Visiting Carmel, California with Dogs

Amy & Rod Burkert Amy & Rod Burkert  |  03.15.2017

Is your ideal pet-friendly vacation in a sophisticated spot with top-notch entertainment? Or perhaps you and your pet prefer more outdoorsy fun. Either way, you’ll have a great time in Carmel (or Carmel-By-The-Sea, as some like to call it), California.

Warm temperatures, beautiful views, and the option of hiking natural trails or strolling lively sidewalks in the shopping district makes Carmel a great, pet-friendly vacation destination.

Here are some fun spots to tempt the canine sophisticate or adventure dog you love:

Stroll Scenic Path 

Follow a packed dirt trail that meanders along the cliff top overlooking the surf from Carmel Beach to Carmel River Beach. Your dog will enjoy catching up on his p-mail on this popular trail, and you’ll get views of the Point Lobos Preserve, Pebble Beach Golf Course, and the white sands of the Carmel Beach.

Frolic on Carmel Beach

Sure, Carmel Beach has beautiful white sand …it’s a short walk from the town center … and it’s a great place to watch surfers – both the human and dolphin variety. But the best thing about Carmel Beach is that dogs can play off-leash! You and your pup will both enjoy the freedom of romping in the waves together.

If your pup isn’t fond of other dogs, but still wants to get a little sand between his toes, head around the point to Carmel River State Beach, where leashed pets are welcome and there’s plenty of space to explore.

Walk the Trails at Mission Trail Park

This 33-acre nature preserve has 5 miles of wooded trails. Enter east of downtown on Mountain View Avenue or Rio Road across from the Carmel Mission. Dogs under voice control are also allowed off-leash here, but keep in mind that this natural area has mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, and other wild animals. Be smart about whether your pet is safe before unsnapping the leash, and always pick up after your pup. You’ll find pet waste bags at the trailhead and trash cans along the way.

Experience Blue Dog Gallery

The Rodrigue Studio Carmel (6th Avenue), displays works by the late George Rodrigue, including his famous Blue Dog Series. The gallery is dog-friendly, but beware – your pup may expect you to make her the most famous canine portrait subject in the world.

Visit the Shops and Boutiques

Carmel is famous for its pet-friendly attitude, and many of the shops welcome your furry companions to browse with you. Be sure to stop in at Diggidy Dog (Ocean & Monte Verde), a 2600 square foot dog and cat boutique with everything your pet could desire. Tubs filled with bulk treats and baskets filled with balls and stuffies are sure to make this tempting shop your dog’s favorite!

Leashed pets are also welcome at The Crossroads Carmel (243 Crossroads Blvd), an outdoor shopping center with lots of pet friendly dining options. You’ll find water bowls outside many shops and some merchants keep biscuits at the counter. Local rescues hold regular adoption events here, too.

Taste wine at the Morgan Winery

Take a break from shopping by tasting some wine. Morgan Winery (204 Crossroads) is one of the many area wineries that invites you to sample their selections while you and your pup enjoy views of the vineyards.

Dine In Style

You’ll find no shortage of casual eateries and fine dining restaurants around Carmel that welcome you and your pet at their outdoor seating areas.

Try Basil (San Carlos Between Ocean & 7th) for farm fresh ingredients, including vegetarian and vegan options. Casanova (5th between Mission and San Carlos) features Italian-inspired specialties. And Grasing’s Coastal Cuisine (6th & Mission) is a great stop for locally caught seafood and chophouse favorites.

Stay for Yappy Hour at Terry’s Lounge

Take your pooch for “Muttinis” at Terry’s Lounge. Yappy Hour starts at 4:30 in the popular cocktail lounge at the Cypress Inn.

Rest Your Paws

If you’re looking for a luxurious break from your RV, the Cypress Inn (Lincoln & 7th) is rumored to be among the most pet-friendly boutique hotels in the country, and is co-owned by renowned animal welfare supporter and classic film star, Doris Day.

Dogs and cats of all sizes and types are welcome in every room. There’s even a pet wash area in the courtyard for when you return from a romp on the beach.

Those looking for accommodations for their RVs will find a couple of private parks close to downtown, but our recommendation is to book a site at Laguna Seca County Park. Located about 20 minutes east of Carmel, many of the campsites at Laguna Seca overlook the raceway. Avoiding race weekends saves you from the noise, and the views from this hilltop campground are fantastic. It’s the perfect contrast to Carmel’s bustling energy.


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