Woof it up in Vacaville

By: Jessica Bay
hanging sign that reads "winery tasting room open"

So … what do you and your pup know about dog-friendly Vacaville and its slice of Solano County? Maybe not much if all you’ve done is zoom past the exits on Interstate 80. Time for some eye-opening (and tail-wagging) discoveries. The highlights range from wineries and farms in Suisun Valley Rustic Wine Country, to affordable lodging, vast tracts of public lands and even a railway museum with excursion trains that welcome four-legged passengers. And don’t miss a stop at Lagoon Valley Park’s 30,000 square foot dog park.

But back to the wineries. Wine grapes have been grown and wine made in the verdant and very laid-back Suisun Valley for more than 100 years, but not until the past 20 or so has the industry expanded and publicity ensued. There are lots of dog-friendly options, with DogTrekker standouts including Vezer Family Vineyard and Wooden Valley Winery, whose courtyard patio is an especially pleasant place to sit and sip with your pooch.

This time of year, you’ll find pumpkin patches and farm stands galore, as well as dog-friendly tasting rooms and patios showcasing local fruit of the vine. The valley is easy to navigate with the help of directional signs and maps. There’s a budding food culture here, thanks to the surrounding agricultural bounty, and restaurants dish up fresh, unpretentious fare. Hop on the Vacaville Taco Trail to sample the community’s diverse Mexican menus. Nine of the trail’s top stops welcome dogs with their people on the other end of the leash.

Meanwhile, don’t fail to pay a visit to the Western Railway Museum, a living-history preserve that aims to help visitors envision what transportation in Northern California was like a hundred and more years ago. Dogs are welcome to join their people in examining exhibits that include an extensive collection of historic streetcars and interurban electric trains. 

Well-behaved tail-waggers can also join enjoy on a 50-minute electric train trip through over the original historic main line of the Sacramento Northern Railway, which once ran between San Francisco, Sacramento and Chico. Bring a picnic (perhaps with wine) to enjoy at this great family destination, and check out the dog- and family-friendly Pumpkin Patch Festival going on two weekends in October!


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