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How To Plan a Dog-Friendly Vacation in Encinitas

Encinitas Visitor Center Dog-Friendly Photo

Dogs are more than just our pets; they’re cherished members of our families. So when it’s time to take a family vacation, it can be hard to say goodbye to them. In fact, according to a survey from Rover, 37% of participants opted to skip their vacation altogether rather than leave their furry friends at home.

But you don’t need to choose between a beach vacation and spending quality time with your pup. In Encinitas, you can do both. We’re an extremely dog-friendly destination, with plenty of opportunities to bond with your whole family – including the four-legged members.

Here are some tips to plan the dog-friendly vacation (or staycation) of your dreams in Encinitas.

Things to Do with Your Dog in Encinitas

Thanks to our year-round sunny skies and moderate temperatures, Encinitas is the perfect place to partake in some outdoor activities with your pooch, like:

Beaches

Whether they’re rolling around in the sand or splashing in the waves, there is truly nothing more heart-melting than watching your dog frolic joyfully in the surf. While beaches run by the city of Encinitas do not allow dogs, you’ll find them more than welcome at Cardiff State Beach. Remember: they must be under your control and on a leash no longer than six feet at all times.

If you’re staying in Encinitas but willing to venture a bit farther south for a beach day, you’ll find a coastal haven for dogs at Del Mar’s appropriately named Dog Beach. Here, dogs are allowed to roam freely off-leash during off-peak season – meaning Labor Day to June 15th. During the summer, they’re still welcome, but must be leashed.

Dog Parks

Dog parks are the ultimate playground for furry friends to engage in off-leash play and socialization. From lush open lawns to challenging obstacle courses, Encinitas offers several spaces for your canine companion to live their best doggy life.

In Encinitas Community Park, you’ll find the Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park is two acres of paradise for your pooch. The centerpiece is a large turf area with an agility course and a walking path along the perimeter. Smaller dogs have their own separate green space, as do first-timers who need a little intro to socialization before they meet the rest of the pack.

Around town, Orpheus Park and Encinitas Viewpoint Park also have designated off-leash hours, so there’s always an opportunity for a change of scenery.

Eating Out in Encinitas with Your Dog

One of the benefits of this city’s gorgeous weather is getting to eat al fresco. That’s why there’s no shortage of outdoor dining options in Encinitas – and many restaurants welcome dogs on their patios.

Some of our favorite places to eat in Encinitas with dog-friendly patios:

The Crack Shack

After a long day of playing fetch in the park, you’ll undoubtedly work up an appetite. Head to The Crack Shack on Encinitas Boulevard to indulge in some delicious fried chicken and schmaltz fries – or keep it healthy with an anti-salad power bowl.

Union Kitchen & Tap

Hit up Happy Hour on the 101 at Union Kitchen & Tap, where you can enjoy a refreshing beer, a cold margarita, or a crisp glass of wine while your dog chows down beside you. That’s right: they’ve got a Dog Menu here, with your pup’s choice of steak, burger, or chicken served with rice.

Modern Times Far West Lounge

For craft beer and vegan fare, go a bit farther north on the 101 to Modern Times. The menu is 100% plant-based, with delicious munchies like loaded fries and Impossible burgers. Your pooch is welcome to sit at the table here as you sip on a beverage from one of their 30+ taps.

The Cottage

Before you start your day, take your best friend to The Cottage on El Camino Real for breakfast. Their huge patio is perfect for dogs of any size, and their menu offers sumptuous delights like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, Pork Belly Benedict, and (my personal favorite) Chilaquiles. 

Where to Stay in Encinitas with Your Dog

Finding dog-friendly lodging is always the biggest challenge of traveling with your pet, but here in Encinitas we have you covered.

Leucadia Beach Inn is a classic Southern California hotel located steps from the beach – and they’re pet-friendly, too, charging a nominal $50 fee for the first pet and $25 for additional pets.

For an elevated bed-and-breakfast experience, stay at Twelve Senses Retreat. This wellness-focused establishment offers massage, yoga, and energy therapy. Relax with your dog here for $50 the first night, and $25 for every night thereafter.

If you’re into roughing it, you can sleep beneath the stars and beside the surf at San Elijo State Beach. While dogs aren’t allowed on the actual beach, they’re welcome on the campground, so you can snuggle up beside your four-legged family member in your tent.

Vacation with Your Dog in Encinitas

It’s clear Encinitas is the ideal destination to visit with your dog. From the stunning beaches to the delectable dining options to the parks perfect for a leisurely stroll, this coastal paradise ensures a vacation that both you and your dog will cherish. So: pack those treats, grab that leash, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure of sun, sand, and wagging tails in Encinitas.

Allison Amini
Author: Allison Amini

Allison is the owner of Novel World Travel, a boutique travel agency located in Encinitas. An ASTA Verified Travel Advisor and CLIA Certified Cruise Counsellor, Allison helps her clients design personalized vacations – from relaxing long weekends to extended adventures across the globe. She’s been to thirty countries on five continents, but she’s proud to call Encinitas her home.

Picture of Allison Amini

Allison Amini

Allison is the owner of Novel World Travel, a boutique travel agency located in Encinitas. An ASTA Verified Travel Advisor and CLIA Certified Cruise Counsellor, Allison helps her clients design personalized vacations – from relaxing long weekends to extended adventures across the globe. She’s been to thirty countries on five continents, but she’s proud to call Encinitas her home.

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