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How To Have A Pawsome Dog-Friendly Staycation

Updated: May 21

Cartoon rendering of a man, woman and their dogs on a dog-friendly staycation in San Diego

Recently, staycations have been wagging their tail more in the world of travel trends (see what I did there?). More of us are discovering the simplicity of exploring our own cities/towns more in-depth, especially when our pups can tag along. For dog owners, a dog-friendly staycation offers the perfect blend of adventure and convenience, without the stress of long-distance travel. In this guide, we'll explore how to plan an amazing staycation that both you and your dog(s) will love.

Benefits of a Dog-Friendly Staycation

Find New Places - Reduced Travel Complications - No Boarding

Staycations with pets present a unique opportunity to bond with your animals while enjoying the comforts of your local area. Not only do they reduce the logistical complications associated with traveling, such as flights or long car rides, but they also alleviate the need for pet sitters or boarding facilities. Plus, discovering or revisiting the gems of your own city through the eyes of your dog can be a refreshing experience.

How to Plan Your Dog-Friendly Staycation

Research Dog-Friendly Accommodations in Your City

Not a must as this can increase the price of your dog staycation exponentially, but if you want to find dog-friendly accomodations, there can be plenty of options out there. Begin by sniffing out pet-friendly hotels or Airbnb options in your area that offer amenities catered to dogs. Look for places with nearby green spaces or special services for pets. Keep an eye out for costly pet deposits and those are most-often not refundable and can greatly increase the price of your stay.

Screenshot of AirBnB with pet friendly filter highlighted
Airbnb allows you filter results that allow pets

A Cheaper, More Adventurous Alternative

Dog in a tent

Camping with your dog locally can also drastically reduce this expense and allow for more outdoor adventures. In SOCAL? Check out our reviews of dog-friendly campsites in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles.

Explore Nearby Dog Parks and Walking Trails for Outdoor Activities

Screenshot of Bring Fido's homepage is an amazing resource to find all sorts of dog-friendly places

Adventures are best when shared, especially with your dog. Research local dog parks, beaches, or hiking trails where you and your dog can stretch your legs and enjoy fresh air together. Check out BringFido to find dog-friendly spots in your locale.

Find Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Cafes for Dining Out

Dog menu for Claire's on Cedros in San Diego
More and more dog-friendly places are offering meals for the pups too

More eateries are opening their doors to dogs, providing water dishes and doggy menus. Make a list of such spots so you can enjoy your city’s cuisine with your pup by your side.

Consider Pet-Friendly Local Attractions and Activities

Man playing with his dog at the beach
Dog beaches are awesome for dog-friendly staycations

Many cities have pet-friendly attractions, from botanical gardens that allow dogs to special pet events to dog-friendly beaches. Keep an eye out for any activities that both you and your dog can enjoy.

Essential Tips for a Successful Dog-Friendly Staycation

  • Pack Necessities: Just like us, dogs have suitcases too! Pack yours with their favorite toys, bedding, treats, and any other essentials to keep them comfortable.

  • Health & ID Check: Ensure your dog’s ID tags and microchip details are updated, and carry their vaccination records.

  • Research: Learn tips and tricks to make travelling with your dog easier.

  • Plan Wisely: While spontaneity is part of the fun, having a dog-friendly itinerary will help you maximize your time and ensure places you visit are welcoming to your pup.

  • Be Respectful: Always follow the pet policies of places you’re visiting and be considerate of others who may not be as fond of dogs.

Our North County San Diego Dog Staycation

Man with dog at restaurant
Steve making new friends on our staycation

Living in one of the most dog-friendly cities in the world, there's always new places (established and popping up) that are dog-friendly so there's always new spots to check out.

SIDE NOTE: If you happen to live in San Diego, or will be visiting, check out our Dog Friendly San Diego section!

Anyway, we recently embarked on a staycation to North County San Diego with our pups, Lucy and Snoopy, and discovered a quaint dog-friendly restaurant that we now frequent (Claire's on Cedros- full review coming soon). It was a hidden gem in Solana Beach that I wouldn’t have found without our staycation adventure. It's also pretty close to Encinitas Viewpoint Park, a pretty rad off-leash dog park. As mentioned above, we never book stays at hotels of Airbnb's due to the high cost, but we always have a great time nonetheless!

A Dog-Friendly Staycation Itinerary Example

Here's a sample itinerary Fetch The Sun has put together to give you some ideas for your next dog-friendly staycation. Since we are in San Diego, we are going to use that as an example.

Day 1

Early Morning: Head to Del Mar Dog Beach for a sunrise walk

Woman walking with dog on the beach in Del Mar
Del Mar is perfect for sunrise and sunset walks

Morning: Drive to Pacific Beach and have breakfast at dog-friendly Broken Yolk restaurant

Late Morning: Meet up with Sam at Sup Pups at Liberty Station and go paddleboarding with our dogs (podcast here)

Women stand-up paddle-boarding with their dogs
Sam's the bet in the biz!

Early Afternoon: Snag some tacos at Fred's in Old Town San Diego

Afternoon: Set up camp in Mission Bay at Campland on the Bay; once set up, take a power nap!

Late Afternoon: Have the ultimate play session at Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Evening: Stay local in OB and get a burger at Raglan Public House

Late Evening: Back to the campsite for a fireside hangout with our pups; sleep

Dog by the campfire

Day 2

Early Morning: Grab a play session on Mission Bay Shores (at the campground)

Morning: Break down camp

Late Morning: Have brunch at Backyard Kitchen and Tap in Pacific Beach

Early Afternoon: Head a little north to Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve for some hiking

Man and dog hiking on a trail
Steve and Snoopy spending quality time together on the trails

Afternoon: Drop in at the dog-loving folks at Night Parade Brewing for some craft beer

Dog friendly Night Parade Brewing
The dog-loving folks at Night Parade Brewing

Late Afternoon: Head home, cuddle on the couch with our pups, and commence bragging to our friends and family about the awesome times we just had!

Wrapping Up Your Pawsome Adventure

A dog-friendly staycation is an experience that offers a unique way to connect with your pet while appreciating the comforts of your local area. It’s a gentle reminder that adventures don’t always require a passport or a road map; sometimes, they’re waiting right outside our door.

And You?

Have you gone on a dog-friendly staycation in your city? We’d love to hear about your experiences and any tips you might have. Share your stories in the comments below, or if you’re ready to plan your next local adventure, check out our posts on dog-friendly breweries, hiking with your dog, and camping with your dog for more inspiration. Here’s to many more pawsome adventures with our four-legged friends!


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