If the terms “designer dog food,” “doggy strollers,” “doggy day care” and “dog bakeries” are all familiar, everyday terms in your circle, you are likely a dog-mom or dad—and unquestionably a devout dog lover. Yes, human kids are grand, but do human kids jump up and down and happily shimmy their behinds when you get home from work? Do they inhale every last crumb from the floor after dinner (so you rarely have to sweep)? Do they shower you with love every day of every year just because you’re you? Let’s face it: dogs are pretty special and that’s why so many dog lovers try to include their furry kids in…well, just about everything. So what California cities accommodate for that kind of doggy devotion? We have a list of the top five Cali cities that not only accommodate your four-legged companions, but also embrace them. Check it out and give a hearty “woof!” if these are your kinds of cities.
San Diego is always up there on the list as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the nation. It could be the numerous off-leash dog parks, great spots for hiking, dog-friendly beaches (Dog Beach, Fiesta Island and Del Mar Dog Beach to name a few) and the endless stream of dog-friendly eateries like Sally and Henry’s Dog House Bar & Grill with its “Four Legged Kids Menu” and Lighthouse Ice Cream, which features a special “Frosty Paws” treat just for your pooch. There are also a number of doggy daycare and spas, as well as beach-exclusive bonuses like the Dog Beach Dog Wash where pups can wash off their sandy paws after a day at the ocean.
The fact that Carmel is a dog lover’s paradise is hardly a secret; it’s won DogChannel.com’s coveted Dog Town USA® award more than once. What makes this seaside town such a hit with the canine crowd? It starts with the incredibly walkable setting and perfect climate and then soars with big plusses like the beautiful (and off-leash-dog-friendly) Carmel City Beach, great restaurants like Forge in the Forest with its Dog Pound Menu and Clint Eastwood’s Hog’s Breath Inn and dog-loving shopping destinations like the Carmel Plaza and its “Fountain of Woof” dogs-only drinking fountain.
Ever wanted to canoe out on a river with your pooch as your sidekick? Or maybe treat him to a day of whale watching and a wine tasting or two? Mendocino has all of that happening and more, which definitely lands it a prime spot on our Cities for Dog Lovers list. If you’re visiting Mendocino, you might want to stay at the beautiful, dog-loving Stanford Inn (canine guests are welcomed with sheets, bowls, organic treats and more), eat at its award-winning Ravens vegetarian and vegan restaurant (of course, the dog can join you) and then head out to the MCDOG (Mendocino Coast Dog Owners Group) off-leash beach or to the Big River State Park for some good old-fashioned frolicking. If you think your pup could use some doggy social time in between, there’s even a great Doggy Day Camp nearby.
4. Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is just one of the places that was made for dogs. It could be the dog-friendly parks or lovely off-leash beach—or maybe it’s the way so many wineries don’t frown when you stop in for a tasting with your little buddy in tow…whatever “it” is, Santa Barbara definitely has it and that could be why it’s one of the nation’s favorite dog lover destinations around. There’s great open-air fun at dog-friendly spots like the Aliso Canyon Trail or the Douglas Family Preserve, plenty of dog parks around and restaurant after restaurant with dog-friendly patios. If you stop in for a visit, try the Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel where your dog will be greeted with a gift bag, a doggy room service menu and, of course, an open-patio policy at all four of the resort’s full-service restaurants.
Los Angeles may be a mammoth city, but within that metropolis are oodles upon oodles of hopelessly devoted dog people. From Beverly Hills all the way to the valley and beyond, you’ll find that just about any restaurant with a patio will say “yes” to furry guests, stores from Nordstrom to Home Depot don’t bat an eyelash when you all come-a-calling and most hotels roll out the red carpet for visiting pooches. LA also has more dog bakeries (Three Dog Bakery and The Dog Bakery to name two) and dog boutiques (i.e D.O.G. Pet Boutique and The Modern Dog) than just about any city out there. Then there’s the posh every day services that only LA could offer. For the most luxury a dog (or person) could hope for, try the top-rated D Pet Hotel for day care, luxury boarding, grooming, teeth cleaning and more. They even have chauffeurs who will pick up your pooch in a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley or Rolls Royce. Yes, LA has gone to the dogs in the best possible way. Other great options include Paradise Ranch Resort and the Barkley Pet Hotel and Day Spa.
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