River Dog: Photo by Jeff (CC)
Lakes are great and beaches are peachy, but there’s something special about splashing in a river. DogTrekker.com has explored quite a few with our furry best friends.
Among our favorite go-to spots is the languidly flowing stretch of the Russian River around Healdsburg. Russian River Adventures rents dog-friendly inflatable canoes for full-day trips where you can enjoy clear, clean swimming holes and a picnic lunch before catching the shuttle back to town. A bit farther north, in Mendocino County, Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too offers a different kind of paddling experience—this one in outrigger canoes outfitted with a stable platform where Rover can sit as you explore the Big River estuary.
Headed up to Tahoe? A float trip down the Truckee River from Tahoe City to River Ranch Resort is a summer rite of passage for thousands of visitors and their dogs. Truckee River Raft Rentals will fix you up for a two- to three-hour trip with plenty of opportunity for shore breaks. The cold water is delightfully invigorating on a warm day.
Word of advice: make sure at least two humans are in your party, as dogs aren’t allowed on the shuttle (included in the rental price) back to your car.
Sacramento also has a strong scenic rafting scene. The six-mile section of American River between Sunrise Boulevard and River Bend Park is packed each summer weekend with rafts and kayaks, many of them sporting canine passengers. American River Raft Rentals allows dogs at the owner’s discretion; just watch that Fido’s toenails don’t damage the boat. If you elect to use the company’s shuttle service, be forewarned that one of you will have to wait with your pooch at River Bend until your driver comes back with the wheels, as dogs aren’t allowed on the bus.