Top 22 dog-friendly vacations
Stay: West Beach Resort ($; $18 per night pet fee; westbeachresort.com) has cabins on a ½-mile dog- and family-friendly beach.
Stay: The Ocean Lodge (from $179; dogs $19/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 ($$; $15 per night pet fee; surfsand.com), dogs get a beach towel, bowl, and basket of treats.
Shop & eat: At dog-accessory store Puppy Love by the Sea (puppylovebythesea.com), canines can pad right on inside.
Stay: The Looking Glass Inn has a dog run with its own fire hydrant. From $114; dogs $15/night; lookingglass-inn.com
Eat: Tiki’s at 51st. $; 1005 S.W. 51st St.; 541/996-4200.
While hotels increasingly allow dogs—hoping to cash in on the 39 percent of U.S. households that own one—the Stanford has been pet-friendly since Jeff Stanford and his wife, Joan, bought it in the 1980s, shortly after moving from the Midwest. Back then, if you traveled with a dog, “you had to stay at a Holiday Inn or nothing,” says Jeff. Like many people who move to California, Jeff says they wanted to do things on their own terms. So, at their place, dogs go everywhere. “It’s just automatic.” Even in the sitting area in the lobby, just outside the hotel’s Ravens’ Restaurant, you can eat breakfast in the company of your dog. The food is organic and vegetarian (with many vegan options), which is how Jeff wants it. It is also delicious.
This is why there are so many dog-friendly beach towns on our rocky, rugged coast—there’s so much for a dog to do, and relatively little trouble to get into. The beach is, simply, nature’s coolest playground, even if you never go in more than ankle deep.
Rent a canoe or kayak from Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too ($40/day; catchacanoe.com) and explore the Big River estuary.
Eat: Head to Mendocino’s little New England–esque downtown, to Mendo Burgers and eat at the picnic tables ($$; 10483 Lansing St.; 707/937-1111). The fish is fresh and juicy, the fries hand-cut.
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.
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 (carmelplaza.com). For dog-friendly dining, we like Casanova ($$$$; casanovarestaurant.com) and the Forge in the Forest ($$$; forgeintheforest.com).
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 $189; 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.
Stay: Beach Bungalow Inn & Suites. From $159, 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. $; 1001 Front St.; 805/772-2123.
Eat: Added bonus: Camp Canine is walking distance from the world’s best taco joint, La Super-Rica Taqueria ($; 805/963-4940).
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 well groomed owners: Orlando Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Reese Witherspoon have been spotted here.
Shop: Wag’n Tails’ 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.
Stay: From your deck at Santa Rita Lodge ($; $25 per night per pet fee; santaritalodge.com), you and Sparky can watch for the canyon’s 200 species of birds at dusk. Note that canine visitors must be 25 pounds or smaller.