Monterey County is legendary for its pet-friendly beaches, hotels, shops, restaurants and wineries, and rightly so. DogTrekkers would be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming place anywhere on the planet.
Top-dog honors go to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where a glorious leash-free beach takes center stage in a community so accepting of canines that people and pets travel from all over the country to vacation here. Many of the picturesque village’s best restaurants offer dog-friendly patio dining, while almost two dozen lodging establishments, from gorgeous inns to practical motels, roll out the welcome mat for DogTrekkers.
The rest of the Monterey Peninsula is only slightly less accommodating. While your dog can’t come with you to watch the jellyfish floating ethereally in their tanks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, she’ll enjoy trotting happily by your side on the achingly scenic trail stretching from Cannery Row to Pacific Grove’s aptly named Lovers Point.
Monterey County is big, stretching south through Big Sur and east through the winery-rich Carmel Valley and into the Santa Lucia Mountains. Once you and your four-legged friend experience the doggone good times to be had here, you’ll come back again and again.
Bleeker and Aero in Monterey. Photo Dave Kendrick
They say that Monterey Wine Country is "where great taste begins." We know from experience that it's also a great place to experience dog-friendly hospitality along the River Road Wine Trail. Rolling hills misted with morning fog create memorable panoramas, while the climate is comfortable year-round. Pack a picnic, a camera and a leash and invite Fido to share in the memories.
Sniff out Pessagno Winery, where the vineyard dogs come out to greet you; or Wrath Winery, where you and yours can enjoy a picnic and great views of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Another memorable choice is the Hahn Estates Smith & Hook tasting room, featuring an expansive deck with sweeping views of the mountain-rimmed Salinas Valley. Wine Trail signs easily guide visitors along the picturesque route that begins less than an hour's drive from the South Bay. We bet you'll both have your heads out the window when you discover how much there is to do and see.
More suggestions for a yappy day:
Cruise the Carmel Valley, stopping in at the Joullian Vineyards tasting room, built to architecturally resemble an old-world Burgundian stone church.
Cool off in the sea air at Cima Collina in Carmel Village, where almost every business, from restaurant to hotel to shop, is dog-friendly.
Max at Carmel Beach
Monterey County boasts one of the most beautifl coastlines in the world, from Watsonville in the north to famous Big Sur in the south. On the north side of the Monterey Peninsula, several beaches run together to form Monterey State Beach
, popular with guests at adjacent hotels. Make sure your canine companion is leashed when walking here, and don’t stray out of the area between Wharf No. 2 and the Seaside portion of the strand, where dogs are not allowed. more »
September on the California coast brings the clearest weather of the year, making it an ideal month to take in the scenery and chase waves. Our favorite dog-friendly coastal-cabin hideouts start with a trio of 1940s and ‘50s era motels—Sea Breeze Inn & Cottages
, Andril Fireplace Cottages
and Bide-A-Wee Inn & Cottages
—in the Monterey Peninsula town of Pacific Grove. All are within walking distance of dog-friendly Asilomar Beach
and a gorgeous trail hugging the dramatic and much-photographed coastline. more »
With the best coastal weather of the year almost upon us, we thought we would offer one of the best DogCations to date. We will take you down the coast to Carmel Highlands to an incredible luxurious rental property. You will have nary a care in the world when you and your four-legged pals watch the sunset over the ocean from the comfort of a private home. more »
Northern California’s ocean beaches are as moody as the weather, which in summer can be as mercurial as the fog rolling in and out of San Francisco Bay. One day it’s sweater weather; the next day a T-shirt will do. Best advice, especially if coming to the coast from afar: check it out before you go, be prepared for brisk, windy weather and count your lucky stars if you get Gidget-worthy conditions instead. When it comes to blue-ribbon beaches, DogTrekker.com gives top honors to strands where dogs under voice control can legally romp leash-free. There aren’t many in Northern California, but these three will definitely set your pup’s tail a-waggin’. more »