If the rocky, surf-crashed scenery at Garrapata State Park looks familiar, that’s probably because it resides in your subconscious, deposited there by paintings and films that have made impressions before. This is the last state park on the Big Sur coast to allow canine visitors, which makes it feel all the more special. Dogs are only allowed along the two miles of beachfront, not on trails, but as we like to put it, a hike by any other name is still a hike.
There’s no camping here, but you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly lodging and campgrounds elsewhere in this serene stretch of Monterey County, along with a seemingly limitless network of trails.
Don’t miss a visit to Pfeiffer Beach, off Sycamore Canyon Road just down the coast. It’s administered by the U.S. Forest Service, not California State Parks, and it’s OK for dogs under voice control to romp leash-free. Another favorite stop: Coast Gallery, a complex encompassing the Henry Miller Art Museum, six galleries showcasing the work of American artists and artisans; and Coast Café, where you and Fido can relax at an outdoor table and enjoy a light meal.