Chasing Surf With Your Dog in Santa Cruz County

By: DogTrekker Staff
Dog at the lighthouse in Santa Cruz
Photo credit: lostintheredwoods (CC)

Santa Cruz County’s curvy coastline is studded with some 29 miles of beaches providing lots of options for DogTrekkers. Fifteen strands are dog-friendly, and one, Mitchell’s Cove, is legally leash-free during daylight hours before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

Right in town, Seabright State Beach is a sandy strand centrally situated between the famous Beach Boardwalk amusement park and Santa Cruz Harbor. Leashed dogs are allowed on the north side of the yacht harbor, as well as on nearby Manresa State Beach, which has a walk-in, bluff-top campground for those who like to stargaze. Dogs on tethers also are allowed on New Brighton State Beach, Twin Lakes State Beach, Palm State Beach, Davenport Beach and Rio Del Mar State Beach. Lighthouse Field State Beach (often called Its Beach) is a jewel of a place surrounded by bluffs—and, on warm days, populated by people in the buff. Locals often let their dogs run free here, but it’s not officially allowed, and visitors are wise not to tempt fate (and a very costly citation).

One of the more interesting options in the area is Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, a broad, sandy mile at the base of a bluff offering wide-open views, picnic areas, a campground, interpretive center, fishing pier and, curiously, the hull of a concrete freighter built in 1910 for World War I but never launched. In 1929, the ship was towed to its present location and used as an amusement center. The venture failed, the ship was stripped and has sat there, stirring imaginations, ever since.

Learn more about dog-friendly Santa Cruz County.

Photo credit: lostintheredwoods (CC)


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