Caspian at the beach. Photo: Georgio (CC)
If you’re a dog, you can thank your lucky stars for the opportunity to visit Marin County
, where dog-friendly open space abounds. In the beach department, leash-optional Muir Beach
and Rodeo Beach
, both part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
, are favorite romp spots. A bit to the north, Bolinas Beach
and Dillon Beach
are tail-wagger faves. But for sheer scope of views, sense of remoteness and tingle of history (Sir Francis Drake slept here), Point Reyes National Seashore
takes top bone.
Dogs are required to be leashed on 2-mile-long Limantour Beach
and on more remote Kehoe Beach
, which requires a half-mile hike-in over sand dunes. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water for Fido, along with a brush and a towel to keep sand at bay.
Corkscrew turns and considerable traffic make driving through Marin on coastal Highway 1 a slow-going affair, but non-stop scenic rewards provide ample compensation. One of the nicest things for dogs and their people is that all those wild, surf-slapped coastal landscapes are just a blink away from civilized comforts.
Luxury rules at dog-friendly, water-view retreats like Cavallo Point Lodge, in Sausalito at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge; and Nick’s Cove on Tomales Bay, across from the national seashore. Both boast award-winning restaurants with canine-accommodating outdoor seating. Also close to Point Reyes, Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore (formerly Inverness Valley Inn), sits on a 15-acre spread with a fenced dog run where Daisy can stretch her legs. From the property, you and yours can wander off for a splash at Chicken Ranch Beach.
Beach outings have a way of working up an appetite, and in Marin, you and your water-loving pup are in luck. In the Stinson/Bolinas area, stop in for a pint at Smiley’s Schooner Saloon, one of the oldest operating bars in California, or grab breakfast or lunch on the patio at the Parkside Café, another California classic. We’re also fans of the Sand Dollar, where the cioppino and clam chowder are sure winners.
In the national seashore area, Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station is the classic stop for picnic fixings, which you can enjoy at one of the picnic tables onsite. At the delightfully retro Pine Cone Diner, you can indulge in orange cinnamon French toast at an outdoor table with your furry friend at your side.