You can take your best pal with you on these getaways around the West
Next to a plate of cookies for the humans is a welcome kit for Miss Bea: a housemade sweet-potato treat tied in a white ribbon,
water and food dishes, an ample stack of plastic bags, and two fresh sheets. The room, with a white bedspread and end tables
with slender mahogany legs, feels classically grown-up, not “proofed” for anything.
Miss Bea has to stay on-leash all the time (she’s a bolter), and goes all Cujo at certain other dogs. But here, at the Stanford Inn by the Sea (from $225, breakfast included; dogs $45 onetime fee; stanfordinn.com) in Mendocino for a beach weekend, it’s as if the word “no” doesn’t exist. The inn, and many local parks, restaurants, and other businesses, go way beyond merely allowing dogs. They welcome them, and their canine quirks, openly.
We walk down the hill from the inn and out to the beach just off Highway 1 at the mouth of the Big River. This is why there are so many dog-friendly beach towns on our rocky, rugged coast—there’s so much for a dog to do, and relatively little trouble to get into. The beach is, simply, nature’s coolest playground, even if you never go in more than ankle deep.
While hotels increasingly allow dogs—hoping to cash in on the 39 percent of U.S. households that own one—the Stanford has been pet-friendly since Jeff Stanford and his wife, Joan, bought it 37 years ago, shortly after moving from the Midwest. Back then, if you traveled with a dog, “you had to stay at a Holiday Inn or nothing,” says Jeff. Like many people who move to California, Jeff says they wanted to do things on their own terms. So, at their place, dogs go everywhere. “It’s just automatic.” Even in the sitting area in the lobby, just outside the hotel’s Ravens’ Restaurant, you can eat breakfast in the company of your dog. The food is organic and vegan, which is how Jeff wants it. It is also delicious.
At the Stanford’s canoe and kayak rental place, Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too ($40/day; catchacanoe.com), Miss Bea settles into a tip-proof outrigger for her first-ever canoe trip. We glide into the Big River estuary, and initially
she tucks deep into the bow.
But after a few minutes, the smells and sounds begin to draw her out. She bird-watches and gazes into the forest, front paws on the edge of the boat, body stretching forward, nose wafting a little bit higher to catch a scent.
By the time we disembark and regain our land legs, it’s deep into the afternoon. We head to Mendocino’s little New England–esque downtown, cross the street to avoid another pug, and see a sign for Mendo Burgers ($$; 10483 Lansing St.; 707/937-1111), pointing down a dusty alley. There are picnic tables and a couple of small dog beds under a tree.
The fish is fresh and juicy, the fries hand-cut. As we eat, one of the owners comes by. He pets Miss Bea on the head, and chuckles when his terrier mutt, Boots, bounds up to sniff the visitors. Miss Bea stands like a statue for a moment, as if pondering how to react, then gives a playful spin and wags her tail.
Play: Dogs have the run of the town’s beach, but on packed sand—so do cars. The boardwalk (Bolstad Ave.) and the 8.3-mile-long paved Discovery Trail (26th St. N.W.) are car-free and dog-friendly (on-leash). funbeach.com
Stay: Adrift Hotel & Spa. From $95; dogs $15 onetime fee; adrifthotel.com
Eat: At nearby Ilwaco’s Sea Dog Deli, order the Snoopy—a double-decker cheeseburger—and you’ll get a side of kibble for your best friend. $; 111 First Ave. N., Ilwaco; 360/244-2641.
Play: It’s easy for a hotel, shop, or outdoor cafe to accommodate pocket pooches and handbag hounds, but big, bear-like breeds?
That’s a different story. Cannon Beach, an enchanting little cedar-shaked town, is up to the task, with abundant pet-friendly
hotels and eateries where dogs are welcome at outdoor tables. For a fun frolic with your pooch, head for the secluded northernmost stretch of Cannon Beach, across the knee-deep mouth of Ecola Creek. cannon beach.org
Stay: The Ocean Lodge (from $239; dogs $15/night; theoceanlodge.com), next door to the posh kid/dog-averse Stephanie Inn, was designed by the same architect. The lodge welcomes pets with a basket stuffed with linens, treats, and chew toys and has an outdoor dog shower. At the Surfsand Resort ($$; $15 per night pet fee; www.surfsand.com), dogs get a beach towel, bowl, and basket of treats.
Shop & eat: At dog-accessory store Puppy Love by the Sea (www.puppylovebythesea.com), canines can pad right on inside. They're also welcome at Waves of Grain Bakery. $; 3116 S. Hemlock St.; 503/436-9600.
Play: The 7.5 miles of beach at Lincoln City have a firm leash law, but bring your hound with you to hunt for a souvenir glass
float from local glassblowing studios; volunteers hide the baubles above the tide line. oregoncoast.org
Stay: The Looking Glass Inn has a dog run with its own fire hydrant. From $114; dogs $10/night; lookingglass-inn.com
Eat: Tiki’s at 51st. $; 1005 S.W. 51st St.; 541/996-4200.
Play: Welcome to Monterey Bay’s pooch paradise. Centrally located Carmel City Beach has delightfully soft sand and refreshingly few land mines—poop bags are provided. Scenic Rd. from Ocean Ave. to Martin Way; ci.carmel.ca.us
Stay: This tree-shaded village has dog-loving hotels—the Cypress Inn ($$; 30 per night pet fee; www.cypress-inn.com) is most famous, while The Vagabond’s House (from $178, including breakfast; dogs $30/night; vagabondshouseinn.com) is another great choice.
