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 it's worth the strain. Please respect the "dog hours," which are before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. Locals will respect you for it.
And keep going. Follow the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) along the county coastline, and you'll be tempted by 29 miles of beaches (15 of them dog-friendly if your pup's on a leash).
Then, head inland, perhaps to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, where you and your furry friend can revel in the misty forest on designated dog-friendly trails.
Got kids? Don't pass up a steam-train excursion on the Roaring Camp Railroads. Operations are limited due to the pandemic, but you—and your dog—can still enjoy a trip on the Redwood Forest line. You'll travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding, narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest.