Here are our favorite stories about the best dog-friendly beaches in California! Whether you’re a local or visiting from afar, we’ve got you covered with the most paw-some spots for your furry friends to enjoy some sand and surf. Check out our list below and get ready for some tail-wagging adventures!

California coasting with your dog

Summer in California means sandcastles, swimming, shoreline walks, and patio dinners at sunset – all with your dog in tow. As we look ahead to this year’s splash season, the DogTrekker team has put together pup-tested itineraries for some of the state’s best coastal destinations. Slap on the sunscreen and get ready to roll. Whether you want to surf, watch waves, or paddle tranquil rivers,   Read more.

Four fabulous dog-friendly days in magical Mendocino

Mendocino County makes headlines for so many reasons, including its dog-friendly trails, rails, rivers, peaks and Pacific splendor. This wonderous playground presents unforgettable surprises, whether you’re hiking redwood-shaded routes, sampling local wines, touring a lighthouse or shopping at small-town galleries. With accommodations, amenities and activities tailored to four-legged guests, th  Read more.

Top 5 dog parks in California

Dog-friendly California unfurls its varied landscapes like a grand tapestry, from craggy coastlines to serene valleys, tailor-made for the joy of dogs and their human counterparts. We have the most … Continued  Read more.

Shell Beach Coastal Access Trail

The Shell Beach Coastal Access Trail, part of the Sea Ranch public access areas in Sonoma County, offers a picturesque .65-mile path through pine forests and meadows, leading to a … Continued  Read more.

Top Mendocino picks for waves and wine

Water dog at the Little River Inn. Photo by Brendan McGuigan.
Pristine Pacific coastline. Majestic redwoods. River routes fit for exploring, Mendocino County is magic for two- and four-legged travelers.  Read more.

Spring safety tips for dog owners

Understanding and managing risks for a safe outdoor experience When venturing out with your dog during spring, it’s important to be proactive about various risks to ensure a safe and … Continued  Read more.

Make a big splash

Photo by Visit Big Bear.
It’s not hard to get lured in by the lake lifestyle, especially when your canine companions are welcome on the  Read more.

Wild Blue Dogs Summer Camp early bird ends March 15

As the country’s only nonprofit dog camp, Wild Blue Dogs at South Lake Tahoe offers grants for pet cancer treatments and supports cancer research. Your participation not only guarantees an exceptional camp experience with your dog but also aids an important cause. Be sure to secure a spot for the Summer Camp by March 15, 2024 for an early bird discount.  Read more.

Surf and Sand Lodge

Photo by Beachcomber Hotel Group.
The Surf & Sand Lodge in Fort Bragg promises laid-back luxury set to a soundtrack of crashing waves. It offers accommodations with fireplaces, private balconies, Pacific views and plenty of room to stretch your legs.  Read more.

Happy New Year 2024

As we paw our way into 2024, we continue our journey of discovering the best dog-friendly destinations across California. Join us in exploring dog-friendly scenic trails, welcoming hotels, and delightful restaurants. We also look forward to seeing pictures of your pups playing in California’s vast outdoor playground as we bring back our popular “Go California” photo contest this year.   Read more.

Tail-wagging fun at Stanford Inn

Maya checks into the Stanford Inn. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Nature is central to the Stanford Inn experience. The grounds are gorgeous, of course, and gourmet, plant-based breakfasts crafted by a   Read more.

Five-star stays for four-paw friends

Your pups will love Mendocino!
DogTrekker readers rave about Mendocino County’s dog-friendly accommodations. Just south of Mendocino, Stanford Inn and Little River Inn are known for coastal charm  Read more.

Step into the magic of Mendocino

Mendocino County features 12 viticultural areas.
For an especially tasty excursion in dog-friendly Mendocino County, visit during the 2023 Harvest Mendocino festivities. From October 27 to November 12,  Read more.

San Luis Obispo (SLO)

Maya rests after climbing Bishop Peak, SLO.
Sunset likes the laid-back vibe, local, independent wineries, and public art of San Luis Obispo (SLO). From a dog-parent’s perspective,  Read more.

Oceanside (O’side)

This is next to Carlsbad and San Diego.
A dynamic surf heritage, playful boutique hotels and Michelin-recognized restaurants earned Oceanside its spot on Sunset's top cities list.   Read more.

Mendocino magic at every turn

Maya at Mendocino Headlands State Park. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
From on-site organic gardens and Noyo Harbor fishing village scenes to Fort Bragg murals, the pup-friendly Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens,  Read more.

Superb spots for splashing

Maya’s splash zone behind Obexer’s. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Clear, cool waters make Lake Tahoe famous. The destination is also famously friendly for dogs. Furry family members love Coon Street Dog Beach,   Read more.