Shop & eat: Spoil your pooch at pet store Diggidy Dog (Ocean Ave. and Mission St.; 831/625-1585). The shopping center Carmel Plaza has a dogs-only watering spot, the Fountain of Woof (www.carmelplaza.com). For dog-friendly dining, we like Casanova ($$$$; www.casanovarestaurant.com) and the Forge in the Forest ($$$; www.forgeintheforest.com).
Play: Hike with your dog at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (bluff trail on-leash; others off-leash). Maps at ffrpcambria.org
Stay: At Cambria Shores Inn, happy hour in the motor lodge–style courtyard is like Best in Show come to life, with dog-owner characters snacking on comp hors d’oeuvres—pooches in arm or by their side—as they chat and watch the ocean from Adirondack chairs on the lawn. From $249; dogs $15/night; cambriashores.com
Eat: Linn's Easy-as-Pie Café is a local institution. No shocker here, try the pie. $; 4251 Bridge St.; 805/924-3050.
Play: Head to the northern strip of Morro Strand State Beach. State 1 at Yerba Buena St.; parks.ca.gov
Stay: Beach Bungalow Inn & Suites. From $199, including breakfast; dogs $20/night; morrobaybeachbungalow.com
Eat: Giovanni’s Fish Market has a walk-up order window, picnic tables that look out on the bay, and, most important, huge portions of crispy, surprisingly light fish and chips. $; 1001 Front St.; 805/772-2123.
Play & stay: Coronado Dog Beach (200 Ocean Blvd.) is a treat for your pet. What's more, Your dog can ride the waves at the Su-Ruff Camp hosted by Loews Coronado Bay Resort (from $189; dogs $25 onetime fee; www.loewshotels.com), 20 minutes south of San Diego. The Su-Ruff pakage gets you a deluxe room, doggie board shorts or bandana, “surf & turf” room
service for Fido, and a dog surfing lesson with instructors from Coronado Surfing Academy (www.coronadosurfing.com). Not a hotel guest? Lessons for dogs are available by the hour ($40).
Shop: Wag’n Tails’s self-wash area benefits from the store owner’s freely admitted fastidiousness: The place is spotless and cleaned between each dog, ideal for a post-surf bath. 945 Orange Ave.; 619/435-3513.
Play: If you want to hit the ultimate A-list dog run, head to Laurel Canyon Park (laparks.org)—3 tree-lined acres in the Santa Monica Mountains where pedigreed boxers and poodles mingle off-leash with equally wellgroomed
owners: Orlando Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Reese Witherspoon have been spotted here.
Stay: The elegant Sunset Tower Hotel ($$$; $100 pet fee; www.sunsettowerhotel.com) in West Hollywood remains the place for your pooch to see and be seen in Tinseltown. Your dog gets a mini bed, bowl, and treats, and can run around off-leash at the park next door.
Play: After (on-leash) hiking in Turtleback Mountain Preserve (www.sjclandbank.org), swimming the cool waters of North Beach (orcasislandchamber.com), and romping in Eastsound’s off-leash dog park (www.orcasdogpark.org), your pup will learn to love the sight of the island ferry (dogs ride free; wsdot.wa.gov).
Stay: West Beach Resort ($; $18 per night pet fee; www.westbeachresort.com) has cabins on a ½-mile dog- and family-friendly beach.
Play: Give your dog a break from the heat. Head to the oak-shaded trails of Madera Canyon ($5 per vehicle; www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado), 40 miles south of Tucson. In the morning, dog in tow, stroll the 1.8-mile round-trip Bog Springs Trail; it’s wildflower-flush during late summer’s monsoon season.
Stay: From your deck at Santa Rita Lodge ($; $25 per night per pet fee; www.santaritalodge.com), you and Sparky can watch for the canyon’s 200 species of birds at dusk.
Play: A private rock-rimmed wading pool. Camp Run-a-Muk day camp. It’s all at the Hearst Castle of kennels, Camp Canine (from $45 per day, $60 per night; www.campcanineinc.com). While you’re out enjoying Santa Barbara’s pleasures, rest assured your dog is having a good time too. Maybe a better time.
Eat: Added bonus: Camp Canine is walking distance from the world’s best taco joint, La Super-Rica Taqueria ($; 805/963-4940).
Play: If you have a shepherd, that shepherd wants to herd. Only problem is that you don’t own sheep, which is why Spot’s best vacation
ever will be at Dairydell Canine (reservations required; $50 for lesson; www.dairydellcanine.com). Seasoned sheepdog handler Frank Souza can coax even city shepherds into focused farm dogs—at least for a few minutes.
Eat: Afterward, lunch at cafe-bakery Della Fattoria ($; 707/763-0161). Try the Della BLT with heirloom tomatoes; your dog will pass on lunch—she’ll be sleeping under the table, dreaming of sheep.
Play: At funky, dog-friendly Dunham Cellars (www.dunhamcellars.com), two wines are named for dogs: The “Three Legged Red” ($19) is a meaty red blend; the “Four Legged White” ($14) is a lush, balanced Riesling ($5 tasting fee).
Stay: Crash comfortably at downtown’s Marcus Whitman Hotel ($$, $20 per night pet fee; www.marcuswhitmanhotel.com).
Play: Knockout views. Appealing mix of people. Good coffee. Crissy Field at Golden Gate National Recreation Area gives you everything you love about San Francisco in one scenic package. A historic
Army airfield transformed into a native plant-lined beach oasis, Crissy draws dog walkers, joggers with strollers, kitesurfers,
picnickers, cyclists, fishermen, and 8-year-olds letting the cool bay water lap their toes. All this and the Golden Gate Bridge
looming gracefully. nps.gov/goga
Eat: Snack on lattes and baked goods while browsing books at the Warming Hut (415/561-3040) cafe.