Planning a Trip to Dog Friendly Santa Cruz

If you’re looking for a weekend exploring with you pup considering heading down to dog friendly Santa Cruz, California for a perfect beach getaway.

One thing I never regret is making time for a trip to the beach. Luckily, living in California it’s not too hard to get to one but it does make for a long day or even a weekend.

Santa Cruz is a perfect place to find the balance of enjoying a little luxury with your dog and getting outside to explore.

Visit the Dog Friendly Beaches In Santa Cruz

One great thing about California’s State Beaches is that just about all of them are dog friendly. One of my favorites is New Brighten State Beach just south of Capitola. Here you’ll find a big open sandy beach.

In the off-season, you’ll feel like you’re the only ones on the beach and your pups will have tons of room to run. And even during summer weekends, you can keep wandering down find some good space for playing in the waves and throwing a ball. (Please note that the rules to require dogs to be on leash).

There are a few more state beaches in the area and their $10 parking fee is worth every penny.

If you’re less interested in being on the beach and more interested in a paved walk near the ocean. Take a walk down Cliff Drive at Pleasure Point. You can walk for up to a few miles on this popular route. You’ll find tons of dogs out on the weekends so it also gives your pup a chance to make some friends.

There are many more pup friendly beaches around the Santa Cruz area and Visit Santa Cruz has a great guide to dog-friendly beaches in the area.

Finding Restaurant Patios Around Santa Cruz

It’s easy to eat with your pup in dog friendly Santa Cruz. Many of the best restaurants in town have patios and the weather is rather lovely all year.

Start the day with breakfast at Harbor Cafe. This spot a little south of the main stretch has a large patio area perfect for hanging with your pup. Plus the meals are a steal for a tourist beach town.

A local Santa Cruz chain, Betty Burgers has dog friendly patios at two of their locations. These hearty burgers make for a perfect lunch when you’ve been out exploring around town.

For dinner, consider Lúpulo Craft Beer House. You’ll find Latin inspired bites that are perfect for sharing around the table with friends. They also have a wide range of local beers on top.

End the night by enjoying a sweet treat at The Penny Ice Creamery. They’ll even roast marshmallows on top of your tasty cone of ice cream. Their locations all include outdoor seating and they’ll offer your pup some treats.

More Things to Do with Your Pup in Santa Cruz

Relax at a local coffee shop Verve Cafe. Their location on 41st has a patio perfect for relaxing with your pup before or after your beach adventure.

Take a hike! Whether you head up into the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains or stay along the coast check out All Trails for some great dog friendly hikes.

Explore the local breweries, many of which are dog-friendly, including New Bohemia Brewing Company and Humble Sea Brewing.

Or if wineries are more your speed you’ll find tasting rooms right in Santa Cruz and up in the foothills nearby. MJA Vineyards and Stockwell Cellars both offer tasting rooms in Santa Cruz that welcome pups.

Stay in Dog Friendly Hotels in Santa Cruz

While day trips to Santa Cruz are fun, there is so much to do that it’s even better when you get to stay a few days. Thankfully Santa Cruz includes a selection of dog friendly places to stay.

If you’re looking for a hotel right in the heart of Santa Cruz check out the Casablanca Inn. Here you’ll be able to take a quick walk to the beach, the boardwalk, restaurants, and shops.

If you’d rather stay up in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains Chaminade Resort & Spa is the place for you. Relax in their pool, enjoy their suites, and eat dinner next to beautiful fireplaces while watching the beautiful view they have over Santa Cruz and the ocean.

Or if you want low-key but near the beach, the Ocean Echo Inn & Beach Cottages is in one of my favorite parts of Santa Cruz, where you’re a little more residential and away from tourist.

Enjoy Your Getaway to Dog Friendly Santa Cruz

Whether you’re looking to be lazy on the beach, explore the food and wine scene, get adventurous outdoors, or enjoy a little luxury Santa Cruz allows you to do all that and more with your pup along for the ride.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.