The dish on Tahoe trails

Shirley Lake Trail.
DogTrekkers consistently list hiking as a Tahoe favorite, followed closely by beaches and water fun. The Shirley Canyon Trail combines it all.   Read more.

Paddle, pedal and play with your pup

Check-in time at the Stanford Inn is a joyous moment. Pups and their people linger in the lobby, sharing stories about their favorite outdoor adventures. Dogs are welcome across the resort’s guestrooms, grounds, bookstore and lobby, of course, but leave some time to explore the region’s pup-friendly beaches, parks, waterways and trails, too.  Read more.

Family fun with a pup-friendly pedigree

Kids and dogs love the Stanford Inn. Photo by the Stanford Inn.
The Stanford Inn is a family-friendly jewel with plenty of four-paw delights – think hiking trails, a heated saltwater pool, scavenger hunts, canoes that accommodate dogs,  Read more.

Four-paw fun with a view at Little River Inn

To make summer memories on the California coast, book a stay at the iconic Little River Inn. This very dog-friendly jewel just south of Mendocino overlooks the majestic Pacific Ocean, and it’s a short walk from state beachfront and trails. The locally owned resort has extended a warm welcome to couples, families and four-legged companions for more than 80 years.    Read more.

Welcome to summer events!

DogTrekker at Bark in the Park, San Jose.
Check out these events for a cause! If you missed California rescue/adoption events this spring, no worries, the summer season is just beginning.'s event section is filled with adoptathons, fundraisers, walks, costume contests, and more. From Bark in the Park in San Francisco, to the Dog Surf-A-Thon in San Diego, to all in for the Wild Blue Dog Fall Camp in Lake Tahoe.  Read more.

Dog-gone good dining at the Little River Inn

Maya on her way to dinner under the tent at Little River Inn. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
After a day spent hiking the Big River Trail, swimming at nearby Van Damme State Beach, or simply lounging on your ocean-view deck, you’re bound to get hungry.  Read more.

Your dog deserves a vacation too!

Rosie at Little River Inn. Photo by Little River Inn.
The Little River Inn rolls out the red carpet for dog-lovers and their four-legged friends. They offer two fabulous packages: the Water Dog Sea Cave Package and the River Dog Package. Choose one or choose both! The Water Dog Sea Cave Package offers dog-friendly kayaking on the ocean off Van Damme state beach with sea cave tours. The River Dog Package offers a 3-hour dog-friendly, ultra-stable outr  Read more.

Leave Only Paw Prints®

California’s legendary, dog-friendly landscapes draw millions of pet parents and pups every year. The Golden State promises extraordinary adventures, whether you’re splashing in alpine lakes along Sierra trails or playing fetch in the neighborhood park. It’s our duty to protect these mountains, trails, beaches, parks and urban playgrounds, which is why we’ve built stewardship and sustaina  Read more.

A bird’s eye view for your pup in Del Norte County

Pups can ride the SkyTrail gondola. Photo by Visit Del Norte County.
Del Norte County is known for its Redwood National & State Parks, sprawling beaches and two wild rivers with plenty of trail fun, but check out some of their most unique dog-friendly attractions, trails and lodging.  Read more.

Brews and views in Humboldt County

Trinidad, Humboldt County. Photo by Humboldt County Visitors Bureau.
Humboldt County is best known for its Redwood National & State Parks, freshwater lagoons and rivers, beautiful beaches, and Bigfoot. Whether your BFF (Best Furry Friend) is a forest explorer, a river runner, or a beach babe, Humboldt County has everything for the perfect pet-friendly adventures.  Read more.

Top dog-friendly beaches in California

Fort Funston Beach
California is a paradise for both humans and their furry friends. With its sunny beaches, scenic parks, and endless outdoor activities, this state is the perfect destination for a dog-friendly … Continued  Read more.

Happy New Year from

The new year is like a blank book, and the pen is in your hand. Or, maybe it’s in the paw of your four-legged best friend. However you document your 2023 travel aspirations and dreams, you can count on   Read more.

‘Tis the season at dog-friendly Stanford Inn

Holiday welcome at Stanford Inn. Photo by Stanford Inn.
Fall is a wonderful time to travel, especially to the North Coast of California. This holiday season, the Stanford Inn in scenic Mendocino is your “natural” choice for the entire family—including dogs, of course.  Read more.

Welcome to the all new!

For the past decade, millions of pet parents have trusted DogTrekker for California travel inspiration and pup culture updates. Technology is constantly changing, and we’ve been working like dogs to … Continued  Read more.

Temecula: A Southern California wine oasis

Temecula Valley. Photo by Leigh Castelli.
Think Southern California, and beach towns, mountains and desert landscapes come to mind. But wine country? Yep, that’s what you get in Temecula, a high-desert town about 60 miles north of San Diego.  Read more.

