Travel Blog

January 14, 2014

Packing Your Bags with the Pooch

Sit, stay...Nah, come! Pets need a vacation too!

If you’re like me, when packing for a vacation you make lists. This list often includes the smallest and most random items that are too often forgotten…phone charger, neck pillow, sunscreen, leash, poop bags….leash?….Poop bags!? Yes, I travel with my pooch named Copper, and it brings on a whole new set of must-haves. It also brings a whole new set of must-sees, where to gos and what to dos. Luckily in Santa Cruz County we love our pooches, and we love yours too. Here’s my list of must-sees, where to gos and what to dos with your four legged co-pilot when visiting Santa Cruz.


We all need a place to lay our head at night, even your 60 pound “lap dog” that thinks your head is a pillow. In Santa Cruz County there are nearly 40 pet-friendly accommodations, from the resorts on the hill to the inns near the beach, there is a place where the both of you can get comfortable and recharge for the next day. At Chaminade Resort & Spa they pamper you and your pooch with luxurious rooms, 3 miles of hiking trails on property and two restaurants that offer pooch-friendly patios, “yappy-hour” and “yappatizers.” If you’re looking to stay closer to the coast, try Edgewater Beach Inn & Suites where the ocean breeze and sand are just a block away. There are hotels, motels, B&Bs, vacation homes and campgrounds that all welcome Fido with open arms and a water bowl.


We all can appreciate the coastal breeze, ocean views and the sand between our paws…or, uh, toes. A must-see and must-do with your pooch is a walk along West Cliff Drive. West Cliff Drive is two and a half miles of coastal walking path that serves as a perfect perch to watch wildlife, surfers and to enjoy the breathtaking coast. Let your pooch take in the fresh air and stop at Mitchell’s Cove Beach where he can frolic with friends, dig in the sand and gallop through the surf. At Mitchell’s Cove Beach dogs are allowed off-leash before 10am and after 4pm and it is a popular spot for dogs and owners to meet and mingle. For more dog-friendly beaches click here.

Copper enjoying his freedom at Mitchell's Cove Beach at sunset

The redwood forests of Santa Cruz County boast some of the most beautiful and awe inspiring views. Nature comes alive in the forest and walking through the redwoods is the perfect place for you and your pooch to explore. Henry Cowell Redwood State Park has several trails where dogs are welcome on leash and where he can sniff the day away! If you’d rather sit and relax as you take in the redwoods, then head over to Roaring Camp Railroads where you can ride a 19th century steam train through the majestic forest.

Hitting the trails

One of my favorite parts about vacationing is exploring the area with fork in hand. Enjoying restaurants that are signature to the area and serve delicious, fresh, and uniquely inspired dishes. Sometimes traveling with your pooch you might feel like the sidewalk hotdog stand is your only option, and although he might not mind, you were hoping to sit down and relax for a nice meal. In Santa Cruz there are nearly 20 pet-friendly restaurants where you both can enjoy the local fare. From restaurants with ocean views to bakeries that welcome Bruiser, you won’t miss a treat!

Taking in the rays on the patio at The Picnic Basket

If you are looking for the perfect spot to relax with your fur-baby, come visit Santa Cruz where you both are sure to have a doggone good time. For more information about all things pet on your Santa Cruz vacation, click here or stop in the Visitors Center at 303 Water Street. Happy tails and happy trails!