Dog-Friendly Vacation Tips for Southern California

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Living in Phoenix and having family in Southern California means that we have a LOT of trips to the area under our belts. We have family in several Southern California cities and visit as often as we can. We love to bring the dogs along with us and though we have family there, sometimes we need more space than they can offer, or the homes may not work the best for having the dogs with us for a longer visit. Finding dog-friendly lodging can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some of our best tips for traveling with the whole family (dogs included) to California including where to stay, what to pack, and what to do.

Where to Stay with Dogs in Southern California

Bringing the dogs usually means we can plan a longer vacation since we don’t have to worry about finding them a sitter back home. Hotels aren’t usually the best option for longer stays so we’ve done a lot of research on dog-friendly vacation rentals. We’ve found them to be a perfect choice when traveling with the dogs. Vacasa manages over 13,000 vacation homes around the world and provides the most trusted vacation rental experience. Their site is easy to search, and every home has TONS of photos along with a 3D virtual tours so you know exactly what you’re renting. All of the homes they manage meets the highest standards of safety, comfort, and cleanliness and it’s super simple to find the ones that are dog-friendly by just checking “Dog-friendly” under the Amenities tab when searching for homes. Learn more on

My mom lives in San Clemente so we usually look for rentals in and around that area. There are so many great options and I love that they have a 24/7 customer care team as well as local staff if you need them. You can choose a home based on your family (and dog’s) needs depending on your trip plans. For example, love the patio space in this home.

And this gorgeous home has SUCH a great outdoor space that Chance and Kona would love.

My boys love visiting Balboa Island and this cute house only a block from the main drag could even be shared with a friend’s family AND their dogs.

Vacasa’s online trip manager has all the details about the home you choose from early check-in availability to how to light the fireplace if needed. Definitely check out the home options for your next trip, you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for you and your dogs. Browse rentals, find a pet-friendly Vacasa for your next trip and book confidently. Always get the guaranteed best price on You can even get more pet-friendly tips and info from Vacasa here.

Dog Beaches in Southern California

Chance and Kona are ALWAYS up for a trip to a dog beach. There are numerous gorgeous walking paths you can take your dogs on leash but only a few off-leash dog beaches. We love walking on any beach or shopping in town. San Clemente has a long stretch of cute shops on  Avenida Del Mar and if you keep walking you’ll run into the beach.

Dog beaches though are another experience. We always visit one when in town with the dogs. The two we visit the most are Rosie’s dog beach in Long Beach or Huntington Dog Beach. A little farther south, Del Mar Beach has spaces for dogs to play.

Dog beach

If you’ve never been I suggest bringing a long leash so your dog can play until you know that he’s not going to try to swim to Catalina Island! Don’t forget to bring fresh water and extra towels in the car to wipe off as much sand as possible after they play!

Dog Beach in Southern CA

Tips for Packing for Your Dogs on Vacation

Dogs aren’t really tough to pack for on vacation but there are a few things or ways we love to pack to make traveling with them easier so you won’t get the side eye.

  • Bring smaller travel bowls but make sure they like to eat/drink out of them first
  • Pack an extra leash just in case
  • Pack meals in individual bags marked with the dogs’ name, the day, and meal (breakfast/dinner). This way EVERYONE knows if they’ve been fed or not. This has been super helpful when traveling with lots of family so no one wonders if the dogs have gotten their meals.
  • Meds – don’t forget to check to make sure you have enough of your dogs’ medications for your whole trip (if needed)
  • Water for the drive or a way to give the dogs water on the go (like a travel water bottle/bowl)
  • Favorite bed or blankets if you don’t have enough room to bring the whole bed
  • Towels just for the pups
  • Favorite toys and a few new ones

Travel with dogs

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article Allison. This will surely be of great help to dog-lovers like myself.

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