Dip into some desert sunshine

Photo by Cool Dog Ranch.
California’s desert regions are at their most compelling in winter, when cool weather and clear skies combine to energize people and pets alike. If you’re planning a trip, don’t think … Continued  Read more.

Win a Fort Bragg, Mendocino County Beach Dogcation®!

Win a two-night DogCation® at one of the three Beachcomber Hotel properties in Fort Bragg: The Beachcomber Motel, Surf & Sand Lodge, or the Beach House Inn. In addition, each prize package will include a Skunk Train family pack, bike rentals, and a $100 gift certificate good at the North Coast Brewing Company. DogTrekker respects your privacy and will never sell or rent personal information.  Read more.

Fort Bragg: Affordable and uniquely dog-friendly

Northern California is known for dog-friendly adventures, and one destination really rolls out the red carpet for pups: Mendocino County. Coastal Fort Bragg is a great basecamp for exploring the region. You’ll find affordable nightly rates, modest pet fees, and standout amenities for furry family members at all three Beachcomber Hotel Group properties.  Read more.

Bark for some of our favorite dog-friendly campgrounds

Favorite campgrounds.
California is incredibly rich and varied in terms of geography, and its thousands of dog-friendly campgrounds are equally as diverse. From the mountains to the ocean to the desert, there’s no shortage of places to pitch your tent, park your RV or cuddle up in a cabin with your pet if you so desire. We can’t begin to spotlight all of them, but here are a trio of our favorites dog-camping destin  Read more.

Cruising for history and scenery in Santa Cruz County

Engineer-in-training on Roaring Camp Railroad. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz.
Roaring Camp Railroads, based out of Felton in Santa Cruz County, provides 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.  Read more.

Become a water dog in Mendo County

Ah, Mendocino! This Northern California county’s beautiful stretch of coastline is a perfect place to retreat to in summertime, especially when the Central Valley is a bit warmer (don’t forget a sweatshirt—you may need it). And you can’t choose a more beguiling place to stay than super dog-friendly Little River Resort & Spa, perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. A  Read more.

Special adventures for furry friends in Mendocino

Water dog at the Little River Inn. Photo by Brendan McGuigan.
Mendocino County has so many dog-friendly activities that you might want to stay a few extra days. The Skunk Train is a northern California classic that departs from depots in coastal Fort Bragg and inland Willits  Read more.

Santa Cruz: waves, wine and wilderness—plus woof, of course!

Summer is here! What better way to celebrate than by hitting “cruz” control and having some fun? Load up your pup and visit sunny Santa Cruz County, the coastal destination with all kinds of adventures for you and your furry best friend. From running through the surf on a sun-streaked beach to chilling out at a local winery or brewery, and from hiking in the redwoods to dining on a pet  Read more.

Fetch special rates for fall camp by Wild Blue Dogs!

Dreaming of Lake Tahoe's mountain landscapes, fresh air and hiking adventures? Interested in private beach access, plus a full week of fun and education for you and your pups? You can still catch the early-bird rates for the Wild Blue Dogs Fall Camp, taking place September 18-24, 2022.  Read more.

Mendocino: More than a day trip

Mendocino sunset. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Mendocino County is a DogTrekker favorite for so many reasons. That is why we have partnered with so many hotels, inns, resorts, cabins and glamping properties over the years. You will find accommodations to fit any taste and budget. The Stanford Inn by the Sea, Little River Inn, Noyo Harbor Inn, Sheep Dung Cottages, Baechtel Creek Inn, Beachcomber Properties and Mendocino Grove luxury camping are  Read more.

Hitch a Ride With This Dog-Friendly River Outfitter

Nine miles. Four to six hours. Countless tail wags, big smiles. A float or paddle on a secluded section of the Russian River is a DogTrekker must-do for visitors to Sonoma County. With your water-crazy dog aboard in a custom-made SOAR, inflatable canoe from Russian River Adventures, you’ll explore a section of the river downstream from Healdsburg and linger at swimming holes and beaches alon  Read more.

There are Many Ways to Camp

Let’s say you’re into roughing it a bit —tent camping, say, but your significant other doesn’t like to sleep on the ground and your four-legged companion would likewise be more comfortable on a dog bed than in the dirt. Well, DogTrekkers, you have choices. Many, many choices.   In the past decade, dozens of “glamping” options have sprung up around the sta  Read more.

Cooper loved to Travel

In his ten years, this Lab/border collie/cattle dog mix traveled to seven states, but most of all he loved going anywhere DogTrekker recommended.  Read more.

Time out (with oysters) by the sea

Photo by Nick’s Cove Restaurant & Oyster Bar.
It’s oyster season! And it’s hard to imagine a more ideal place to enjoy a delectable dozen than at Nick’s Cove Restaurant and Oyster Bar.  Read more.

Dog daze of summer!

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino.
Use or the DogTrekker mobile app to finds beach websites, park phone numbers and directions.  Read more.

