Fort Bragg is the “big city” on the Mendocino Coast with 7,500 full-time human residents, many of whose households also count our-legged family members. Top attractions for DogTrekkers start right in town at Pudding Creek Trestle, a 515-foot-long railroad bridge converted to pedestrian use that connects to the Ten Mile Beach Trail (known south of the bridge as the MacKerricher Haul Road). This scenic path follows 3.5 miles of coastal bluffs to MacKerricher State Park, fabulous for wildlife watching and one of few state preserves that allows dogs on (most) dirt trails.
Fort Bragg is also the western terminus for the historic, steam-powered (and dog-friendly) Skunk Train, offering “Magical Christmas Train” excursions with music, elves and Santa on weekends through the end of the year.
One of the biggest surprises in Fort Bragg, and open year-round is the 47-acre Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, where manicured paths can be meandered with your leashed dog as a thundering ocean sound track plays in the background. Keep an eye to the sky: you’ll likely spot circling ospreys, hawks, oystercatchers and other seabirds. In winter, migrating whales sometimes can be spotted from here, too.
The Beachcomber Motel and Surf & Sand Lodge are among Fort Bragg lodging establishments that welcome pets. When it comes time to grab a bite, you and Fido both will be welcomed at Nemo’s Market & Grill, Heron’s By the Sea, Laurel Deli and Silver’s at the Wharf.