It was half a century ago, in 1962, that Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco was created to preserve a magnificent stretch of coastline and the farmlands abutting it. Although dogs are allowed on only three beaches within the preserve, the always refreshing rewards of a visit make it well worth the drive.
The civilized world seems especially far away at gorgeous Kehoe Beach, reached via a half-mile walk past a marsh and over a series of sand dunes. Limantour Beach, notable for its rich bird life, is much more accessible, and the south section, open to dogs, offers plenty of room to romp. Visit in the fall to ensure clear weather.
The little towns on the periphery of the national seashore are relaxing destinations at any time of year. Dog-friendly lodging in the area includes the very welcoming Dancing Coyote Beach B&B Cottages and the Inverness Valley Inn.