San Francisco is a city of wonderful adventure for your canine companion.
There are over 30 parks, and 4 beaches to play on. Many of the parks offer great areas to hike and climb, with spectacular views of the city. And most of these facilities have large parking lots, and don't charge for parking. Some of the parks have signs posted requiring leashes; but we noticed that many patrons were able to play unrestricted even in those areas.
With so many choices, it was difficult to pick a favorite location. Golden Gate park offers eight different areas for your canine to romp leash-free. The park is just a picturesque place to walk; and with its size of eight city blocks, it would take multiple visits to explore all of its nuances. This was one of the facilities that the off-leash signs were frequently ignored, and no one seemed to mind. Fort Funston, off of Skyline Blvd., is set up in the cliffs 200 feet over the Pacific ocean. If you go here, be prepared to get a lot of exercise along with your buddy. This combination park/beach offers wonderful hiking trails, beautiful views of the city, and paths that lead down to the beach. This venue provides acres and acres of human and canine entertainment, with areas to picnic, and it also has some historic merit. Crissy Field is a wonderful beach that is nestled on the coastline at the Presidio next to the Golden Gate Bridge, and has easy freeway access. Here your canine can walk along the shore, or frolic in the waves without restrictions. There is also a large grass field; but this is not a leash-free zone.
The city by the bay has really gone to the dogs with its multitude of accommodations, pet boutiques, pet-friendly restaurants, doggie daycare facilities, pet sitters, dog walkers, and other pet-friendly entertainment. There are 57 hotels and motels, 4 Bed and Breakfasts, and a plethora of vacation rentals that will welcome you and your canine. There are over 20 restaurants and cafes that will let you dine with your buddy. Dogs are also allowed on the Muni buses and streetcars at non-commute times, as well as on the cable cars during non-commute times if they are muzzled.
San Francisco also offers many dog-focused activities. Dog Day on the Bay Cruise is an event that takes places in early May and benefits the SF SPCA. It is organized by Hornblower Cruises, and leaves from Pier 3 at the Embarcadero. You and your canine can cheer on the World Series winning Giants during the, Dog Days of Summer at AT&T park. This event is held in August, and your dog can sit with you in the bleachers. Don't wait until game day to purchase your tickets, because this popular event sells out quickly. Your buddy is also welcome to Grove at the Grove in the Sunday concerts at the Stern Grove Festival. These free events run throughout the summer. This park located at 19Th and Sloat, and it does have an off-leash area. Dogs are welcome to every Sunday service at St. Mary and St. Martha Lutheran Church on Van Ness Ave. The first Sunday in October is the blessing of the animals for St. Francis Day.
If you are planning to explore San Francisco with your canine companion, I recommend three very helpful resources. The book, "The Dog Lover's Companion to California", by Maria Goodavage describes the parks, places to stay, restaurants, and local events. And two websites: www.dogster.com and www.bringfido.com can help you with making reservations and provide other information.
Make sure you have a collar and easily readable identification on your pet whenever and wherever you travel. A microchip is a wonderful way to permanently protect and identify your cherished companion. May all of your journeys be safe and fun-filled.