Open air dog-friendly activities perfect for social distancing

By now, we all know the drill: wash your hands, cover your face in public, maintain six feet of “social distancing” between yourself and anyone else who is not a member of your household “bubble.” So where does your dog fit in? Right by your side, as always! In Mendocino County, you’ll have access to many activities that let you have fun while still adhering to the gu  Read more.

Forest Bathing With Fido, Anyone?

The practice of “forest bathing,” or “shinrin-yoku,” popularized in the USA by a string of books including best-seller “Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness” by Japanese immunologist Quing Li, has taken off in Mendocino County. And there’s no better place to indulge in the practice of absorbing oneself in a forest atmosphere the  Read more.

Monterey Bay Labrador Retriever Rescue Vets Save Cali

From: Judy Kreger, Founder & CEO, Donate Here!   Monterey Bay Lab Rescue is continuing to take in Labs and Lab mixes that need rescue, virus or no virus. Our great fosters are always ready and willing to open their homes and their hearts to welcome in any Lab in need. And our vet continues to provide full vet care for all of our rescues including any surgeries they might require.   &  Read more.

Seaside waves and walks with your dog

Big River State Beach in Mendocino.
Whether your drive all or just some of intoxicating Highway 1 hugging the Mendocino County coast, you’re sure to find many places to pull over and get some sand between your and Buster’s toes. Go slow, stop often and be sure to check out these highlights.  Read more.

Dog-friendly attractions on the Mendo Coast

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Photo by Jessica Bay.
The Mendocino Coast is rich in natural attractions, from beaches and redwood forests to vast networks of trails where you and your pup can hike to your hearts' content.  Read more.

Goldendoodles Wilber & Walter

Wilbur and Walter are both goldendoodles and both therapy dogs. We moved to the beach so they could run and play with others. We’ve had a great and wonderful life so far. Wilbur crossed over the rainbow bridge in July.  Read more.

StayCations are my pup’s DogCations®

This California experience is in my backyard (haha). There is another pic attached of Huntley in Carmel. Backyard deck dogs left to right Peyton, Huntley, Sammie, Torrie and Finn. The 2nd picture is Huntley at Carmel beach  Read more.

Harley the waterdog

I just lost Harley my yellow lab on January 5 at nine years young. She loved Dillon Beach, going to the snow and swimming anywhere she could find a body of water.  Read more.

Linger Longer at a Patio Table With Your Pup

October on the coast can be chilly, so pack a jacket when choosing a dog-friendly patio for an al fresco meal. Toasty outdoor heaters add ambience, and most restaurants have them, so no worries there! For ocean-view dining, try the Crow's Nest, a beloved, 50-year-old classic on Santa Cruz Harbor. Read more...  Read more.

Redwoods, Railroads, Beaches and More

If you don't live on the coast, you've gotta wanna get to a beach with your surf-crazy pup now and then. Start at Mitchell's Cove, it's the No. 1 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. More . . . You'll have to amble down a long stairway to get to the sand, but   Read more.

Paws and Pillows

So… are you up for a splurge or on a pandemic budget? Santa Cruz lodgings on both ends of the spectrum are rigorously adhering to sanitation and safety protocols so both you and your four-legged buddy can rest assured. If boutique is your thing, the dog-friendly Hotel Paradox, with 170  "boldly designed" rooms is a solid choice. It's a short walk to downtown Santa Cr  Read more.

Folsom: Gateway to Gold Country

Folsom isn’t only a convenient destination for Northern California visitors, it’s also diverse, offering many options for “socially distanced” outdoor recreation. Start by stepping out on a segment of the 32-mile American River Bike Trail, which runs from downtown Sacramento to downtown Folsom. The multi-use path hugs the river of the same name, offering endless opportuniti  Read more.

Combat your dog’s boredom blues

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez.
We've experienced a pandemic, wildfire smoke affecting air quality, and hot days that make long dog walk impossible. As a result, many dog owners are faced with finding ways to keep their four-legged friend(s) happy while staying indoors. Unable to run off-leash at beaches or dog parks or meet up with friends on walks can be ruff for our furry friends who require social interaction to blow off ste  Read more.

Beaching it with your pup in Fort Bragg

Dog on Glass Beach, Fort Bragg.
It was once a dump where all kinds of glass object were trashed. After decades of rolling in the surf, Glass Beach, at the southern reach of MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg, is roiling in pieces of smooth, colorful glass that are a delight to behold.  Read more.

Waves Away With Your Dog on the Central Coast

From Santa Cruz County all the way down to Ventura, California’s Central Coast is a wave-washed mecca for DogTrekkers. You’ll find lots of choices for dog-friendly cabin and cottage lodging as well as tempting properties offered on,, and other home-sharing sites. Here are a few of our favorite retreats up and down this scenic slice of the state.  Read more.

