwards from the water. It’s one of my favorite spots to spend a relaxing afternoon with Lady, and I’m sure you’ll agree when you experience it for yourself!
8. Tour the Hotel Del Coronado
The historic Hotel Del Coronado (nicknamed “The Del”) is the crown jewel of Coronado Island and one of the icons of San Diego itself. The Victorian-esque resort was opened in 1888 and has welcomed hundreds of notable guests under its signature red roof, including the likes of Charlie Chapman, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, and several U.S. presidents.
Today, it is a National Historic Landmark and has been listed as one of the “Top 10 Resorts in the World” by USA Today! It’s also the most popular option for pet-friendly hotels in San Diego!
Whether or not you are a guest at the hotel, you and your furry friends will be welcomed inside the Hotel Del Coronado to explore the grounds. This was one of the first things Lady and I did when we moved to San Diego, and it’s still one of my favorite pet-friendly things we’ve done yet! Walking through the hotel is like taking a stroll back in time, and there’s something new and interesting to see around nearly every corner.
Dogs are not permitted in the pool area or on the beach in front of the hotel, but there are grassy areas and a fun tiki bar beside the shoreline where guests with pets are welcome to enjoy The Del’s vast outdoor space.
Once you’re done wandering through the halls of the hotel, the Coronado Dog Beach is just steps away!
Need a place to stay? No worries! There are several pet-friendly hotels in Coronado to choose from, including the world-famous Hotel Del Coronado! Here’s a quick look at other accommodations you and your dogs may be interested in:
Coronado Island Inn: Located just a block from local dining and nightlife, the Coronado Island Inn is a great option for both long and short term stays. They allow up to two pets per room with an addition $15 per night fee.
Now that we’ve covered all the best things to do on pet-friendly Coronado Island, which are you most excited to try first? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out even more dog-friendly destinations that have earned our paw-stamp of approval, pet health and safety tips, helpful product reviews, and more.