According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the “DogTown USA” determination is based on the percentage of spayed and neutered dogs, availability of health and preventative care, number off-leash areas, pro-dog legislation and leash and licensing laws. Also taken into account is the proximity of a Humane Society, efforts to reduce euthanasia rates, number of trainers and overall dog-friendly activities, restaurants, businesses and rental housing.”

Below is a list of off-leash parks in the greater San Diego area.

[A majority of the entries in this list were compiled and written by Inigo Figuracion, originally published as part of his web article Leashless In San Diego in July 2005. Additions and updates are being made by members of the GSP Rescue, with all due respect to the original author.]

Oceanside Dog Park

The brand new Oceanside Dog Park had its Grand Opening on September 24, 2006. You can find the park right next to the North County Humane Society, across the street from the Oceanside Airport. Located at 2905 San Luis Rey Road, Oceanside, CA | map


Rancho Bernardo Park

The newest addition to the City of San Diego’ off-leash dog parks is located at 18448 West Bernardo Drive in Rancho Bernardo. The 2.5-acre park offers leash free space adjacent to Rancho Bernardo Community Park, and includes additional parking for dog park users. | map


Wells Park, El Cajon

This 1.4-acre spread within El Cajon’s Wells Park is the East County’s second leashless dog park and is a grassy haven for pooches. And it’s been getting rave reviews from East County residents who sometimes traveled far away just to let their dogs run wild. It has gravel and grassy sun areas and dual drinking fountains (for pets and their owners). Located in the southwest part of Wells Park at 1153 E. Madison Ave., the off-leash area is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is lighted for night use. | map


Dog Beach, Ocean Beach

Located in northern Ocean Beach, Dog Beach is the original dog beach and one of the most popular places to take your dog. This beach area is located at the west end of the San Diego River Floodway, also known as the Ocean Beach Flood Control Channel. With a wide swath of sand and the Pacific surf to roll in, Dog Beach is a special place to bring your mutt, or just to come and watch dogs be dogs in the surf and sand. Beware of “land mines,” even though most owners are conscientious about cleaning up after their dogs. Open 24 hours. | map


Fiesta Island, Mission Bay

Most of this large sandy island in Mission Bay is designated leash-free for dogs. Lots of sandy dunes to romp in, and the calm bay waters lets the more adventurous dogs take a quick dip. From I-5, take the Sea World Drive exit and head southwest, then make a right onto East Mission Bay Drive, then left to Fiesta Island. There is parking throughout the island. Open 6:00am to 10:00pm. | map


Nate’s Point, Balboa Park

Balboa Drive at El Prado, on the south side of the Cabrillo Bridge. This is an enjoyable setting for dogs and owners alike. A large grassy lawn, approx 2.3 acres in the middle of Balboa Park, is the perfect place to play catch with balls and frisbees, and to socialize – both for the dogs and their owners. Open 24 hours. | map


Morley Field, Balboa Park

On the east side of Balboa Park, northwest of the tennis courts. Ideal for residents of nearby North Park. | map


Dog Beach, Coronado

Located in the picturesque city of Coronado, the dog beach in Coronado is at the most northern end of the beach next to thNaval Air Station. Wide and sandy, with the Pacific surf and the Hotel del Coronado in the background, Coronado’s dog beach is a nice getaway. Located on Ocean Blvd. near Sunset Park. | map


Poway Dog Park

Poway Dog Park is an award-winning 1.75-acre fenced-in, lighted, off-leash area for dogs within the City of Poway’s Community Park. Poway Community Park is open from sunrise to sunset daily. Lights in the dog park off-leash area extend evening hours to 9:30 p.m. 13094 Bowron Road, Poway. | map


Dog Beach, Del Mar

A nice, low key spit of sand to let your dog roam in lovely Del Mar, but with limitations: the off-leash designated is seasonal only, so bring your dog without its leash only from September to June. Parking is also at a premium, and parking tickets flow freely in Del Mar. Camino del Mar, Del Mar, CA. | map


Harry Griffen Park, La Mesa

This large, pleasant neighborhood park in La Mesa has a designated acre for off-leash dogs. Rumor has it there are lots of tennis balls available to play fetch! 9550 Milden Street, La Mesa, CA. | map


Ann D. L’Heureux Memorial Dog Park, Carlsbad

17,000 square foot fenced dog park, water, bags, bark mulch, kinda dirty, paved parking. Location: Carlsbad Village Drive. Directions: Highway 5, exit Carlsbad Village Drive, go east across El Camino Real, approximately 1/2 mile past El Camino Real on left. | map


Mayflower Dog Park

The park is a fenced off-leash 1½-acre area with benches, tables, handicap access, parking, restrooms, lights, water, trees, poop bags, trashcans. It has an agility/performance area for dogs, separated from the general area. Hours: dawn to 9pm (lighted). Location: 3420 Valley Center Road Escondido, CA. Cross streets are Valley Center Road and Washington. – Escondido | map


Oceanside Dog Park, Oceanside

Oceanside’s first-ever off-leash Dog Park located adjacent to the North County Humane Society at 2905 San Luis Rey Road. | map


Cadman Community Park, Clairemont

Cadman Park in Clairemont is located at 4280 Avati Drive. This park is unfenced and its off-leash use is continuing. Signs in the park will be updated to reflect the current rules/regulations.| map


Capehart Park, Pacific Beach/La Jolla

Located at the corner of Felspar and Soledad Mountain Road, this one acre park offers the following amenities: two fenced pens, on turfed areas: one for small dogs and one for large or all dogs, areas to provide water for dogs, a drinking fountain, picnic tables and benches, and a parking area. It is open 24 hours.| map


Grape Street Park, Balboa Park area

Located at Grape Street and 28th St., this 5 acre site is unfenced and is available for off leash use during the following designated days and times: Monday thru Friday: 7:30am to 9:00pm, Saturday, Sunday, and holidays: 9:00am to 9:00pm. | map


Kearny Mesa Community Park, Mesa College area

Located at 3170 Armstrong Street, this 1 acre park offers one area for all dogs. The site is near lit ball fields which “spill” on to the leash free site which allows for evening use. According to a reader who suggested this park, the users help keep water & bags available for those who forget and they’re currently fundraising for a dog-water fountain and a second gate. Parking can be a challenge during the day as the closest parking lot is used by students attending Mesa College. | map

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