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Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

Every dog has its day—some days they want to splash in the water, other days nothing feels better than a roll in the grass. Here are two itinerary ideas that maximize the outdoor fun and those long summer days, no matter Fido's preference.
Coronado's North Beach Dog Run

By Archana Ram

If your dog loves the water

1. A day of full-on activities calls for caffeine. Grab a cuppa at Lofty Coffee Little Italy, which has a sizeable dog-friendly patio and a breakfast menu of avocado toast and egg dishes, plus dog treats at the register.

2. Walk a quarter mile west to bayside Waterfront Park. There’s plenty of space to stroll, and your dog will love sniffing those marine aromas.

3. Drive seven miles south to Coronado’s North Beach Dog Run, ideally in the late morning, since the afternoon heat can be a scorcher on their paws. Beyond epic views of the Hotel del Coronado and Point Loma, there are fairly gentle waves, free litter bags, and a handy hosing station so you don’t bring the beach back into your car.

4. Nothing caps a beach day like tacos and burritos. Make your way back north 8.5 miles to El Indio in Mission Hills, known for their paprika-spiced tortilla chips. Rather than sitting at the busy picnic tables by the parking lot, walk a couple doors down to their quieter, lesser-known (and dog-friendly!) patio decked in bougainvillea and Spanish tile.

5. Drive five miles west to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park to catch golden hour, an optimal time for selfies with your sun-kissed pooch. The bluff-top dirt paths make for an easy walk after a busy day. Before it’s too late, find yourself a lookout point to watch the sunset. You’ve earned it.

Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

The Crack Shack Encinitas

If your dog loves the park

1. Start the day with a late breakfast of chicken-sausage-and-egg sandwiches and kids’ meals at The Crack Shack Encinitas. The eatery welcomes dogs throughout the indoor-outdoor space and often has housemade dog treats at the register.

2. A mile away, Maggie Houlihan Memorial Dog Park is a gold standard. The clean, spacious romp zone next to Encinitas Community Park has separate gated areas for small and large dogs, plus cute design details like paw prints along a walkway. Note that the park is largely unshaded and is closed Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m.

3. Head five miles south to Viewpoint Brewing Co., the Del Mar brewpub that overlooks San Dieguito Lagoon. They have a menu of gourmet burgers and shareables like bone marrow with bacon marmalade, plus a spacious patio with porch swings, cornhole, and a ladder toss game. When Fido needs a bathroom break, follow the lagoon-side path to take care of business.

4. Grab some food and drink supplies—like sandwiches from Mendocino Farms at the nearby Del Mar Highlands Town Center or tacos from Roberto’s near Torrey Pines—because you’re headed to a picnic.

5. Settle in for a picnic at Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park, which has sweeping views of the city and bay. You’ll see dogs off-leash, but be aware that this is not technically a dog park—parks and recreation officials have been known to give tickets. Keep your pup on a leash and follow the paved paths for walks, but head back to your blanket for the sunset. You’ve earned it.

Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

Kate O. Sessions Memorial Park

Water or Park? The Ultimate Dog Day Itinerary

Coronado’s North Beach Dog Run

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