Close to a dozen communities sit on or near the shores of Clear Lake. While it would take days to explore them all, we can suggest a few highlights in Lakeport, Kelseyville, Clearlake and Upper Lake. Start in Lakeport, on the lake’s northwest shore, travel counter-clockwise and make time for meals, wineries, brew pubs and other places you can enjoy with your canine companion.
LAKEPORT: Need a romp in a park to burn off some energy before you start your day? Head straight to the 60-acre Westside Community Park, which boasts a fenced dog park as well as sports fields and dog-friendly hiking trails. Lakeside County Park, right on the water, also is dog-friendly and has an off-leash area where you can practice your fetching skills. If you’d like to make Lakeport your base camp, you’ll find half a dozen dog-friendly places to stay and numerous restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor dining, including Park Place Restaurant, specializing in house-made pasta and homegrown veggies. Longing to get out on the water? Disney’s Water Sports is one of several full-service boat rental operations that can fix you and yours up with a dog-friendly pontoon or fishing boat.
KELSEYVILLE: This community on the southwest side of Clear Lake is in the middle of wine country, but you’ll also find a craft brewery, Kelsey Creek Brewing, that invites your well-behaved dog to accompany you as you sample concoctions with clever names like Black Fedora, Irish Donkey and Night of the New Moon. Moving onto wine, you’ll find dog-friendly tasting rooms right on or near walkable Main Street.
A standout is Smiling Dogs Ranch, where you and your pup might meet a pair of resident Samoyeds. A four-paw place to stay within walking distance of downtown restaurants and attractions is Suite on Main, a renovated 1940s building with six comfy suites, each with a living room, kitchen and bedroom. Keep an eye on K’ville events calendar for vibrant street fests where dogs are welcome.
CLEARLAKE: Both Clear Lake and neighboring Clearlake Oaks are busy places with many dog-friendly lodging options, from campgrounds and RV parks to chain motels, waterfront resorts, cabins and cottages and B&Bs. A DogTrekker favorite is Bed & Barrel at Stonehouse Cellars, where a century-old cottage offers dog-friendly lodging on the grounds of a farm with llamas and sheep as well as vineyards and a winery. It’s kid-friendly as well as dog-friendly, so don’t hesitate to bring the entire gang. Lots of hiking trails are accessible from this area, including the Perkins-Creek Ridge Trail, the Judge Davis Trail and the Redbud Trail, all in the nearby Cache Creek Natural Area.
UPPER LAKE: This community on the north (upper) side of nearby Blue Lakes, is known for their pristine water and 5 mph speed limit for boats. The Lodge at Blue Lakes offers the largest fleet of rentals in the county and for a $10 fee welcomes dogs on its environmentally friendly electric “yachts.” When it’s time for a bite, you and your four-legged friend are welcome on the patio of the hugely popular Blue Wing Saloon, showcasing gourmet pub fare, local wines and artisanal micro-brews.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Waicukauski