Our favorite beach is Carmel River Beach pictured upper left. Dogs do have to be on leash here, but the waves, the river, the otters and Point Lobos in the background is a magical experience. The river is a great place to kayak and bird watch as well. Right above the beach is the Carmel Mission Ranch Inn & Restaurant. It is not dog friendly due to their sheep farm, but sitting on the oceanfront patio of the restaurant at sunset is not to be missed.
A short, but steep walk up Ocean Drive brings you into downtown Carmel where you can browse with your dog at unique shops. You will also have abundant choices for great dining, coffee shops and delicious treats, like locally made chocolates and pastries. Do not miss the shortbread and jam drop cookies at the Carmel Bakery.
At the top of Ocean Avenue is Carmel Plaza that has a very special Fountain of Woof for doggie shoppers picture above center. From Carmel you can drive through Pebble Beach on 17 mile drive for more ocean scenery, the stunning golf course and the Lone Cypress. At the end of 17 mile drive is another beautiful dog friendly town, Pacific Grove, and another great dog beach, Asilomar State Beach. While officially an on-leash beach for dogs, most dogs will be off-leash. It can be windy here so we always bring a kite and enjoy watching sea otters rocking in the rough surf. A great place to say with your dog is Andril's Fireplace Cottageswhich is just short walk from Asilomar. You can also walk to the Fishwife Restaurant for the best fried catfish I've ever had in California, and the atmosphere is warm and family friendly. You'll have to leave your tired, sandy dog in the car, but they should be ready for a nap by then.
A great trail and park for a beautiful off-leash walk is at MissionTrail Park encompassing 37 acres of California Coastal native vegetation, with meadows, dense Monterey Pine forest and a grove of Oak trees. There are two entrances to the park: one east of downtown on Mountainview Avenue and the other on Rio Road across the street from the Carmel Mission. Dogs can be off-leash but must be under voice control and follow all of the rules to remember. Top Dog Friendly Restaurants: Grasings, Jack London’s Pub, Hog’s Breath Inn, Basil, Forge in the Forest, Carmel Belle
Top Dog Friendly Hotels: Carmel Valley Ranch, Happy Landing Inn, Carmel Lodge, Lamplighter Inn, Carmel County Inn, Andril’s Fireplace Cottages (Pacific Grove)
Top Doggie Daycares:
Home Away From Home, Dawg Gone It, Happy Pets