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Traveling Canine


Avila Beach and Shell Beach: The Perfect Dogcation

by Marcia Beckley Kane

Top Photo Courtesy of MichaelLynchPhotography.com

Bottom Photo Courtesy of Marcia Beckley Kane

Avila Beach

Are you and your canine friend looking for a unique coastal getaway in a beautiful area that has a lot of fun activities? My dog, Rumi, and I recommend you visit beautiful Avila Beach and Shell Beach to experience the perfect dogcation! We have sniffed around and explored all of the dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, beaches, parks, walks and adventures in the area and have some treasures to share with our Coastal Canine friends.

Rumi and I thoroughly enjoyed our most recent stay at the Cliffs Resort in Shell Beach. This oceanfront hotel sits on its own bluff overlooking Rumi’s favorite off-leash dog beach. We both love the fact that the ground level, dog-friendly suites have spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. We love waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. I open the sliding glass door for Rumi, which leads to a private patio and easy access to a trail leading to the beach.

We always start our dogcation at the resort’s beautiful off-leash beach where Rumi enjoys running free, playing in the gentle surf, and exploring the tidepools.
It feels like our private hideaway, tucked under the bluffs with natural wind protection and rarely anyone else there.

We love to walk to the end of the beach and take the stairs up to the Palisade Park, which has a nice walking trail and amazing views of Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and Guadalupe Dunes. When Rumi and I visit, we bring a picnic and watch the sunset together.

On days when we don’t bring a picnic, we like to walk back to the Cliffs Restaurant to enjoy happy-hour appetizers and cocktails on their dog-friendly patio. It’s a tail-wagging experience for sure.

After a restful night’s sleep, we take a short drive to the Bob Jones Bike Trail in Avila for a two and a half mile walking experience. This beautiful trail, which starts in Avila Valley, leads us through lush landscapes and past a meandering creek to Avila Beach’s promenade and beach.Avila Beach About halfway down the trail is a great deli called Woodstone Marketplace. We stop to enjoy a healthy homemade breakfast on their peaceful dog-friendly patio. Make no bones about it, Woodstone Market Place and Deli is definitely Rumi’s all-time favorite dog-friendly restaurant in the area! She loves the outdoor patio, the staff and their dog biscuits. I love their affordable entrees and their food, which is always fresh and delicious! This restaurant is the hidden gem of Avila Beach!

After breakfast, we get back on the trail and head towards Avila Beach. When we arrive downtown, we stop by the Hula Hut for another favorite of Rumi’s, a Dog Burnstein’s Doggie Disc. This is a scrumptious frozen treat for dogs that is veterinarian approved. The Doggie Disc is made from a special high-protein recipe using tofu. Greg Seinberger, the owner of Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab, said they were designed to provide a healthy alternative for dogs who like ice cream. Rumi and I also love that 10 percent of the profits from these yummy treats benefit Woods Humane Society because that is where I adopted her!

A few of Rumi’s other favorite restaurants in Avila Beach are the Custom House with their oceanfront patio, or the Avila Grocery and Deli. Rumi also enjoys tagging along while I shop at several pet-friendly stores--the Sea Barn, Footseas, and Beachcomber Bill’s.

Our last stop before heading home is the Avila Valley Barn where we pick up some locally grown fruits and veggies, and one of the Barn’s famous fruit pies.  This is actually one of Rumi’s favorite dog adventures, and she loves coming here to visit all the Avila Valley Barn’s farm animals and admire the oak-covered hills of Avila Valley. She thinks it’s one of prettiest places on the Central Coast and gives it two paws up!

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