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5 awesome dog-friendly places in California you should visit with your pet this winter

Check out these California locations that are paradise for pups in winter

Whether you’re taking a vacation or a staycation, every member of the family should get the chance to let loose and have a good time, including your four-legged friend. That’s why you should consider your dog’s needs and habits when planning a vacation to California, especially in the winter. You’ll need to find places that take him and will serve his particular needs well, like having spaces for him to walk comfortably. Think carefully, though — not all of California is the same!

In the Golden State, you can choose what type of weather you’d like to see, what landmarks and terrain to explore, and even the culture of the city you stay in. Accommodations for your dog can be harder to plan, so check out some of these dog-friendly places in California before making your decision. You might be surprised by what you’ll find on the list!

Dog in Yosemite National Park on a rock
Genaker / Shutterstock

1. Yosemite National Park

If your pup doesn’t mind some chillier temperatures, they can accompany you to one of California’s most scenic destinations — Yosemite National Park. Dogs are allowed (on leash) on many of the park’s major trails, so you’ll be sure to get all the photo ops you need. There are also tons of gorgeous cabins and lodges nearby, which means you’ll have somewhere to cozy up for the night.

Remember to take some extra supplies when bringing your pet to the snow, like a dog jacket and paw-protective booties. It’s also important not to stay out in the cold too long, especially if your pup isn’t used to those kinds of temperatures.

Pup in the sand on the dog-friendly Carmel-by-the-Sea beach
Image used with permission by copyright holder

2. Carmel-by-the-Sea

This artsy, beachy town on the coast of Monterey Bay is a chic place for pups and people to hang out. Whether you’re looking for the best local cup of coffee, a farmer’s market, or just a stroll on the beach, it’s more than likely you’ll see a lot of dogs accompanying their owners.

Many Carmel restaurants boast extensive doggy menus as well as scenic views, so it’s easy to see why this town was voted the #1 Dog-Friendly Town in America. Your pups can enjoy many of the shops, galleries, and even spas right along with you. They’ll feel just as pampered as you do! A word of warning, though — it can be chilly in the winter.

A Dachshund dog lies half buried in the sand on a beach wearing sunglasses
Masarik / Shutterstock

3. Palm Springs

If you’re looking for a dash of milder weather this winter, a trip to this desert may do the trick. Daytime temperatures can be in the 60s and 70s — the perfect temp for adventuring with your fur baby, though evenings can still get chilly.

Hotels and restaurants in the area are very welcoming to pets, but the area’s greatest draw is its natural beauty. There are countless hikes, drives, and stargazing spots that you can discover with your dog, though some will be more crowded than others. Palm Springs is a popular winter destination in southern California, so your pup may make a friend or two!

Dog lies in the sand on Muir Beach in Marin County
Image used with permission by copyright holder

4. Marin County

This seaside area north of San Francisco is a great balance between iconic and chill. You and your pup will get just enough of those Bay Area vibes, but you’ll have the open coastal air to enjoy too. Marin County is full of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, shops, and more. Even so, the parks and beaches might wind up being their favorite spots.

If your pup is somewhat of a beach bum, they’ll love the off-leash beaches in Marin. For more exercise, you’ll want to head slightly inland to any one of the county’s Open Space Preserves (there are many to choose from) for hikes, walks, and tons of playtime. Mount Tamalpais boasts breathtaking views of San Francisco and the North Bay, though your pup might need some practice before taking on this hike.

A man, a woman, and a dog hike in the hills overlooking the ocean
aaronj9 / Shutterstock

5. Santa Barbara

This fun city is vibrant and diverse, so it’s no surprise to learn how dog-friendly it is. Beaches, shopping, wine tasting — your dog can accompany you nearly anywhere in Santa Barbara. There are endless walking trails and paved walkways through historic neighborhoods, as well as off-leash parks and a pup-friendly botanical garden. It really has something for everyone!

In the winter you may not be as keen to get in the ocean, but water-loving pups will go crazy for Sunset Kidd’s dog-friendly boat tours. Of course, you and your fur baby can romp on the beach instead, though be sure to double-check leash laws before you head out. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a coastal sunset with your best friend in the whole world.

A dog steering a car and wearing red sunglasses
Image used with permission by copyright holder

California is perfect for any pup

Whether you’re in the mood for a snowy winter wonderland or a beach getaway, California is a great place to be a dog owner. Visitors and locals alike can enjoy the open spaces, mild winters, and pup-loving people of the Golden State. Dogs will have plenty of parks, trails, and even beaches to explore, so you know there will be no shortage of adventure. Have fun!

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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