There are so many dog-friendly restaurants in Santa Cruz and vicinity that you could eat at a different one every day and not repeat the rotation for months.
The dine-with-your-dog classic is Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant, overlooking a marina where boats, kayakers and paddle-boarders drift in and out. For sampling craft beer, try 99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall, Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing or Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, all of which offer dog-friendly seating. For breakfast, select from some 20 types of burritos at Chill Out Café or as many styles of bagels at the Bagelry, a popular spot for more than 30 years. Walnut Avenue Café, Woodstock’s Pizza and Café Limelight are other in-town eateries that welcome DogTrekkers on their patios.
South of Santa Cruz, Aptos and Capitola are a pair of captivating and very dog-welcoming oceanside communities with a casual, wind-in-the-hair ambiance. Dog-friendly restaurants in the area include Betty Burgers and Margaritaville in Capitola, and Palapas and Café Rio in Aptos.
For many visitors, Santa Cruz County is as much about wine as it is about beaches. The Santa Cruz Mountains appellation is one of the oldest in the state, known primarily for producing pinot noir, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. More than 70 wineries and tasting rooms are sprinkled through the county’s hills and towns, and dogs are welcome at dozens of them. If approaching Santa Cruz from the north, pull off Highway 1 in Davenport and visit the Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room. It’s a lovely venue just across the road from dog-friendly Davenport Beach. In Santa Cruz, Surf City Vintners, near the famous Beach Boardwalk amusement park, is a micro-winery collective with a number of dog-friendly tasting rooms in a trendy retail complex that also includes several patio restaurants that welcome their customers’ four-legged sidekicks. At MJA Vineyards, your wine-tasting experience ends with a taste of Kona coffee, while at Hunter Hill in the hills above Soquel, you’ll sip wine at a redwood bar overlooking the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park or by a fountain that gurgles in the background as you and your canine companion enjoy vineyard views.
Learn more about dog-friendly Santa Cruz County.
Photo credit: Jill Chen (CC)