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Dog Friendly Vacations On the West Coast – USA

For many pet owners, the thought of leaving their best friend behind while they head out on a vacation is simply out of the question. Yet, finding destinations that not only welcome but also cater to the needs of our four-legged friends can sometimes feel like a daunting task.

Whether it’s ensuring there are ample pet-friendly accommodations, activities, or simply a welcoming atmosphere, the search for the perfect dog-friendly vacation spot requires careful planning and research.

Understanding the challenge of finding vacation spots that truly welcome our four-legged friends, we’ve searched the internet and leaned on our own experiences to curate a list of the best dog-friendly vacations on the west coast.

This selection spans from the sandy beaches of California to the scenic trails of Oregon and encompasses both places we’ve enjoyed first-hand and others that top our dog-friendly travel wish list.

We recommend that you contact the locations on this list before going. Information is subject to change without notice.

USA Dog Friendly Vacation Ideas on the west Coast. - Scenic picture of Lake Tahoe with snow covered mountains in the background

6 Dog Friendly Vacations in the West

1. Santa Barbara, California

Dog Friendly Vacations in the West - Santa Barbara coastline and mountains in the distance

Let’s start this list with a favorite place of mine, Santa Barbara, California. Admittedly, it has been awhile since I was last there, but it is one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.

Santa Barbara, known as the American Riviera, boasts stunning beaches, rolling foothills, and lush dog friendly vineyards. Its historic Spanish architecture adds charm. Located along the Pacific Ocean, it’s a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles. This town offers a perfect mix of natural beauty and culture.

Start on your exploration of Santa Barbara by meandering through its downtown area. A highlight is the self-guided Red Tile Walking Tour, which showcases the city’s most significant historic landmarks.

Don’t miss the La Arcada Courtyard, a delightful spot with its beautiful tiled walkways, Spanish-style fountains, and distinctive statues. This area is also known for its dog-friendly cafes.

Just three miles from the bustling downtown district lies the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a haven of tranquility featuring a diverse array of flowers and towering redwoods. This botanical garden stands out for welcoming dogs, provided they are kept on a leash and discouraged from marking the flora. To ensure a smooth visit, advanced reservations are recommended.

In addition to these attractions, Santa Barbara is close to several dog-friendly beaches, including Arroyo Burro Beach Park, where dogs can play off-leash in designated areas, and Shoreline Park, a scenic spot for leisurely walks.

For even more dog friendly things to do, take in the sights at the Stearns Wharf or visit the grounds of the Santa Barbara Mission.

Accommodations in Santa Barbara range from luxurious hotels to cozy vacation rentals, catering to various preferences and budgets. Moreover, the town is dotted with numerous dining establishments boasting dog-friendly patios, ensuring that you and your furry friend can enjoy the local cuisine together.

2. San Diego, California

Another old favorite of mine is San Diego, California.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, San Diego, Ca - view of cliffs over the water

San Diego shines as a pioneer in embracing dog-friendly environments, a status it has held long before the trend took off elsewhere. Thanks to its mild climate, San Diego is an ideal destination for pet owners year-round, offering a variety of activities and accommodations tailored to visitors with dogs.

Begin your adventure at San Diego’s Dog Beach. Noteworthy as possibly the first official dog beach in the U.S., it’s a must-visit for pet owners, offering a spacious area for dogs to run, swim, and play off-leash.

After some fun in the sun, venture to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in Ocean Beach. Here, you and your dog can explore the park’s network of trails, which provide stunning vistas of the ocean.

As the day winds down, stroll along La Jolla Shore Beach, where pets are welcome after 6 PM. Then, dine at Barbarella, a restaurant that not only welcomes dogs but also caters to them with a special doggie menu, ensuring a delightful experience for your furry friend.

In terms of accommodations, San Diego’s vast size means you’re spoiled for choice. The city boasts a wide range of pet-friendly options, from well-known hotel chains and quaint inns to vacation rentals that welcome pets, ensuring that every visitor finds a comfortable place to stay with their dog.

For a unique adventure, consider a pet-friendly whale watching tour with Next Level Sailing in San Diego, where you and your dog can experience the thrill of spotting whales together.

For even more dog friendly attractions, head on over to San Diego Magazine for their list of dog friendly things to do in the area.

3. Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Dog Friendly Vacations on the west coast- People and dogs walking on the beach in Carmel-by-th-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small village in Monterey County, just south of Monterey. Despite its one-square-mile size, it’s packed with charm. The village features storybook architecture, unique boutiques, and over a dozen wine tasting rooms, many of which welcome dogs.

Begin your visit with a beach walk. Carmel Beach is dog-friendly, offering both leashed and off-leash sections for your pet.

As you explore the village, you’ll find some shops allow dogs inside, and many provide water dishes at their entrances. The Cottage of Sweets offers doggy treats, while the Diggidy Dog specializes in unique and functional pet products.

For a unique experience, visit Mad Dogs and Englishmen Bike Shop. Here, you can rent a vintage bike equipped with a sidecar for your dog.

Another dog-friendly activity in the area is visiting Mission Trail Park. It offers several dog-friendly hiking trails where your pet can enjoy nature on-leash.

End your day at Terry’s Lounge in the Cypress Inn for Yappy Hour on the patio.

4. Mendocino Coast, California

Beach at Mendocino Headlands State Park

The Mendocino coast offers a wealth of dog-friendly activities and accommodations, ensuring that your furry friend can join in on all the adventures. Start your day with a hike in the Mendocino Headlands State Park, where dogs are welcome on the trails, offering breathtaking coastal views. Then, explore the unique Glass Beach in the Fort Braggs area, where leashed dogs can join you on the sands, famous for its sea-smoothed glass pieces.

For a unique experience, the Skunk Train in Fort Bragg allows dogs (for a fee) on their 7-mile round trip through the Pudding Creek Estuary, offering you and your pet a chance to marvel at ancient redwoods. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, the only oceanfront botanical garden in the USA, also welcomes dogs, providing a lush landscape for you and your pet to explore together.

When it’s time to rest, the village of Mendocino has dog-friendly accommodations like the MacCallum House, offering pet beds, bowls, and even private yards in some rooms. The Little River Inn offers pet friendly rooms and a separate dining room for guests with dogs during dinner. ​

5. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Dog Friendly Vacations on the west coast - Lake Tahoe - East Shore Trail looking out on Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, straddling the border of California and Nevada, is a paradise for dog lovers looking for a memorable vacation with their furry friends. The region offers a plethora of dog-friendly activities, places to stay, and dining options.

First off, hiking around Lake Tahoe is a must-do. The Tahoe East Shore Trail offers breathtaking views and is super dog-friendly. If your dog loves to run free, Bijou Community Park in South Lake Tahoe has a vast off-leash area complete with all the doggy essentials like waste stations and water​​.

Want to go to the beach? Regan Beach and a few others allow dogs to splash around to their heart’s content​​. If you’re up for some water adventures, renting a kayak or stand-up paddleboard is a dog friendly way to enjoy the lake. Just make sure they’re safely outfitted with a life vest​​. Also keep in mind that not all dogs like the water.

Finding a place to stay with your dog in Lake Tahoe is a breeze. From cozy lodges like Fireside Lodge to the more upscale Hotel Azure, there are accommodations to fit every preference and budget, many of which offer special amenities for pets​​​​.

6. Seaside Beach, Oregon

Dog Friendly vacation on the west coast - Seaside Beach in Oregon

The last of our dog friendly vacations on the west coast is Seaside, Oregon. Seaside is a haven for dog lovers, offering a plethora of activities and accommodations for you and your furry friend. The main attraction, Seaside Beach, allows dogs to roam off-leash, provided they respond to voice commands. For the adventurous, the area boasts dog-friendly hiking trails like the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, which offers varying difficulty levels for all types of explorers​.

After a day of exploring, Seaside doesn’t fall short of pet-friendly dining options. Restaurants such as Mo’s Seafood and Chowder welcome dogs at their outside patios. For accommodations, Seaside boasts a range of dog-friendly hotels like the Inn at Seaside and Hi-Tide Oceanfront Inn., ensuring a comfortable stay for you and your pet​

If you’re looking to venture beyond Seaside, the area is rich with dog-friendly activities. Gearhart Indoor Dog Park is perfect for socializing and exercise, especially on rainy days, and The Winery at Manzanita offers a scenic spot for wine lovers to enjoy with their pets​​. For a historical outing, Fort Astoria provides pet-friendly grounds for a leisurely hike​.

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