The iconic Pacific Coast Highway makes for a spectacular road trip adventure, but there’s no need to leave your beloved dog at home. Bring your furry buddy and be prepared to keep that window rolled down! Fresh ocean air, long stretches of sandy beaches, wooded trails and scenic views galore will captivate your canine. Whether you have a posh pedigree poodle or a ragamuffin mutt, we’ve compiled a collection of the best dog-friendly hotels up and down the California coast to suit every breed and budget.
Please note: Unless otherwise stated, the following properties may charge an additional pet fee and/or cleaning fee. Please indicate in your reservation that you are bringing a dog so that you may be assured a pet-friendly room.
Yappy Hour at the Ritz-Carlton
Dana Point, in Orange County, marks the southernmost stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, so there’s no better place for you and your posh pooch to celebrate the start (or finish) of your road-trip than perched high above the ocean at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Time your visit from May through December to catch Yappy Hour, a monthly cocktail party where you’ll enjoy a glass of wine from Chateau d’Og, while your pooch delights in fine water infused with flavors of bacon, beef, chicken or even vegan!
The canine welcome amenities here include a “calming” chew toy to enhance mind, body and spirit. Hand-painted bowls and plush doggie beds are provided for their stay, as well as an in-room dining doggy menu offering drool-worthy meals like Dog Bone Meatloaf. Outside, well-paved trails lead to stunning vista overlooks and local beaches. There is also a 9-mile loop path for 2- and 4-legged runners that begins and ends at the Ritz Carlton. At the end of the day, enjoy the fire pit with your pooch on one of the enclosed patio rooms, or with others out on the bluff.
Wag It at The Waterfront
The Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach offers the ultimate choice for surf-loving people and dogs alike. Dogs are allowed in nearly every part of the property, including the outdoor swimming pool area and some sections of restaurants. The staff makes an extra effort to welcome and greet their four-legged guests, with an amenity basket at check-in, treats and even a door-hanger for doggy down time. The tower room balconies are glass-sided, so your dog can enjoy the view from four legs, no matter how short or tall.
The expansive beach and paved boardwalks of Huntington Beach, also known as “Surf City USA,” extend north and south for miles in both directions. To the south, leash up your dog to trot the trails at Huntington Beach Park, and leash up your board for some awesome waves. If leash-free is more your thing, head north to Huntington Dog Beach where both dogs and humans frolic in the water and the sand, earning a reputation for some of the happiest dogs and friendliest owners anywhere in California.
Fur Babies Love the Fairmont
Pets are welcome at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, where doggy beds and bowls are provided upon request for comfort during your pet’s stay. You’ll find plenty of restaurants nearby that welcome dogs for patio dining, too. While Santa Monica is a pretty dog-friendly, dogs are not allowed on Santa Monica Beach, leashed or not. Leashed pups, however, are allowed to accompany you on the Santa Monica Pier and the Strand, a paved multi-use beachfront that lines Santa Monica and Los Angeles beaches.
If you’re thinking it’s time to pamper your pooch, check out some of the puppy spas in the area. Bark Williams is a favorite, where you can self-wash your pup for $10 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Or, leave it to a stylist at Paw & Effect Pet Spa, where they specialize in blow outs, braids and coloring. Dogs can look like Hollywood divas too, you know, and why not? This is LA, after all.
Malibu Posh Pup-parazzi Getaway
When you want to experience the best of everything Malibu has to offer, the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club is the place for you. Located on a private ranch in Malibu Wine Country, this sanctuary is pet-friendly, with luxury bungalows, cottages and suites with private patios and balconies. Dogs are welcome at breakfast, at the pools and at the exclusive Calamigas Beach Club estate on the coast, reachable by complimentary luxury shuttle. This is a favorite getaway for local LA celebs and their dogs with plenty of pup-parazzi sightings and sniffings!
Ventura Adventuring for Dogs
Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpoint Inn is a historic dog-friendly hotel, with Craftsman-style suites and cottages with private (though not enclosed) patios, and beautifully manicured gardens. Austen’s, the on-site restaurant, offers patio seating where you and your dog are welcome to enjoy sunset views. Spend an evening beach combing at nearby Surfer’s Point or take a morning hike at dog-friendly Arroyo Verde Park. It is worth noting that there is a $75 non-refundable pet fee that will be charged at checkout.
