Fun at the beach. (CC) SLO dogs in the fast lane.
From Ragged Point in the north to Pismo Beach in the south, the San Luis Obispo County coast is a dog-friendly wonderland loaded with things to do and places to stay with your pup. Along the 70 miles of Highway 1 that hug it, you’ll encounter everything from secluded tide pools and shimmering coves to classic SoCal beaches packed shoulder to shoulder with surfer dudes, bikini babes and dogs with jaunty bandanas around their necks.
Start at San Simeon Cove, nestled beneath the ramparts of William Randolph Hearst’s famous castle. The emerald-green cove is right next to Hearst Memorial State Beach, where leash laws are strictly enforced. Leashed dogs are welcome, but for an untethered adventure, simply walk a few hundred feet to the right of the pier, where signs announce the state beach boundary. Here off-leash dogs and their humans can enjoy the sand and surf.
Cambria, 10 miles south on Highway 1, is a great place to enjoy lunch on a dog-welcoming patio. Robin's Restaurant is famous for its exquisite global cuisine, while Cambria Pines Lodge is popular for its manicured gardens and outdoor fireplace dining. After chowing down, treat yourself and your dog to a night at Cambria Shores Inn. This pooch-welcoming motel provides dogs with a gift basket, beach towel, canine bedspread, food and water bowls and breakfast room service.
Moving south again, you’ll soon come to Cayucos, which offers up one of California’s longest stretches of canine-welcoming shoreline in the form of Morro Strand Beach. Nearby Cayucos State Beach is also dog-friendly. And just to the south, Morro Bay welcomes dogs at several restaurants. For the best fish and chips in town, head over to the Bayside Cafe. For Morro Rock views and fresh, local catch, seat yourself on the deck of Tognazzini's Dockside Restaurant at the north end of the fishing docks, or pop by the patio of Blue Sky Bistro on the embarcadero.
Next stops: Avila Beach, where leashed dogs are welcome mornings and late afternoons; Pismo State Beach, a see-and-be-seen hangout; an Oceano Dunes State Park, where off-road enthusiasts rule.