There’s something magical about the Big River estuary alongside the Stanford Inn, and something ingenious about the “canine cruiser” that transports two-and four-legged visitors downstream on an ultra-stable platform. That said, you won’t find a more eclectic collection of canoes and kayaks than at Catch a Canoe
, which shares ground with the inn and has been outfitting paddlers on the 8.3-mile-long Big River estuary since 1972. Well-behaved dogs of all makes and models are welcome to ride along and enjoy the scenery in surrounding Big River State Park.
You won’t encounter whitewater or significant currents on the dark, inky and very scenic river, but the estuary is tidal and salty and the climate often chilly, so be sure to dress warmly and bring fresh water for your pet. The canine cruiser is a handcrafted redwood outrigger featuring a large, padded and very stable deck centered in the middle of the craft between paddlers, allowing canine passengers to sit, stand or lie down at will as the scenery slides by. For human passengers, a foot-controlled rudder system assists with steering, while twin sails can be raised when traveling downwind. Whether you choose to cruise on your own or go on a guided tour, many other types of watercraft, from stand-up paddleboards to conventional kayaks and canoes, can be rented from Catch a Canoe
, along with bicycles both conventional and with electric-assist (all are complimentary to inn guests)