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West Coast Dog-Friendly Travel Ideas

Destinations for you and your co-pilot

by Susan Tasaki
August 11, 2021
A woman petting her dog on a beach.
Photo: ZHPH Production / Stocksy

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From the most dog-friendly town in California to one of the country’s best off-leash parks in Redmond, Washington, these are our favorite dog-oriented destinations for summer in the West.

Idaho

In beautiful North Idaho, you’ll be surrounded by pristine lakes, including Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Spirit Lake, Hayden Lake, Priest Lake, and more. It’s the perfect place to go kayaking with your pup—be sure to bring a life vest.

California

On the North end of Stinson Beach, California, you’ll find a haven for any dog who simply likes to be near the ocean. Dogs are free to roam off-leash on the beach and in the waves. It’s a beautiful place for both people and pets, with two miles of pure, luscious sand and lovely views.

It’s anything but a secret here in Northern California, but Carmel-by-the-Sea is the most dog-friendly town. At the beach for off-leash dogs, you’ll discover canines of all sizes and shapes romping on the shoreline. Afterward, take a walk into town, and you’ll find many places that welcome dogs, including quite a few outdoor restaurants.

If you plan a visit to California, be sure to stop by the California Redwoods near Eureka. The beautiful hiking trail The Headwaters is an easy walk and dog friendly. There you’ll find ferns, oaks, redwoods, and endless tranquility.

At the Mt. Whitney Trail, 13 miles west of Lone Pine, California, you’ll find the highest peak in the contiguous United States. Avid hikers can take this dog-friendly picturesque trail through three pristine lakes and two campgrounds for an endless adventure in the mountains. Note: Dogs are not allowed on the summit or the final 3 miles of trail.

Only 100 miles north of San Francisco lies Mendocino County, and there you can head to Lake Mendocino for a dog-friendly relaxing walk along the lake. At the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, people with leashed dogs can stroll through 47 acres of garden, and opposite the gardens, you’ll find a thriving ocean scene with many other dog-friendly inns.

Washington

Over in the pacific northwest, Washington state offers many great dog-friendly vacations. In Lake Chelan, there are over six pet-friendly wineries. The Balsamroot, Lake Chelan Winery, Tildio, and Tunnel Hill all welcome dogs on their patios. Each serves excellent wine, and some offer pairs of foods. Afterward, enjoy the pacific northwest weather with an evening stroll along the Chelan River.

For travel near Bellingham in Washington state, the Fairhaven Historic District is a wonderful area to enjoy with dogs. Visit the boardwalk along Taylor Avenue to take in the sights of Bellingham Bay. You’ll also find the great leash-free Lake Padden Dog Park.

Over in Redmond, Washington, you’ll find a fantastic 40-acre off-leash dog park in Marymoor Park, and as a bonus, The Seattle Barkery’s treat truck is stationed there. If you visit on a Saturday, be sure to check out the dog-friendly Redmond Saturday Market, which is open from May through October.

Oregon

For dog-friendly travel near Portland, try Sandy Delta Park. Beyond the park, you’ll find lots of trails and access to the Sandy River.

Along the Oregon coast, you’ll also find the which has a wonderful dog-friendly hotel. At the Looking Glass Inn, you’ll be treated like royalty. With spacious rooms, extra towels, bowls, and treats for the dogs. Along the 363 miles of amazing Oregon coastline, where most beaches are dog-friendly, you’ll see sea lions swimming right offshore too, plus, you’ll find many great shops within walking distance.

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Susan Tasaki

Freelance writer Susan Tasaki lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her Husky, who wishes they both got out more.