Big dog-friendly opportunities at Big Bear

After a hike at Big Bear Lake. Photo by Tommy Lisbin.
Just as Lake Tahoe is a vacation magnet for NorCal residents, so Big Bear Lake, two hours from LA, is a major draw for South State residents. Sister ski areas Big Bear Mountain Resort and Snow Summit are family-friendly magnets for skiers and riders, but there are many snowy options for DogTrekkers, as well.  Read more.

Put Paws on Pillows in San Diego

So…your pup is coming with you to San Diego and you need a pet-friendly place to stay, preferably one with quick exits to the outdoors for you-know-what. There’s no end of choices in San Diego, whether you prefer to stay in the historic Gaslamp Quarter or somewhere closer to the beach.  Read more.

Just Beach It, Beach It, Beach It

Sun, sand and surf are what drew you to bring your pup to San Diego in the first place, right? Well, you certainly hit bingo. No pilgrimage-con-canine would be complete without a romp on Ocean Beach, aka Dog Beach, San Diego’s only 24-hour sandy strand where dogs are permitted to tear joyously around off-leash.  Read more.

End of Summer Coasting With Your Four-Legged Friend

Whew! Summer’s over, the crowds are gone, fall weather is on the way—and with it (usually) crystal-clear skies and views to go with. There’s no better time for a trip con canine along California’s gorgeous Central Coast. Start in Santa Cruz County, where the cottage-and-cabin options include the family-favorite Santa Cruz/Monterey KOA in Watsonville, just a few miles from t  Read more.

Lake County dog-friendly campgrounds

Summers are made for camping, and Lake County has no shortage of dog-friendly campgrounds, both public and private, where you can pop a tent or pull up an RV for a few days of outdoor fun with your family, pup included. On the private campground side, you’ll find full hookups, tent sites, club rooms, motel-style lodging and lots of other amenities at waterfront resorts including The Narrows   Read more.

Nothing to Growl About at Big Bear Lake

Photo by @colterandkenai.
Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County is an under-the-radar destination for Northern Californians, but in SoCal, it’s been a dear-to-the heart, dog-friendly summer vacation magnet for more than a century. Perched at a slightly higher elevation than Lake Tahoe (6,743 feet vs. 6,225), it’s a purely snow-fed reservoir with clear water and lots of recreation options.  Read more.

Clear your head at Clear Lake

North checks out Clear Lake at sunrise. Photo by Jennifer Waicukauski.
Clear Lake in Lake County is a big puddle of blue on the map about 75 miles north of Santa Rosa. For DogTrekkers, it and nearby Blue Lakes offer a diverse range of getaway options, from luxury resorts to funky cabins and many campgrounds. A natural freshwater body of water tucked into a hilly, forested landscape, Clear Lake is known to anglers as one of the best bass fisheries in the state.  Read more.

Mend your mind in Mendocino Village

Photo by @meganevaughn.
A mere five minutes from Little River, much-photographed Mendocino Village, with its wealth of lacy Victorians and colorful saltbox cottages, is loaded with places to enjoy with your four-legged friend. Our top pick is Stanford Inn by the Sea, just south of the village across Big River. Once you’ve explored the compact downtown, get your tails over to Mendocino Headlands State Park, which surrou  Read more.

Dog-friendly brags in Fort Bragg

Dog on Glass Beach, Fort Bragg.
Fort Bragg, the largest dog-friendly community on the Mendo coast has much to recommend, including the Beachcomber group of properties offering variety and value close to the sea. The Beachcomber Motel itself is a luxury motel that offers panoramic views, fire pits and “pet suites” (rooms that open onto a deck with dog house and pet shower) with direct access to the property’s leash-free dog  Read more.

Little River, Big Tail-Waggin’ Attractions

Drive north from Point Arena 31 winding miles and you come to a little town that packs a big dog-friendly punch. Book a room at the Heritage House Resort (you’ll recognize it from the 1978 movie “Same Time, Next Year”), and you won’t want to budge from the decks and verandas overlooking the sea. Another great choice is Little River Inn Resort & Spa, a family-owned, Vict  Read more.

Start at the Dog-Friendly Border Town of Gualala

Gualala is a border town, but not in the usual sense of the word. Just over the Sonoma County line in Mendocino County, it’s a boho kind of place with a selection of dog-friendly lodgings and restaurants as well as quick access to shore-side refuges where you can go beachcombing with your pup.  Read more.

Get Your Tail(s) to Little River Inn

What’s not to like about the gorgeous Mendocino coast? Absolutely nothing, of course! And with a River Dog package at the Little River Inn Resort & Spa, perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, you’ll enjoy a two-night stay in a pet-friendly guest room, a three-hour river excursion in an ultra-stable outrigger canoe, a goodie bag with dog treats and info on where to hike and boa  Read more.

