Hang tight to the steering wheel and make sure Rover is well secured when you head down Highway 1 from the Bay Area to the Central Coast. You’ll need all the attention you can muster to negotiate 122 miles of vertigo-inducing curves, each framing a view to make you gasp.
Highway 1 in Big Sur skirts one of the state’s most hauntingly beautiful beaches, which just happens to be dog-friendly. Pfeiffer Beach, managed by the paw-tolerant U.S. Forest Service, has been featured in so many movies, photo books and calendars that you’ll have an instant “aha!” moment upon seeing it for the first time. Rover may not appreciate the rugged rock formations and crashing surf that define this iconic strand, but the person on the other end of the leash certainly will.
Canine-friendly lodging in Big Sur is limited, but the campgrounds at Fernwood Resort and Riverside Campground & Cabins are two places to check out. Looking for a restaurant meal? On sunny days, breakfast is served outdoors at Deetjen’s, a classic Big Sur establishment where well behaved dogs are allowed to lounge by their owners' sides.
A caveat: Check road conditions with Caltrans before you go to be current on road construction.
Photo: "Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur" - Janet Fullwood