If your vacation plans include some “California Dreaming,” don’t make it a guilt trip by leaving your best furry friend behind. California’s Wine Coast invites pooches as well as people to sample some of the best dog-friendly attractions in the Golden State. This central California area halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco is justly famous for its scenic Pacific coastline, lush vineyards and eclectic, ocean-hugging towns. Now the Wine Coast can add another attribute to its resume: dog-centric. The region goes out of its way to provide activities and amenities sure to delight four-footed visitors.
In the community of Avila Beach, your dog is welcome to lunch with you on the patio of Mr. Rick’s Restaurant. The atmosphere here is laid-back and Rick’s patio commands stunning views of the coast. If you’re staying in the town, both the Avila Village Inn (6655 Bay Laurel Drive; 800-454-0840) and the Avila La Fonda Hotel (101 San Miguel Street; 805-595.1700) permit dogs to stay with prior reservations. The town’s Olde Port Beach is great place to go wave hopping with your dog. Or hike the Bob Jones Trail, a shady 1.5-mile trek through coastal oak forest.
Farther north, San Luis Obispo County is best known as the home of world-famous Hearst Castle. Several hotels here have dog-friendly policies including the Best Western Plus Cavalier Oceanfront Resort (9415 Hearst Drive, San Simeon; 805-927-4688) and the Silver Surf Motel (9390 Castillo Drive, San Simeon; 805-927-4661) while the El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant offers a pet-friendly patio with spectacular views.
The town of Cambria has a healthy arts scene with a host of galleries about town. The Cambria Dog Park (Main Street and Santa Rosa Creek Road; 805-927-4485) provides one-quarter acre of fenced, shady real estate in which to meet, greet and play. Several restaurants in Cambria offer patio dining for folks and their canines, too. These include Las Cambritas, Mustache Pete’s, Wild Ginger, Indigo Moon, and the Redwood Cafe. A host of Cambria hotels are pet-friendly as well, such as the Creekside Inn (2618 Main Street; 800-269-5212; 805-927-4021) where pets stay free. Other options are the Fog Catcher Inn (6400 Moonstone Beach Drive; 805-927-1400; 800-425-4121) overlooking Moonstone Beach and the Cambria Palms Motel (2662 Main Street; 805-927-4485) located just 100 yards from the Cambria Dog Park.
Yearning for the feel of powdery sand on your paws? Head to the dog-friendly beaches of Cayucos that attract thousands of visitors a year. Along with plenty of romping pooches, you’ll see surfers here as well as families skimming the waves in kayaks. Pets are welcome in several restaurants in Cayucos, too, including Hoppe’s Bistro, the Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli, the Sea Shanty Restaurant and Schooner’s Wharf. After a day of fun in the sun, retreat to the pet-friendly confines of the Cayucos Beach Inn (333 South Ocean Avenue; 805 995-2828; 800-482-0555), the Shoreline Inn (1 North Ocean Avenue; 805-995-3681; 800-549-2244) or the Vagabond Inn (501 South Ocean Avenue; 800-750-2133).
Photo credits: Jeanne Harris (www.dogsbyjean.com)