It’s splash time in Lake County!

Lake County is named for that big puddle of blue on the map, and there’s lots to wag tails about on its shores. But Clear Lake is hardly the only body of water in the vicinity. Blue Lakes (Upper and Lower), just five miles away, are a pair of clear, spring-fed bodies of water ideal for swimming and fishing. Only human-powered craft and electric motors are allowed (speed limit is 5 mph), but you   Read more.

Get Your Float on in Sonoma Wine Country!

Nine miles. Four-plus hours of water time. Countless tail wags, big smiles. A float/paddle on a secluded section of the Russian River is a DogTrekker must-do for visitors to Sonoma County. With your water-loving dog on board in a custom-made SOAR inflatable canoe from Russian River Adventures, you’ll explore a secluded section of the waterway downstream from Healdsburg and linger at swimming  Read more.

Living Local In Santa Cruz County

Every time we visit, Santa Cruz County gets more and more dog-friendly. And this year there are several new opportunities to bark about. Tops among them: As of a couple of years ago, dogs have a place to hike with their people at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, where they previously were confined to campsites and picnic areas. The North Escape Road isn’t a trail, exactly, but i  Read more.

Things to Do in Santa Cruz County

When it comes to things to do with your dog in Santa Cruz County, there’s the obvious (beaches, wineries), and the not-so-obvious—like Byrne-Milliron Forest, a 400-acre Land Trust of Santa Cruz County property managed as a working forest and laced with dog-friendly trails (off-leash hiking for dogs with reliable recall is allowed).  Read more.

Wine With Your Pup

If you don’t live in Santa Cruz County, you probably know this gorgeous stretch of the California coast for its beaches, its stellar university and the namesake town that proudly embraces its somewhat eccentric reputation. But Santa Cruz County is also known for its mountains, its redwood forests and its wines, particularly the pinot noir and chardonnay that thrive in the fog-kisse  Read more.

Cruz The California Coast

Follow the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) along the Santa Cruz County coastline, and you’ll be tempted by 29 miles of beaches (15 of them dog-friendly) along the way. Only one, Mitchell’s Cove, is legally leash-free, and then only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. But no worries: there are plenty of other strands to explore provided you keep a tether stretched between you.  Read more.

Get Wet at a Monterey County Splash Spot

For many visitors with dogs, the primary reason to visit the Monterey Peninsula is to share your dog’s joy in running free on Carmel City Beach, a powdery, mile-long strand that is perhaps the best known leash-free beach in the country. It’s a short drive from Cannery Row and walking distance from stylish Carmel-by-the-Sea with its wealth of dog-friendly lodging and places to eat.  Read more.

Lots to do on dog-friendly Cannery Row

“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” So wrote John Steinbeck in his famous 1945 novel. “The Row” gets its name from a string of long-defunct sardine-canning factories, some of which have been converted into dog-friendly restaurants and hotels.  Read more.

Soak Up Some Coastal Scenery in Monterey County

The most abiding joy to be had on the Monterey Peninsula is simply enjoying the rugged coastal scenery, and there’s no better way to soak it up than on the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. This paved, multi-use path stretches 18 miles from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove in the south. To get started, we suggest strolling the segment between Cannery Row and Asilomar State Beac  Read more.

Family Dog Rescue 2019

"A dog can make a house a home," says SF's Family Dog Rescue, which has been helping families of all sorts and dogs of all sorts, regardless of barriers, find each other since 2010. Thousands of dogs, some strays from SF and around the Bay, and more recently, dogs rescued from the streets of Mexico, birthplace of Family Dog founder Angela Padilla.  Read more.

Second Annual Waggin’ Trails, Huntington Beach

Second Annual Waggin’ Trails, Huntington Beach – Dec. 8 Waggin’ Trails Rescue Foundation, which works with overwhelmed shelters to transport companion animals to foster care as it works to find permanent homes, sponsors its second annual Santa Paws event.  Read more.

Waggin’ Trails Rescue Foundation 2018

Not long ago Phoebe (black) and Henry (blond) were tiny puppies, facing a bleak future in a rural California shelter with few resources and little foot traffic. Luckily for them, the shelter called on Waggin' Trails Rescue Foundation in Huntington Beach, and things were quickly looking up. With volunteers around the state, Waggin' Trails came to the rescue fast.  Read more.

Dog-passionate places to rest heads and paws

Photo by @murphchristine
You know that you and your four-legged companion have arrived at the right lodging place when you’re greeted with treats at the desk and the room comes with dog bed, bowls and other pet-pampering amenities. There’s no shortage of dog passionate hotels on the Mendo coast. Here are a few of our favorites.    Read more.

Summer’s last splash: Gotta lake it!

Fallen Leaf Lake. Photo by Jennifer Barnes.
When Northern Californians mention “The Lake,” you know they’re talking Tahoe. September is “tweener” season at Big Blue, a time when locals breathe deep, tourism drops off and visitors in the know snag mega-deals on lodging.  Read more.

