Southern California’s high-desert wine country is centered around the town of Temecula, 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. A mild climate prevails year-round, with ocean breezes sweeping away much of the pollution that plagues the region’s metropolitan areas. Dog-friendly lodging, shops, restaurants and wineries abound in this very casual, outdoorsy community centered around the picturesque and strollable Old Town, a historic district developed to preserve Temecula’s Old West heritage and charm.
Among many Old Town restaurants catering to dogs and their people is Texas Lil’s Mesquite Grill, offering complimentary treats and even a doggie menu featuring grilled chicken breast and burger patties. Soro’s Mediterranean Grille and Palumbo’s Ristorante are among many other Old Town establishments with dog-friendly patio dining.
Heading out of town and into Wine Country, DogTrekkers will find more than a dozen wineries, including Hart, Miramonte, Falkner, Gershon Bachus and Oak Mountain, that welcome leashed, well mannered pets. Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery, with dog-friendly patio dining and live music on “Dog Day Sundays,” makes a great lunch stop.
When it comes to lodging, the Temecula Creek Inn, a golf resort on 350 oak-studded acres, welcomes dogs of all sizes and has a dog-friendly snack-bar area, as well. Ponte Vineyard Inn, at the winery of the same name, is a relaxing rural choice for DogTrekkers whose pets weigh less than 40 pounds. Extended Stay America and Motel 6 offer economical lodging convenient to Old Town and wine country.
Need to stretch your (and Fido’s) legs? Dogs can run free at Red Hawk Community Park, and the two of you will enjoy desert views while hiking the trails at Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.