The Central Coast is beautiful, but let’s admit that from time to time we all like to get out of the fog, out on the road and take a trip with our canine companions. Traveling Canine reports on fantastic destinations for you and your dog.
Santa Barbara: Dog Fun in the Sun
by Carie Broecker
We took our dog, Sunshine, to Santa Barbara for the first time when she was just 9 months old. It was on that trip that Sunshine first learned to swim in a fabulous swimming hole along the San Ysidro Trail in Montecito. The next day she was swimming after her ball in the calm, warm waves off Montecito Beach, navigating the surf like she’d been doing it her whole life. Santa Barbara remains one of our favorite destinations for dog fun!
Santa Barbara’s pet-friendly accommodations run the gamut from the ritzy and ultra posh San Ysidro Ranch, Four Seasons, and Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort to the more reasonably priced Best Western, Motel 6, Casa Del Mar, or Holiday Inn. You can also camp with your dog at nearby El Capitan State Beach.
You and your dog will be happy staying anywhere on or near Cabrillo Street, which runs parallel to popular East Beach. One of our morning rituals while in Santa Barbara is to walk the length of Cabrillo Street to the East Beach Grill, a casual, inexpensive café right on the beach. The dogs feel like they are literally at the beach while you enjoy your meal.
There are numerous other beaches to explore with your dog from Gaviota Beach to Rincon Beach. Within the city limits of Santa Barbara the only off leash beach is Arroyo Burro Beach known by locals as Hendry’s Beach. To get to the offleash area, walk your dog from the Arroyo Burro Beach County Park to the beach, turn left and then cross the slough. Your dog can run free from there.
There are numerous moderate to strenuous hikes to explore in the Santa Ynez mountains above Santa Barbara. Visit www.santabarbarahikes.com for a full list of hikes.
You won’t want to miss a stroll up State Street, the city’s main drag. State Street has an abundance of eclectic shops, ranging from retro thrift shops to some of the name brand stores like Restoration Hardware. Currently, dogs are not allowed to dine at any Santa Barbara restaurants, even on patios. Luckily you can get food to go and sit with your dog at one of the many city parks located just off of State Street.
Just off of State Street at Arrellaga and Santa Barbara Streets don’t miss Alice Keck Park. The park features seventy-five varieties of trees and plants and a koi pond teaming with water lilies and turtles.
No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a trip to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. This 65-acre garden contains over a thousand species of rare and indigenous plants. You and your dog can explore 5 1/2 miles of hiking trails that follow a babbling creek and then hike through an ancient redwood forest.
Whether you are frolicking on the beach, window-shopping in the open air Paso Nuevo mall on State Street, or hiking in the hills - -Santa Barbara is a fun destination for any dog and dog lover to enjoy!
Please visit www.dogpacsb.org for an up-to-date extensive list of dog friendly beaches, parks, and places to stay, eat and shop.