Lots New to See and Do in Rancho Cordova

Highway 50 buzzes right through Rancho Cordova between Sacramento and Folsom, so unless you pull off to explore, you won’t know what you’re missing. Start, perhaps with an overnight stay at a dog-friendly hotel and get a complimentary Sierra Foothills Wine Tasting Passport good for two people at eight regional wineries that welcome dogs.  Read more.

Dog-friendly Lake County adventures

Clear Lake, that big puddle of blue in the middle of Lake County, is a popular vacation destination for families, but it’s hardly the only body of water in the vicinity. Blue Lakes (Upper and Lower), just five miles away, are a pair of clear, spring-fed bodies of water ideal for swimming and fishing. Only human-powered craft or those with or electric motors are allowed (speed limit is 5 mph)  Read more.

Lake County dog-friendly waterfront getaways

If being on or near the water is a priority on your Lake County vacation, you’ll find options aplenty among the many family-owned and operated cabin resorts situated along the Clear Lake and Blue Lakes shores. Blue Fish Cove Resort on Clear Lake, for example, has pet-friendly cabins with lake views, full kitchens and private BBQ grills, along with amenities including a boat launch, fishing p  Read more.

Hike-in breakfast with a view

If you live in the Bay Area, you owe it to yourself to experience this hike-in breakfast at least once. It’s only a 2-mile walk to West Point Inn on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais.  Read more.

Furlong Gulch, Sonoma County

Furlong Gulch, Sonoma County. Furlong Gulch is one of several beaches you’ll come to as you travel along the 17 miles of beaches extending from the Vista Trail 4 miles north of Jenner all the way to Bodega Head. More than a dozen access points will take you to named strands in addition to Furlong (including Carmet Beach, Portuguese Beach and Marshall Gulch) separated by bluffs  Read more.

Huntington Beach Dog Beach, Orange County

• Huntington Beach Dog Beach, Orange County. This salty-dog paradise encompasses a 1.5-mile section of a 3.5-mile-long beach that seems plucked straight out of a surfer movie (no wonder Huntington Beach is nicknamed Surf City USA). You’ll find yourself humming a Beach Boys tune as you and your pup immerse yourselves in surf culture.  Read more.

Rosie’s Dog Beach

• Rosie’s Dog Beach, Long Beach, Los Angeles County. It’s not fenced and not a dedicated “dog beach,” but this strand of sand in the “dog zone” along Ocean Boulevard is open to off-leash dog play from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Believe it or not, this is the only legally off-leash beach in the entire county!  Read more.

Carmel City Beach, Monterey County

• Carmel City Beach, Monterey County. Blue-ribbon honors go to city-owned Carmel Beach, a powdery, mile-long strand that is perhaps the best-known leash-free dog beach in the country. A plus: it’s walking distance from fashionable Carmel-by-the-Sea, with its wealth of dog-friendly lodging and places to eat.  Read more.

Fort Funston, San Francisco

• Fort Funston, San Francisco. This stretch of rugged headlands just south of Ocean Beach in the southwest part of the city is not fenced, but it’s nirvana for off-leash dogs and woofing with canine activity even on drizzly, foggy days.  Read more.

Mitchell’s Cove, Santa Cruz County

• Mitchell’s Cove, Santa Cruz County. This pretty city beach just off West Cliff Drive allows leashed dogs at any time, while leash-free romping is permitted between sunrise and 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to sunset.  Read more.

Noyo Beach, Mendocino County

Photo by @finnbodey.
Noyo Beach, Mendocino County. Legal places to romp off-leash with your dog are few and far between on Mendocino County’s gorgeous coastline, but one place you can unclip and let your pup run free is Noyo Beach Off-Leash Dog Area in Fort Bragg.  Read more.

Muir Beach, Marin County

• Muir Beach, Marin County. This is a Bay Area classic: A crescent of sand bordered by high bluffs to the north and south, with wetlands and a lagoon behind the strand. Dogs under reliable voice control (meaning Daisy comes immediately when called) are allowed off-leash in designated areas.  Read more.

Make it a family affair in Marin

Photo by Marin Country Mart.
Marin County it’s been said, has a larger population of dogs than of children. Whether that’s urban legend or fact, residents are definitely known to dote on their four-legged family members.  Read more.

River dogs rule at Little River Inn

Photo by Little River Inn.
Little River Inn, in the coastal Mendocino County town of Little River, offers a River Dog package, good June through October, that includes two nights in a pet-friendly, ocean-view room with fireplace; a three-hour outrigger canoe excursion on the Big River for you and your pet; a $120 dinner voucher good for room service or service in the dog-friendly parlor; and a goodie bag packed with treats   Read more.

