California Dog Beaches

California Dog Beaches

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Santa Cruz: waves, wine and wilderness—plus woof, of course!

Cooper (RIP) beach running. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz County.
Cooper (RIP) beach running. Photo by Visit Santa Cruz County.

Summer is here! What better way to celebrate than by hitting “cruz” control and having some fun? Load up your pup and visit sunny Santa Cruz County, the coastal destination with all kinds of adventures for you and your furry best friend. From running through the surf on a sun-streaked beach to chilling out at a local winery or brewery, and from hiking in the redwoods to dining on a pet-passionate restaurant patio, Santa Cruz County has it all. Best of all, you could win a Let’s Cruz DogCation® getaway!

Explore our favorite dog-friendly destinations in Santa Cruz County:

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Sun, sand and tail-waggin' good times

Maya heads into the surf at Sunny Cove Beach. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Maya heads into the surf at Sunny Cove Beach. Photo by Dave Kendrick.

If you and your pup don't live on the coast, you probably crave some surf and sand from time to time. Start at Mitchell's Cove, the number one 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. Follow the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) along the Santa Cruz County coastline for 29 more miles of beautiful beachfront, including 15 beaches that welcome pups.

Here’s your complete guide to the region’s dog-friendly beach scenemore »

Coastal Mendocino: sustainable by nature

Maya hanging out in the garden. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Maya hanging out in the garden. Photo by Dave Kendrick.

Fresh sea breezes. Fido-friendly paddling, pedaling and hiking. Sustainable practices and cleaning products. Local wine and produce plated hours after harvest. Simple suggestions for living well. Enjoy highlights like these at dog-passionate Stanford Inn by the Sea, a historic farm and eco-resort on the Mendocino coast.

Tucked between old-growth trees and USDA-certified organic gardens, this dog-friendly California destination weaves wellness, relaxation and earth-friendly elements into each stay. Here’s what to explore when you visit. more »

Water view dog-friendly cottages and tables

Maya and Roxanne on the deck of Ruthie’s Cabin at Nick’s Cove. Photo by Dave Kendrick.
Maya and Roxanne on the deck of Ruthie’s Cabin at Nick’s Cove. Photo by Dave Kendrick.

Take a gorgeous national seashore and sprinkle in some intriguing history. Then, add luxury cottages, an oyster bar, and a restaurant. Give it a shake, and what do you get? Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages, a dog-friendly, boutique resort on Tomales Bay in Marin County, just outside Point Reyes National Seashore.

Since the 1930s, the cozy cabins at Nick's Cove have accommodated sightseers, fishing fans and outdoor adventurers exploring the beautiful Tomales Bay coast. Book direct and save.  more »

Paddle with your pup in Mendocino County

Paddle the Big River. Photo by Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too.
Paddle the Big River. Photo by Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too.

Coastal Mendocino County is stitched to rivers and ocean, but visitors aren’t restricted to just looking at the water. It’s also possible to get out on it—with your dog. Two premier options: the Water Dog Package at Little River Inn Resort & Spa, which offers river nature tours on the Albion River, and Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too, which has been outfitting paddlers on the Big River since 1972. more »

A pedigreed playground for your pup

A pedigreed playground for your pup

The active Noyo Harbor fishing village sets an engaging backdrop for a Noyo Harbor Inn stay. Walk your dog around the village, or plan adventures at the area’s state parks, beaches, botanical gardens and attractions. Ride the famous Skunk Train. Admire shimmering Glass Beach at sunset. Photograph Fort Bragg murals. You’ll find plenty of fun for you and your four-legged friends. more »

Dog-Friendly Cottages and Tables With a View

Nick’s Cove, Cottages and Tables with a View
Nick’s Cove, Cottages and Tables with a View

Take a national seashore, cross it with some intriguing history, add luxury cottages, an oyster bar and restaurant. Give it a shake and what do you get? Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages, a dog-friendly, boutique resort on Tomales Bay in Marin County, just outside Point Reyes National Seashore. Nick's Cove is one of the last remaining historic settlements catering to the early California tourist trade on the beautiful Tomales Bay coast land. Book direct and savemore »

If it's summer, it's splash time with your dog!

Maya chillin
Maya chillin' on Lake Tahoe

As of June 20, it’s officially summertime! Lakes and rivers are not so full as last year, but don’t let the drought hamper your fun. Thousands of splash spots in California await people and pups eager to get wet in the great outdoors.

Here are the great splash-zones where you can get wet with your dogs:

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Water Dog Package at the Little River Inn

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Please support our sponsors

The Little River Inn brings back its very popular Water Dog package at the Little River Inn Resort & Spa, perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. You’ll enjoy a two-night stay in a pet-friendly guest room, a Kayak Albion River Nature Tour, a goodie bag with dog treats and info on where to hike and boat with dogs—plus a $120 dinner voucher good for takeout dining and in-person outdoor dining under the big white tent! more »

Big River Beckons at Catch A Canoe

Rollin
Rollin' on the River

There’s something magical about the Big River estuary near Mendocino—and something ingenious about the “canine cruiser” that transports two- and four-legged visitors down the calm and inky river to the sea. Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too, which has been outfitting paddlers on an 8.3-mile section of the river since 1972, added the cruiser to its fleet of handmade redwood watercraft more than a decade ago. more »

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