Just north of downtown San Diego lies one of the city’s hidden gems … Fiesta Island. This is a lovely place for everyone to visit. But if you have a dog, it’s a must-see!

French Bulldog puppy running on the dog friendly beach at Fiesta Island near San Diego, CA

Tips From A Local Dog Person

I am the happy owner of a wonderful rescue pup, and we are always on the lookout for a new adventure. After searching the Internet for some spots where my dog could ditch his leash, I found a great one right in our own backyard. It’s Fiesta Island in San Diego, and Koa and I can’t wait to show you the dog friendly beach and trails!

Fiesta Island is a many-layered cake: the bay, the shore, the RVs, the jet skis, the horses, the dogs, the people, and the wildlife. I had visited many times before I had a dog, so I can assure you – it is even better with a canine companion!

It is a unique space where you can enjoy bay views and a nice breeze.

Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA

Getting There

The dog friendly beach and trails on Fiesta Island are just seven miles north of downtown San Diego – well worth the drive! And when you arrive, parking is easy and FREE!

Grab your gear and cross the bridge on to the island where you’ll find beaches around the entire perimeter to explore. Or park on the island if you don’t want to walk all the way around.

Koa and I took regular breaks to play fetch and check out the other dogs and horses. There is something so wonderful about being able to let your dog run free.

Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA

Remember that the road does run along the shoreline, so make sure your pet can be controlled with voice commands. The speed limit is low, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry! Also, make sure you have plenty of your own doggy bags to pick up after your pet.

What You’ll See

On the day Koa and I visited we saw cyclists, kayakers, runners, walkers, dogs, and horses swimming in the bay. The loop around the park is just under 6 miles, including a trek to the top of the hill at the center of the island where there is plenty of space to explore. Most people miss this spot, and we didn’t see another person the day we we were there!

Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA
Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA

After exploring the top of the island, we continued our adventure down along the shore. It was a pretty warm day, so Koa enjoyed the chance to splash in the water. Although he knows how to swim, he has decided to limit his water activities to only those below shoulder level. Pretty funny dog.

READ MORE ⇒ Teaching Your Dog To Swim

Keep in mind that beyond the occasional ports-potty, there are no restrooms or drinking water on the island. Come prepared!

Nearby Old Town San Diego is Dog Friendly

After 3 hours exploring the dog friendly trails and beaches on Fiesta Island, we drove over to Old Town San Diego. Koa got a drink in front of Wells Fargo and then we explored the village.

Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA

Dogs are allowed in the park, just not in any of the structures – but there’s still plenty to see! Bring a snack for yourself and your furry friend and relax a while under the lovely trees.

Old Town San Diego - San Diego, CA
Old Town San Diego - San Diego, CA
Fiesta Island - San Diego, CA

I hope you get to enjoy dog freedom on Fiesta Island when you visit San Diego!

About the Author: Jane Forrester is the happy owner of a wonderful rescue pup, Koa. All photos in this post are Jane’s own.

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