Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dog-Friendly Getaway on Week 10 of Summer

Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer and the last official holiday until November.   It’s the 3 day weekend everyone looks forward to and a great opportunity for a quick getaway.  After all, Labor Day is meant for you to take a load off from work and enjoy yourself.  So why not indulge and enjoy the weekend with your dog?

This Labor Day weekend, take a short trip north, to the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.  This coastal town will help you escape a bit of the heat we’ve been feeling here.

First, you’ll want to secure a place to stay.  There are a few hotels that accommodate furry companions:

Santa Barbara has a couple of luxury resorts that allow dogs, but make no mistake, they are luxury resorts, so you should not be surprised by the expensive price.  If you are interested, check out Bacara (for dogs 25 lbs and under) and Four Seasons Resort: The Biltmore Santa Barbara.

Mid-ranged priced places to stay include the Best Western Beachside Inn (which can have lower rates but it isn’t likely on a holiday weekend), Casa Del MarFess Parker’s Double Tree Resort (can be a little on the expensive side but with the size of the resort and dog accommodations, it may be worth it), Pacifica Suites, and the Secret Garden Inn and Cottages.

For those on a budget, there is always a dog-friendly Motel 6 wherever you go, or for a little more rustic charm and experience, check out Rancho Oso Guest Ranch and Stables.

Once you have a place to stay, you’ll want things to do.  While many of the beaches in Santa Barbara do not allow dogs, there are designated parks that do – and off leash even.

Douglas Family Preserve is a 70-acre park on a bluff overlooking the ocean.  The park has unpaved trails to explore but be sure to keep your dog on leash until you are on the preserve.  This park is located off the 101 at the Cabrillo Blvd. exit (drive toward the ocean).

Elings Park is a privately run nonprofit 230-acre park, chalk full of hiking trails, open fields, and beautiful views of the mountains and ocean.  This park is typically reserved for those who purchase a yearly permit to use it.  But people visiting just for the day are allowed to use the park for free, but only after you check in at the office and show your dog’s license.  This park is located off the 101 at the Las Positas exit (drive toward the ocean).

Hendry’s Beach/Arroyo Burro Beach is an off-leash beach for dogs to enjoy.  Be careful to stay within the dog beach boundaries though; go too far one way and you may find yourself in no-dog zone, which could land you a ticket.  This beach also has a dog washing station so you don’t have to take the beach home with you.

Stroll along Cabrillo Boulevard (which runs along the beach) on Sunday and you might catch the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show.  Just be sure not to take your dog down to the beach here, because while your pooch is welcome on the sidewalk, he is not welcome on the sand.
If you wish to see a little more green on your trip, take a stroll through the 65-acre Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. Featuring over 1,000 species of rare and indigenous California plants, this garden is sure to be a delight.

You are sure to work up an appetite after all of that exploring.  Unfortunately, Santa Barbara County’s health department put a stop to dogs being allowed to eat on restaurant patios.  There are some places that are still willing to serve pooches, you just have to ask around.  If you can’t find a place to eat, just get your food to go and enjoy a picnic with your dog elsewhere, or enjoy a quiet dinner together back at your hotel (which might be greatly appreciated after a long day of sniffing and running).

Enjoy a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend. Afterall, you deserve it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

8th Week of Summer: Hit the Beach

As a native Californian you know that it’s possible to take the beach for granted.  But don’t let the summer pass you by without getting down to the coast at least once before the summer is over. 
This weekend, take a break from the hustle and bustle of life, and cool off in the coastal breeze as you relax on the beach with your dog.

Catch Some Rays at the Huntington Dog Beach…

One of the best places for a dog to be a dog is romping through the sand and splashing in the water at the Huntington Dog Beach.  Even if your dog doesn’t like the water, playing on the sand is a better workout for him then walking on concrete.  The dog beach can be found at the very end of Goldenwest Street in Huntington Beach (around lifeguard tower 24).  The dog beach stretches from Goldenwest Street to Seapoint Street (to the right of Goldenwest when facing the beach from PCH).  There is metered parking along PCH or free parking one to five blocks inland, among the homes.  Check out the Huntington Dog Beach website for a list of beach rules and other FAQs.  Don’t forget to bring poop bags, a towel, fresh water for your dog, and sunblock if your dog requires it.  If it is your dog’s first time at the beach don’t be afraid to take it slow.  You want his first experience to be positive so you can come back again. 

Stop for a Bite at the Park Bench Café…

After a good run at the beach, your pup should be tired.  A tired dog is a good dog so it’s the perfect time to stop in at the Park Bench Café for a bite to eat.  Located at 17732 Goldenwest Street, in Huntington Beach, the Park Bench Café is a one of a kind stop for dog lovers who want to enjoy food and the beautiful outdoors with their four-legged friends.  After you order one of their delicious menu items for yourself, be sure to get something for your dog off the dog menu.  Your pooch can get a hot dog (without the bun), chicken, ground beef, bacon, lean ground turkey, and even eggs.  Check out the Park Bench Café website for a complete menu and list of dog rules to make sure your first visit there goes smoothly.    And if you have the energy after eating, you and your pup can saunter around the beautiful surrounding park before heading home.

Or Try Something New…

While the dog beach is a great treat for your four legged friend, sometimes you just want to switch things up.  Why not try a new beach, like Balboa Pier in Newport Beach.  Just south of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach has two piers, the second being Balboa Pier on the Balboa Peninsula.  This area offers a more laid back scene where you can fish from the pier, people watching, and enjoy a bite to eat at Ruby’s Diner while looking out over the ocean.  The pier isn’t the only thing to check out either.  Simply go inland to watch boats come and go in the Newport Bay or hop on the ferry and cruise over Balboa Island for a stroll.  This is a great way to enjoy the beach without getting sandy or wet, and your pup is sure to enjoy going on this new adventure with you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

13 Weeks of Summer: Week 7 - Dog Days in Fullerton

This week take the opportunity to join in the camaraderie of the dog community.  Interact with other dog lovers and dogs by going to the outdoor market. 

Dog Days of Fullerton

The Fullerton Market is a favorite among locals, and rightly so.  Operating weekly, the market offers fresh produce, prepared foods, arts and crafts, jewelry, novelty and gift items, live entertainment, kid’s activities, and a beer garden.  
This Thursday, August 7th, you and your dog can experience the renowned market for yourself as the Fullerton Museum Center Association hosts the Fullerton Dog Days of Summer.

Dog Days at the Fullerton Market is a great opportunity to not only get a taste of the Fullerton but to join in the local fun with other dog owners. This special dog market will feature many dog-related vendors and activities to make sure you and your dog have a good time.  Sign your dog up for a contest, like Fastest Eater or Loudest Bark, and stop to enjoy dog demos.     

The fun takes place this Thursday, August 7th, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the Downtown Fullerton Plaza located at 125 E. Wilshire Ave., in Fullerton.