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California’s Dog Friendly Beaches: From the Redwood to Santa Barbara

We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets – especially when they do things a little differently than us! So, when Year of the Monkey duo, Paroma Chakravarty and her pup, Babu, offered to report back on their visit to California’s dog friendly beaches, we were delighted!

Sharing YOUR pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!

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We have traveled extensively in California with our pooch Babu and, in the process, have visited several beautiful dog friendly beaches. We hope this article helps you get out and  have a great time with your canine companion.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com1. Mendocino County

Mendocino county, 3 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, is not only the home to California’s giant redwoods, but is also extremely dog friendly! Pups on leashes are welcome to stroll beautiful Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, named after the shiny glassy marbles scattered everywhere, and the lovely beach at Van Damme State Park.

But Noyo Beach is the best because here off-leash play is allowed. We have been to Mendocino twice and I can vouch for how beautiful Glass and Noyo beach are. Van Damme State Park and Beach, though relatively smaller, is still a nice sandy stretch offering a tranquil sunset. For more dog-friendly activities in Mendocino, you can visit my blog post.

2. Point Reyes National Seashore

Owing to nature and wildlife conservation efforts along this shoreline, most of Pt. Reyes is inaccessible to dogs (who are considered natural predators), but there are a handful of beaches your dog can explore.

Kehoe Beach and the short trail leading to it are one of these exceptions, and dogs on-leash are welcome. It’s an easy hike down the trail to this quiet beach, where beautiful reflections seem to float in the still water, and where the golden sunset will dazzle you and your pup.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

3. Sausalito

This tiny artistic town, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is very dog friendly – the rental houseboats on the marina even welcome dogs! Here you’ll find Rodeo Beach, where dogs are allowed to play off leash. This beach is famous for the semi-precious stones, such as jade and tourmaline, that are often found when sifting the sand, though people are urged not to collect them.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

4. Santa Cruz

If you only have time to visit one spot in Santa Cruz with your pup, don’t miss Greyhound Rock Beach! This gem of a beach is secluded, never crowded, and welcomes dogs. When we got to the beach (moderate hiking involved) we were delighted to find the waves crashing against the pristine white shore with only one other human and his dog in sight. I highly recommend this beach to all pet parents who want to get away from the chaos of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

5. Carmel and Monterey

The town of Carmel is super dog friendly, so it’s no surprise that it has one of the best off-leash beaches on the coast. Additionally, fireworks are forbidden here, so it’s a great place to escape with your sensitive pet on July 4th. The beach is is popular, so you need to arrive early to snag a cosy spot on the soft sand.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

Between Carmel and Big Sur, you’ll find another beach at Garrapata State Park where dogs are welcome on leash. This one has a wonderful trail covered with wild flowers in summer, so time your visit accordingly. Finally, dogs are also allowed at Monterey State Beach and Asilomar Beach in Pacific Grove.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com6. San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, the shining gem of California’s central valley, has several beaches, but most are not accessible to dogs. However, we don’t give up easily! After a bit of sniffing around, we soon learned that San Simeon pier and cove, adjacent to the William Hearst Beach, welcomes dogs on leash. The pier/boardwalk jutting out to the sea is off-limits, but don’t let that deter you from taking in another spectacular California sunset. We saw the sun go down on 2016 right here.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

7. Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara was our first ever road trip with Babu, and one that remains a favorite with several dog friendly beaches to visit. Arroyo Burro Beach County Park and Rincon Beach Park are two such sandy havens were dogs are allowed off leash. It was such fun to see Babu tearing down the sand and playing with other furry friends. After all that romping, it was time for a nice, long nap.

California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com California's Dog Friendly Beaches - From the Redwoods to Santa Barbara | GoPetFriendly.com

I hope you enjoyed this article and are already making plans to visit some of these beaches with your pup! For more dog friendly travel and dining, you can follow me at Year of the Monkey.

About the Author: Paroma Chakravarty is a scientist by day, and blogger by night, who lives in the beautiful city of San Francisco with her husband and their 12-year-old Tibetan spaniel mix, Babu. She records their adventures, plus dining experiences and her travel travails, on her blog, yrofthemonkey.comFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest. All photos in this post are Paroma’s own.

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