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.
Pacific Grove, the picturesque community on the northern tip of the dog-friendly Monterey Peninsula, is cabin central for DogTrekkers who revel in coming back to a kitchen, a living area and maybe a fireplace after a brisk coastal stroll. Just bone-throwing distance from the rugged Pacific shoreline, a trio of 1940s- and ‘50s-era cottage motels renovated for today’s discerning guests provide an array of options so close to the water that you can hear the surf at night.
Monterey County is vast, stretching south through Big Sur and east through the winery-rich Carmel Valley and into the Santa Lucia Mountains. You and your four-legger are sure to have doggone good times no matter which part of Monterey Wine Country you visit.
Suggestions for a yappy day:
• Pick up a brochure or let the signs guide you along the River Road Wine Trail. 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/Smith Hook tasting room, featuring an expansive deck with sweeping views of the mountain-rimmed Salinas Valley.
Countless artists, mystics, poets, photographers, and happy dogs over the decades are not wrong: Big Sur is about as lovely as it gets. Starting with Pfeiffer Beach, where dogs have to stay on leash on the state-managed portions but can run free if under voice control on the US Forest Service-managed section. Once Rowdy's worked off that excess energy on the beach, the two of you might want to check out the area's artistic heritage at the Coast Gallery, home to six galleries housing works of American artists as well as the Gallery Café, which welcomes human-canine parties on its deck. more »
Starting at Castroville in the north and continuing 18 miles to Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, the paved Monterey Bay Coastal Trail provides endless opportunities for you and your leashed canine pal to sample incredible vistas and charming towns. Don't miss Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, with waves to splash in and tidepools to explore. A bit inland, the Rip Van Winkle Open Space Dog Area offers the chance for off-leash exercise in a heavily forested walkway that's very popular with PG locals; head that way for a woodsy hike. more »
A visit to Carmel Valley takes you right to the center of Monterey Wine Country, where a community of family-owned wineries welcome you and your four-legged friends. From anywhere in Carmel Valley three wine roads are only minutes away, presenting many possibilities for an afternoon escape or a lifetime relationship. Your choices: more »