Santa Cruz County
Have dog, will travel. And you know a great place that you and your four-legged friend will love? Santa Cruz! From dog-friendly beaches and redwood hikes to restaurants and resorts, Santa Cruz County has a ton to offer for people and their pets.
Engineer in-training on Roaring Camp Railroad. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz.
Roaring Camp Railroads, based out of Felton in Santa Cruz County, provide more than just a dog-friendly ride. The company’s Redwood Forest Steam Trains roll on a narrow-gauge track once used to haul giant redwood logs from the forest. They cruise now on 75-minute trips from Roaring Camp to Bear Mountain, where a picnic stop and hiking trails await.
There’s also a Beach Train that makes 3-hour excursions along the San Lorenzo River to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park (sorry; it’s not dog-friendly). more »
Maya chasing the sun at Pismo Beach, SLO. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
California’s Central Coast starts in dog-friendly Santa Cruz County and winds some 350 miles south to Ventura County, just north of L.A. Yes, the famous coastal Highway 1 provides lots of mesmerizing scenery (and dog-friendly beaches) along the way, but there’s so much else to see and do that you might prefer to make base camp with your four-legged friend and just chill for a few days somewhere along the route. more »
Rosie at Storrs Winery in Corralitos. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz County.
Santa Cruz County is synonymous with sand and surf, but the county has an impressive variety of other gorgeous landscapes, too. Cruise inland for sprawling redwood forests, dozens of mountain wineries, and nearly that many microclimates. Out here, you and your canine companion can sip and chill, with wine for you and water for your pup. The highly regarded Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is one of California’s oldest.
Check out some of our favorite dog-friendly wineries while you’re in the area. more »
Maya heads into the surf at Sunny Cove Beach. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
If you and your pup don't live on the coast, you probably crave some surf and sand from time to time. Start at Mitchell's Cove, the number one dog beach in Santa Cruz. It's the first strand up the coast from the lighthouse on West Cliff Drive, where you can walk for miles with your leashed dog. Follow the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) along the Santa Cruz County coastline for 29 more miles of beautiful beachfront, including 15 beaches that welcome pups.
Here’s your complete guide to the region’s dog-friendly beach scene. more »
Henri at Four Points Sheraton. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz County.
Tucked conveniently close to towering redwoods and coastal adventures, Four Points by Sheraton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley is a welcoming favorite among four-legged guests and the humans who follow. From here, it’s a short trip to the Roaring Camp Railroads, where you can ride the rails with your pooch. Or, head over to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and West Glenwood Open Space Preserve for paw-friendly hiking trails.
After a full day of activities in Scotts Valley, swing by 5030 Restaurant & Lounge for California small plates and pints brewed just down the road. Looking for other overnight options? Here are a few more of Santa Cruz County’s best dog-friendly hotels. more »