Not all botanical gardens are dog-friendly, but we know some that are—and if you’re into tulips and other early-blooming florals, now’s the time for the two of you to watch spring springing into action.
The U.C. Davis Arboretum, just off Interstate 80, is one of the North State’s best dog-friendly flower-power spots. Its 100 acres of curated color hug the banks of a waterway flowing through the university campus. You’ll encounter lots of other dog-walkers as you stroll between 18 themed planting areas featuring labeled specimens from around the world. There’s even a garden featuring all white plants said to glow luminously under a full moon.
The North Coast harbors a true treat for DogTrekkers: the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg. This beauty spot comes with a thundering ocean sound track and a moody maritime climate that fosters signature displays of rare rhododendrons, camellias, dahlias, heaths, heathers and a perennial garden that stays bright with color from spring to fall. The combination of salty smells and botanical aromas will have your dog’s nose working overtime as you wander the gardens’ manicured pathways. Stop and stare out over the ocean between January and April, and you’re likely to spot migrating whales swimming northbound.
If the Shasta County city of Redding is in your sights this spring, don’t miss the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at Turtle Bay Discovery Park. The soaring (and dog-friendly) Sundial Bridge is the star attraction here, but the 20 acres of Mediterranean-climate display gardens on the far side also are worth an amble. They’re the newest addition to a 200-acre, trail-laced arboretum that includes a pair of unusual water features sure to fascinate your pet. Fido may not appreciate the colorful displays of plants from Chile or Australia, but she’ll be happy to accompany you on the 1.2-mile Arboretum Loop Trail that winds through the preserve’s oak savannah, riparian forest and wetlands.