From being the first state to ban puppy mill sales, to numerous destinations openly welcoming our furry friends, California has developed a dog loving reputation. If you’re looking for a scenic place to get away, these places are undoubtedly perfect for an awesome “doggy vacay.”
Hendry’s Beach Santa Barbara, California
Primarily known as Arroyo Burro Beach, this slice of California sand is famous for being two things—dog friendly and a surfing hotspot. Plenty of grassy areas, onsite barbecue grills and outdoor showers have pup parents flocking to this hill-outlined beach on California’s coast.
Within the off-leash areas, your baby can really stretch their legs—frolicking in the waves, while sinking their paws in the sand. Pay attention to signage to be certain you’re not in a zone that requires a leash.
Note: Places like Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach have special doggy areas, so you can sit back with a cocktail or a seafood dish, while watching the sunset along this stunning doggy paradise.
Huntington Beach Huntington Beach, California
Being one of California’s most dog welcoming beaches, almost every aspect of Huntington is centered around man’s best friend. Regular events that include and celebrate pups are lined up through the year, such as Surf City Surf Dog in September.
Pic Tip: It’s likely you will not find a more pristine dog beach, and the picturesque pier that stretches into the blue SoCal water is perfect for flawless sunset selfies!
Plenty of food joints welcome pets—munch at the Sit Stay Cafe, where Fido will get free treats and water, or perhaps they’d rather order from the special canine menu at Park Bench Cafe. Grab a pet pastry from Top Dog Bakery and head over to Huntington Central Dog Park to burn it off by taking on challenging, fun obstacles.
Scenic Road Carmel, California
Gorgeous ocean surrounded by rocky hills and vibrant green vegetation, as well as the eclectic village-style town define the area, affectionately known as Carmel-by-the-Sea. A breathtaking bridge stretches from one seaside peak to another, creating a stunning focal piece. All of this gorgeousness can be seen from Scenic Road, a path that weaves through the area and provides unbeatable views.
Note: Scenic Road is surrounded by the most dog friendly city in the USA. Obedient dogs can roam leash free in many designated portions of the road and beach.
Not only are dogs allowed in the city of Carmel, they are practically royalty. Many business owners have treats on hand, and helpful amenities such as biodegradable clean up bags are situated in convenient locations. Canine massage parlors, welcoming hotels and restaurants, as well as four-legged surf lessons have earned this adorable fairytale town it’s deserved dog friendly, or rather dog loving, title.
Sausalito’s Stairways Sausalito, California
After riding one of the ferries across the bay from San Francisco, passengers depart from the Sausalito Ferry Terminal. As a side note, the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry welcomes all four-legged friends. Steps away from the terminal are hidden stairs which lead to the breathtaking Marin Headlands, featuring glimpses of Gerbode Valley.
Note: At various points along the stairs, you can see the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and famed former prison island, Alcatraz.
Sausalito itself is a unique part of California that sits across the bay from San Francisco. After WWII, iconic houseboats that now set along the water’s edge were built. Surrounding hillsides are stacked with cozy homes, which give the area somewhat of a coastal Italy vibe--a list of restaurants, like Fish, Anchorage 5 and Poggio welcome well behaved pets.
Mount Soledad San Diego, California
Mount Soledad is a prominent rock formation with killer views of San Diego—a veteran’s memorial marks the top with a giant white cross that once stirred some major religious controversy. Dr. Seuss’ last home rests on the San Diego landmark, bringing even more intriguing history to the outdoor enthusiast haven.
Note: Trails range from different levels of difficulty, so there’s something for everyone and every dog. Cycling is also a popular choice of transportation, if you’ve got a special seat for your pup to chill.
San Diego is also home to a slew of dog friendly sandy stretches like Ocean Beach, Fiesta Island at Mission Bay, Coronado North and Del Mar, which can be seen from a bird’s eye view from the tip top of Mount Soledad.
Pet Friendly California
California obviously loves dogs, and is the perfect coastal destination for a getaway with your furry bestie. With plenty of accommodating dining options and hotels, it’s time to grab your swimsuits and shades while making a dash for the Golden State.
Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.