Water Safety Guidelines

By Dr. Angela Gaeto, DVM, of the Helen Woodward Animal Center community in San Diego County. When the whole family is out enjoying water activities, be sure to consider the safety and well-being of your pets as well!  Read more.

California Labradors, Retrievers and More Rescue

Strolling on the beach. Chilling on the couch. Mai Tai is definitely up for both those things and can't wait to meet you to discuss it all. This 2-year-old boxer girl doesn't let her tripod status slow her down a bit, and her zest for life is matched by her good manners. Adults, kids, dogs, puppies, she loves them all. Restaurants? Coffee shops? Car rides? She's your perfect companion. Mai Tai   Read more.

Russian River Runners

The unhurried stretch of the Russian River downstream from the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg is a DogTrekker’s delight, especially when you’re floating along in a dog-friendly, custom-made SOAR canoe from Russian River Adventures.  Read more.

Helen Woodward Animal Center 2018

Looking for the perfect companion for your outdoor fun? Look no further than this smiley guy. At 5 years old and 60-ish pounds, Wilson here is just the right size for long walks in the country or long snuggles on the couch, both of which he likes. He's a mix of Australian shepherd and Newfoundland, so he's got a big brain, a good work ethic, and just wants to learn the right thing to do so  Read more.

Dog-Friendly Campground Reservation Resources

• California State Parks rolled out a new reservation system, ReserveCalifornia, in August of last year, with new features still being phased in. Users who create a profile can reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the date they go online.  Read more.

Off We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Wild Blue Dog Camp. Photo by Sharon Eide.
If you like camping and wouldn’t think about taking off for the wild blue yonder without your four-legged companions, consider giving your team an entire, activity-packed week together in the company of other dog-lovers and their pets. Wild Blue Dog Camp at Lake Tahoe is just what it sounds like: summer camp for you and your dog(s). Held just one week a year (Sept. 3-9 in 2018) on a 33-ac  Read more.

Swirl, Sip and Savor at Santa Cruz’s Dog-Friendly Wineries

First-time visitors to Santa Cruz County usually have beaches in mind. But once they discover wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, one of the oldest in the state and known primarily for pinot noir and chardonnay, they’ll be herding their four-legged buddies into some of the dozens upon dozens of winery tasting rooms sprinkled throughout the county. has rounded many of th  Read more.

Feeling Fine In Felton

Just seven miles from downtown Santa Cruz, the town of Felton is headquarters for a scenic duck into the cool embrace of a redwood forest. If you’re traveling with children as well as the family pet, there’s no better way to do so than to hop on a dog-friendly train. Roaring Camp Railroads offers Redwood Forest Steam Train excursions in open-air cars on narrow-gauge tracks once used to  Read more.

Kissing the Santa Cruz coast

Follow the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) along the Santa Cruz County coastline, and you’ll be tempted by 29 miles of beaches (15 of them dog-friendly) along the way. Only one, Mitchell’s Cove, is legally leash-free, and then only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. But no worries: there are plenty of other strands to explore provided you keep a tether stretched between you.  Read more.

Tails From The Archives

Last year’s Dog-friendly Surf City USA issue covered a lot of ground and sand in the story Every Walk in Surf City is Special, highlighting famous Huntington Dog Beach, Central Park and the Brightwater Trail that offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Chow for Your Chow provides an insider's look at dining options your pup will savor in the city and Pawesome Places to Spoil Your   Read more.

Surf City USA, Gateway to the OC

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Huntington Beach with your pooch, you might be inclined to get comfortable and not leave the city. After all, when it comes to pup-friendly restaurants, services and a dazzling Dog Beach, Surf City has you spoiled. But try not to get lulled into the local beach vibe too much. Orange County has plenty more for you and your four-legged friend to explore. H  Read more.

The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel

Love life by the beach with The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel’s new stylish oceanfront suites. The spacious suites feature a private furnished balcony overlooking the beach and ocean, and include an impressive amenities package unique to The Twin Dolphin Tower. The Huntington Beach suites in The Twin Dolphin Tower also include pet-friendly accommodations and a range of h  Read more.

Noyo Harbor Inn, Fort Bragg

Photo by Noyo Harbor Inn.
Fresh from a six-year, $1.6 million renovation, the Noyo Harbor Inn, a 15-room, craftsman-style B&B, accents its more than century-old heritage with refreshed décor complimenting its historic character. Set on a bluff above the Noyo River, it offers easy access to the river, harbor, off-leash beach, walking trails and gardens.  Read more.

Paséa Hotel & Spa, Huntington Beach

Just steps from the beach and the famous pier in “Surf City USA,” the 250 room Paséa Hotel & Spa, part of the prestigious Meritage Collection, features bright coastal décor, dog-friendly outdoor tables for dining and quick access to all the places you want to visit with your pooch.  Read more.



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