Four Paws at the Four Seasons, Santa Barbara
Four Seasons Santa Barbara Biltmore welcomes two pets up to 50 pounds for no additional fee in their bungalow-style rooms. The location is prime, walking distance to the beach, the wharf and even the zoo. The hotel can also arrange pet sitting and dog-walking services, should you be there for a wedding or other such grand occasion.
In Santa Barbara, head to Arroyo Burro for off-leash beach fun with your dog. Locals and visitors agree that nothing beats the knoll-top trails and off-leash adventures of the Douglas Family Preserve, which stays open after dark. It’s a great locale to watch the sunset from various lookouts. Bring a flashlight and glow in the dark ball for fetch after sundown, the park is open until 10 p.m.
Mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa offers an ideal break with specific pet-friendly suites, available with advance notification. You can bring up to three pets for an additional $65 fee a night, which includes bedding, food and water bowls. Be sure to pick up the welcome amenity pack, which includes treats and a tennis ball.
There are countless restaurants around Pismo that allow dogs for patio dining. For off-leash beach fun, head to Avila Beach south of the pier. When you’re ready for a change from the beaches, Pismo is a great base from which to go wine tasting, and you don’t need to leave your fur baby behind! Several wineries between Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo welcome leashed dogs.
Canines at the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
Located near Hearst Castle in San Simeon, the Cavalier Oceanfront Resort offers a huge field for pups to walk, run, play and relieve themselves after a long drive in the car. There is no charge for pets, and both you and your dog can appreciate the fireplaces and fire pits. Be sure to inquire about massage services for both humans and canines.
Beach-loving dogs will enjoy romping leash free at San Simeon Cove, but they must be leashed on nearby Hearst Memorial Beach. A few miles up the coast, you and your leashed dog can enjoy the docent-staffed trails overlooking an elephant seal rookery. Here’s an opportunity for a “battle of the barks” as the elephant seals are quite noisy and will surely captivate your canine’s curiosity.
Carmel Country Inn for Canines
The 12-room Carmel Country Inn is dog-friendly, so much so that you and your pet might want to be camera-ready upon arrival at the B&B. Dogs are welcome to join you for complimentary breakfast indoors or outside, and the staff is always ready with treats. Your dog can curl up by the fireplace in your suite or studio, while you enjoy a whirlpool tub. Some rooms open up to a private patio which you should request upon check in. There is a fee of $20 per pet per night.
Carmel-by-the Sea has been highly rated as one of the best dog-friendly towns in America. Walk your dog through the lovely residential neighborhood to Carmel Plaza, where leashed dogs gather at the Fountain of Woof, a drinking fountain just for dogs. Be sure to visit Diggidy Dog for some unique finds for your pet. Some shopkeepers allow dogs, while others will have water bowls and hitching posts outside. Head to the Scenic Road path for long walks and runs with your leashed dog. For voice-command dogs who love off-leash fun, head to Carmel Beach or Mission Trails Park.
Cruising Santa Cruz
Located just minutes away from the Santa Cruz Wharf and Beach Boardwalk, Casablanca on the Beach welcomes one pet of any size for an additional $25 a night, but parking (and barking) is free. Enjoy the rooftop terrace or gardens, or play fetch in the fenced-in dog run.
Most Santa Cruz beaches welcome leashed dogs, and are equipped with showers to rinse your pooch. Twin Lakes State Beach is a favorite for hiking trails or picnics on the beach, with facilities.
Go Nautical in San Francisco
Located in a great neighborhood for walking, the nautically themed Argonaut Hotel is dog-friendly and welcomes pets in specific rooms for an additional $75 per stay. Dogs receive a treat at check-in, as well as food and water bowls to use during their stay. Humans may enjoy a hosted wine reception in the evenings. Stroll across the street to Pier 39 to visit Le Beastro, a dog-themed boutique.
San Francisco has some of the best urban parks and spaces for dogs, including the dog-friendly National Park of the Presidio, with 24 miles of walking trails and easy access to the beach and wetlands. Golden Gate Park is also pet- friendly, with an off-leash area, or you can head to Baker Beach for off-leash beach fun.
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